Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The inerrant, infallible, sufficient & clear word of God

2 Timothy 3:15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus

Yesterday, we looked at three of those qualities: namely it being the Holy Bible, Divinely Inspired as God's Revelation.  Today we will look at four more qualities, using the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message as our aid in understanding the nature of the Bible.  The entire 2000 Baptist Faith and Message (2000 BFM) can be found on the SBC official website: .

"without any mixture of error" This next phrase that we come across in the BFM 2000 refers to what Bible teachers call "inerrancy". Literally, the words of the Bible are without error. Inerrancy refers materially to the original manuscripts of the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament. When we say "materially", we mean that the "material", the "words" of the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek manuscripts of the Bible had no errors.  Since those originals are no longer in existence, all of the copies and translations are formally inerrant.  The term "formal" refers to doctrines, historical and scientific information and any idea preserved in the faithful translations and copies of those manuscripts.   I can tell you from having worked in Hebrew and Greek for nearly 20 years (to God be the glory), that you have nothing to fear in regards to your English Bible - it is God's Word.

Jesus and the Apostles themselves used the Greek Translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, treating it as carrying the authority of inerrancy.  Whenever an Apostle quoted the Old Testament in the New Testament, they mainly quoted from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament.  Jesus Himself noted that "heaven and earth may pass away, but that God's Word would never pass away". (Matthew 5:18)  That includes the copies and translations of the Bible!  As a pastor, I can hold up my English Bible and confidently say that it does not merely contain the Word of God, nor become the word of God when I read it but that it is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  As the 2000 BFM states: "It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter." Therefore I can literally say without apology that the English Bible I preach from is as much the Word of God as the originals - since God's perfect truth preserved could never derive from an imperfect source. (Psalms 12:6; Proverbs 30:5)

"Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy" With the authority of scripture's inerrancy flowing from perfect original manuscripts and extending such authority down through the copies and translations, what about the matter of trustworthiness? Bible teachers calls this "infallibility", meaning that the Bible is incapable of leading you astray. Inerrancy deals with the contents and wording of the text, whereas infallibility deals with the intent and conclusions of the text. Jesus in John 10:35 said the scripture cannot be broken. The Bible is trustworthy and cannot ever lead you astray.

"It reveals the principles " This is the beginning of the next to last sentence in the first article of the 2000 BFM. What follows in this sentence speaks to what Bible teachers call the scripture's sufficiency. Is the Bible enough to give us universal truths that we can apply to specific situations touching history, eternity and personal life? These universal truths, communicated through the words of scripture, are what we call principles. We must confess as Christians that the Bible is indeed sufficient in covering what God desires us to know and apply for everything.(1 Corinthians 10:6)

"All Scripture is a testimony" What is a testimony? It is a clear statement of what someone saw or experienced in their life. The idea of extracting from scripture what God communicates and testifies about Jesus Christ's person and mission speaks to the Bible's clarity. The Bible is not merely a witness of God's revelation, rather God chose to witness of Himself through the Bible. The Bible is God's revelatory testimony of His mind to man!  Is the Bible a book of riddles and puzzles - or is it clearly understandable to the born-again child of God who reads it through the illuminating ministry of the Holy Spirit? We can only answer in the affirmative. (1 Corinthians 2:12-16)  This is why preachers preach it, teachers teach it and all Christians are to live God's book - since it is His testimony about His Son - Jesus Christ. (Luke 24:44)

Therefore in these seven statements, we have learned that the Bible is God's book, which is the inspired, revealed, inerrant, infallible, sufficient and clear Word of God.

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