Upon sitting down to read and study the Bible, one needs to have several questions answered before they can begin to allow the Scripture to have an impact on their life. These questions should address the authority of the Bible (which will also address the author of the Bible), the inspiration of the Bible, and the inerrancy of the Bible.
The first question stated above is the most important question to answer before one can begin to take what the Bible says and try to live by it. When it is said that the Bible has authority, what is being said is: on any topic, issue, question, etc., that the Bible speaks to, one is to defer to what is says. In other words, the Bible is the authority on everything that it speaks to.
The answer above presupposes one very important belief, that God is the author of the
Bible. Because of this, the authority that the Bible holds is much greater than if man were the author. The writer of a law must have the authority to enforce that law. The same principle applies to the authority of Scripture.
The main reason the Bible holds so much authority is because God is the author. One question off of this is how did God write it? The answer, He inspired man to do so. What is meant is that under guidance from the Holy Spirit, God gave the inspiration of what was to be written, to the human authors of the Bible. This does not mean that he dictated to them what He wanted written, he merely inspired them with what was to be written. They were free to use the language of their day, and write with their personalities intact.
This author bases his belief of inspiration on the following passage: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”.
A major component of the inspiration of Scripture is that it is also inerrant. This author subscribes to the inerrancy of Scripture and bases his belief on the first, and strongest of four arguments, which is the Biblical argument. This argument has five main points that support its views, but the most important is the first and last. The first point states that “the Bible teaches its own inspiration, and this requires inerrancy. The Scriptures are the breath of God (2. Tim. 3:16), which guarantees they are without error”. And the breath of God statement is addressed in the fifth point which says, “Repeatedly, the Scriptures teach that God cannot lie…If, then, the Bible is from God and his character is behind it, it must be inerrant and infallible”.
A second popular argument for inerrancy is the Historical argument. This argument believes that the Bible is inerrant because from the Apostles all the way through Church history, the truths in the Bible were assumed, not defended. A third argument is the Epistemological argument, which says, “If the Bible is not inerrant, then any claim it makes may be false”. This holds that every statement made in Scripture must be true for the entire text to be inerrant. The fourth, and final argument for the inerrancy of Scripture, is the Slippery Slope argument. This belief is quite simple: if one gives up the inerrancy of scripture they also surrender other Christian doctrines as well.
Of the last three arguments listed, the weakest argument is the Slippery Slope argument. While this argument may be true, that a “denial of inerrancy starts one down a slope that is slippery,” it is by no means a substantial argument to base one’s belief of inerrancy upon. This author argues for inerrancy and bases his argument on the Bible. The Bible is the ultimate authority, as it was written by God, and as God cannot lie, because it is not in His character to do so, everything written through the inspiration of His Holy Spirit, by the human authors, is without error.
As stated in the paragraphs above, this author believes: 1) that the Bible holds the final authority on all topics contained within its text, 2) that God is the author of the Bible, 3) that the Bible was written by human authors under the inspired guidance of the Holy Spirit, and 4) that the Bible is inerrant. As a result of these beliefs, this author looks to God’s Word for guidance on how to live his life on a day to day basis. This author believes that as he gets into God’s Word, God’s Word will get into him.
-  2 Timothy 3:16, NKJV.
-  Feinberg, P.D. “Bible, Inerrancy and Infallibility of.” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Elwell, A. Walter. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book house Company, 2001), 157.
-  Ibid., 158.
-  Ibid., 157.
-  Ibid.
-  Ibid., 158.
-  Ibid.
Article header photo credit: The Bible by Vincent van Gogh (1885) http://www.terminartors.com/artworkprofile/Van_Gogh_Vincent-Still_Life_with_Bible
Bibliography Photo Credit: http://www.maicar.com/GML/Bibliography.html
Feinberg, P.D. “Bible, Inerrancy and Infallibility of.” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Elwell, A. Walter. 156-159. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book house Company, 2001.
The Inerrancy and Inspiration of The Bible by Aaron M. Aiken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://aaronaiken.wordpress.com/use-policy/.