Truth, Inerrancy, and the Biblical Way
Sovereignty and Truth: The Basic Argument for Inerrancy
“In the beginning God created...!”
Inherent in these words is this: God is outside His creation. He is not part of it, but the Creator and Sustainer of it. As the Sovereign Ruler over the creation He made, God is not Himself affected by it, but rather stands outside to affect it. This is where the argument for the inerrancy of the Bible begins. He is the One who directed the writing of His Word so that it came to be exactly what He wanted it to be.1
“Whoa, wait a minute!” you might say. “You are using the Bible to prove the Bible.” That’s right. There must be higher authority than you or me, higher than any man or group of men, to testify to the authorship of the Bible.
Where will we find such a testimony? The Bible provides its own. This is what theologians call “self-attesting.” The Bible testifies of itself that God is its author. “In the beginning God created…” says to us that someone was around to know this bit of information in order to pass it on to us — and that someone was God Himself.
From Cover to Cover
A simple computer concordance search will display 416 finds on the phrase, “Thus says the Lord.” Examples from Scripture could be multiplied to show that the Bible claims Divine authorship. The closing words of the Bible are not less significant than the opening words. They warn of eternal consequence for anyone who adds to or takes away from it (Rev. 22:18-19). The Bible begins with “This is the Word of God” and ends with “Don’t add to these words or take away from them or you will suffer in the lake of fire forever.” From cover to cover, literally from opening words to closing words, the Bible testifies of itself that it is the Word of God.
What Kind of Book Is This?
This brings us to other questions: What kind of Bible did the Sovereign Creator give us? Is the Bible an accurate or inaccurate rendering of reality? Are the contents fallible, or infallible? Is it errant, or is it inerrant?
These lead to additional questions: What kind of God is this God of the Bible? Is He like a magician who creates illusions? Is He like mortal men who change from day to day, even moment to moment? What characteristics does this God of the Bible have by which we might know the kind of communication He would give us?
Scripture tells me that God, being God, is incapable of lying (Num. 23:9). Jesus Christ more explicitly defines Himself as “the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6).2 The God the Bible reveals as its Author is the God who is Truth — whose Word does not merely contains truth, but rather “is truth” (Jn. 17:17). The basic argument for the inerrancy of Scripture is sovereignty and truth. There is a Sovereign God who is Truth. He has given to us a written revelation of Himself consistent with His own character.
The literature of the Bible includes history, poetry, commands and statutes, prophecy, and parables. Because God is truth and is sovereign over all, He can control every detail of the writing of His Bible. For this reason we can be confident that we have nothing less than the infallible word of God which is the Bible.
A Written Revelation Needed
Some religious folks, and even the natural man, might object and ask why mankind needs a written revelation when the creation itself makes plain the reality of God. They would be justified in asking such a question, since from “the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).
We ought to consider that in the pre-fall world, fully formed and displaying the glory of God as no living man has ever seen it, God did not leave Adam to the voice of nature. God spoke to Adam in the Garden. With words He instructed him of his mission and the way to live and enjoy the good things God had prepared for him. With words God told pre-fallen Adam, “Eat of all the trees but one.” With somber words God warned, “Death is a possibility. Avoid death by refusing to eat of this single tree.”
Creation, even in its glorious nascent perfection, was deficient to communicate all God intended man to know. God purposed that verbal revelation — words — would be needed. If in the pre-fall world man needed the Word of God, how much more in our post-Garden, sin-cursed world today?
The written word is preserved from generation to generation. The written word is distributable so people all over the world can hold it in their hands and study its pages. And, to those who read its pages, or hear its message preached, is the promise that the Author will come and lead the humble to understand His words in the Bible.
The Bible is the written Word of God. It is our treasure. May we esteem it! May we love it! May we hear it! May we do it! May we spread it!
1. This or similar statements refer to the original documents, not to all the existent manuscripts or translations.
2. R. J. Rushdoony, Infallibility and Interpretation (Vallecito, CA: Chalcedon Foundation, 2000), 3
Eugene Clingman is Executive Administrator of the International Church Council Project (www.churchcouncil.org) a theological effort (of Coalition on Revival) seeking to halt the slide of the evangelical church toward liberalism and compromise. Eugene also works part-time as a representative for an Inc. 500 company (MoreHealthTimeMoney.com).