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Plenary Inspiration and Providential Preservation of the Bible: God’s Protection of His Written Word From Error and Contradiction
The Biblical Claim n n n Psalm 12: 6 “The words of the Lord are pure words, as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. ” Psalm 33: 4 “For the word of the Lord is right…” Psalm 19: 7 “The law of the Lord is perfect… 8 The precepts of the Lord are right. ” Psalm 119: 105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. ” Psalm 119: 140 “Thy word is very pure” 151 “all thy commandments are truth”
The Biblical Claim n n n n Psalm 119: 160 “The sum of thy word is truth. ” Zech. 7: 12 “the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets” Dan. 10: 21 “the scripture of truth” Matt. 22: 31 “have you not read that which was spoken unto you by God…” Rom. 1: 2 “the holy scriptures” Rom. 3: 2 “the oracles of God” 1 Cor. 14: 37 “the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord…”
Holy Spirit Led The Writers n n n Taught by the Holy Spirit; “brought to remembrance”: Jn. 14: 25 -26 Led into “all truth”: Jn. 16: 13 Gave prophets foreknowledge: 1 Pet. 1: 10 -12 “Moved” prophets along: 2 Pet. 1: 19 -21 “Wisdom given to him, wrote to you”: 2 Pet. 3: 15 “Incorruptible seed”; “endures forever”; “lives and abides”: 1 Pet. 1: 23, 25; Heb. 5: 12
Scripture Cannot Be Broken n n The Bible proclaims its own inerrancy and infallibility. This is one of the most unpopular doctrines among modern preachers and priests; but it is imminently biblical. Jesus declared it: John 10: 35 Jesus believed in plenary, verbal inspiration – and the inerrancy and infallibility of the finished and transmitted Scriptures! Law had passed through hundreds of hands, 1000+ years, and two translations!
Jesus: Thy Word Is Truth “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth” (John 17: 17).
Providential Protection of Scripture Makes It Inerrant n n Balaam’s prophecies offer an excellent test case for examination (Numbers 22 -24). The Revelation was protected despite Balaam’s own selfish desires (2 Pet. 2: 15).
Divine Protection of the Prophetic Message n n “If Balak would give me his house full of gold and silver, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God to do less or more” (Num. 22: 18). “Have I now any power at all to speak any thing? The word that God puts into my mouth, that I shall speak” (Num. 22: 38). “The Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth” (23: 5, 16). “I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own mind; what the Lord speaks, I will speak” (24: 13).
Bible Inspiration Is: “The Bible in its entirety is God’s written Word to man, free of error in its original autographs, wholly reliable in history and doctrine. Its divine inspiration has rendered the Book “infallible” (incapable of teaching deception) and “inerrant” (not liable to prove false or mistaken). Its inspiration is “plenary” (extending to all parts alike), “verbal” (including the actual language form), and “confluent” (product of two free agents, human and divine). Inspiration involves infallibility as an essential property, and infallibility in turn implies inerrancy. This threefold designation of Scripture is implicit in the basic thesis of Biblical authority” (C. Pennock, Defense of Biblical Infallibility 1).
Inerrancy Is Not Always Easy n n n “Discrepancies” and alleged “contradictions” have always been proposed by enemies of the Bible. These have been recognized for centuries and dealt with in a variety of effective ways. Admittedly, sometimes they challenge our abilities and knowledge; not always easy.
Inerrancy Is Not Always Easy n Augustine: “I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the manuscript is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it” (Letter to Jerome, 82. 3).
Illustration: Three Inscriptions n n Critic: “Was the Greek word houtos the first or last word in the superscription on the cross? ” (cf. Lk. 23: 38 where it is last; Matt. 27: 37 where it is first). John W. Haley: “It is altogether improbable that three inscriptions, in three different languages, should correspond word for word” (An Examination of the Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible 154).
Illustration: Matt. 27: 9 n n Critic: “Matt. 27: 9 ascribes to Jeremiah a quotation which is actually found in Zechariah. ” Haley: “According to the Jewish writers, Jeremiah was reckoned the first of the prophets, and was placed first in the book of the prophets…(he) may have quoted it under the name which stood first in…the list. Or, the difficulty may have arisen from the abridgment of the names. In the Greek, Jeremiah, instead of being written in the full, might stand thus Iriou; Zechariah thus, Zriou. By the mere change of Z into I (by later scribal copyists), the mistake would be made. The Syriac Peshito and several mss, have simply, “by the prophet”” (153).
Faith Warrants an Attitude of Confidence “Faith in the consistency of God warrants an attitude of confidence that the text is sufficiently trustworthy not to lead us astray. If God gave the Scriptures for a practical purpose – to make men wise unto salvation through faith in Christ – it is a safe inference that He never permits them to become so corrupted that they can no longer fulfill it. It is noteworthy that the NT men did not hesitate to trust the words of the OT as they had it, as a reliable indication of the mind of God” (J. I. Packer).
Cases of Alleged Discrepancy n n n Are for the most part trivial. Most are only apparent. Many are transcription mistakes by copyists. The miracle is that there are so few of any real importance. Considering that different books were written by many authors, from all degrees of culture and education, over many hundreds of years, it is altogether unaccountable that they should agree so perfectly – absent divine guidance!
Assault on Inerrancy Is An Attack on Bible Authority n n Those who attack the Bible on these grounds have a hidden agenda. They wish to destroy our confidence in its authority in moral and doctrinal matters (Gen. 3: 4). If the Biblical writers were liable to error in one particular, what guarantee have we that they were not equally fallible in another? Thus, these critics wish to destroy our faith in the AUTHORITY of the Bible.
The Real Question Is: What Is Our Authority In Religious Matters? n n n Make no mistake about it: the real issue is whether human reason is to guide us in matters of right and wrong, good and evil, sin and righteousness. Quibbles about “contradictions” and such like are intended to distract us from the real issue of divine authority. Do not allow yourself to be distracted!
Man Cannot Be The Judge of Holy Scripture n n Rejection of any part of Scripture is an affront to the divine majesty: James 4: 11, 12 He is no disciple of Christ who rejects His doctrine of inspiration or His view of Sacred Scripture as infallible. Scripture may not be adulterated (by adding human traditions) or emasculated (by diminishing it through human reason). It stands above everything and everyone and judges us; man is not capable of judging it!
His Words Will Judge Us In The Final Day n n Scripture has the exclusive right to command our obedience, because it alone is the Word of God. Scripture is the mediating instrument of our knowledge of God and of His will for us. The Words of Christ will judge us in the final day: John 12: 48 Where else are the words of Christ found, except in Scripture?
Scripture Demands: n n n Belief: John 3: 16 Repentance: Acts 3: 19 Confession: Romans 10: 10 Baptism: Acts 22: 16 Faithfulness: Rev. 2: 10