Does Inerrancy Matter?

This is a question that comes up over and over again. The simple answer is, yes, inerrancy matters. But why? This post will not go into the intricate details of inerrancy. This is not the proper format for such an undertaking. The purpose here is to look at some logic regarding the truth of Scripture and the issue of inerrancy.

The Bible is to be the guiding light for Christians. The Bible gives us the truth on every facet of life that you can imagine. Now, it doesn’t give us guidance on whether or not we should wear a purple shirt or a green shirt today, that is not what we mean when we say every facet of life. But what we mean is that every situation you encounter has principles in Scripture that will help you work out a right attitude and response to that situation. And this is where inerrancy comes into play.

First, we need to define inerrancy as it relates to Scripture. The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy defines inerrancy as follows:

Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching…

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy 1980

Scripture is without any error in everything that it teaches. That means it is without fault in its historical statements, theological statements, scientific statements, and any other statement the Bible makes. This, of course, refers to the original manuscripts and not any specific translation of Scripture.

So what? Why does this matter? Let’s think about it this way, if you can take any part of the Bible, let’s say Genesis, and says that it contains error, then you call the rest of Scripture into question. Scripture builds on itself. Yes, it is a collection of 66 different works but those works (books) give one unifying message and they stand on each other.

If you can call into question the account in Genesis, you can call into question the accounts of Jesus Christ. At that point, you call into question the exclusivity of Salvation for Christians and Christians alone. After that, you can throw out any part of the Bible that does not agree with modern thought.

It is a dangerous slope. You either take all of Scripture or you throw it all out. Inerrancy is one of the most fundamental beliefs that impact the Gospel today.

How To Study The Bible

I am often asked, how do you study the Bible? How do you know that your interpretation is correct? Are there rules to follow? Are there tools to use? Where do I begin? All of these are very good questions, and all of these questions have good answers that follow them. This post is not meant to be an exhaustive look at how to conduct Bible Study. This is simply a brief overview of the topic.

The Bible was written in three primary languages, Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. It was also written to various people groups in various cultures spanning over 1,000 years and none of those were cultures and people that are still present today. This is known as the gap of Biblical Interpretation. In order to arrive at a proper interpretation, we must close this gap and find the original meaning of any passage in Scripture that we wish to study. So how do we accomplish this?

First, you must become familiar with your passage in your native tongue. To do this, you must read the passage in several English translations. Preferably, a few translations that are essentially literal and one that is dynamic equivalent. Dynamic equivalent translations, such as the New International Version, do not necessarily follow the literal translation of a passage and add in commentary-like supplements in phrasing and word usage to help the reader understand the meaning. Essentially literal translations are just that, translations that are as literal as possible compared to the original. Translations that I recommend are the English Standard Version, New American Standard Bible, and the, Christian Standard Bible.

The second step is to look at the original languages. You need to find words, using a concordance and lexicon combination or Bible software such as Logos Bible Software, that are key to the passage. Then you need to look up the corresponding Greek or Hebrew word to find out what the author meant by using that particular word.

The third step is to understand any historical and cultural contexts that may be applicable when looking at interpreting a passage. Where was this written? When was this written? To whom was this written? Were there any significant events going on at that time that might be alluded to in the passage? Were there any geographical features that need to be taken into account? These types of questions help give insight to things that are not plain in the text itself.

When you look at these steps, the next thing to do is to figure out, what did this mean to the original audience? How would they have understood this passage?

When following these rules, you are well on your way to framing proper interpretations of Scripture. We can know what Scripture says with confidence. Remember, there is only one possible interpretation but an unlimited number of possible applications.

A Way Forward: The One (Unbiblical) Church Plan

The Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church has decided to advocate for an option called The One Church Plan. They argue that the plan allows the best way forward with minimal impact to the United Methodist Church overall. The following is my take on the One Church Plan after careful study of the commission’s report.

First, the One Church Plan, and the entire crisis itself, is based on a false pretense that the church has somehow been responsible for harming the LGBT community. This simply is not so. Those who practice an LGBT lifestyle harm themselves by going against God’s Word and the created order. Paul makes clear in Romans that the LGBT lifestyle is not natural. It is debased and dishonoring to God. Moreover, it is sinful.

Second, the theological proofing and basis for the OCP is not biblical.

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Dressing Up Scripture

What do I mean when I say, “Dressing Up Scripture?” It is simple. Dressing up Scripture means changing the wording, interpretation, or leaving out certain parts of Scripture in order to not offend people.

The Bible says that the Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). I think God when He inspired the author of Hebrews to write those words that he intentionally chose the weapon of the day. The Word pierces. It’s not meant to be gentle, it’s not meant to be soft. It is meant to cut through the blackness and thickness of sin and pierce the soul.

If people are living in darkness they are going to be offended by the Word of God. They won’t like it. It forces them to come out of the shadows and live a new life. It will make them better.

Think of it this way, in surgery your body is offended by the incisions and removals or additions that the surgeon must make, but in the end, it is to the benefit of your body. So what if a sinner is offended by the truth? In the end, it leads them to salvation.

That is not to say we should seek to offend. No. We should always speak the truth in love. But speaking the truth in love does not mean being afraid of offending someone and it does not mean tip-toeing around issues that may be sensitive. We must boldly proclaim the truth while showing the love and light of Jesus Christ.

Please do not “Dress Up” Scripture.

Sola Scriptura: Does It Matter?

Recently, I have been challenged with the question of whether or not Sola Scriptura, Scripture Alone, matters. The answer is, of course, YES! Sola Scriptura is a major issue that was really one of the crucial points of the Reformation.

The question is this, do we get truth from Scripture alone or are there other authorities? The Roman Catholic Church, for example, believes the church is the final authority and can overrule Scripture.

The reason this has come into question recently is because I was corresponding via email with the headquarters of a mainline denomination, I am not ready to mention the denomination yet, last week and asked about their position on ordaining women and how they could hold to that practice despite the blatant prohibitions in Scripture. Their answer terrified me.

In short, they said while Scripture is the primary source, it is not the only source and we must go with experience, logic, and reason as well as tradition. I am sorry, but that is not how it works. If we can throw out the writings of Paul, why not the writings of Peter? And if we can throw out the writings of Peter because they don’t agree with what we feel, then why not throw out the words of Christ? Do you see where this leads?

If Scripture is not the final authority you can replace it with whatever you please. In other words, there are no absolutes. Everything is fair game.

Sola Scriptura is vital.

Banning the Bible

In the State of California, a bill has passed the General Assembly banning the sale of any goods or service that would seek to correct the behaviors related to homosexuality or transgenderism. This is the latest attack from the LGBTQ lobby against anyone who would dare to stand in their way. Remember, “tolerance” is the word of the day as long as you hold to their worldview and their worldview alone. But as Bible-believing Christians we cannot hold to that worldview. It goes directly in the face of Scripture.

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Do We Make Confessions Idols?

Throughout the course of Church History creeds and confessions have been utilized to express what we believe in the faith and to clarify our understanding of written Scripture. But with creeds and confessions come a real danger of moving from preaching good doctrine to setting up an idol that is counter to everything we are instructed in Scripture.

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