In my previous post, I outlined how Jesus believed the Old Testament Scripture was the Word of God—authoritative, inspired, and historically reliable. If you missed that one, I recommend you read it before reading this one. Here are 4 more things Jesus believed about Scripture:
5. It is inerrant.
Considering what we've learned so far about Jesus' opinion of Scripture, how would He have responded if someone implied that it might contain errors? I think He would have been astonished at the suggestion.
This is illustrated in Matthew 22, when the Sadducees were trying to entrap Jesus with a question about the resurrection. He answered them plainly: "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God." The implication is that the Scriptures are without error, or He wouldn't have used them as the standard by which to expose their error.
To Jesus, Scripture was inerrant—not the mistake-riddled spiritual reflections of common men.
6. It is infallible.
Biblical infallibility is tricky to define. Traditionally, it was a strong term closely related to inerrancy, meaning that Scripture is not capable of teaching error. Sometimes those two terms were/are used interchangeably. In more modern times, some have defined it more broadly, as a way to say Scripture cannot fail. It's a highly nuanced debate, but for the purpose of this post, we'll use the latter definition.
In John 10, when Jesus was about to be stoned for claiming to be God, He appealed to the infallibility of Scripture. He declared, "The Scripture cannot be broken." When Jesus prayed for His disciples in John 17, He asked the Father, "Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth." (Emphasis mine)
Jesus didn't see Scripture as a book of recommendations that only apply some of the time—He saw it as truth that can't be broken or set aside. It cannot fail.
7. It is imperishable.
The idea that God's Word will never pass away is a common theme found in both the Old and New Testaments. But what about Jesus? What did He think? He couldn't have endorsed this tenet more plainly than He did in Matthew 5:17-18. He said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets [the Old Testament]; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the Law until all things are accomplished." (Emphasis mine.)
He also said, "It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law" (Luke 16:17). Jesus didn't come to throw away or cancel out the Old Testament—He was the fulfillment of all it predicted.
In Matthew 24:35, Jesus said a very interesting thing that had implications for the imperishability of the New Testament which was yet to be written. He said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away."
Jesus didn't view Scripture as a temporary institution. He affirmed what the rest of Scripture affirms—that it stands forever.
8. It is all about Him.
Just after His resurrection, we find Jesus on the road to Emmaus where He encountered two of His followers who didn't recognize Him. They began talking about how disappointed they were that Jesus had been crucified and how they had hoped He would have been the one to redeem Israel. Jesus basically said, "You guys don't get it! Didn't the Scriptures tell you this would happen?"* Then Luke 24:27 goes on to say, "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself."
Let that sink in for a moment: The first thing Jesus wanted them to know after He was resurrected was that the Scriptures, from Moses to the Prophets, were about Him—even before they realized He was back from the dead.
To Jesus, the Scriptures weren't simply cautionary tales, moral lessons, or advice for self-improvement. He is at the very center of the whole thing.
We are thousands of years removed from the cultures, mindsets, and conventions of the writers of the Bible, and this can make it a bit confusing to know exactly how to read and apply it. As we seek to discover the place Scripture has in our lives, we can look to what Jesus said, thought, and taught about it—that it is the authoritative, inspired, historically reliable, inerrant, infallible, imperishable Word of God—and that it is all about Him!
[I realize that some people on the more liberal/progressive side might challenge my definitions and conclusions. There isn't space in two posts to answer every objection, so I recommend listening to a 6 part debate (with linked articles) between Andrew Wilson, Steve Chalk, and Brian McLaren called, "Have we misread the Bible?" where Wilson interacts with many objections thoughtfully and capably. I also recommend his book, Unbreakable for a short and relatable breakdown of this subject, or John Wenham's Christ and the Bible for a more thorough analysis.]
*My paraphrase of Luke 24:25-26
If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to have my weekly blog posts delivered directly to your inbox.
8/2/2017 11:37:17 am
8/2/2017 03:50:13 pm
8/2/2017 03:54:39 pm
The idea of an 'error' implies that there is an absolute objective standard that exists outside of the idea in question against which to check for erroneousness.
8/2/2017 04:19:20 pm
Also- when you use the word 'Scripture' in this series of posts (and elsewhere in your writing) what exactly are you referring to? Obviously Jesus would not have been able to comment on the Bible as it is today- so which Scripture do you claim he was referring to?
8/2/2017 04:57:27 pm
Corey, as I stated in the first post, I am referring to the Old Testament in this series.
8/2/2017 05:03:44 pm
Got it. So following the idea of inerrancy through your logic and applying it to the Old Testament– how does it help our faith today to recognize these ideas? Why do we need to hold so firmly to the idea that the OT is 'inerrant' in order to live our faith out today (a faith that is based on the redemption we see in the NT!)?
8/2/2017 05:45:07 pm
It’s not my logic.. it’s is how many scholars undergird the doctrine of inerrancy. For resources on this, you can google the Chicago Statement, and maybe pick up an Inerrancy 4 views book to familiarize yourself with it.
8/2/2017 05:53:23 pm
I'm quite familiar with the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy and the Catholic Church's 'Dei verbum'. Those documents were drafted in the 1970s and 1960s, respectively. The modern idea of biblical innerancy is relatively modern compared to other church doctrines. Considering there was not even a canonized bible until 400ish years after Christ's death- I'm curious to hear your answer to my first question in the las post.
8/2/2017 06:08:40 pm
Like I said, just because there wasn't a word or a drafted document until later, doesn't mean it's solely a modern concept. http://www.timothypauljones.com/apologetics-what-did-early-church-leaders-believe-about-the-bible/
8/2/2017 06:32:53 pm
One last thought on this subject:
8/2/2017 07:48:20 pm
The differences are actually attributes of authentic eye-witness testimony: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/you-can-trust-the-gospel-accounts-even-if-they-dont-agree/
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.