Can We Trust the Bible?
Defining the Issue
I. Trust in the scriptures is important to every Christian. The Bible is the center of our faith.
A. We are Christians because we believe that God exists and that the Bible is God's word - II Tim. 3:16
B. Believing in the Bible's message will save our souls - James 1:21, I Thess. 2:13
C. The scriptures are powerful, alive and relevant - Heb. 4:12, II Pet. 1:3
D. But many people don't trust the Bible
1. It is the most widely circulated and read book in the world and the most criticized.
2. Atheists, evolutionists, modern theologians and even entertainers are constantly questioning the integrity of the scriptures.
II. Why is it important to trust the Bible
A. Unless a person is convinced that the Bible is true, he has no reason to according to its teachings.
B. If the Bible is not true, then Christianity is a hoax.
C. If it is not true, then it must be a lie. A product of men and not worth following.
D. If the Bible is the product of a holy God who cannot lie (Heb. 6:18), then the only thing that He could inspire men to write is a perfect account of His will.
E. Without the Bible, there is no standard of right and wrong.
III. What do we mean by the statement "The Bible is inspired by God?"
A. "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' (a product of two free agents, human and divine). Inspiration involves infallibility as essential property, and infallibility in turn implies inerrancy." (Clark H. Pinnock, A Defense of Biblical Infallibility, page 1)
B. Let us examine each point carefully:
1. The entire Bible is God's word to man (Heb. 1:1-2). We cannot pick and choose the parts that we like.
2. It is free of errors in the original manuscripts. We do not mean that there has never been errors in the copies and translations of the text, but we are certain that these errors are slight. We have no reason to doubt our translations.
3. It is completely reliable in history and doctrine.
a. The history recorded in the Bible is true and accurate. No evidence has ever shown it otherwise. Archaeology has backed it up repeatedly, to the embarrassment of skeptics.
b. The doctrine is pure, entire, and true (II Tim. 3:16-17). Following the teaching in the Bible is our only safe course.
4. It is 'infallible'. It cannot teach deception. It will not teach anything false.
5. It is 'inerrant'. It will not be proven false. The claim in I Pet. 1:22-25 still stands.
6. It is 'inspired' or "God breathed" (II Tim. 3:16). In other words it came directly from God.
a. 'Plenary' means wholly, all parts. All scriptures are inspired.
b. Verbal means that the very selection of words were inspired. (I Cor. 2:13). God did not merely give the writers ideas to put down on paper.
7. 'Confluent' means that both God and man were involved in the writing of the Bible. God used men to reveal his will.
8. The ideas of inspiration, infallibility, and inerrancy stand or fall together. Without one, the rest are meaningless.
IV. In our next lesson, we will examine what the Bible teaches about itself and Jesus' view of the scriptures.