My blogging friend, Wally (I love Wally), reposted something today and all I could think was, Wally, Wally, Wally, I hate to be a thorn in your side, but I must. Even though I am weak with the flu, I must.
So I started to beat my familiar drum in the comment space of the original post, but it was getting rather long so I moved it here. I tirelessly (well, not entirely tirelessly) continue to beat this drum because the church hinges way too much on this one-half of a sentence that Paul wrote to Timothy.
So here we go. The text of the original post is in black, my comments are in crimson:
“Time and time again the question of inerrancy comes up. This is surprising given the fact that 2 Timothy 3:16 is clear that all Scripture is God-Breathed.”
First of all, I don’t think God-breathed means what you, the author, thinks it means, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Second, when Paul wrote the words, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” he was referring to the Law and the Prophets; to the Old Testament. The books that make up the New Testament had not all been written and none of them had yet been canonized as Scripture.
“God is the author of Scripture.”
According to the verse upon which you built your argument, God is not the author of Scripture, He is the inspirer of Scripture. There’s a difference. If I say that your post inspired my post, then I would be correct. If I say that you authored my post, then I would be incorrect. By definition, the inspirer is not the author.
“So to question inerrancy is to question God.”
Your logic is flawed. I can easily believe that Scripture might be flawed AND that God is absolutely perfect.
I believe that God’s inspiration of Scripture is perfect; man’s recording, recopying, translation, interpretation and teaching of it, not so much.
If you believe that EVERYTHING on earth has been corrupted by sin, and that NOTHING is perfect this side of heaven, then why would Scripture be exempt? Scripture is an earthly book. I doubt there is a single copy of it in heaven. Why would anyone there need it when they have the Living Word right in front of them? The Living Word is perfect, but our copy has man’s imperfect fingerprints all over it.
“Do we believe in a God that errs? Or do we believe in a God that is perfect in every way? This is a huge question with massive implications.”
Those are huge questions with massive implications, but they have nothing to do with the inerrancy of Scripture because Scripture is not equal to God.
God is three in One – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, not four in One – Father, Son, Holy Spirit and Scripture.
“If we have a God that [should be who] errs, we cannot rely on Him for anything. If that be the case, what is our hope of salvation?”
Our hope of salvation is in the sacrificial death of Jesus on our behalf. It is the victory His blood, sweat and tears won for us.
Scripture merely tells His story.
News reports get details of true events wrong all the time, but that doesn’t mean the event didn’t happen and it doesn’t change the truth of what happened.
“There are some who say that parts of the Bible are inerrant while others are not. The problem with this theory is, how do you decide which is which?”
Here’s how I decide: If Jesus said it (as recorded in the gospels) or dictated it (as in Revelation), then I have 100% confidence in it. If Jesus quoted it our referenced it or directed questions back to it (the Law and the Prophets) then I have 100% confidence in it. The rest I ask God to explain to me.
“The answer is simple, the Bible is all or nothing. We do not get to pick and choose which parts are true or correct. They all are. That is not to say that people do not abuse that fact, they do. People on both sides of the aisle abuse this by taking certain laws and saying we must still follow them today or be a hypocrite, or worse, in danger of eternal damnation. However, these stances are horrible examples of good interpretive work.”
I dare say the church’s extrapolation and fast-and-loose teaching of 2 Timothy 3:16 is also a poor example of good interpretive work.
“In the final analysis, we must affirm inerrancy as believers. If we do not, we have no basis for our faith and no reason to believe the message within the pages of the Bible.”
I disagree. Man can be wrong and God can still be right. My faith is in God.
Feel free to weigh in, even if your comments grow long.