We saw in the previous blog that the Church Fathers, as well as every prominent leader within the Church throughout its history, have firmly and unequivocally defended the inerrancy of Scripture against its critics who, for one reason or the other, have sought to undermine its credibility. It has been a conviction so strong that many have been willing to die for it, even in our day, risking their lives in order to possess or distribute the Holy Bible into Communist or Islamic countries, considering it to actually be what it claims to be, the Word of God.
However, many Progressive Christians today consider the inerrancy of Scripture to be irrelevant and divisive in our Postmodern, relativistic and all-inclusive culture. Some, often use the catchphrase: “I follow Jesus, not the Bible,” without considering what Jesus Himself taught concerning the Holy Scriptures. In reality, that saying shows more contempt for the Bible than it does reverence of Christ. Brian Zahnd, in his typically sardonic, sanctimonious style, expresses the not-so-subtle contempt for the doctrine so prevalent among Progressives when he says: “I do believe in the inspired, infallible Word of God, and His name is Jesus.” 
However, they fail to take into account that, when Jesus used the word “Word,” He was always referring to the Scriptures, not Himself. Indeed, Jesus is only referred to as the Word by John, and even then John only uses the term in that manner four times (Jn 1:1,14; 1Jn 1:1; 5:7; Rev 19:13). It is often unmistakable that John is referring to the Scriptures as the Word of God, rather than Christ, as we see clearly demonstrated in John 10:35 where Jesus Himself said: “If He called them gods, to whom the word of God (ο λογος του θεου) came, and the Scripture cannot be broken…” Here Jesus Himself is referring to the Scriptures as the Word of God, not Himself (cf. Jn 17:6,14,17). I consider the fallacies of this indirect argument against the authority of Scripture in my blog, “What does the word ‘Word’ mean to Jesus.”
In this blog, we will be considering four primary reasons why we should insist upon the inerrancy of Scripture in its entirety.
1. Jesus affirmed the Authority and Inerrancy of Scripture as the very Word of God.
For me personally, this, combined with the inner testimony of the Spirit, has been my primary motive for believing in and defending the inerrancy of Scripture from the moment of my first encounter with Christ more than 52 years ago. It may be possible for one to know Christ as Savior without affirming the inerrancy of Scripture. However, taking into consideration His teaching on the subject, I don’t believe it is possible to be a true disciple of Jesus while at the same time disagreeing with Him on this vital subject. Jesus made numerous affirmations concerning the Scriptures.
(1) The Scriptures are from the mouth of God.
Jesus said: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’” (Matt 4:4). That He is to be understood as referring to the Scriptures is clear, considering that Paul later said that all Scripture is “breathed out from God (θεόπνευστος)” (2Tim 3:16). They also understood that the Scriptures were the result of the Holy Spirit speaking through holy men of God like David and Isaiah (Acts 1:16; 28:25; 2Peter 1:21).
(2) The Scriptures are infallible.
Jesus said of the Scriptures that they were the infallible “Word of God” and therefore they cannot be broken (Jn 10:35). He said that all that is written in the Scriptures must be fulfilled (Mark 14:49: Luke 24:44), and that it would be easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for even one jot or tittle of Scripture to pass away unfulfilled (Matt 5:18).
(3) The Scriptures are inerrant.
Jesus said that Scripture is the Word of God and that it is truth (Jn 17:17, cf. Ps 119:160; Pro 30:5). If it is truth, then logically, it cannot contain error. Based upon the fact that the entirety of God’s Word is truth, Jesus said that any doctrinal error is due to our ignorance of the Scriptures rather than the other way around (Matt 22:29).
(4) The “Word of God” can be invalidated by tradition.
We already saw in John 10:35 that Jesus considered the Scriptures to be the “Word of God,” saying that they cannot be broken. He further accused the Scribes and Pharisees of invalidating the “Word of God” with their traditions (Mark 7:13). What Jesus was insisting upon was that man is to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, rather than submitting to manmade traditions which often make the Word of God of no effect.
(5) The Scriptures have a unified Christocentric message.
One of the strongest testimonies to the divine authorship of the Old Testament Scriptures is the consistency of its underlying theme of redemption in Christ, the Messiah. It was written by many different human authors of distinct backgrounds, and yet the overall message is one harmonious whole, revealing what would take place in their future. Only the true God who inhabits eternity is able to declare the end from the beginning, as we see Him doing throughout the Scriptures (Isa 46:9-10).
After Christ’s resurrection, He appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus and explained to them how that all the Scriptures, from Genesis to Malachi, bore testimony to Him:
“And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:27)
Afterwards, He also appeared to the rest of His disciples and reminded them of how He had previously taught them from the Scriptures that everything concerning His life, death and resurrection had to be fulfilled:
“Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:44-45)
If the Scriptures were nothing more than the fallible words and prognostications of men, or even if it were a mixture of God’s words with man’s words, Jesus wouldn’t have insisted as He did that all the Scriptures had to be fulfilled (cf. Matt 26:54,56). Why would He have needed to open their understanding to understand the Scriptures if in fact they were nothing more than the fallible words of men?
There is one passage which some Progressives have misrepresented as if Christ were depreciating the Scriptures, but, in reality, He was elevating them, saying that the Scribes and Pharisees needed to take a closer look at the Scriptures because they all bore testimony of Him. Jesus said to them:
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” (John 5:39-40 KJV)
To me, it is unfortunate that many translations have rendered “Search (ερευνατε) the Scriptures,” which is the present active imperative form of the verb, as “You search the Scriptures.” Rendering it in this manner, as if it were an indicative rather than an imperative, has given place for some to misconstrue Jesus’s words as if He were depreciating the Scriptures, saying that they needed to turn from the Scriptures in order to find life in Him.
Quite the contrary! Either way one renders the phrase, Jesus was certainly not minimizing the Scriptures. He was either telling them to go back and search the Scriptures again, or else reproaching them for having searched the Scriptures all their lives and yet failed to capture its central message. He was telling them that all the Scriptures point to Him, and yet they refused to come to Him.
Jesus said that it is the goal of a disciple to become like one’s master in all things (Matt 10:24-25). If we want to be true disciples of Jesus Christ, we must desist from sitting as judges of what is true or false in the Word of God and become like Jesus, speaking of the Holy Scriptures just as He spoke of them. Otherwise, we will become like those whom Paul described as “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim 3:7).
2. The Scriptures testimony concerning itself.
When we examine the Old Testament Scriptures, it becomes obvious that the claim that they were the Word of God, rather than merely the words of men, didn’t originate with Jesus but preceded His teachings. The final words of David are recorded for us in 2 Samuel, where it says:
“Now these are the last words of David…the sweet psalmist of Israel: ‘The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue.’” (2 Sam 23:1-2)
Moses likewise said concerning the Law which he received from God: “man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. (Deut 8:3). So, we see that the words spoken and written by the human authors of Scripture were understood as being the very words which God wanted to be recorded.
That should not be construed as being divine dictation, as we will see with more detail in the next blog. God moved upon holy men of God in such a manner that they freely spoke and wrote, yet they only wrote that which God willed, without Him dictating every word.
For example, in the Scriptures we see that we are not to hate anyone in our heart (Lev 19:17). Nowhere does Scripture teach us to hate our enemies, as does the Koran. In fact, Jesus spoke out against a Rabbinical teaching which made allowance for one to hate their enemies (Matt 5:43-48). Nevertheless, God, for example, allowed for David’s full expression of his own emotions in the Psalms, sometimes showing a passionate hatred towards God’s enemies (Ps 139:21-22).
Indeed, many of the sins and imperfections of man are intentionally recorded in the Scriptures, such as David’s adulterous relationship and murder to cover up his sin, or the false council of Job’s companions. The Scriptures record attitudes and practices which they forbid, such as hatred of one’s enemies, adultery and false testimony, but nowhere do the Scriptures affirm or teach such practices. For that reason, it is important to understand that Scripture is inerrant in all that it affirms or teaches – not in all that it records.
Coming to the New Testament epistles, we see the same view of divine inspiration as that described by David, and also by Jesus in the Gospels. Jesus, quoting Moses, said:
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’” (Matt 4:4). Paul states the same truth in different words, saying that “all Scripture is breathed out from God.” He said:
“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (θεοπνευστος, lit. “breathed out from God”) and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:14-17)
Paul said of the Holy Scriptures (Sacred Writings) that they are breathed out from the very mouth of God. Moses and Jesus expressed the same concept, saying that every word proceeds from the mouth of God. Therefore, God breathed out His words through human instruments in such a manner that they are said to be infallible. Peter could say, quoting Isaiah 40:6-8 concerning the Scriptures: “the word of God lives and abides forever,” and again: “the word of the Lord endures forever. Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you” (1Peter 1:23-25). We will consider how God could use human vessels in such a manner so as to produce His infallible and inerrant Word without overriding their own will, in the next blog.
3. The Scriptures are the Word of God, and therefore cannot err.
Since God is perfect and the Scriptures are breathed out from Him, it logically follows that they are perfect and true in all that they affirm. That is why the psalmist could say: “The entirety of Your word is truth” (Ps 119:160), and Jesus reaffirmed the words of the psalmist, saying to the Father:
“I have given them Your word… 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:14,17)
Jesus told the Father that He had given them His Word. This is in agreement with what Jesus told His disciples after His resurrection, reminding them that during His earthly ministry He had taught them all things concerning Him from the Scriptures (Luke 24:44-45). Note also that Jesus didn’t simply say that His Word contains truth, as many who deny inerrancy would argue, but rather that His Word is truth.
4. The denial of inerrancy undermines Scripture’s authority.
The final argument I want to present here for contending for the inerrancy of Scripture is that denying inerrancy undermines the Scripture’s authority as the Word of God. Some “Partial Inerrantists” (as if such an oxymoron were logically possible), argue that it is not necessary that the Scriptures be free of error on non-essentials, as long as the central truths of Christ’s life, death and resurrection are recognized as undeniable historical facts.
However, since the very beginning when the serpent tempted Eve to doubt God’s Word with the question, “Did God really say?”, history has demonstrated time after time that doubting God’s Word on one point is like cutting the one thread that holds all truth together, and inevitably one’s faith begins to unravel little by little until one reaches the point where he begins to doubt the most fundamental truths, such as the resurrection of Christ or even the very existence of God. Instead of letting God be true and every man a liar, as Paul said, many have arrived to the point where they believe man and doubt God.
That is why Jude said that we must earnestly contend for the faith once and for all delivered to us in the Holy Scriptures. He said:
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 3-4).
Also, Paul was shown that in the latter days many would depart from the faith once and for all delivered to the saints, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, exchanging the truth of God for myths or mysticism (1Tim 4:1; cf. 2Tim 4:4). Today, even more than in those days, we are living in a time when it is not socially acceptable to contend earnestly for anything, much less for the faith or that body of truth once and for all delivered to the saints which we have preserved for us in the Bible. Now, doubtlessly more than at any time in history, ungodly scholars are subverting the Scriptures and turning the grace of God into a license for immorality, even denying the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ and His substitutionary death as our Redeemer.
Paul, just as Judas, said to Timothy: “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us” (2 Tim 1:13-14). The only way in which we are going to be able to hold fast that pattern of sound words which has been once and for all delivered to us in the form of the Holy Scriptures is to continue insisting with the psalmist that the entirety of His Word is truth and that we are to live by every word which proceeds from the mouth of God, having been breathed out by the Holy Spirit Himself, and preserved for us in the original languages of the “Sacred Writings (2Tim 3:15, τα ιερα γραμματα ), or what we today call the Holy Bible, which is also derived from the Greek τα ιερα βιβλία, which means, “the Sacred Book”).
If you feel that our generation is too enlightened to believe such things, I would remind you of the testimony of the Church Fathers, cited in the previous blog. It wasn’t until the age of Enlightenment, beginning in the 17th century, that men began to consider themselves too enlightened to believe that the Bible is what it claims to be. In this present age, many have set themselves as judges of God and His Word, rather than acknowledging Him as their Judge. But those who truly know Him as Lord, today as always, submit themselves unconditionally to His absolute authority in all matters of faith and practice.
It is my prayer that a new generation will arise who, rather than questioning and despising His Word, would say with the psalmist:
“I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold! Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right.” (Ps 119:127-128)
“The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” “Every word of God is pure.” (Ps 12:6; Prov 30:5)
 2015 Word of Grace Annual Conference - Brian Zahnd - Session 1 video 11:47 min.