The Bible is God’s authoritative message to mankind. Scripture is God’s speech. It is God’s own words, His declaration of Himself to man. Every single word of Scripture, every preposition, every noun, every verb is from God, from His own breath. Under His providential will and under the direct supervision of the Holy Spirit, God chose the men who received and recorded the original autographs of what we have as our biblical text. God gave us the Scriptures through His verbal, plenary and inerrant inspiration.

God speaking His word is attested in 2 Tim. 3:16. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” This makes all Scripture to be the word of God. God’s inspiration was verbal meaning that actual words, not mere thoughts, were conveyed to the men who recorded it. It was plenary meaning God’s divine message is fully extended to every single word in the Bible. It was inerrant meaning it is fully truthful and reliable.

The inspiration of God is not related to or equivalent with the kind of inspiration men possess when writing great literature. Nor does it refer to the quality of what was written. Even though the Bible is great literature and is of great literary quality, God’s inspiration supremely relates to the divine character of Scripture as the divine revelation of God Himself. In 2 Peter 1:20–21 it is written, “that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit superintended over the writers of Scripture so that while these chosen men were writing according to their own styles and personalities, the result was the authoritative, trustworthy, and inerrant Word of God in the autographs.

Holding to the inerrancy of Scripture means holding everything written in the Bible as the true and inspired word of God. As the word inerrancy implies, the Bible is considered to be without error. The inerrancy of Scripture means that the Bible is a true, accurate, and reliable historical document, and there is no contrary fact possible that can arise from any source that can refute anything the Bible says in its original manuscripts.

A person who holds a “high view” of Scripture holds the Bible in the highest possible regard in all qualities for everything it addresses. It is the highest authority we possess. No external authority can correct Scripture in any respect. All of the biblical literature contained in the Bible is exactly how the divine author intended using narrative, historical, discourse, parables, poetry, and apocalyptic types of literature genres He chose to use. Any perceived errors or contradictions are in fact a personal problem in the reader’s cognition and comprehension and are not a problem in the trustworthiness and reliability of Scripture.

The high view of Scripture holds that Scripture speaks to its own reliability as divinely authored and is truthful and reliable. John 17:17 gives a summation of the self-attesting truth of Scripture. In speaking with the Father, Jesus said, Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”

Asserting the complete inerrancy of Scripture is vitally necessary for the Church in order to complete its mission. Holding to a “high view” of Scripture is regarding all the words of Scripture in the Bible are all God’s words and God has spoken the original manuscripts. Critics will often point out minor “errors” in the Bible. But, the fact is that all of these so-called “errors” are insignificant and give no rise to any unexplainable or any controversy of doctrine, faith, or practice.

Critics of Scripture will point out “the sun does not actually rise but the earth spins and revolves” or “the mustard seed is not the smallest seed because there is are some smaller in South American plants.” But these are not errors. God speaks to perspective of His reader who sees the sun rise every morning over the surface of the earth. He speaks to Hebrews in Jerusalem 2000 years ago that don’t know what South America even is, let alone some unknown tropical plant with smaller seeds than that of the mustard tree which are totally unnecessary to convey the truth Jesus spoke of for using it as an example. In no way can these or do any contested passages of critics change the truth and trustworthiness of Scripture.

The Word is inerrant and eternal. Psalm 119:89–90, “Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.” Again, in 1 Peter 1:24–25, “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” Finally, Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

When reading Scripture, we must always regard it as a gift from God. We must consider it as a personal encounter of Him who is speaking directly to mankind. God is a personal God and He acts as one. But, man has the ability to resist the encounter.

When we read the Bible, we should always do so with a conscious dependence on Him for illumination. Just as God breathed and superintended over the writers, God, if you allow Him by yielding to the Holy Spirit ,will illuminate Scripture’s importance and will bring wisdom and knowledge persuasively.

To not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture is essentially tantamount to making God a liar. The divine Author of Scripture did not lie to the human authors who penned His word. God cannot lie. The Father does not lie to the Son, nor does the Son lie to the Holy Spirit, nor does the Spirit lie to any of the human authors or to the apostles.

Someone holding to a high view of Scripture would hold that there is no “impurity” in God’s words. In Psalm 12:6, the Psalmist speaks directly to the degree of accuracy, “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” Proverbs 30:5 says “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” Numbers 23:19 says the absolute fidelity and trustworthiness of the words. “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.” The text has authority and integrity because God has authority and integrity.

When we hold firm to the inerrancy of Scripture, we honor the Holy Trinity of God. We honor the Holy Spirit, for He superintended over the writing of all Scripture. He called to remembrance all that Jesus taught, and He delivered the New Testament to the Church (John 14:26, 15:26-27, 16:12-15, 17:8-10, 20:30-31). When we hold firm to the inerrancy of Scripture we also honor the Son, Jesus. For Jesus sent the Spirit and the Spirit wants to honor the Son. Jesus Himself believed in the inerrancy of Scripture. Jesus copiously refers to Scripture as authoritative and truth as evidenced in Matt. 4:4, 5:17; Luke 16:17, 29-31, 24:25, 44; and John 10:35. Jesus completely accepted the Old Testament, believing and quoting its prophecies and miracles. Finally, we honor the Father because it is the Father who sent the Son and to whom the Son and the Spirit want to honor.

God’s desire for His revelation through Scripture is to bring man into intelligent communion with Himself. Inerrancy affirms that Scripture is God’s witness to Himself. God’s word defines what rationality is meant to be in man by opening his mind so that there is reason, purpose and forms of discourse in truthfulness. To deny truthful knowledge must be defined as irrational.[1]

By holding to the inerrancy of Scripture allows man to think with all the knowledge that God has revealed. Scripture then leads man to a changed and righteous life (Eph 1:13; Gal 5:5-6; Rom 8:5-6; Ps 34:22; John 6:35). It allows us to hold to our duty toward fellow man (Lev 19:18, Gal 5:14), and to nature and the universe. Holding to Biblical Inerrancy allows us to be consistent, adequate, viable, and subject to the grand narrative of creation and revelation established by God.

[1] I paraphrase John M. Frame here and define true rational thinking and reasoning in man as that using God’s revealed word (knowledge He revealed) as basis. Since God’s word is truth, reasoning outside of revealed truth would be an autonomous human act that rejects knowledge and places human reasoning above God’s. So, by definition, reasoning outside of the word of God is irrational since it violates knowledge. Thus, no truth claim can be validated by human reason alone. See John M. Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God (Phillipsburg, PA: P&R Publishing, 2010), 11-20.

– Jim Applegate