Dr. S. Lewis Johnson gives detailed exposition on the inspiration of God's Word. Dr. Johnson carefully explains the meaning of infallibility and inerrancy.
[Prayer] Father we ask Thy blessing upon us as we consider again the doctrine of the word of God. We thank Thee for the importance of them and for the privilege of pondering them and meditating upon them. And tonight we pray as we consider the great question of the nature of the word of God that Thou guide us and direct us in our studies and may the result be that we have a greater appreciation of the truth that Thou hast preserved for us in such a wonderful way.
We commit to Thee each one present and we pray that we may think clearly and logically under the guidance of the Holy Spirit always to the end that Jesus Christ may be honored and glorified in the word. This we ask through him the Living word for his names’ sake. Amen.
[Message] Subject for tonight is “Inspiration, or Is Every Word of the Bible true?” And I think we should read a passage or two from the word of God first. And so will you take your New Testament and turn first to 2 Timothy chapter 3, verses 15 through 17, and after we finished this passage 2 Peter chapter 1 and read verses 19 through 21 in the first chapter of that book. And so 2 Timothy chapter 3, verse 15, these two passages by the way are the two outstanding passages on biblical inspiration. And so we should be familiar with them.
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Now, we shall not talk about the latter part of these verses but I wanted you to notice that after stating that the word of God is inspired, Paul states that it is profitable for doctrine. In other words, the chief purpose for the word of God is instruction in doctrine. Now, it’s important for us to remember that, for very often we think that the reason we have a Bible is in order we have some nice clean devotional thoughts. Now, there is nothing wrong with clean devotional thought because all of our studies of the word of God should lead to deeper devotion to Jesus Christ but it is by the means of doctrine, the teaching of the word of God, that we learn the truth that will mean something to us devotionally. Well notice the text then that all scripture is given by inspiration of god and is profitable for doctrine.
Now, 2 Peter chapter 1, verses 19 through 21 and you’ll notice too that they don’t even remember that these two outstanding passages on inspiration both come from second letters. Now if we were Britishers we would say will you now turn to 2 Peter 1 and 2 Timothy 3 and 2 Peter 1, verse 19,
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; where unto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts; Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but (now this is the important clause) holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit; “Inspiration or is Every Word of the Bible true?” Today evangelicals are reexamining the doctrine of biblical inspiration. I think this is encouraging in some way, contrary to some of my brethren who do not think that it is proper to reexamine any doctrine, but I think it is encouraging for this reason. There are some evangelicals that have had some serious doubts about the doctrine biblical inspirations. They have not really secretly found in their heart to believe that every word of the Bible is true and, therefore, I think it is always incumbent upon us to study again the Scripture in order that the things that we as evangelicals believe may be surely established upon the word of God. And I do not think that we ever have to be ashamed of the restudy of the word of God.
And furthermore there is something else that I think is important. The objections to the doctrine of inspiration that we find today in many of our Christian churches are not the same old objections that were lodged against the Scripture one hundred years ago or even fifty years ago. And consequently the presentation of the doctrine of inspiration as it was presented one hundred years ago does not often meet the objections that are lodged against the Scripture today, and so I think that it is worthwhile from some standpoint to reexamine the doctrine of biblical inspiration.
On the other hand, I think it is also true that it is disturbing to see many evangelicals — who ought to know by now the doctrine of biblical inspiration — shifting their ground disturbed and upset and giving forth an uncertain sound as far as the word of God is concerned. And I have some good friends who are reexamining the doctrine of the word of God and are shifting their ground. They are interpreting the teaching of Scripture in a different way. They do not believe as they were taught that every word of the Bible is true anymore.
Now from that standpoint the reexamination of the biblical doctrine is disturbing. For example, let me read you something specific. I have a friend who is a dean of a theological seminary. He and I were together in Bible Switzerland for about six months when we were both studying in the University at Oslo. At that time, I asked him what his doctrine on biblical inspiration was. He said, well my doctrine is the same as B. B. Warfield’s doctrine. In case you don’t know the doctrine of B. B. Warfield, it is thoroughly fundamental and evangelical, and Professor Warfield is probably the outstanding student of this subject, believes that every word of the Bible was true, but my friend today has been quoted, and now I’ve seen in the press to the effect that God deliberately accommodated Aaron in non-theological in non-moral facets of biblical teaching in order to, as he put it, “to enhance the communication of revelational truth.” In other words, in the Bible we now have error. We have error in non-theological and non non-moral fact.
And everyone knows that if you read the Bible at home it is almost impossible to distinguish between the things that are theological and the things that are non theological, or to distinguish between the things that are moral and the things that are non-moral. In fact, often a chance, apparently chance historical fact is the foundation of an important biblical doctrine. For example, was the stone really rolled away from the tomb? Was it true that the tomb was empty on Sunday morning? Now that is apparently an insignificant historical fact but it is fundamental for a belief in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ in fatherly fashion. So you see often something that apparently has a chance historical type of thing may be the foundation of a biblical doctrine. So I’m a little bit disturbed over this.
Two years ago also I attended a conference with about fifty to sixty evangelical scholars who were from all over the western world. We met at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, and for nine days papers were presented and discussions raised over the topic of biblical authority and biblical inspiration. Almost all of the discussion touched on the subject of biblical inspiration and it was rather startling to me to listen to the discussion concerning the word of God; which were given by the cream of evangelical scholarship in the western world and quite a few of them expressed doubt over the Bible’s inerrancy; that is, whether the Bible contained errors or not, and quite a few were unwilling to state that they believed that the Bible was without error. They were willing to say it was infallible, and by that they meant that it was a guide for us in faith and practice, but they were not willing to go so far that it was inerrant.
Now, I would daresay that in the average congregation of evangelicals there wouldn’t be any understanding of the difference between those two terms, but you know even evangelicals can use terms that create one impression and mean something else in their minds. This is one of the things theologians and preachers and teachers have done now through the ages. They’ve used terms and senses different from the sense in which the average man in the pew understands them, and they mislead the man in the pew, because they have some special knowledge that the man in the pew does not have, and they use terms in a way that create an impression that they believe a certain thing whereas in reality they do not.
Well, the classic illustration of this was the fact that many of our preachers, when doubt about the deity of Christ began to be expressed began to use the term divinity of Christ and made the distinction between the divinity of Christ and the deity of Christ. Divinity was the great old term that meant deity, but then in relatively modern time divinity came to mean something a little less than deity theologically, and so men speak about the divinity of Jesus Christ and the average man in the pew says, “Oh my preacher really believes in the deity of Jesus Christ,” but he really doesn’t. He was saying divinity, and the man in the pew never bothered to ask him what do you mean by that? What do you mean by that, because they thought he meant deity by it. And so I noticed even evangelicals circles men are now not willing to say the Bible is in error without error, but they are willing to say it is infallible.
Now, it seems to me that this is a very very bad thing. Why does this mood exist today? Well, probably for several reasons. One is the claims of modern science against Scripture, and the realm of creation and evolution and many have been told by scientists and have been told so often that they believe it, that the Bible and science cannot be harmonized and for this reason we must give up the Bible. They do not realize of course that the scientist may not be giving us the last interpretation of the evidence, nor on the other hand do they realize that it is possible for an interpreter of Scripture to err in his interpretation of Scripture and that the harmonization of science and the Bible need often an adjustment from both sides; adjustments by the scientist and adjustments by the theologians.
There have been many things that theologians have contended for down through the years which have been proven wrong by science, but then after they were proven wrong the Bible scholars discovered that the Bible didn’t really say that in the beginning. And one of the classic cases, of course, was the tremendous Copernican revolution that occurred scientifically in Galileo’s experience, to the standing illustration of the fact that a theologian can be wrong and a scientist can be right, and we can learn from science. On the other hand, there are many illustrations the other way, but I think there is something else that causes this disturbing desire to reinterpret the teaching of the Bible, concerning the Bible, and that is the apostasy that exists today in the professing church.
Now let me read you for example two or three testimonies if you could call these testimonies. C.H. Dodd, one of the leaders in the translation of the New English Bible, had said this concerning the Old Testament. He says the Old Testament contains “incongruities and contradiction.” He goes on to talk about the symbolic myths that are found in the book of Genesis. Noah Burrow, one of the key translators of the National Council of Churches Revised Standard Version, which by the way is a translation that has great merit in parts of it, but listen to what he said, “Insignificant as these discrepancies are for Christian faith they are entirely incompatible with any conception of inspiration and including the very word used by the writers of the Bible.” And then he says something that is like a shaft into my heart; he says, “All wise theologians have left the inerrancy of the Bible behind.” [Laughter] He says, “We have abandoned the position that because anything is in the Bible it must be true.” And then he argues, “That what is ultimately authoritative for us is that which commands the assent of our own best judgment accepted as the witness of the spirit within us.” Now, think of that. What is authority if its that which commands the ascent of our own bad judgment? And that is to be equated with the testimony of the Holy Spirit within in us. My own best judgment equals to the Holy Spirit testimony.
Now those are two very very unequal things. George Buttrick, former president of the Federal Council of Churches, which as you know is the national council, said this, “Having dethroned an allegedly infallible church men darest not make venture with the beyond that is within; craving external support they raised an infallible book to the vacant throne of the infallible church. From that false womb and its tyranny we now break free but with what throes of spirit and what strife of tongue. Literal infallibility of Scripture is a fortress impossible to defend. There is treason in the camp. Probably few people who claim to believe every word of the Bible really mean it; that a vowel held to its last logic would risk a trip insane asylum.” So if you really believe that the Bible contains the word of God; that it is the word of God in all of its words, you are just before a trip to the insane asylum, according to professor Burrow. Now these are outstanding men. These are leaders in our National Council of Churches. They are leaders in our Protestant denomination. They are not some people who are sitting out on the periphery. These have been outstanding leaders in the Christian church. So, “Inspiration, or Is Every Word in the Bible True.”
Now, before we begin with our outline, I want to distinguish three words. We talked about them but we have to keep them in mind as we go along, because we talked about revelations first. Remember revelation refers to the unveiling of God’s truth to men and also that resolvent truth. Revelation is the unveiling of God’s truth to men and the resolvent truth that has been unveiled. Now, we say this. This Bible is the revelation of God. It is truth from which the veil has been pulled away and we now have revelation. Now the revelation is complete. So revelation is the unveiling of God’s truth to men and the resulted truth. There it is. Revelation. Now of course the Bible tells us that God reveals himself in nature, in providence, in history in conscience and in that sense there is revelation of a secondary character. We’ve already discussed that. The second word that we need to keep in mind is this word inspiration. Inspiration.
Now, inspiration has to do with the means whereby God secured an infallible communication of his revelation. It has to do with the means whereby God secured an infallible communication of his revelation. Revelation is the unveiling of His truth or the truth unveiled. Inspiration is the means whereby He has unveiled it and communicated it to us. The third word is the word illumination. We shall discuss that, the Lord willing, next Monday night. Illumination refers to the work of the Holy Spirit in granting understanding of the inspired revelation. So this is the revelation of God, God’s truth unveiled. It has been unveiled to us by a means of inspiration and we need illumination the work of the Holy Spirit so that we may be able to understand the revelation that has been given to us by what? Inspiration. So keep those three words in mind we’ll review again next Monday night — revelation, inspiration, illumination. They are important.
Now, we are going to talk about inspiration tonight. So, Roman I in our outline the fact of biblical inspiration so let’s turn to 2 Timothy chapter, 3 verse 15 through 17 and let’s consider the expression “every or all Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” Now, that is the statement of the fact of inspiration. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. Paul in writing these words to young Timothy states very plainly that Scripture is inspired.
Now there are two expressions that we need to discuss for just a moment and one of them is “every Scripture” and the other expression that we need to understand is the word or the words in English,“inspired of God.” Now, every Scripture, is the rendering of the Greek pasagraphe. Now you can take this home to your husbands, wives, if they know Greek or for those of you who do not want copy down the Greek itself and show your husbands, p-a-s-a-g-r-a-p-h-e, pasagraphe. It means all Scripture, or better every Scripture.
Now, I think that this term, every Scripture, grammatically, is the proper rendering of pasagraphe. Every Scripture is inspired of God. That is every part of the word of God is inspired by God. Not certain parts of Genesis then certain parts of Exodus then certain parts of Isaiah then all of the New Testament, but every Scripture everything written is inspired of God. Now of course in the context of this passage he just stated and referred to the holy writings in verse 15, so when he writes every written thing, he means everything written in what we know as the Old Testament Scripture; that is the way Timothy would have understood it. So every Scripture every part of the word is inspired but that by no means implies there is some that is not inspired. He means the whole when he says, every Scripture. So let’s have no doubt about that. Every Scripture is inspired of God; the whole of the Bible is inspired of God.
Now, the next word that we want to discuss is the word theopneustos, which is translated “inspired of God.” Now you can see why it is because theo is the word for God and pneustos for now, all it means is to blow. Pnuema, the word for spirit, the word from which we get the word pneumatic tube — that’s a tube operated by air isn’t it? — pneumatic tube. Pneuma is the word that meant air or spirit. So theopneustos means literally “God-breathed.” Every Scripture is “God-breathed.” Now that is translated inspired of God in our English version. But our author really states that every Scripture is “God-breathed.”
Now what he means by this is not that every Scripture is full of God as inspired of God might suggest, but God breathes out every Scripture. In other words, every Scripture has its origins in God. It comes from God. It is “God-breathed.” In other words, the origination of the word of God is infused in this expression. I think, though I don’t know how we would translate it, that we really have to do here not with inspiration but with oration.
Now what I want to — the reason I say that is this. You see many people have the idea that the way the Bible was written was something like this. If Moses one day said to himself, “You know I’ve had some very interesting experiences I think I’ll write my autobiography and I’ll tell about my experiences with history.” And since we’ve carried down all these old genealogical tablets which go back to the creation of the world, I’ll incorporate them in as a kind of introduction. Tell the life story of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and Joseph and then I’ll begin with my experiences.
And he wrote and he wrote and he wrote and finally he got to the last chapter of the Book of Deuteronomy, and he had to lay down his pen and go home to be with God. And God looked down and he said, “You know that’s a great book that Moses wrote; I think I will inspire it.” And so he breathed into that book, [indistinct], and he made that the word of God and that’s the way some people think of the Bible. And actually that is what the word inspired means — inspired breathed into by God — just as the creation in the book of Genesis; God took the dust of the earth as he breathed into that dust of earth the breath of life and low and behold there’s a living soul, Adam.
Now that is the way some people think of the Bible. They liken the Bible to man’s creation. God’s breathing upon something and the result is this. That is not what Paul states; he something that is far more significant and if we understood it we would understand why every word of the Bible must be true. Every Scripture is breathed out by God. The origin is God. He is responsible for it. He is the originating cause of the word of God. All Scripture is breathed out by God. By the way, that’s why the Bible is called the word of God. Just as you could say Dr. Johnson just uttered these words. They were the words of Dr. Johnson. They came from him; so the Bible is the word of God. It comes from his mouth. God breathed.
Now, then I think now this tells us a very important fact or two about the Bible. The Bible is strictly speaking not primarily the product of God and man. We often say that. It is not primarily — the key word is primarily, by the way — not primarily God and man, not primarily the product of God in a man but it is the product of God through man. God through man. Man is an agent, and we can say “Esaias saith.” Isaiah is very bold and saieth. Moses saieth that that may come to pass which has been spoken by the Holy Spirit through the prophet and so on. It spans written but primarily it is God through a man. In other words, the Scriptures are a divine product through human instrumentality. The participation that man has in the writing of Scripture is not equal in the participation of God, in other words. He is the author; they are instruments.
Now just as our speaking is conditioned by several facts so God’s words, when it comes to different men will have different characteristics. I want to be sure to state we are not talking about mechanical dictation. We’re not talking about the fact that or about an explanation of inspiration on this line. By the way, this illustration that I’m going to use did appear in many medieval manuscripts on some of the manuscripts of the Gospel of John there was a picture drawn by the artists, and the picture was something like this, the Apostle John is standing there with one ear cupped — his left ear like this — and then in the top of the picture there is a picture drawn of the glory of God, some light and beams coming forth and John is listening, like this.
And then down at John’s right there is Procurus who was his amanuensis, his secretary. And John is listening and saying and he is moving with his hand so that Procurus is down there getting what John has received by dictation. Now, that is not the way the Bible was given to us. It was not dictated. Why I think it should be obvious. If you read the Bible, you will discover that Isaiah’s vocabulary is tremendous and Amos, he’s a country fella; his is rather simple.
If you read the New Testament and you will find that John’s vocabulary is the vocabulary of a simple man who writes Greek out of a Hebrew background. Whereas Luke is apparently a man who has done historical research of a high caliber and writes in a very nice and full vocabulary. The writer of the epistle the Hebrews in spots approaches classical Greek style. So we have different styles, but it’s like people who speak. Your voice is conditioned by several things; the size of your throat, the shape of your mouth, the shape of your lips, the way you use them and also the position of your teeth. You notice there’s some people who lisp and there’s some that don’t and our speech is determined by all of these things. And so men were used by God; and their training, their ability, their capacities all appear in the Bible but it is God who has written through men. So therefore, when we say all Scripture is inspired of God, we mean, all Scripture is breathed out by God through men. I would think that the implication of this is obvious. The Bible is then authoritative for it is the word of God. The word of God. So then that’s enough on that point. Roman II the preface of biblical inspirtation.
Now, the Bible does not tell us a whole lot about the process of biblical inspiration. Jeremiah talks about how his word was like a burning fire in his bones and things like this, but probably the clearest statement regarding the process itself is given us in 2 Peter chapter 1, verses 19 through 21 and particularly that last clause of verse 21 in which we read, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Moved, there is a word that means to be born along, born along by the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Spirit moved but the men spoke. The Spirit moved, men spoke. Of course, the speaking is in the sense of writing down the revelation of God.
Now, you’ll notice again in this passage that it is the Spirit who instigates the writing of Scripture. It is he who bears it all. Men spoke as though they were moved by the Holy Spirit. So their speaking, their writing, is the product of the Sprit’s activity and it is described as a moving. They were born along by him. They were caught up by the Spirit of God and they wrote things in such a way that when they finished that God could say, “I have written.”
By the way, that word “moved” is found in the twenty-seventh chapter in the Book of Acts in verse 15 and 17 as a description of how Paul on his trip to Rome by boat in the midst of a storm was moved and driven by the wind. And I think it’s a good illustration of men under the moving influence of the Holy Spirit in the writing of the word. For you see what happened when Paul took the trip to Rome was this; the storm was great and the boat was at the mercy of the wind. Finally, he says, “We just dropped any attempt to steer those boats and let it go.”
I have a friend who flies Braniff planes. He’s just retired. He told me back in the old days before radar when he used to fly across South America they would hit into a storm and when he got into the midst of the storm, occasionally there was so much of a storm that he said when I moved the instruments the plane didn’t respond at all. The plane just went wherever the wind went and he was at its mercy.
Now, Paul on the boat had a great deal of freedom. He could go up to the stern. He could go to the bow. He could go below, I suppose. He could take a nap if couldn’t find any piece of mind in the midst that storm. He had a lot of freedom within the boat, but so far as the boat itself was concerned it was under the power of the wind. And so in the writing of Scripture it was God who moves men; but they have freedom to use their own capacities, preparation and training. So the process of inspiration.
Now, finally the extent of biblical inspiration, and of course when we say extent we are asking the question, “How far do we go when we say the Bible is inspired of God?” Now, I put two things here. I think that we can say biblical inspiration extends to the whole of the Bible. After all didn’t Paul say in 2 Timothy, “every Scripture is inspired of God,” and so biblical inspiration is plenary. P-l-e-n-a-r-y. By the way, you’re all good students of English aren’t you? You took a lot of Latin didn’t you? Do you remember the word from which we get plenary? It’s the Latin word plen, plenus; which means what? Full. Full. So we say inspiration is plenary or plenary. It is full in expanse of the whole of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation it’s all — by the way there’s lots of revolution when a man believes revelation isn’t it? But anyway from Genesis to Revelation, it is all inspired. It extends to the whole of the Bible every Scripture is inspired of God.
Now, just put down in your notes some text; John chapter 10, verse 35, 1 Timothy chapter 5, verse 18, 2 Peter chapter 3, verse 16, 1 Timothy chapter 5, verse 18, we go back over these for full of hope [laughter], Revelation 22:19, 2 Peter chapter 3, verse 2. Now, when you look those up you will not know what they mean at all because I have some special meaning that attached to them. So if you have trouble come see me individually. Every word of the Bible. Capital B in the outline is, Biblical Inspiration Extends to Every Word of the Autographer. Now, I want to explain that word autographer. A-U-T-O-G-R-A-P-H-E-R. Now, autographer means “the writing themselves;” and when we say “the writings themselves” we mean the original manuscript. So eliminate autographer – if you wish — and just say to every word of the original manuscript.
Now, one thing is this. We do not say that inspiration extends to every word of the King James Version. The King James Version is a translation. Men have made ours in the King James Version translation. Not only because they did not have some of the manuscripts that we now have, but they just mistranslated what they had. And there are mistakes in almost every translation. There is only one translation that doesn’t have any error in it and that one has not been done yet, but I hope to get to it before long [laughter]. So when we say the Bible inspiration extends to every word of the autographer we mean every word of the original manuscript.
Now, then someone immediately says, “But we don’t have these original manuscripts.” That’s true. We don’t. We don’t have the original manuscript. Well, then what can we do. Well, fortunately we have the science of textual criticism. Do you notice that the New Testament is the best-attested book of ancient history? Did you know that? No question about it. There is no question whatsoever about it.
I wish I had time to talk to you about the manuscripts that we have on books like Cesar’s’ Gallic Wars, on Plato’s volumes, on Euripides and so forth. The text that we have of those classics is not in anything like the condition of the text of the New Testament. And if it will encourage you we do not have an original manuscript of any ancient doctrine. So don’t be surprised if we don’t have the original manuscript of the biblical book.
But we have almost five thousand manuscripts of the Greek New Testament, but many thousand of manuscripts of translation of the Greek New Testament in Latin and various others. But we also have the science of textual criticism, and by the application of the science of textual criticism to the materials that we have, we are able to draw up a Greek New Testament which to all intents and purposes it offers precisely what the apostle wrote. And no difficult doctrine is affected by any of the places of the text where there is some obscurity. And in those places of the text in which we have obscurity we know it is either this reading or next reading. It’s not as we have no reading but we know it’s one or the other. So when we say that the inspiration extends to every word of the original manuscript, we are just saying that it extends to every word of the Greek text that we have, not the English translation or any other translation for that matter.
Now then we have just about two minutes, and I want to show you from specific illustrations how the biblical writers regarded this as their doctrine of inspiration. Let’s for example turn to that Matthew chapter 10 passage, and I want to show you how the New Testament authors appeal to a word in argument. And we’ll turn to one in which Our Lord is involved, first of all. John chapter 10, verse 34. Let’s read. John chapter 10, verse 34. Now I want you to notice here that Our Lord makes his argument depend upon one word, “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” Now, he is quoting from Psalm 82, “Is not written in your law, I said, Ye are eliohym?” If he called them god unto whom the word of God came and the Scripture cannot be broken you cannot say, “Oh but he didn’t really mean god.” He just meant the concepts of divinity or something like that. “Say Ye of him of whom the Father had sanctified and sent into the word. I’ll blaspheme him because I said I am the Son of God.”
Now you see an argument is made to depend upon one word. If the Bible has not verbally inspired, that’s what we have here, verbal inspiration, then that argument is invalid. Let’s take another one. Galatians 3:16. Galatians 3:16. Here an argument does not depend upon a word it depends upon something even more insignificant. Galatians 3:16. Listen. “Now, to Abraham — has everybody got it? Galatians 3:16 — Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. (He that is the Scripture) He saith not, And to seeds (plural), as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed (singular), which is Christ.” In other words, Paul says when the Bible that Abraham was given promises to him and to his seed, it did just that, seed singular not seeds plural. The argument rests upon the difference between a plural and a singular.
Now let’s turn to Matthew chapter 5, verse 18. Let’s read seventeen and eighteen. I should have said. Matthew 5:17 and 18. Now, these again are our Lord’s words, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” One jot or one tittle. Did you know one jot is? Now the jot was about the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the yodh. It looked like that. Now the tittle was the difference between letters. I want to give you another illustration.
That is the Hebrew dalet, our D. This is the Hebrew reish. They look alike don’t they? In fact, the only thing different is this extension. If I were to put a little extension there, that’s the dalet. That’s the tittle. And so our Lord is saying, “not one jot or tittle shall in any way pass from the walls til all be fulfilled.” Now, I grant you he was talking about the meaning of these words. He was not trying to say that every letter but be superstiously written and preserved, but he meant that the truth of every word of Scripture was inviolable, and in order to strengthen he impresses upon them the fact that even the smallest of variation may vary the sense.
Now, then in the light of this can we say, “the Bible is in error without error?” I think we certainly can. Inerrancy is a necessary postulate of the divine origin of Scripture. If Scripture is from God then it’s in errant; because God cannot lie, God cannot sin, God cannot make a mistake. And so if this is true then we shouldn’t hesitate. We shouldn’t say the Scripture is infallible but not in error. We should be willing to say it is in errant, without error. It’s the word our Holy God and the teaching his Holy God and reliable. If the words are not Holy God then the teaching is not Holy God and its reliability is thereby in question.
I believe the Bible is infallible and inerrant. This, the ancient doctrine and I think it’s the teaching of Scripture. Dr. Barnhouse once wrote, “Recently I ran across a Bible which I used when I was little more than a boy. On its coverleaf I had written the following, Scripture is throughout from God. Scripture is entirely from God. The Bible is God speaking in man. It is God speaking by man. It is God speaking as man. It is God speaking for man but always it is God speaking.”
May I conclude with just one text of Scripture, which express exactly what I’ve been trying to say tonight? It says, “And now, O Lord GOD, thou art God, and Thy words be true…” That’s 2 Samuel chapter, 7 verse 28. So inspiration, or is every word of the Bible true? The answer is “yes” every word of the Bible is true. Now possibly you have some questions and you feel free to come up and talk to me about them. Or if you are really upset, come over to my house and then have a little Bible conference. Let’s all go over all of these questions and one of these nights maybe we’ll have a discussion session. Let’s close with a little prayer.
[Prayer] Father we ask Thy blessing upon us and the study of Scriptures as we consider again the doctrines of the word of God. We thank thee for the importance of them and the privilege of pondering them and meditating upon them.
We commit to thee each one present and we pray that we may think clearly and logically under the guidance of the Holy Spirit always to the end that Jesus Christ may honored and glorified in the word. This we ask through him, the living word.
For his name’s sake. Amen.