Our Inerrant Bible

I've been reading an old book published first in 1976 called "Battle For The Bible" by Harold Lindsell. It explains how in the last two hundred years the "inerrancy" or "infallibility" of the Bible has been attacked in most of the theological institutions. Also many of the fundamentalist denominations now have many ministers who no longer believe in "inerrancy". It is interesting to read how the concept is slowly "white-anted" by the critics.

For example, most of the critics say the Bible is infallible in matters of "revelation and inspiration". But they say that when the Bible speaks of matters to do with "geography, history and science", this is not a matter of inspiration and there may be error or fallibility. The problem then is that they go on to say that the first five books were not written by Moses even though Jesus said they were. Jesus was not born of a virgin, this being an historical item which we can question. Likewise with all the other miracles.

The critics also have their own version of what the "Word of God" is. It is IN the Scriptures but is not ALL the Scriptures. So when they say the "Word of God" is infallible they don't mean what we mean. They don't mean the whole Bible as we have it. Just the bits they like.

Discrepancies in the Word

Another interesting point is the way in which the critics handle seeming discrepancies in the Word. I'm sure you will all be aware that there are many of these. He deals with five in particular:

a) Did Jesus say two different things in MATTHEW 22:42 and LUKE 20:41? An explanation is that when Jesus said as in Matthew, "What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he?", they replied, "The son of David." He THEN said, as in Luke, "How say they that Christ is David's son?" In other words the passages are easy to reconcile if we want to.

b) The "Molten Sea" (2 CHRONICLES 4:2). It is given as "ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass...and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about." The problem is that pi x diameter (10) is 31.4159 cubits for the circumference, not thirty. A cubit was 18 inches and a handbreadth was 4 inches. (Verse 5 says the sea was a handbreadth thick.) However, if we assume that the width of ten cubits was measured outside to outside and the circumference was measured on the inside, where the water was then the measurements work out. Pi x (10x18-8) inches = 540.35 inches or 30.019 cubits for the inside circumference which is extremely accurate. Again, do we want to find fault or accept reasonable explanations?

c) David and Abiathar. MARK 2:26 says David went "into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread." However, 1 SAMUEL 21:1 says Ahimelech was the priest at the time. Abiathar was the son of Ahimelech and succeeded him after his father was murdered and had a long association with David as joint high-priest with Zadok. It was Abiathar who escaped when Doeg the Edomite murdered 85 priests plus others in the city of Nob (1 SAMUEL 22:18-23). So the verse in Mark is true if we accept that the incident with the shewbread occurred "in the days of Abiathar" who LATER became high priest. Some suggest he may have been the designated successor to his father at the time.

d) The Plague. Another discrepancy is that NUMBERS 25:9 says 24,000 died in a plague and 1 CORINTHIANS 10:8 says 23,000. John Calvin apparently commented that the number was probably between 23,000 and 24,000 so Moses gave the upper limit and Paul the lower. Another thought is that NUMBERS 25:4-8 refers to many being slain, probably by the Levites, at Moses command. So 23,000 may have "fallen" in the plague as Paul says, while another 1,000 were slain by the sword due to immorality.

e) The Cock Crowing. The author offers an interesting explanation for the puzzle of whether the cock crowed once or twice before Peter betrayed Jesus. MARK 14:30,72, talk of two crowings. MATTHEW 26:34,74,75 and LUKE 22:34,60,61 speak of one crowing. The writer suggests that there were two sequences, and that Peter actually denied the Lord six times in all. There were three denials before the first crowing and three more denials with either one or two more crowings among them.

Again, the main point is do we look to uphold the infallibility of the Word or do we capitulate and allow the possibility of error. Once we start down that road, as the author says, we are headed for disaster. Who decides which pieces of the Word are infallible and which may contain error.

The Nativity of Jesus. In passing I figured out years ago that the two accounts of Jesus birth are mutually exclusive and that the story in Matthew must follow that in Luke maybe a year or two later. The wise men never came to the stable in Bethlehem. They followed the star to Nazareth, where He had gone after His dedication in the temple, and found Him in His house there. See MATTHEW 2:11, "And when they came into the house..." So all the Nativity scenes are wrong when they put the wise men in the stable. Only the shepherds and animals were there!

 by Pastor Fred Needham (New Zealand)

 Taken from HQL-9424, p. 17,18