Proof Inerrancy Is Historical / Biblical

Proof Inerrancy Is Historical / Biblical

There is overwhelming support for inerrancy from history. The idea that the Bible can contain errors is a relatively new belief. Author and scholar Harold Lindsell stated, “Apart from a few exceptions, the church through the ages has consistently believed that the entire Bible is the inerrant or infallible Word of God” (The Battle for the Bible, Zondervan, 1978, 42-43).

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The Old Testament

The Old Testament

The Bible claims for itself that every word or part of a word (Mat. 5:18-19), with tenses and number, is absolutely true since it is given by the Holy Spirit from the mouth of God, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18). Therefore, it has final divine authority in whatever it teaches, whether it be historical, scientific, or spiritual matters. This applies to both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Many verses here refer to what the prophets expressed orally and which was later put into written form. Also, some verses refer to specific parts of the existing Bible and only by extension to the whole Bible.

I. The Origin of Scripture

A. The Words are from God

  • And Aaron told them everything the LORD had said to Moses (Exod. 4:30).
  • Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you (Deut. 4:2).
  • “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,” says the LORD (Isa. 59:21).
  • This is what the LORD says: Stand in the courtyard of the LORD’S house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the LORD. Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word (Jer. 26:2).
  • The lion has roared—who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken who can but prophesy? (Amos 3:8).

B. Conveyed Through Humans

  • I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him (Deut. 18:18).
  • The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue (2 Sam. 23:2).
  • While they were bringing out the money that had been taken into the temple of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the LORD that had been given through Moses (2 Chron. 34:14).
  • They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets (Zech. 7:12).

II. The Nature of Scripture

A. Effectual

  • So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it (Isa. 55:11).

B. Eternal

  • The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever (Isa. 40:8).

C. The Guide for Life

  • Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (Ps. 119:105).

D. Infallible

  • God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? (Num. 23:19).
  • The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous (Ps. 19:9).

E. Completely True (Inerrant)

  • Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true (Ps. 119:142).
  • Yet you are near, 0 LORD, and all your commands are true (Ps. 119:151).
  • All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal (Ps. 119:160).

F. Perfect

  • The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul (Ps. 19:7).
  • Your word is truth (John 17:17).

G. Powerful

  • “Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” (Jer. 23:29).

H. The Source of Wisdom

  • The entrance of your words give light; it gives understanding to the simple (Ps. 119:130).

I. Trustworthy

  • Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar (Prov. 30:5-6).

J. Unchanging

  • Your word, 0 LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens (Ps. 119:89).

K. Unbreakable

  • The Scripture cannot be broken (Jn. 10:35)

The New Testament

The New Testament

The Bible claims for itself that every word or part of a word (Mat. 5:18-19), with tenses and number, is absolutely true since it is given by the Holy Spirit from the mouth of God, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18). Therefore, it has final divine authority in whatever it teaches, whether it be historical, scientific, or spiritual matters. This applies to both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

I. The Origin of Scripture

A. The Word(s) of God

  • Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Mat. 4:4).
  • He called them “gods,” to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken . . . (John 10:35).
  • [Jesus said,] Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away (Mat. 24:35).
  • He was in the assembly in the desert, with our fathers and with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai; and he received living words to pass on to us (Acts 7:38).
  • All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching . . . (2 Tim. 3:16).
  • First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God (Rom. 3:2). So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice. . . ” (Heb. 3:7).
  • For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Heb. 4:12).

B. Inspired of God

  • All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).
  • You must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21).

C. Conveyed Through Humans

  • He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, called him ‘Lord’?” (Mat. 22:43).
  • When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said. . . . “You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David” (Acts 4:24-25).
  • We speak, not in words, taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words (1 Cor. 2:13).
  • For no prophecy of Scripture was even produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21).

II. The Nature of Scripture

A. Authoritative

1. Absolute

  • Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’” (Mat. 4:10).
  • If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command (1 Cor. 14:37).
  • But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! . . . I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:8, 11-12).
  • You know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus (1 Thess. 4:2).

2. Prophetic and apostolic

  • In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe (Heb. 1:1-2).
  • How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will (Heb. 2:3-4).

3. Timeless

  • Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away (Mat. 24:35).

B. Complete

  • I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book (Rev. 22:18-19).

C. Effectual

  • Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Mat. 22:29).
  • But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way? (Mat. 26:54).

D. The Foundation of Faith

  • [The church is] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:20).

E. The Guide for Faith

  • But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come (John 16:13).

F. Historically True

  • For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Mat. 12:40).
  • Haven’t you read . . . that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female?” (Mat. 19:4).
  • As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away (Mat. 24:37-39).
  • For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man (1 Cor. 11:8-9).
  • For Adam was formed first, then Eve (1 Tim. 2:13).

G. Indestructible

  • Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished (Mat. 5: 17-18).
  • Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken . . .” (John 10:34-35).

H. Absolute Truth

  • Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth (John 17:17).
  • You are wrong, because you do not know the Scriptures (Mat. 22:29).

III. The Extent of Biblical Authority

A. To All That Is Written

  • All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).

B. To the Very Words

  • Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Mat. 4:4).
  • We speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:13).

C. To the Smallest Parts of Words

  • Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished (Mat. 5:17-18).

D. To Verb Tenses

  • Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. . . . Have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?” (Mat. 22:29, 31-32, Italics mine).

E. To Number (singular or plural)

  • The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ (Gal. 3:16).

The Church Fathers

The Patristic View Of The Bible

Between the time of Christ and the Reformers there were many important teachers in the Christian church. These men are called “church fathers.” They believed that the Bible is the infallible rule for faith. It is absolutely true in all its utterances, since it is given by God Himself. The Bible is harmonious, containing no contradictions; and it has absolute divine authority. This applies to all the historical statements of Scripture as well as the spiritual and moral truths. And with the exception of Origen’s heretical allegorizing, these fathers understood the Bible literally.

Clement of Rome (A. D. 30—100)

I. The Origin of Scripture

A. The Words of God

  • Let us act accordingly to that which is written (for the Holy Spirit saith, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom”) (Jer. 9:23) (First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians p. 13).
  • For He Himself by the Holy Ghost thus addresses us: “Come, ye children, hearken unto me” (Ps. 34:11) (Ibid., p. 22). Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit (Ibid., p. 45).

II. The Nature of Scripture

B. Infallible

  • Observe that nothing of an unjust or counterfeit [false] character is written in them (Ibid.).

Justin Martyr (A. D. 100—165)

I. The Origin of Scripture

A. Words from God

  • But when you hear the utterances of the prophets spoken as it were personally, you must not suppose that they are spoken by the inspired men themselves but by the divine Word who moves them (First Apology, p. 36).
  • We must not suppose that the language proceeds from the men who are inspired, but from the divine Word which moves them. Their work is to announce that which the Holy Spirit, descending upon them, purposes, through them, to teach those who wish to learn the true religion (Ibid.).
  • To him [Moses] did God communicate that divine and prophetic gift . . . and then after him the rest of the prophets. . . . These we assert to have been our teachers, who use nothing from their own human conception, but from the gift vouchsafed to them by God alone (Justin’s Hortatory Oration to the Greeks, p. 8).

B. Conveyed Through Humans

  • For neither by nature nor by human conception is it possible for men to know the things so great and divine, but the gift which then descended from above upon the holy men who had no need of rhetorical art, nor of uttering anything in a contentious or quarrel some manner, but to present themselves pure to the energy of the Divine Spirit, in order that the Divine plectrum itself, descending from heaven and using righteous men as an instrument like a harp or a lyre, might reveal to us a knowledge of things divine and heavenly. Wherefore, as if with one mouth and one tongue, they have in succession and in harmony with one another taught us both concerning God, and the creation of the world, and the formation of man, and concerning the immorality of the human soul, and judgment which is to be after this life, and concerning all things which it is needful for us to know, and thus in divers times and places have afforded us the divine instruction (Ibid., p. 8).

II. The Nature of Scripture

A. Inspired in Written Form

  • [Moses] wrote in the Hebrew characters by the divine inspiration (Ibid., p. 12).

B. Inspired in Spoken Form

  • And the Holy Spirit of prophecy taught us this, telling us by Moses that God spoke thus (Ibid., p. 44).

Irenaeus (Second Century A. D.)

I. The Origin of Scripture

A. The Words of God

  • The Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God [Christ] and His Spirit (Against Heresies 2.28.2).

B. Words from God

  • I shall plainly set forth from these divine Scriptures proofs to [satisfy] all lovers of truth (Ibid., 2.35.4).

II. The Nature of Scripture

A. The Foundation of Faith

  • The Scriptures [are the] ground and pillar of our faith (Ibid., 3.1.1).

B. Infallible

  • Let us revert to the Scriptural proof furnished by those apostles who did also write the Gospel. . . . The writings of those apostles. . . being the disciples of truth, are above all falsehood (Ibid., 3.5.1).
  • [Heretics] adduce an unspeakable number of apocryphal and spurious writings which they themselves have forged, to bewilder minds of foolish men, and of such as are ignorant of the Scriptures of truth (Ibid., 1.20.1).
  • We should leave things of that nature to God who created us, being most properly assured that the Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God and His Spirit (Ibid., 2.28.2).

C. Historical

  • He [Christ] suffered who can lead those souls aloft that followed His ascension. This event was also an indication of the fact that when the holy hour of Christ descended [to Hades], many souls ascended and were seen in their bodies (Fragments from the Lost Writings of Irenaeus XXVIII, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. I, Alexander Roberts, ibid., 572- 573).
  • The Gospel according to Matthew was written to the Jews. For they had particular stress upon the fact that Christ [should be] of the seed of David. Matthew also, who had a still greater desire [to establish this point], took particular pains to afford them convincing proof that Christ is the seed of David… (ibid., XXIX, 573).

Tertullian (A. D. 160—220)

I. The Nature of Scripture

A. Authoritative

  • In granting indulgence, he [Paul] alleges the advice of a prudent man; in enjoining continence, he affirms the advice of the Holy Spirit. Follow the admonition which has divinity for its patron. It is true that believers likewise “have the Spirit of God;” but not all believers are apostles. When, then, he who had called himself a “believer,” added thereafter that he “had the Spirit of God,” which no one would doubt even in the case of an (ordinary) believer; his reason for saying so was, that he might re-assert for himself apostolic dignity. . . . Apostles have the Holy Spirit properly, who have Him fully, in the operations of prophecy. . . . Thus he attached the Holy Spirit’s authority to that form [of advice] to which he willed us rather to attend; and forthwith it became not an advice of the Holy Spirit, but, in consideration of His majesty, a precept (On Exhortation to Chastity 4, Italics his).

B. Divine

  • We are united. . . . Divine Scripture has made us concorporate; the very letters are our glue (On Modesty, p. 5).

C. Harmonious

  • From apostolic word descends the Church, All filled, to wash off filth, and vivify.
  • Dead fates. The Gospel, four in number, one. (Reply to Marcion, 2.70)

D. Timeless

  • No enunciation of the Holy Spirit ought to be [confined] to the subject immediately in hand merely, and not applied and carried out with a view to every occasion to which its application is useful (On the Apparel of Women 2.2).

Origen (A. D. 184/185—254/255)

Note: Origen’s interpretations were later condemned as heretical by the church. Most scholars recognize that Origen’s heretical views were due to the influence of platonic philosophy on his thinking.

I. The Origin of Scripture

A. Inspired of God

  • This just and good God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Himself gave the law, and the prophets, and the Gospels, being also the God of the apostles and of the Old and New Testaments (De Principiis, Preface, 4).
  • Therefore we shall endeavour, so far as our moderate capacity will permit, to point out to those who believe the holy Scriptures to be no human compositions, but to be written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Ibid., 4.1.9).

B. Conveyed Through Humans

  • That this Spirit inspired each one of the saints, whether prophets or apostles; and that there was not one Spirit in the men of the old dispensation, and another in those who were inspired at the advent of Christ, is most clearly taught throughout the Churches (Ibid., Preface. 4).

II. The Nature of Scripture

A. Divine

  • That this testimony may produce a sure and unhesitating belief, either with regard to what we have still to advance, or to what has been already stated, it seems necessary to show, in the first place, that the Scriptures themselves are divine, i.e., were inspired by the Spirit of God (Ibid., 4.1.1).
  • We take in addition, for the proof of our statements, testimonies from what are believed by us to be divine writings, viz., from that which is called the Old Testament, and that which is styled the New, and endeavour by reason to confirm our faith; and as we have not yet spoken of the Scriptures as divine, come and let us, as if by way of an epitome, treat of a few points respecting them, laying down those reasons which lead us to regard them as divine writings (Ibid.).

B. Supernatural

  • But if in every part of the Scriptures the superhuman element of thought does not seem to present itself to the uninstructed, that is not all wonderful; for, with respect to the works of that providence which embraces the whole world, some show with the utmost clearness that they are works of providence, while others are so concealed as to seem to furnish ground for unbelief with respect to that God who orders all things with unspeakable skill and power (Ibid., 4.1.7).

C. Sacred

  • And was there no motive which induced them to clash with the books of Moses, which were held as sacred, the words of those persons who were afterwards deemed to be prophets? (Against Celsus, 3.2).

D. True

  • And in this way he might become a sharer in the knowledge of the Spirit, and a partaker in the divine counsel, because the soul cannot come to the perfection of knowledge otherwise than by inspiration of the truth of the divine wisdom (De Principiis 6.1.14).

E. Historical

  • Let no one, however, entertain the suspicion that we do not believe any history in Scripture to be real, because we suspect certain events related in it not to have taken place; or that no precepts of the law are to be taken literally, because we consider certain of them, in which either the nature or possibility of the case so requires, incapable of being observed; or that we do not believe those predictions which were written of the Saviour to have been fulfilled in a manner palpable to the senses; or that His commandments are not to be literally obeyed. We have therefore to state in answer, since we are manifestly so of opinion, that the truth of the history may and ought to be preserved in the majority of instances (Ibid., 4.19).

F. Mosaic Authorship of the Law

  • Now it is probable that, from these illustrations, those will entertain no doubt with respect to the five books of Moses, who have once given in their adhesion to the apostle, as divinely inspired; but do you wish to know, with regard to the rest of the history, if it also happened as a pattern? (Ibid., 4.1.14).

III. The Interpretation of Scripture

A. Not Entirely Literal

  • The attentive reader may notice in the Gospels innumerable other passages like these; so that he will be convinced that in the histories that are literally recorded, circumstances that did not occur are inserted. And if we come to the legislation of Moses, many of the laws manifest the irrationality, and others the impossibility, of their literal observance (Ibid., 4.1.16-17).

B. Partly Figurative and Allegorical

  • So neither is the divinity of Scripture, which extends to the whole of it, [lost] on account of the inability of our weakness to discover in every expression the hidden splendour of the doctrines veiled in common and unattractive phraseology (Ibid., 4.1.7).
  • No one, I think, can doubt that the statement that God walked in the afternoon in paradise, and that Adam lay hid under a tree, is related figuratively in Scripture, that some mystical meaning may be indicated by it. . . . And what need is there to say more, since those who are not altogether blind can collect countless instances of a similar kind recorded as having occurred, but which did not literally take place? Nay, the Gospels themselves are filled with the same kind of narratives; e.g., the devil leading Jesus up into a high mountain, in order to show him from thence the kingdoms of the whole world, and the glory of them (Ibid., 4.1.16).4

Clement Of Alexandria (A.D. 150—215)

I. The Origin of Scripture

A. Commands of the Holy Spirit

  • In fact, they stitch together a multitude of lies and figments, that they may appear acting in accordance with reason in not admitting the Scriptures. So, then, they are not pious, inasmuch as they are not pleased with the divine commands, that is, with the Holy Spirit (Stromata 7.21).

B. Derived From God

  • For God is the cause of all good things; but of some primarily, as of the Old and the New Testament; and of others by consequence, as philosophy (Ibid., 5.5).
  • Now such to us are the Scriptures of the Lord, which gave birth to the truth and continue virgin, in the concealment of the mysteries of the truth (Ibid., 7.16).

C. The Voice of God

  • But we, who have heard by the Scriptures that self-determining choice and refusal have been given by the Lord to men, rest in the infallible criterion of faith, manifesting a willing spirit, since we have chosen life and believe God through His voice (Ibid., 2.4).

II. The Nature of Scripture

A. Divine

  • The divine Scripture accordingly says, that those who have transgressed the commandments are sold to strangers, that is, to sins alien to nature, till they return and repent (Ibid., 2.4).
  • Those are slothful who, having it in their own power to provide themselves with proper proofs for the . . . Scriptures from the Scriptures themselves, select only what contributes to their own pleasures (Ibid., 7.16).

B. The Rule of Truth

  • For those who make the greatest attempts must fail in things of the highest importance; unless, receiving the truth itself the rule of the truth, they cleave to the truth. But such people, in consequence of falling away from the right path, err in most individual points; as you might expect from not having the faculty for judging of what is true and false, strictly trained to select what is essential. For if they had, they would have obeyed the Scriptures (Ibid.).

The Medieval Period

The Medieval View Of Inspiration

The medieval fathers of the church held firmly to the divine origin of Scripture. They believed that there could not possibly be even one error in Scripture. Any supposed error in our translation must be understood to be apparent, not real, or else to be an error in the copy but not the original. The canon of Scripture was given by God and has thereby infallibility and full divine authority on all matters it addresses.

The two greatest Christian teachers in the Middle Ages stand at either end of it. At the beginning of this era was Augustine, the bishop of Hippo; at the end was Thomas Aquinas. The lesser teachers of this period held essentially the same view of Scripture.

Augustine (A. D. 354—430)

I. The Origin of Scripture

A. Inspired of God

  • Among these Prophets was the one who announced in writing: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” And it was so fitting that faith in God should come through such a witness that he was inspired by the same Spirit of God, who had revealed these truths to him to predict, far in advance, our own future faith (Confessions, 11.4).
  • This Mediator, having spoken what He judged sufficient first by the prophets, then by His own lips, and afterwards by the apostles, has besides produced the Scripture which is called canonical, which has paramount authority, and to which we yield assent in all matters of which we ought not to be ignorant, and yet cannot know of ourselves (Confessions, xi, 3).
  • So too we conceive of all that has been recorded by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost . . . [who] has placed, so to speak, the seeds of saving truth in each letter as far as possible (Commentary on the Psalms, 1.4).

B. The Oracles of God

  • [He speaks of those Christian teachers] who wrote from the divine oracles (City of God, 10.1).

C. The Words from God

  • When they write that He has taught and said, it should not be asserted that He did not write it, since the members only put down what they had come to know at the dictation [diet’s] of the Head. Therefore, whatever He wanted us to read concerning His words and deeds, He commanded the disciples, His hands, to write. Hence, one cannot but receive what he reads in the Gospels, though written by the disciples, as though it were written by the very hand of the Lord Himself (Harmony of the Gospels, 1.35.54).

II. The Nature of Scripture

A. Authoritative

1. An Apostolic Authority

  • The authority of these books has come down to us from the Apostles . . . [and] claims
  • the submission of every faithful and pious mind (Against Faustus, 11.5).
  • The truth of the divine Scriptures has been received into the canonical summit of authority, for this reason—that they are commended for the building up of our faith not by anybody you please, but by the apostles themselves (Letters, 82.7).

2. A Uniform Authority

  • Even though both quotations were not from the writings of one apostle—though one were from Paul and the other from Peter, or Isaiah, or any other apostle or prophet— such is the equality of canonical authority that it would not be allowable to doubt either. For the utterances of Scripture, harmonious as if from the mouth of one man, commend themselves to the belief of the most accurate and clear-sighted piety and demand for their discovery and confirmation the calmest intelligence and most ingenious research (Against Faustus, 11.5-6).

3. A Unique Authority

  • In innumerable books that have been written latterly we may sometimes find the same truth as in Scripture, but there is not the same authority. Scripture has a sacredness peculiar to itself (Ibid., 11.5).

B. Divine

  • [He refers to] all those catholic expounders of the divine Scriptures, both Old and New (On the Trinity, 1.4 . 7).

C. Historical

  • God did not even wish to create the woman who was to be mated with man in the same way that He created man but, rather, out of him, in order that the whole human race might be derived entirely from one single individual. . . . He took a bone from the man’s side and made it a mate to collaborate in procreation. Of course, all this was done in a divine way. . . . If some people take these true facts for mere fables it is because they use familiar, everyday craftsmanship to measure that power and wisdom of God which not merely can but does produce even seeds without seeds. . . . God, then, formed man out of the dust of the earth and, by His breath, gave man a soul such as I have described (City of God, 12.22-24).
  • As if Moses’ body could not have been hid somewhere…and be raised up therefrom by divine power at the time when Elias and he were seen with Christ: Just as at the time of Christ’s passion many bodies of the saints arose, and after his resurrection appeared, according to the Scriptures, to many in the holy city” (Augustine, On the Gospel of St. John, Tractate cxxiv, 3, Philip Schaff ed., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. VII, 448).
  • There is no reason to fear that these facts, which have been related only by Matthew, may appear to be inconsistent with the narrative present by any one of the rest [of the Gospel writers…. And it would not be fair to impeach them with inconsistency, simply because one of them may have specified one occurrence as the immediate cause of the centurion’s amazement, while another introduces a different incident” (St. Augustine, The Harmony of the Gospels, Book III, chap. xxi in Schaff, ibid., vol. VI, p. 206).

D. Infallible and Inerrant

  • For it seems to me that most disastrous consequences must follow upon our believing that anything false is found in the sacred books: that is to say, that the men by whom the Scripture has been given to us and committed to writing, did put down in these books anything false. . . . For if you once admit into such a high sanctuary of authority one false statement as made in the way of duty, there will not be left a single sentence of those books which, if appearing to any one difficult in practice or hard to believe, may not by the same fatal rule be explained away, as a statement in which, intentionally, and under a sense of duty, the author declared what was not true (Letters, 23.3.3).
  • Manifestly, therefore, Peter was truly converted, and Paul has given a true narrative of the event, unless, by the admission of a falsehood here, the authority of the Holy Scriptures given for the faith of all coming generations is to be made wholly uncertain and wavering. For it is neither possible nor suitable to state within the compass of a letter how great and how utterably evil must be the consequences of such a concession (Ibid., 40.3.5).
  • For I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the manuscript is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it (Ibid., 82.1.3).
  • If we are perplexed by an apparent contradiction in Scripture, it is not allowable to say, the author of this book is mistaken; but either the manuscript is faulty, or the translation is wrong, or you have misunderstood (Against Faustus, 11.5, emphasis added).

Thomas Aquinas (A. D. 1225—1274)

I. The Origin of Scripture

A. Revelation from God

  • It was necessary for man’s salvation that there be a certain doctrine according to divine revelation, truths which exceed human reason. Even regarding those truths which human reason can investigate it was necessary that man be taught by divine revelation. For the truth about God which is learned through reason would be known only by a few after a long time and with an admixture of errors; but the salvation of man depends upon his knowledge of this truth which is in God. Therefore, in order that salvation might the easier be brought to man and be more certain, it was necessary that men be instructed concerning divine matters through divine revelation (Summa Theologica 1.1.1).

B. Authored by God

  • That God is the author of Scripture should be acknowledged (Ibid., 1.1.10).

II. The Nature of Scripture

A. Authoritative

  • We are bound to believe all the contents of sacred Scripture (Ibid., 1.6.1).

B. Infallible and Inerrant

  • For our faith rests upon the revelation given to the apostles and prophets who wrote the canonical books, and not on revelation (if there be such a thing) made to other teachers. Whence Augustine says in his letter to Jerome (82): “Only to those books which are called canonical have I learned to give honor so that I believe most firmly that no author in these books made any error in writing” (Ibid., 1.1.8).
  • It is heretical to say that any falsehood whatever is contained either in the Gospels or in any canonical Scripture (In Job 13. Lect. 1).

The Reformation Period

The Reformation View Of Inspiration

Despite the fact that the Reformers reacted against many of the teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church, they strongly affirmed the same view of the inspiration of Scripture held by Catholics down through the centuries, namely, that it was the infallible and inerrant written Word of God.

Martin Luther (A. D. 1483—1546)

Luther was emphatic about the Bible: It is God’s Word, not man’s. God is the author of every word of Scripture. Absolute divine authority extends to even the smallest part of Scripture, including those references to history and science. Whoever denies anything in the Bible denies God Himself.

I. The Origin of Scripture

A. The Word of God

  • This is exactly as it is with God. His word is so much like himself, that the godhead is wholly in it, and he who has the word has the whole godhead (I. Pelikan and H. T. Lehman, eds., Luther’s Works, 55 vols. [Philadelphia: Muhlenberg and Fortress, 1960], 52:46).
  • It must be observed, however, that another one is the author of this book [Genesis], namely the Holy Ghost. . . . The Holy Spirit wanted to write this [Gen. 26:19-21] to teach us (M. Reu, Luther and the Scriptures [Columbus, Ohio: Wartburg, 1944], p. 35).
  • In the exposition of the Second Epistle of St. Peter, of the same year, is the statement: “Says Peter, what has been written and proclaimed in the Prophets has not been imagined nor invented by men, but holy and devout men have spoken it through the Holy Ghost” (Ibid., p. 33, Italics his).??
  • He is called a prophet who has received his understanding directly from God without further intervention, into whose mouth the Holy Ghost has given the words. For He (the Spirit) is the source, and they have no other authority than God (Ibid., Italics his).??
  • Here (II Samuel 23:2, “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue”) it becomes too marvelous and soars too high for me. . . . It is these and similar statements to which St. Peter refers in the II Epistle 1:21, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of men, etc. . . .” Therefore we sing in the Creed, concerning the Holy Ghost, “Who spake by the Prophets.” So we refer all of Scripture to the Holy Ghost” (Ibid., p. 36-37, Italics his).??
  • We must know what we believe, namely what God’s Word says, not what the pope or the saintly fathers believe or say. For you must not rely on a person. No, you must rely on the Word of God alone (Pelikan and Lehman, Works, 30:105).
  • Would to God that my exposition and that of all doctors might perish and each Christian himself make the Scriptures and God’s pure word his norm. You can tell by my verbosity how immeasurably different God’s words are in comparison with any human word, how no single man is able to fathom sufficiently any one word of God and expound it with many words (Ibid., 52:286).

B. The Words from God

  • And the Scriptures, although they too are written by men, are neither of men nor from men but from God. Now since Scriptures and the doctrines of men are contrary one to the other, the one must lie and the other be true (Ibid., 35:153).
  • They do not believe they are God’s words. For if they believe they were God’s words they would not call them poor, miserable words but would regard such words and titles as greater than the whole world and would fear and tremble before them as before God himself. For whoever despises a single word of God does not regard any as important, (Reu, The Scriptures, p. 32, Italics his).??
  • I see that Scripture is consonant in all and through all and agrees with itself in such a measure that it is impossible to doubt the truth and certainty of such a weighty matter in any detail (Ibid., p. 37, Italics his)??

II. The Nature of Scripture

A. Authoritative

  • We hope that everyone will agree with the decisions that the doctrines of men must be forsaken and the Scriptures retained. For they will neither desire nor be able to keep both, since the two cannot be reconciled and are by nature necessarily opposed to one another, like fire and water, like heaven and earth (Pelikan and Lehman, Works, 35:153).
  • We do not condemn the doctrines of men just because they are the doctrines of men, for we would gladly put up with them. But we condemn them because they are contrary to the gospel and the Scriptures (Ibid.).
  • I have learned to ascribe this honor (namely the infallibility) only to books which are termed canonical, so that I confidently believe that not one of their authors erred (Reu, The Scriptures, p. 17).
  • Nothing but God’s Word alone should be preached in Christendom. The reason for this is no other, as we have said, than this, that a Word must be proclaimed that remains eternally—a Word through which souls may be saved and may live forever (Pelikan and Lehman, Works, 30:167).

B. Infallible and Inerrant

  • Neither does it help them to assert that at all other points they have a high and noble regard for God’s words and the entire gospel, except in this matter. My friend, God’s Word is God’s Word; this point does not require much haggling! When one blasphemously gives the lie to God in a single word, or says it is a minor matter if God is blasphemed or called a liar, one blasphemes the entire God and makes light of all blasphemy (Ibid., 37:26).
  • So the Holy Ghost has had to bear the blame of not being able to speak correctly but that like a drunkard or a fool He jumbles the whole and uses wild, strange words and phrases. But it is our fault that we have not understood the language nor the style of the prophets. It cannot be otherwise, because the Holy Ghost is wise and also makes the prophets wise.
  • But one who is wise must be able to speak correctly; that never fails. But because whoever does not hear well or does not know the language well may think he speaks ill because he hears or understands scarcely half the words (Reu, The Scriptures, p. 44, Italics his).??
  • And whoever is so bold that he ventures to accuse God of fraud and deception in a single word and does so willfully again and again after he has been warned and instructed once or twice will likewise certainly venture to accuse God of fraud and deception in all His words. Therefore it is true absolutely and without exception, that everything is believed or nothing is believed. The Holy Ghost does not suffer Himself to be separated or divided so that He should teach and cause to be believed one doctrine rightly and another falsely (Ibid., p. 33, Italics his).??
  • This is a rather unimportant story, therefore we shall not devote much time to its explanation; indeed, I do not know how to say much about it. But since it is written by the Holy Spirit, we cannot well pass by this text but will treat it to some extent (Ibid., p. 35, Italics his).??

C. The Revelation of Christ

  • Therefore dismiss your own opinions and feelings, and think of the Scriptures as the loftiest and noblest of holy things, as the richest of mines which can never be sufficiently explored, in order that you may find that divine wisdom which God here lays before you in such simple guise as to quench all pride. Here you will find the swaddling clothes and the manger in which Christ lies, and to which the angel points the shepherds [Luke 2:12]. Simple and lowly are these swaddling clothes, but dear is the treasure, Christ, who lies in them (Pelikan and Lehman, Works, 35:236).

D. Scientifically Authoritative

  • There was mention of a certain new astronomer who wanted to prove that the earth moves and not the sky, the sun, and the moon. This would be as if somebody were riding on a cart or in a ship and imagined that he was standing still while the earth and the trees were moving. [Luther remarked,] “So it goes now. Whoever wants to be clever must agree with nothing that others esteem. He must do something of his own. This is what that fellow does who wishes to turn the whole of astronomy upside down. Even in these things that are thrown into disorder I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and not the earth [Josh. 10:12] (Table Talk June 4, 1539).
  • Because we are not sufficiently able to understand how these days occurred nor why God wished to observe such distinctions of times, we shall rather admit our ignorance than attempt to twist the words unnecessarily into an unnatural meaning. As far, therefore, as St. Augustine’s opinion is concerned, we hold that Moses spoke literally not allegorically or figuratively, that is, the world and all its creatures was created within the six days as the words declare. Because we are not able to comprehend we shall remain disciples and leave the instructorship to the Holy Ghost (Reu, The Scriptures, p. 51, Italics his).??

E. Self-consistent

  • Though this Epistle of St. James was rejected by the ancients, I praise it and regard it as a good book, because it sets up no doctrine of men and lays great stress upon God’s law. But to state my own opinion about it, though without injury to anyone, I consider that it is not the writing of any apostle. My reasons are as follows:
  • First: Flatly in contradiction to St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture it ascribes righteousness to works and says that Abraham was justified by his works in that he offered his son Isaac, though St. Paul, on the contrary, teaches, in Romans 4, that Abraham was justified without works, by faith alone, before he offered his son and proves it by Moses in Genesis 15. . . . Second: Its purpose is to teach Christians, and in all its teaching it does not once mention the Passion, the Resurrection, or the Spirit of Christ (Ibid., p. 24).

John Calvin (A. D. 1509—1564)

Calvin believed the sacred Scriptures were the unerring norm for the Christian faith. As such they deserved the same reverence as God Himself, for they originated from the very mouth of God by the dictates of the Holy Spirit. This is true not only of spiritual matters but also of the historical and scientific teachings of the Bible. The only errors were copyists’ errors in some manuscripts, not in the originals.

I. The Origin of Scripture

A. The Words are from God

  • The Bible has come down to us from the mouth of God (Institutes 1.18.4).
  • We owe to Scripture the same reverence which we owe to God; because it has proceeded from Him alone, and has nothing belonging to man mixed with it. . . . The Law and the prophets are not a doctrine delivered according to the will and pleasure of men, but dictated by the Holy Spirit (John Urquhart, Inspiration and Accuracy of the Holy Scriptures [London: Marshall, 1895], p. 129-130).
  • Our faith in doctrine is not established until we have a perfect conviction that God is its author. Hence, the highest proof of Scripture is uniformly taken from the character of him whose word it is. . . . If, then, we would consult most effectually for our consciences, and save them from being driven about in a whirl of uncertainty, from wavering, and even stumbling at the smallest obstacle, our conviction of the truth of Scripture must be derived from a higher source than human conjectures, judgments, or reasons; namely, the secret testimony of the Spirit. . . . if they are not possessed of shameless effrontery, they will be compelled to confess that the Scripture exhibits clear evidence of its being spoken by God, and, consequently, of its containing his heavenly doctrine. We shall see a little farther on, that the volume of sacred Scripture very far surpasses all other writings. Nay, if we look at it with clear eyes and unbiased judgment, it will forthwith present itself with a divine majesty which will subdue our presumptuous opposition, and force us to do it homage (Institutes, 1.7.4).
  • The Scriptures are the only records in which God has been pleased to consign his truth to perpetual remembrance, the full authority which they ought to possess with the faithful is not recognized, unless they are believed to have come from heaven, as directly as if God had been heard giving utterance to them (Ibid., 1.7.1).
  • But as the Lord was pleased that doctrine should exist in a clearer and more ample form, the better to satisfy weak consciences, he commanded the prophecies also to be committed to writing, and to be held part of his word. To these at the same time were added historical details, which are the composition of prophets, but dictated by the Holy Spirit (Ibid., 4.8.6).

B. Conveyed Through Humans

  • As I have observed, there is this difference between the apostles and their successors, they were sure and authentic amanuenses of the Holy Spirit; and, therefore, their writings are to be regarded as the oracles of God, whereas others have no other office than to teach what is delivered and sealed in the holy Scriptures (Ibid., 4.8.9).

II. The Nature of Scripture

A. Authoritative

  • For our wisdom ought to consist in embracing with gentle docility, and without any exceptions, all that is delivered in the sacred Scriptures (Ibid., 1.18.4).

B. Inerrant in the Original Manuscripts

  • [Scripture is] the certain and unerring rule (Calvin’s Commentaries, Ps. 5:11).
  • For if we reflect how prone the human mind is to lapse into forgetfulness of God, how readily inclined to every kind of error, how bent every now and then on devising new and fictitious religions, it will be easy to understand how necessary it was to make such a depository of doctrine as would secure it from either perishing by the neglect, vanishing away amid the errors, or being corrupted by the presumptuous audacity of men (Institutes, 1.6.3).
  • So long as your mind entertains any misgivings as to the certainty of the word of God, its authority will be weak and dubious, or rather will have no authority at all. Nor is it sufficient to believe that God is true, and cannot lie or deceive, unless you feel firmly persuaded that every word which proceeds from him is sacred, inviolable truth (Ibid., 3.2.6).

C. Copyist Errors

  • How the name of Jeremiah crept in [the manuscripts at Mat. 27:9], I confess that I do not know, nor do I give myself much trouble to inquire. The passage itself plainly shows that the name of Jeremiah has been put down by mistake, instead of Zechariah (Calvin’s Commentaries, Mat. 27:9).

After the Reformation

The Post-Reformation Orthodox View Of Inspiration

Like the Church Fathers and Reformers before them, the Post-reformation orthodox position is that the Bible is the infallible and inerrant Word of God in the original manuscripts. It is without error in everything it affirms. Indeed, what the Bible says, God says. This includes matters of history, science, the authorship of biblical books, and any other matter. Any results of negative higher criticism that are contrary to this are incompatible with the inspiration of Scripture and are, thereby, unorthodox.

The best representatives of the modern orthodox view of Scripture are the old Princeton scholars Archibald Alexander Hodge and Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield. Their view has become normative for most orthodox or conservative Christians since their time. (Note: All quotes are from A. A. Hodge and B. B. Warfield, Inspiration [1881; paperback reprint ed., Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979], used by permission.)

Post-Reformation Orthodox View

I. The Origin of Scripture

A. The Word of God

  • The New-Testament writers continually assert of the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and of the several books which constitute it, that they ARE THE WORD OF GOD. What their writers said God said (p. 29, Emphasis theirs).

B. The Words of God

  • Infallible thought must be definite thought, and definite thought implies words. But if God could have rendered the thoughts of the apostles regarding doctrine and duty infallibly correct without words, and then left them to convey it to us in their own language, we should be left to precisely that amount of certainty for the foundation of our faith as is guaranteed by the natural competency of the human authors, and neither more nor less. There would be no divine guarantee whatever. . . . Whatever discrepancies or other human limitations may attach to the sacred record, the line (of inspired or not inspired, of infallible or fallible) can never rationally be drawn between the thoughts and the words of Scripture (p. 22-23, Italics theirs).??

C. Infallible

  • Every element of Scripture, whether doctrine or history, of which God has guaranteed the infallibility, must be infallible in its verbal expression (p. 21).
  • It would assuredly appear that . . . if error be found in any one element or in any class of statements, certainty as to any portion could rise no higher than belongs to that exercise of human reason to which it will be left to discriminate the infallible from the fallible (p. 35).
  • The presuppositions [of inspiration] are: -1. The possibility of supernatural interference, and the actual occurrence of that interference in the origin of our Bible; and, 2. The authenticity, genuineness and historical credibility of the records included in our Bible. The added supposition is-3. The truth to fact of every statement in the Scriptures. No objection from the side of criticism is relevant unless it traverses some one of these three points (p. 37).

D. Conveyed Through Humans

  • We do not deny an everywhere-present human element in the Scriptures. No mark of the effect of this human element, therefore—in style of thought or wording—can be urged against inspiration unless it can be shown to result in untruth (p. 42).
  • God’s continued work of superintendence, by which, his providential, gracious and supernatural contributions having been presupposed, he presided over the sacred writers in their entire work of writing, with the design and effect of rendering that writing an errorless record of the matters he designed them to communicate (p. 17).
  • Holy Scripture was the result of the co-operation, in various ways, of the agency of men and the agency of God. The human agency, both in the histories out of which the Scriptures sprang, and in their immediate composition and inscription, is everywhere apparent, and gives substance and form to the entire collection of writings. It is not merely in the matter of verbal expression or literary composition that the personal idiosyncrasies of each author are freely manifested by the untrammeled play of all his faculties, but the very substance of what they write is evidently for the most part the product of their own mental and spiritual activities (p. 12).
  • In all this process, except in a small element of prophecy, it is evident that as the sacred writers were free and active in their thinking and in the expression of their thoughts, so they were conscious of what they were doing, of what their words meant, and of the design of their utterance. Yet, even then, it is no less evident that they all, like other free instruments of Providence, “builded better than they knew” (p. 17).
  • It is evident that the stricter view, which denies the existence of errors, discrepancies or inaccurate statements in Scripture, has the presumption in its favor, and that the onus probandi rests upon the advocates of the other view (p. 34).

E. Self-consistent

  • But when we begin to examine the instances brought forward in support of it (i.e., alleged contradictions in the Bible), they are found to be cases of difficult, not of impossible, harmony. And it is abundantly plain that it must be shown to be impossible to harmonize any two statements on any natural supposition before they can be asserted to be inconsistent. This is a recognized principle of historical investigation, and it is the only reasonable principle possible, unless we are prepared to assert that the two statements necessarily contain all the facts of the case and exclude the possibility of the harmonizing supposition (p. 54, Italics theirs).??

F. Historically True

  • The general conformableness of the sacred books to modern knowledge in all these departments is purely miraculous. If these books, which originated in an obscure province of the ancient world, be compared with the most enlightened cosmogonies or phi- losophies or histories of the same or immediately subsequent centuries, their comparative freedom even from apparent error is amazing (p. 30).

G. Scientifically True

  • The first two chapters of Genesis, rightly interpreted, of itself demonstrates that a supernatural intelligence must have directed the writing of those chapters. This, of course, proves that the scientific element of Scripture, as well as the doctrinal, was within the scope of inspiration (p. 31).

H. Not Mechanically Dictated

  • Each sacred writer was by God specially formed, endowed, educated, providentially conditioned, and then supplied with knowledge naturally, supernaturally or spiritually conveyed, so that he, and he alone, could, and freely would, produce his allotted part. Thus God predetermined all the matter and form of the several books largely by the formation and training of the several authors, as an organist determines the character of his music as much when he builds his organ and when he tunes his pipes as when he plays his keys. Each writer also is put providentially at the very point of view in the general progress of revelation to which his part assigns him (p. 14-15).
  • And there is the more excuse for this misapprehension because of the extremely mechanical conceptions of inspiration maintained by many former advocates of this term “verbal.” This view, however, we repudiate as earnestly as any of those who object to the language in question. At the present time the advocates of the strictest doctrine of inspiration in insisting that it is verbal do not mean that in any way the thoughts were inspired by means of the words, but simply that the divine superintendence, which we call inspiration, extended to the verbal expression of the thoughts of the sacred writers, as well as to the thoughts themselves, and that hence the Bible, considered as a record, an utterance in words of a divine revelation, is the word of God to us (p. 19).

II. The Nature of Scripture

A. Plenary Inspiration

  • Is it proper to call this inspiration “plenary”? This word, which has often been made the occasion of strife, is in itself indefinite, and its use contributes nothing either to the precision or the emphasis of the definition. The word means simply “full,” “complete,” perfectly adequate for the attainment of the end designed, whatever that might have been. There ought not to be on any side any hesitancy to affirm this of the books of the Bible (p. 18).

B. Verbal Inspiration

  • Verbal inspiration . . . does not hold that what the sacred writers do not affirm is infallibly true, but only that what they do affirm is infallibly true (p. 80).
  • And throughout the whole of his work the Holy Spirit was present, causing his energies to flow into the spontaneous exercises of the writer’s faculties, elevating and directing where need be, and everywhere securing the errorless expression in language of the thought designed by God. This last element is what we call “Inspiration” (p. 17).
  • We do not assert that the common text, but only that the original autographic text, was inspired. No “error” can be asserted, therefore, which cannot be proved to have been aboriginal in the text (p. 42).
  • In view of all the facts known to us, we affirm that a candid inspection of all the ascertained phenomena of the original text of Scripture will leave unmodified the ancient faith of the Church. In all their real affirmations these books are without error (p. 27).

III. Criticism of Scripture

  • It is evident . . . that every supposed conclusion of critical investigation which denies the apostolic origin of a New Testament book or the truth of any part of Christ’s testimony in relation to the Old Testament and its contents, or which is consistent with the absolute truthfulness of any affirmation of any book so authenticated, must be inconsistent with the true doctrine of inspiration (p. 24-25).
  • The present writers . . . admit freely that the traditional belief as to the dates and origin of the several books may be brought into question without involving any doubt as to their inspiration, yet confidently affirm that any theories of the origin or authorship of any book of either Testament which ascribe to them a purely naturalistic genesis, or dates or authors inconsistent with either their own natural claims or the assertions of other Scripture, are plainly inconsistent with the doctrine of inspiration taught by the Church (p. 39).

The content above is adapted from Biblical Inerrancy: The Historical Evidence by Norman Geisler (Matthews, NC: Bastion Books, 2013). Purchase the complete book here.