The Bible is God’s Word. That means it is our authority. And it also means the Bible is inerrant – without error in anything and everything it says. Even though this has been the predominant view of the Church throughout its entire history, there are many today who question such a claim. Can we really say the Bible is completely and entirely true? Can we really affirm that every single Word of the Bible is trustworthy – including even its scientific and historical claims? Yes, we can.
Ultimately, the reason we can know the Bible has no errors is the same reason we can know that it is our ultimate authority: we know these things because the Bible is God’s Word. If God cannot lie or say anything untrue (2 Sam. 7:28; Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6:18) and the Bible is His Word (2 Tim. 3:16), then that means there cannot be a lie or untruth in the Bible. Every word of the Bible is “pure” – without any mix of error or corruption – because the One who spoke it is pure (Ps. 12:6). Every word of the Bible “proves true” (Prov. 30:5) because its Author is truth (John 14:6; 17:17). We can be confident that every thing the Bible says is true and trustworthy, because we can be confident that everything God says is true and trustworthy.
That said, there are some qualifications that should be recognized. As one writer says, “The inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture in its original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, pg. 90). This is a helpful definition for at least a couple of reasons. First, it reminds us that this level of absolute perfection applies to the Scriptures as they were originally written – in their original language. This means that current translations might very well contain errors if they have not been translated correctly. That is the reason it is so critically important to find an accurate translation rather than simply a likeable translation. Second, this definition reminds us that the inerrancy of the Bible does not mean it tells us everything there is to know – it simply means that it is true in whatever it tells us. If the Bible affirms a certain historical fact, then we can have confidence that it happened. If the Bible declares something as actual and factual, then we can trust that it was so. The Bible may not tell us everything about a given event or person, but whatever it does tell us is accurate and trustworthy.
This is an incredible and glorious truth. In God’s sovereignty, He has seen fit to give us a written, factual, verifiable record of truth. Instead of leaving us to float in an endless sea of opinions and speculations, we have His Word. We do not have to wonder what is true, because He has told us. We should take His Word for what it is – a perfect record and declaration of truth that contains no errors and no mistakes. We do not have to “find” or “filter” the truth it contains. We can drink it straight and let it seep through our entire being and change us from the inside out. It is a good gift from God. We should praise Him, and we should trust His Word – His perfect, inspired, and inerrant Word.