Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem - This post is part of my year-long journey through Dr. Wayne Grudem's world-renowned Systematic Theology. I welcome and hope for your interaction.
Chapter 5 - The Inerrancy of Scripture
We are spending the first eight weeks of our study seeking to understand the nature of this Bible that we have in our hands.
You see, as we delve into what the Bible actually says over the course of the year, we are going to come upon doctrines that are very, very difficult to understand with our natural minds.
When this occurs, a natural tendancy might be to allow a crack in our belief about the nature of the Bible itself. Can we trust the Bible? Are there errors in the Bible? How do we know we have the right books in the Bible? Was anything left out?
Therefore, the seven weeks that we will spend considering the many claims about the Bible, and further understanding the objections of the scoffers is time well spent.
There are quite a few people that would dismiss the whole of the Bible because they believe that the Bible contains errors. Because of this belief, they dismiss or greatly reduce the Bible's authority for our lives.
On the contrary, there are those who contend that the Bible is inerrant, with every single word therein being absolutely true, literal, and worthy of our complete trust.
Those holding to the Bible's inerrancy, for example, contend that Jonah was literally in the belly of a whale for three days, while some might contend that this story is merely allegory.
Here is Dr. Wayne Grudem's definintion of inerrancy:
"The inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact."
In 1978, a collection of nearly 300 noted evangelical scholars, including James Boice, Norman L. Geisler, John Gerstner, Carl F. H. Henry, Kenneth Kantzer, Harold Lindsell, John Warwick Montgomery, Roger Nicole, J. I. Packer, Robert Preus, Earl Radmacher, Francis Schaeffer, R. C. Sproul, and John Wenham, gathered to produce a document called the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.
This document contains 19 affirmations about the inerrancy of the Bible along with a brief exposition giving readers the foundation for these beliefs.
Furthermore, the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerracy contains a "short statement" which compresses the work into five succinct statements:
1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God's witness to Himself.
2. Holy Scripture, being God's own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God's instruction, in all that it affirms: obeyed, as God's command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God's pledge, in all that it promises.
3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture's divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.
4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God's acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God's saving grace in individual lives.
5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible's own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.
Personally, I don't struggle with this issue. I believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. For me to think anything else would put my human understanding above God's infinite and perfect understanding. I just don't see myself in heaven someday questioning God about what He wrote for us in the Bible.
What about you? Do you believe in the Bible's inerrancy?
If you would like to give further study to the issue of the Bible's inerrancy, Dr. Grudem spent three weeks on this in his Sunday school class at Scottsdale Bible Church.
Please find below audio from Grudem's three classes and his lecture notes: