Beliefs matter. What we believe affects what we do and why we do it. Our beliefs influence our direction, priorities and choices. And nowhere is that more evident than our beliefs regarding truth itself.
The doctrine of inerrancy says that the Bible is without error or fault in its teaching. Generation after generation assaults this doctrine. Sometimes they do so because of cultural pressure. Sometimes it results from academic pressure. Perhaps it happens at times to justify some desired disobedience to what the Bible teaches. People often want to pick and choose what parts of the bible to believe, much like they pick and choose what vegetables to get at the buffet line.
Here are three reasons why the doctrine of inerrancy still matters today.
1. Inerrancy speaks to the nature of the Bible. Is the Bible just another book or is it God’s book? If it is merely a book of and by man, ignore what you will. If, however, this is the word of God, ignore it at your peril.
The Bible claims to be the words of God. It is “inspired by God”. That literally means that scripture is “God breathed”. This is not a claim for any other book. God gave us his word and it is, therefore, without error. Human authors make errors. But a book who has God as the ultimate author is the only book that can rightfully claim to be perfect.
When I’m reading the Bible, I’m reading more than the opinions of Paul or Moses or John. I’m reading the words that God has perfectly inspired. I can believe the miraculous in the Bible because God is a God of miracles. I can trust the Bible because God is the source.
2. Inerrancy speaks to the dependability of the Bible. People are notoriously undependable. We forget, we fudge and we lie. But God is absolutely dependable. We can always count on him in life and in eternity.
The Bible does not lead us to error. Instead, it leads us to the truth. We can trust what God says and can depend on the teachings of his word.
Our faith does not depend upon our feelings– they are terribly fickle. It doesn’t depend upon our culture– it is always shifting and rearranging. It doesn’t depend upon our intelligence– it pales in comparison to God’s knowledge and is substantially less than we may imagine. Our faith depends upon the truth of God and his word.
We can (and often do) argue about what the bible teaches. But if that argument is based in our own prejudices and opinions, we have a limited standing. Our arguments are best made as they are based in the teaching of the truth of God.
3. Inerrancy speaks to the application of the Bible. If we believe the Bible is God’s word, we are more apt to obey its teaching and follow its guidance. We see that it has the authority to change our behavior and correct our understanding.
The Bible tells us to do more than simply know the word, but to be “doers of the word”. We might not like the biblical admonition to love my neighbor or to flee sexual immorality, but we are aware of our obligation to do so because it is based in truth.
God’s word tells us to do hard things. It tells us to follow the truth even when our culture is flowing the opposite direction. We are told to do things that require effort and sacrifice. If these were just the words of men, we might easily avoid the difficulty required by obedience. But, if these words are truth, we are wise to follow the path though it is uphill and narrow.
The doctrine of inerrancy still matters. Truth will always be under attack as long as there is sin. It will always be assailed as long as the serpent in whispering in our ear, as he did to our original ancestors in Eden, “Did God really say…?”
You can trust God’s word. Read it, learn it and follow it. Truth matters.