Friday, July 9, 2010

Resources on the Bible's Inerrancy

The best books on inerrancy according to Mark Dever - Inerrancy of the Bible: An Anotated Bibliography.

Dr. Dever writes the following about John Wenham's excellent Christ and the Bible:

I’ve saved the best for last. If I could just recommend one book on the inerrancy of the Bible it would undoubtedly be this one—John Wenham, Christ and the Bible. . .

Wenham’s book . . . makes the simple point that our trust in Scripture is to be a part of our following Christ, because that is the way that He treated Scripture—as true, and therefore authoritative. . . .

In Christ and the Bible, Wenham, who taught Greek for many years at Oxford, an Anglican evangelical, has done us all a great service in providing us with a book which understands that we do not come by our adherence to Scripture fundamentally from the inductive resolutions of discrepancies, but from the teaching of the Lord Jesus. Only because of the Living Word may we finally know to trust the Written Word.

May God use these resources of those who’ve gone before us to equip and encourage us in so trusting.

Kevin Deyoung recently posted some excellent comments from J.I. Packer concerning the importance of inerrancy to our understanding of Scripture.

In Truth and Power: The Place of Scripture in the Christian Life, Packer writes the following about the importance of the word in inerrancy as it applies to the Bible:

I find that nowadays I need the word. Verbal currency, as we known, can be devalued. Any word may have some of its meaning rubbed off, and this has happened to all my preferred terms for stating my belief about the Bible. I hear folk declare Scripture inspired and in the next breath say that it misleads from time to time. I hear them call in infallible and authoritative, and find they mean only that its impact on us and the commitment to which it leads us will keep us in God’s grace, not that it is all true.

That is not enough for me. I want to safeguard the historic evangelical meaning of these three words and to make clear my intention, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, to receive as from the Father and the Son all that the Scripture, when properly interpreted–that is, understood from within, in terms of its own frame of reference–proves to be affirming. (50-51)

My own experience bears witness to this. Because of the influence of postmodernism the regular use or historical meaning of certain words is often completely recast. Today, someone who makes statements like "the Bible is broken," and "there is not a single page of the Bible that does not bear the taint of error," can simultaneously say that the Bible is inspired and authoritative. Sound like a contradiction? It is. Words like inspired, true, and authoritative once made very clear the nature of the Bible as God's fully trustworthy Word. But now the meaning of those very same words has been almost entirely abandoned and redefined by a generation of so-called evangelicals who hold the right of private interpretation - same vocabulary, different dictionary.

What [inerrancy] says is that in formulating my theology I shall not consciously deny, disregard, or arbitrarily relativize anything that I find Bible writers teaching, nor cut the knot of any problem of Bible harmony, factual or theological, by assuming that the writers were not consistent with themselves or with each other. Instead, I shall labor to harmonize and integrate all that is taught (without remainder), to take is as from God (however little I may like it), and to seek actively to live by it (whatever change of my present beliefs and behavior-patterns it may require). This is what acceptance of the Bible as wholly God-given and totally true requires of us. (52)

Any degree of skepticism about the portrait of Christ, the promises of God, the principles of godliness, and the power of the Holy Spirit, as biblically presented, has the effect of enslaving us to our own alternative ideas about these things, and thus we miss something of the freedom, joy, and vitality that the real Christ bestows. God is very patient and merciful, and I do not suggest that those who fall short here thereby forfeit all knowledge of Christ, though I recognize that when one sits loose to Scripture this may indeed happen. But I do maintain most emphatically that one cannot doubt the Bible without far-reaching loss, both of fullness of truth and of fullness of life. If therefor we have at heart spiritual renewal for society, for churches and for our own lives, we shall make much of the entire trustworthiness–that is, the inerrancy–of Holy Scripture as the inspired and liberating Word of God. (55)

HT: Justin Taylor

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