Understanding Inerrancy–Part 6
1 Peter 1:10–11
1 Peter Lesson #040
February 18, 2016
“Father, we’re so very grateful and thankful for all You’ve done for us, for Your grace and Your goodness to us. We all know that we do not deserve any of it. You have done this freely from Your own integrity, from Your righteousness, Your justice, and Your love.
Father, we’re so thankful we have a salvation that is not dependent upon anything we do or don’t do. It’s not dependent upon any human activity on our part but the trust in Jesus as Savior. We know that He paid it all on the Cross and we don’t do anything and we can’t do anything or add anything to it. We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone. Thank You for that.
Father, we continue to pray for our missionaries. We pray for George Meisinger. We pray for the Chafer Seminary Board and the decisions they have to make. The leadership there. We’re thankful that things are moving well for the seminary. We pray that You’ll continue to guide and direct us there.
Thank You for Your Word, Your inspired, infallible, inerrant Word. We pray that we might recognize that it’s the most important authority in our life. We need to understand it, internalize it, and apply it. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
We’re studying the sixth lesson as we have diverged out of 1 Peter to study this critical doctrine on the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture. Scripture seems to always come under attack in one form or another but the overt attack has developed since the mid to early 1700s when that thinking came out of the Enlightenment.
It wasn’t until you get into the early 1800s that things really began to pick up momentum. Then you had the rise of the 19th century religious liberalism and those various assaults. You also had assaults that continued in each generation successively in the 20th century. Now it’s in the early part of the 21st century.
I’ll go into that a little more next week. The history helps us understand and have perspective on what is going on and where we are within this flow but we need to first understand what the Bible says and why we believe what we believe.
The reason we got into this, as I’ve stated in each of these lessons, is the references in 1 Peter 1:10–12 talking about the revelation by the Holy Spirit through the prophets. This gives us a little window of insight into the mechanics of revelation.
Just because revealed information came through the prophets doesn’t mean they really understood it. They still had to study it. They had to compare it with other revealed Scripture. The process of canonization when a book was a candidate to be included in the Old Testament Canon was that it had to be studied thoroughly to make sure it was consistent with all previous revelation. That was one of the standards that was used.
Also, it had to be written or authorized by a prophet and other things of that nature. That’s our starting point.
We got into the Doctrine of Inspiration and Inerrancy of Scripture.
This is our definition coming out of the West Houston Bible Church doctrinal statement that “God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human writers of Scripture, that without waiving their human intelligence, their vocabulary, their individuality, their literary style, personality, or personal feelings, or any other human factor, God’s complete and coherent message to mankind was recorded with perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture, the very words bearing the authority of divine authorship.”
That line is an important line because what you see in the Old Testament is that when God speaks He doesn’t have to present a federally authorized photo ID to show to people that He’s God. When God speaks, people fall on their face, as if dead, as they are confronted with a righteous, just God.
God’s very voice carries authority with it. It’s embedded in the Scriptures, in the voice of the Scriptures.
Key verses which we’ve looked at: 2 Timothy 3:16–17 which introduces the concept of inspiration, that God breathed out the Word through the human authors.
We used this image last week talking about Biblical/Divine authority which is built upon a three-legged stool: inspiration, infallibility, and inerrancy.
I defined each one of those. These definitions are important. Inspiration means that God-breathed out the Scripture. It emphasizes that the origin of Scripture is God. It is not man.
Other views that come along talk , especially in neo-orthodoxy, talk about that which is the Word of God [they view the Bible as containing the Word of God but it has other stuff in it, too] is a witness to the Word of God. It testifies to the Word of God. They don’t believe it’s the inerrant, infallible, and inspired Word of God.
So inspiration addresses the original of the Bible. Neo-orthodoxy’s emphasis on the human side is that it somehow clutters, taints, and corrupts the process of inspiration. We would say that no, God in His sovereignty is able to preserve His Word through tainted receptacles who write it so that the product is without error.
Infallibility emphasizes the authority and enduring nature of the Bible, that this is the authoritative revelation of God to man. Inerrancy addresses the accuracy of God’s Word in the original languages and in the original autographs.
Corruption could have leaked in as a result of human error in making copies but if you start with a document that is a hundred percent perfect, it’s really easy to recover if you have a lot of copies, even though some may have errors. If you start with a document with errors, how do you ever get back to an inerrant document? You don’t.
Then I had a quote here from Dr. Ryrie in his “Basic Theology”. I mentioned last time that I had Ryrie for Bibliology my first semester at Dallas Seminary and he emphasized the positive side. The “in” prefix on inerrancy is a negative meaning not errant so that’s defining the Bible from a negative.
He says that defining it from a positive means the Bible tells the truth.
Again, looking at 2 Timothy 3:16–17, that it’s breathed out by God.
It’s pointing out that inspiration was in words. It’s not the ideas that are inspired, because if you change a word from one synonym to another, it modifies the nuance of what is said. It’s not just the ideas. It’s the very words, the specific words that are inspired. 1 Corinthians 2:13 and Joshua 23:14 which says at the end, “Not one word of them [the things that God spoke] has failed.”
We looked how in some passages God wrote such as He wrote the Law with His finger but dictation is not the normal modus operandi. By the way, that’s the Orthodox Jewish view—that God dictated the Bible to the writers of Scripture. He dictated all of the Torah, not just the Ten Commandments, but all of the Torah, they believe.
Now, moving on. If we think about what the Scripture says about the Word of God and about God as the Author of the Word of God, we can develop a syllogism which expresses the deductive logic, coming up with a conclusion about the inerrancy and the infallibility of Scripture.
There are two types of logic. Actually there are three types of logic but I’m not going to get into that tonight. The first is what flows out of rationalism. You’re starting with certain premises. So a deductive syllogism begins with a major premise and then states a minor premise and then a conclusion.
So we could say that all men have a soul. That is a major conclusion, a broader statement. Then your minor premise is that Bill is a man. That’s a narrower statement. Therefore, Bill has a soul. It draws a conclusion from the parts of the major premise and parts from the minor premise.
If the elements in the major premise are true and all of the elements in the minor premise are true, then the conclusion is, by definition, true.
So we can set up a deduction [this is deductive logic]. The other form of logic is inductive logic. Inductive logic is consistent with empiricism. Induction is what we use in Bible study. We have a lot of data in the Bible. We have a lot of different verses that relate to what God says about His Word and so, as we study those passages, we draw conclusions, inferences, from the data. That is induction.
First of all we’ll look at deductive logic. In deductive logic, we have a clear statement in Scripture that God is absolute veracity. Veracity is a word that means truth. It is a synonym for truth. God is absolute truth.
Jesus said, “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life.” He defined Himself as the truth in John 14:7. Now the statement is clearly made in Romans 3:4 when Paul says, “May it never be! [replying to a rhetorical question] Rather, let God be found true, though every man be a liar.” He states the clear truth that God is truth. He is veracity.
Another verse that states this is Numbers 23:19 in the Old Testament, “God is not a man that He should lie nor a son of man that He should repent. He said and will He not do it? Or has He spoken and will He not make it good?”
So the major premise is that God is absolute truth. That is the nature of His character.
John in 1 John 1:1–4 uses the metaphor of light, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Light is used as a metaphor not only for purity in terms of righteousness but also in terms of truth.
So the major premises is that God is absolute truth.
Now the minor premise is that the similarity between the two premises is the term God. The minor premise is that God is the Source of the Scripture, 2 Timothy 3:16. So if God is absolute truth and God is the Source of the Scriptures, then the conclusion would be that the Scriptures are absolute truth.
This would be confirmed in John 17:17.
You see what we’ve done. We didn’t just take a major premise that had a biblical foundation and a minor premise that had a biblical foundation and then move to a conclusion that might not be stated specifically in the Bible. You can do that. That’s called “doing theology” but the conclusion in this case is confirmed by a specific statement in the Scripture.
In Jesus’ priestly prayer in John 17:17 He prays to the Father, “Sanctify them by means of truth; Thy word is truth.” That is a precise statement. So we have a major premise and a minor premise. The rule is in logic that if the premises of a syllogism are correct then the conclusion must be correct.
Therefore, we’re locked down by an absolute conclusion that the Word of God, the revelation of God, must be absolute truth.
A problem that we get into that is raised on the other side of the aisle here is the question about human involvement. What about human involvement?
The question that’s raised here is that because of the assumption that this pure light is filtered through a corrupt soul, that what comes out can’t be pure light. Of course, that’s just based on autonomous reason. Where do you get the idea that God cannot supervise, superintend, or override human error? Where do you get that idea from the Scripture?
They’re making an assumption in their logic chain that isn’t evident from the text.
Do we have another example in the Scripture of God using corrupt, fallible, sinful people to bring about absolute perfection?
What about the conception of Jesus? Mary is a sinner. Now Roman Catholics don’t believe that. Their Doctrine of Immaculate Conception [you probably don’t this if you’re not a Catholic] doesn’t refer to the conception of Jesus. It refers to the conception of Mary.
Now I want to rant about the Pope a little bit. The Pope’s been down in Mexico. I should never do this on my way here but I try to make a couple of phone calls and often talk to Dan Inghram on the way in. Dan was busy and there was no one to talk to.
I turned on talk radio. I don’t know who was doing the interview but they were interviewing presidential candidate John Kasich, the governor of Ohio. I have no idea what his religious predilections are but he was trying to be very politically correct and non-offensive in his answer. He was being asked what he thought about the Pope’s visit to Mexico.
He answered, “Well, I’m pro-Pope.” The contrast he’s making is the comment the Pope made apparently today or yesterday that were very negative about Donald Trump because Donald Trump wants to close the borders. Of course, the Pope is not so smart. He wants to have everything open.
They’re going to be so brave. Didn’t you love it back when last year everyone is coming in across the border into Europe and the Pope said, “Everyone needs to take in refugees? We’re going to set an example. The Vatican is going to take in one family.” Yeah, right. Okay?
So the Pope is down there and he’s basically making some comment about Donald Trump not acting like a Christian. The first thing I thought of was, “How would he know?”
They’re asking Kasich this. Americans are pretty much ignorant of anything about Christianity or religion or anything today. They just don’t have a clue. They’ve just heard all kinds of mythology. The thing that you have to understand if you’re a Protestant and you’re asked what you think about the Pope, the answer is “I’m a Protestant. Protestants haven’t cared about what the Pope said since 1517.”
We don’t. It’s irrelevant. The guy’s meaningless. That’s what it means to be a Protestant. We don’t listen to the Pope. So there’s my rant on the Pope. It doesn’t matter what the Pope says except he’s going to lead a lot of people astray, which he’s doing down in Mexico. He always wants to fight for the wrong side, it seems.
The question is what about the involvement of humans? In the example of the conception of Jesus, God the Holy Spirit was able to cause the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ to be conceived in the womb of Mary without human male involvement.
The sin nature is passed down through the male so Mary was able to conceive a perfect embryo. That gave birth to a perfect human being who was without sin. That is, He did not inherit corruption. He did not inherit a sin nature from Joseph, from Adam through Joseph. He was born sinless as Adam was created sinless.
God has the ability because, what’s that word? Omnipotent. Hello. People who say He can’t do something need to know that there’s somewhere in the Bible that says “With God nothing is impossible.” Maybe they took a razor blade and they had a textual problem there and it wasn’t in the Living Bible so they didn’t know.
So God can do that. What we see here in the passage we’ve looked at a couple of times is this wording in 2 Peter 1:19–21 and especially in verse 21 it says, “For prophecy never came by the will of man.” It did not originate in human will or in human volition but “holy men of God”. That doesn’t mean they were morally pure.
Holy means set apart to the service of God. The word kadosh in the Hebrew and HAGIOS in the Greek doesn’t mean righteous. It’s not a synonym for being perfectly righteous and sinless. It doesn’t have a moral connotation at all.
Two lines of reasoning to demonstrate that is that first of all the word “holy” applies to all the furniture that’s in the Tabernacle and in the Temple. Now last time I looked a chair, a bowl, spoons, and knives, and tables can neither be moral or immoral. They are amoral. They are without morality.
Holy doesn’t mean morally pure. It means set apart to the service of God.
The other line of reasoning is that in the ancient world the masculine and feminine forms of the noun kadosh were used to describe the temple prostitutes who served in the fertility religions. They’re not morally pure, either.
The idea means simply to be set apart to the service of God.
The men of God, the prophets who were writing the Scripture are set apart for the service of God and they spoke, not on their own, but as they were moved by God the Holy Spirit.
Now this verb that’s translated “moved” is the Greek very PHERO. It’s used in one other significant place, Acts 27, describing what was happening to the ship Paul was on that was about to be shipwrecked as they were taking Paul from Caesarea-by-the-Sea to Rome.
In Acts: 27:15 we read, “So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive.” This indicates that the ship was passive to the wind. The wind did the action. This is the idea that the Holy Spirit performs the action.
He’s moving the writers of Scripture. They’re not moving on their own. Then the same verb is used two verses later in Acts 27:17, “When they had taken it on board, they used cable to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven [or were moved by the wind].”
The wind just carried them. They were rudderless and they just went wherever the wind carried them or moved them.
In a work called “Inspiration and Authority of the Bible” which was written by the well-known and one of the foremost theologians in the late 19th and early 20th century, Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, B. B. Warfield. He followed A.A. Hodge. You have to have abbreviations. There was Charles C. Ryrie, C.C. Ryrie. You had all these guys who had the same two initials at the beginning of their names.
B.B. Warfield was the head of the theology department at Princeton University, the heir of the Hodges. The Hodges established a dynasty of theologians at Princeton which was the Presbyterian Seminary in the United States and did not go liberal until 1927.
In the 19th century it was the brilliant output of men like Charles Hodge, A.A. Hodge, and Casper Hodge, the third one in the line who also served on the faculty alongside Warfield. Their writings defending the infallibility and inspiration of Scripture established the foundation that we have built on everything I’ve said on today.
Many people today say it was Princeton theology that built the bulwark to defend biblical infallibility in the assault of liberalism in the late 19th century.
Warfield is also known by the fact that he wrote a scathing book review of a little book that Lewis Sperry Chafer wrote that is called “He that is Spiritual”. He misunderstood Chafer. He thought Chafer was a victorious life theologian and he wasn’t.
But because Chafer hung out with a lot of the men that were victorious life and taught at those same Bible conferences such as Niagara Bible Conferences and the North Hampton Bible Conferences that Moody had in Massachusetts, he had picked up some of that victorious life vocabulary. If you want to get into some of the emphasis on that, go back to the 2011 Chafer Conference and read some of the papers and listen to some of the speakers that deal with this issue. It’s a very important issue in understanding there is a dispensationally distinct sanctification.
Warfield’s book “Inspiration and Authority of the Bible” was a collection of articles that he had written dealing with these things. There’s a picture of him as a young man and as an older man. That was one of the first books I bought and read through before I ever went to seminary. Fabulous book.
In this he says related to 2 Peter 1:20–21, “In this singularly precise and pregnant statement there are several things which require to be carefully observed. There is, first of all, the emphatic denial that prophecy—that is to say, on the hypothesis upon which we are working, Scripture …” So he says, “The emphatic denial that prophecy, that is Scripture, owes its origin to human initiative. No prophecy of Scripture is of one’s own interpretation.”
He says, “No prophecy ever was brought—‘came’ is the word used in the English Version text, with ‘was brought’ in the Revised Version margin—by the will of man.”
He goes on, “Then, there is the equally emphatic assertion that its source lies in God: It was spoken by men, indeed, but the men who spoke it ‘spake from God.’ And a remarkable clause is here inserted, and thrown forward in the sentence that stress may fall on it, which tells us how it could be that men, in speaking, should speak not from themselves, but from God: it was ‘as borne’ [driven]—it is the same word which was rendered ‘was brought’ above, and might possibly be rendered ‘brought’ here—‘by the Holy Spirit’ that they spoke. Speaking thus under the determining influence of the Holy Spirit, the things they spoke were not from themselves, but from God.”
This is the biblical view. One of the reasons I do this is the same reason Lewis Sperry Chafer did this. If you read Chafer’s “Systematic Theology” it’s eight volumes. In the 1980s John Walvoord abridged it down to two volumes. One of the major reasons he could do that is that you may not know this but Lewis Sperry Chafer was ordained in the Southern Presbyterian Church. In the early 1930s he was brought up on heresy charges because he was a dispensationalist.
There were all kinds of lies and innuendos and calumnies that were being spread about dispensationalists. In one sense his “Systematic Theology” is an apologetic for dispensationalism. He wanted to show throughout that dispensationalists were orthodox in their view of the Bible, their view of theology proper, their view of Christology, pneumatology, soteriology, and ecclesiology, but in ecclesiology it begins to shift because of dispensationalism, and eschatology is, of course, different.
What Chafer did to show that he was orthodox was just about every other paragraph, he has anywhere from a half a page to three page quotes from other theologians. He quotes Warfield. He quotes Shedd. He quotes Calvin. He quotes Luther. He quotes all these different theologians. If you just take all the quotes out, you’ll shrink it from eight volumes to two, just about. That was one of the main things that Walvoord did in shrinking it.
These guys were the noted theologians of their era. Those who oppose inerrancy today often say it’s just a construct of Princetonian theology which was built on an enlightenment foundation of common sense theology and it’s not biblical. Hah! It is but that’s their argument.
What we see in this is that the Holy Spirit from 2 Peter 2:20–21 is the Agent of revelation. That’s His role within the Trinity. The Son’s role is to reveal the Father. The Spirit’s role is to oversee divine revelation.
The second thing we learn from this passage is that what men wrote did not originate with them. They didn’t come up with the idea. It wasn’t their opinions. It came from God who controlled the process, freeing it from error.
Remember in John 16:13 the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth. So He controls it and frees it from error.
Third, we learn that God prevented the sin natures of the writers from diverting, misdirecting, confusing, or erroneously recording His message. God can do that, especially when He’s not overriding their volition in relation to their salvation or their sanctification. He’s overriding their volition in regard to what they’re writing to make sure that it is without error, so that God can accomplish His purposes.
We’re going to see how Jesus used Scripture. What is the example that we have of Jesus in relation to the authority and the infallibility of the Word of God? What does Jesus tell us about the origin of Scripture?
Now remember, inspiration is a word that tells us about the origin of Scripture. Infallibility is a word that tells us about the authority and the power of Scripture. Inerrancy tells us about the truthfulness and accuracy of Scripture.
Let’s look at how Jesus uses Scripture. I want you to turn in your Bibles to Matthew, chapter 4. This is the situation where Jesus is led by God the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where He is going to be tested, evaluated by the devil.
The word is translated tempted and that’s certainly one nuance but it’s a test. It’s an objective test. Temptation occurs two ways. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to be on a diet or not. When you’re on a diet what I have found is that I have to eat small amounts or I’ll get real hungry. Once I get real hungry, game over!
If I’ve been eating correctly all day and my appetite is satiated, you can put a cherry pie and ice cream in front of me or a Magnum bar and I can say, “No, thanks.”
If I’ve gone too long and I’ve got the hungries, watch out. I will take the whole box of Magnum bars. I don’t care anymore. I’m hungry.
If there’s nothing internally weak, people can put stuff in front of you all day long. Even though there’s not an internal appeal, there’s still an external offer. It’s still a test. It’s still a temptation. Just because you’re not going to yield to it doesn’t mean it’s not a temptation.
Just because you don’t want to yield to something doesn’t mean it’s not a temptation. People can tempt you to do all kinds of things and sometimes you’re attracted to it and sometimes you’re not. That’s not what makes it a temptation.
Our Lord didn’t have a sin nature. He didn’t have the problem we’ve got and that is the fact that when someone says, “Let’s go sin” we go “Yeah, right. Atta boy. How soon can I do it?” That’s what our sin nature wants to do. It’s attracted automatically like iron filings to a magnet. Our sin nature is attracted to sin.
We’ve got to say, “Down, boy.” We don’t have to do that anymore.
Jesus is going into the wilderness and Satan is going to put these tests in front of Him. As he offers these tests, Jesus is going to respond and He gives us an example of how we should respond. It happens during a period of weakness when He’s gone forty days and forty nights without food. Now He’s hungry.
Let me tell you. Anyone here can go forty days and forty nights without food. Anyone of you can do that. Some of you look a little thin so you maybe won’t make it. But there’s some of you, sixty days, maybe. Any human being can go forty days without food. You can’t go forty days without water but you can go forty days without food. What happens is that after about a day your appetite begins to diminish and disappear. Then you’re good to go for the next thirty-eight days. When you get to about day thirty-eight or thirty-nine, that appetite begins coming back with a vengeance because your body is saying that if you go much longer everything will shut down. You’re going to die.
My point on this is that Jesus is not doing this in the power of His deity. Any human being can do this. So He’s fasted forty days and forty nights. Now He’s hungry. The tempter comes along and says to Him, “If you are the Son of God …”
Satan uses a first class condition there because he knows Jesus is the Son of God. He’s basically saying, “If you are, and you are, command these stones to become bread.”
He knows Jesus is omnipotent and all Jesus has to do is just look at rocks. If you’ve been to Israel before, there are a lot of rocks. It’s almost like Connecticut. A lot of rocks. Jesus would just have to look at the rock and say, “Bread.” It is immediately going to be the best bread around.
How does Jesus respond? Matthew 4:4, “But He answered and said, It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” [Deuteronomy 8:3]
What we see here is that the way Jesus answers a temptation is by quoting Scripture. He doesn’t quote a doctrinal principle or an abstract principle or a philosophical idea. He quotes the very words of Scripture from Deuteronomy 8:3. He says in the quote that it’s by “every” word. It’s not most words or some word but it’s by every word. “Man shall not live alone, but by every word” because every word is breathed out by God.
He also says “It is written.” He doesn’t say it testifies or it witnesses to the Word of God. It says it is the Word of God, period, over, and out. Jesus responds by quoting Scripture verbatim.
In the second temptation the devil took Him up into the holy city, Jerusalem, and set Him on the pinnacle of the Temple. That is the southeastern corner of the Temple wall which at that time was about 130 to 140 feet above the Kidron Valley. That’s a nice drop and when you hit bottom, you go splat.
Satan takes Him up there and says, “If you are the Son of God, [and You are], throw Yourself down. For it is written…” Now he’s going to quote Scripture but he’s going to misquote Scripture. “He shall give His angels charge over you and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
I want you to notice the important word there in Satan’s statement is that word “and”. The line before that is a quote and the line after that is quote but he left something out.
This is a quote from Psalm 91:11 and 12. The part he leaves out is “To keep you in all your ways [to guard you in all your ways].” The implication of those words is that God is going to preserve His people but that doesn’t mean they should take needless risks. They are to be doing what they’re supposed to be doing, walking in the path of God.
What Satan is doing is proposing to Jesus to take a needless, irrational risk just to test God.
Jesus’ response is in Matthew 4:7, “It is written.” Once again He is quoting directly from Scripture from Deuteronomy 6:16 where He says, “It is written” again, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” He is parrying each one of these thrusts from Satan with a direct and specific quote from Scripture. He does the same in the rest of these temptations.
What we see here is that Jesus has an extremely high view of Scripture and it extends down to the various words.
There are other things we find in Jesus’ teaching. He confirms that Adam and Eve were created by God in His image. If Jesus believed God created Adam and Eve in His image [Matthew 19:3–5 where Jesus quotes from both Genesis 1:26–28 and then again from Genesis 2] He shows that He views both chapters as equal authority.
That’s going to come up if I get there tonight, because that’s one of those chapters that liberals try to challenge and say there’s a contradiction between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. They come up with two or three things that seem to be contradictory. They think that Genesis 2 is one creation account and Genesis 1 is another creation account. Jesus quotes from both of them as if they have equal authority and he believes in a literal Adam and a literal Eve.
That immediately gets rid of all the attempts of theists and evolutionists and others who try to compromise in Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 2 who have some form of evolutionary development that culminates in early mankind. Jesus believed there was Adam and Eve.
If Jesus was wrong then what else was He wrong about? Maybe He was wrong about who He was. Maybe He was wrong about what He accomplished on the Cross. Maybe He was wrong about everything. Maybe He was just some nut job, so let’s go party. That’s the only option that we have.
Jesus must be taken at His Word.
Another event is that Jesus confirms the reality of the flood of Noah. In Luke 17:26–27 we read Jesus saying, “And as it was in the days of Noah…” He affirms the historicity of Noah, that Noah existed and was a person. He makes this comparison, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man. They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark …”
He believes that Noah built an ark. “And the flood came and destroyed them all.” He also affirms worldwide, a universal flood. The only ones that survived were Noah and his family.
He also confirms the episode of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. In light of the same-sex marriage issue, this is interesting that of all the other events Jesus could have recognized and confirmed in the Old Testament, He affirmed that, so we know that Jesus was clear on the concept of what was going on at Sodom and Gomorrah.
He says, “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.”
He recognizes and affirms the reality of what happened at Sodom and Gomorrah.
Another miraculous episode that took place in the Old Testament has to do with Jonah. This is questioned by some today. There are some New Testament scholars who are evangelical who claim to believe in inerrancy have redefined Jonah in terms of the genre. They say it’s sort of a prophetic myth and there wasn’t necessarily a literal Jonah, a literal fish, or a literal three days or three nights.
But that’s not what Jesus says in Matthew 12:40, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish [it wasn’t a whale] so will be Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
From what I’ve read whales have small throats so they couldn’t swallow a man whole. There are fish that are capable of swallowing a man whole and there are examples of that where it’s happened out on the ocean. Then they managed to catch the fish and they cut him out and he survived. What’s interesting is that the stomach acids have bleached the guy white while he’s in the belly of the fish.
If that’s what happened to Jonah, then Jonah looked like an albino walking into Nineveh. He would be a sight that would gain much attention as people were looking at this strange apparition.
Moving on. A couple of other verses that show Jesus’ high view of Scripture. In Matthew 5:17–18 in the context of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For surely I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away [that’s a pretty long time, the destruction of the current heavens and the current earth after the Great White Throne Judgment] not the smallest letter or stroke [one jot or one tittle] shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.”
This is a really important verse because He says that’s what is important in the Scripture is not the words but the forms of the words, the very letters of the words. A letter, a slight or small stroke, can change the whole meaning of a word. He’s saying that inspiration extends down to the minutia of the words.
For example, when He says the word “jot” this is the Hebrew letter Yodh which looks like an apostrophe. It’s pretty small. It represents the letter “y” or “j”. It’s the smallest Hebrew letter. A tittle is the smallest part of a letter.
In Hebrew you can see the first letter [on slide 32] there’s a little bitty gap there and there’s no gap over on the right. Those are two completely different letters. If you had one or the other it would change the word and therefore would change the meaning.
In English we have similar things. I have examples here like the “o” and “p”. The lower case “o” differs from the lower case “p” only that it has a line on the left that descends below the line.
You have the letter “b” and the letter “d” and the only thing distinguishing them is you have a vertical line on the left for “b” and a vertical line on the right for the letter “d”.
This can make quite a difference. For example we have the words bog and dog. If you’re reading something and you see the word bog it’s going to have a different meaning than the word dog.
Another example would be the words Rug and Pug. The only difference between an upper case R and an upper case P is that leg on the R. That’s a tittle. It’s just a stroke, the smallest part of a letter.
We look at words in English like lit, hit, and bit. Those are three different words. The only distinction is a tittle.
Or the words cat and oat. The lower case o is closed fully to make the difference with the lower case c.
Fun, Pun, Run, and Bun all are words that are distinguished by just a tittle. That little mark changes the meaning of the word or the whole meaning of a sentence.
In Hebrew you have the difference between the letter Beth and the letter Kaph. In a Beth that horizontal line extends just a little bit beyond the vertical line whereas it’s a smooth transition in the letter Kaph which is a K.
In the letter Daleth you notice there’s a little extension of the horizontal line and in the letter Resh there’s no difference.
If you’re reading footnotes in the Hebrew Bible you will need glasses soon. It’s a lot of fun. Those make a difference. Jesus is asserting that inspiration extends down to the minutia, the minute letters in the text so we can count on the Bible. It’s not just the ideas; it’s not even the words; it’s the form of the words.
Like the difference between run and ran, present tense and past tense. Or the difference between seed and seeds as we’ll see in Galatians. Doctrine is built on that difference. Minutia is important.
For example in John10:30 Jesus makes a dramatic claim to have unity with the Father. He says, “I and the Father are one.” This doesn’t come across in the English because the word “one” doesn’t have necessarily a grammatical significance to it. But in Greek this is the word: it’s HEN which is a neuter singular for the word, and HEIS is the masculine singular for the word “one”.
The difference is that if Jesus is using the neuter singular, He’s talking about one thing. I and the Father are one thing. We’re identical.
If He’s using the masculine singular, He’s saying we’re one person. That would be unitarianism, modalism, actually. They would be the same person.
Jesus isn’t saying they’re one person. He’s saying they’re both fully divine, fully God.
Another example of where Jesus uses a tense to emphasize the truth when He’s confronting the Pharisees. He’s been talking about Abraham and they say well, who are you? You’re pretty young to be talking about Abraham. He says, “Truly, truly I say before Abraham was, I AM.” I AM is the meaning of Yahweh. He’s claiming deity. Some people think we’re making that up and it seems too abstract.
It wasn’t abstract to the Pharisees because they bent over and picked up rocks to stone Him for blasphemy. They understood He was making a claim to deity. It’s based on the fact He’s using a present tense, “I AM”, and not saying I was. That’s significant.
Galatians 3:16 says, “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say ‘And to seeds’, as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ.” He’s going to build a doctrine on the fact it’s a singular noun, not a plural noun. Paul is saying that promise in Genesis is a reference to Christ.
What do we see here? That God has given us everything. This is the conclusion here.
Going to 2 Peter 1:3–4, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness …” This is the doctrine known as the sufficiency of Scripture. He didn’t give us most things, some things, or 90% of it. He gave us everything pertaining to life and godliness.
We’re talking about the Word because in the next sentence He says, “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises.” It’s by those promises that we became partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
Okay I’m going to give you four corollaries.
If we believe in the inerrancy of Scripture these are four things that are true. If that’s true, then these are four things that are true.
The first is: Though every word is equally infallible, and authoritative, not every word is equally applicable to every believer.
When we’re reading in the genealogies, that’s not necessarily applicable to us but in the Old Testament it identified who the clans and tribes were.
You read in the Mosaic Law that if you have a rebellious teenager, you’re supposed to take him out into the public square and stone him to death. That applied under the Mosaic Law. I don’t think they ever applied it in Israel but it was never applied to Gentile nations and it’s not applied to the Church.
So every word is infallible and inerrant but it is not equally applicable to every believer.
Second corollary: If every word is breathed out by God, then it is the responsibility of the Pastor-Teacher to investigate and exegete every word, the entire counsel of God, though not every word need be necessarily taught in terms of its detail. Time is a factor.
We could spend hours just doing word studies but we have to present conclusions and keep going forward.
Third corollary: If every word is breathed out by God then the Bible is absolutely and totally sufficient for salvation, spiritual growth, and problem solving.
We don’t need to go elsewhere to understand how to solve problems. We just need to trust the sufficiency of Scripture and bury ourselves in the Word of God. This is the point in 2 Peter 1:3–4 which I looked at just a minute ago.
Fourth corollary: If every Word is from God to us, nothing should be more important than learning and applying God’s Word.
This is God’s correspondence to every believer. Nothing is more important than understanding what that means.
“Father, thank You for this time to study Your Word this evening, to realize how important this is and how authoritative it should be in our lives.
Father, we pray that we might be challenged to read it, memorize it, learn it, and to apply it in every area of our lives. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”