I recently joined Twitter. During a Bible Study on Saturday morning, a friend opened my eyes to the fact that yet another seminary has decided they disagree with the inerrancy of Scripture. I recognize there is a lot more going on with Union Seminary in the context of the Tweet i share below, but this post exists merely to point out some confusion on the part of said seminary, and then to move forward and defend one area in which the Bible could be considered to be “in error.” Union Seminary tweeted as follows on September 5, 2018:
They contradict themselves here. Now granted, perhaps the god they claim inspired the Bible is not the actual God of the Bible. But if Scripture is divinely inspired, if it was “breathed out by God” as 2 Timothy 3:16 states, then if there is an “error” in Scripture, it means God is in error. And if God is in error, then it means we cannot trust Him. And if we cannot trust Him, how do we know we can even trust a verse like John 3:16 that promises eternal life to whoever believes in Jesus? (Union Seminary is wrong on the doctrine of salvation too, but this post is not the time for that discussion.)
If one portion of the Bible is in error, then we cannot trust any of it. As such, the Bible is inerrant, and if it is not inerrant, then it is not “divinely inspired” either. We need to be consistent. So, Union Seminary, if you take the time to read this, please be consistent! Either reform your thinking or continue letting culture dictate your beliefs. You cannot have the favor of both God and the culture!
But i digress. Union Seminary had posted the following in August:
This Tweet claims that some verses reflect the flaws of the people who wrote them. Perhaps they are referencing the following verses:
Mark 1:2-3 (HCSB)
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way. A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!
It doesn’t take a Bible degree to follow the footnote at the end of Mark 1:2 to see the note explaining this verse as a quote from Malachi 3:1. So, if it is a quote from Malachi 3:1, why does Mark say it was “written in Isaiah the prophet”? Isn’t that an error.
Well, perhaps it is an error to someone who wants to see everything perfectly precise. In our day we loathe (rightly so) plagiarism and have ways in which works are supposed to be cited so that we are not guilty of plagiarizing. One way we do this is by saying, “In John 3:16 it says,” and then sharing the content we have corporately declared under the numbers of John 3:16.
However, if we read through the Scripture, not one biblical author quotes chapter and verse for any passage they cite. In fact, they don’t ever even give the translation they are quoting from (Hebrew Scriptures or Greek translation of Hebrew — Septuagint [LXX]). Several commentators explain:
- “Mark and other biblical writers simply did not employ the technical precision of modern research. It was not necessary for their purpose.”
James A. Brooks, Mark, (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1991), 39.
- “Such combinations are not uncommon elsewhere in the New Testament, and were a regular feature of Jewish exegesis.”
R. Alan Cole, Mark, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Academic, 2008), 106.
- “It was not uncommon at that time, when citing multiple Old Testament prophets, to refer only to the more prominent one and tuck in the others.”
John MacArthur, Mark 1-8, (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2015), 17.
There is a gap between how the biblical writers did things, and how we do things. Just because 2,000 years later we have specific rules for citing other peoples’ material does not mean that if the Bible does not conform to our standards, then it is in error. It only means times have changed. And what does it say in Isaiah the prophet?
Isaiah 40:8 (HCSB)
“The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever.”
Just because culture changes does not mean the Bible should or will. The Word of God remains FOR-E-VER regardless of what culture says it should or should not say. And it matters little how we interpret Scripture; Scripture is clear enough on its own that God is right and we are (usually) wrong. And since Scripture is inerrant, it is useless to argue that you are right when Scripture says the opposite. To insist on doing so will leave you stuttering and pleading for a second chance on the Day of Judgment.
To claim error in the Bible is to say that you needn’t submit to its authority. Since God gave us the Bible so we would know Him, to refuse to submit to the authority of the Word is to refuse to submit to the authority of God. Inerrancy is a necessary component of Divine Inspiration. If one is to be thrown out, consistency demands that both be thrown out.
And just because you decide to throw out the authority of the Scripture as far as it relates to you does not mean that you will escape the authority of God on the Day of Judgment.
“The authority of the holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or Church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the Author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.”
Westminster Confession of Faith (1646), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “CHAPTER I. Of the holy Scripture” paragraph IV.
It doesn’t matter who you are, you need Christ to stand in your place on the Day of Judgment. You need Him to say, “I own that one.” You need Him to appeal to the scars in His hands and feet and side. And you need to say, “My only hope is in Him.”
You will be lost if you say, “I thought everyone got in,” or “You have no authority over me to send me to Hell.”
Submit to Christ today. He died and rose again, and the Scripture accurately records this fact so that you can believe it. Don’t go another minute without submitting to the Lord of the Word, and then grow in your knowledge of the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of the Lord.
Soli Deo Gloria
Thanks for reading.