The Inspiration and Inerrancy of Scripture

The Historical Statements of the Bible and Inerrancy

Session 3

Ron Jones, D.D., Titus Institute

Scripture quotations are from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version), © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Introduction

We are in a series entitled The Inspiration and Inerrancy of Scripture.

In this series we are answering the question, "Is the Bible inspired by God and therefore inerrant, that is, true in all that it affirms?"

Is the Bible inerrant, that is, true and without error in all that it affirms about any subject? Or is the Bible true and without error in most of what it affirms except for some minor historical and scientific errors? Or is the Bible true and without error only in the spiritual truths that it teaches, that is, only what it affirms in regard to faith and practice?

How do we as Christians know which view is right?

We know by following what Jesus and his apostles taught about the truthfulness of the Bible.

As Christians we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that his apostles were appointed by him to teach the truth by the power of the Holy Spirit and all that they taught is true and authoritative.

We came to faith in Jesus Christ, then we asked ourselves, "What did Jesus and his apostles believe about the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture?"

In this series, we are looking at four points:

W1 The Inspiration of the Bible and Inerrancy

W2 The Truth of the Bible and Inerrancy

W3 The Historical Statements of the Bible and Inerrancy>/p>

W4 The Scientific Statements of the Bible and Inerrancy

We are going to base what we learn about these areas on what Jesus and his apostles taught.

The last two weeks we learned that

The Inerrancy of Scripture is simply defined as the Bible is the Word of God and therefore the Bible is true. It is all about the truthfulness of all of Scripture.

This is taught in the New Testament in two major ways:

1. We know the Bible is true because the Bible is the Word of God and God is a God of truth and cannot lie.

2. We know the Bible is true because Jesus who is God declared all of the Bible is the Word of God and is true.

Then I gave you a

Formal Theological Definition of Inerrancy, the Truthfulness of Scripture:

"Inerrancy means that the Scriptures in the original autographs when properly interpreted are true in everything that they affirm not only concerning spiritual and moral truth but concerning people, places, events, and physical phenomena."

The revelation of God was given in real history to real people who actually lived and describes real events happening in real geographical locations and describes real physical phenomena that occurred and even how God created the physical universe itself.

All that the Bible says about these things is true because it is all the Word of God and Jesus declared "Your Word is Truth." John 17:17

The final two weeks, we are going to explore what the Bible says regarding the geographical and historical statements and the scientific statements in the Bible.

This week we come to the geographical and historical statements.

3. If all of the Bible is true, then all of the historical and geographical statements of the Bible are true.

3.1 Jesus and the apostles referred to the OT narratives of the people, places and events as historically accurate and true in their teaching.

3.1.1 Jesus spoke of the persecution of the OT prophets as real historical occurrences.

Luke 11:46-51

46 And he said, "Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. 48 So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute, 50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation."

He says that they were guilty of the death of all those righteous prophets from the very beginning of creation of man starting with the blood of Abel in the Book of Genesis and continuing to the blood of Zechariah whose blood was shed and recorded in in the last book of the Hebrew Bible. Jesus goes from the first book to the last book of the Hebrew Bible.

Genesis is the first book of the Bible and in chapter 4 tells of the murder of Abel by his brother, Cain. This validates that Abel was a real person. If Abel was real, his parents, Adam and Eve were also real. Chronicles was the last book of the Hebrew Bible not Malachi like in the English Bibles. Zechariah is the last prophet killed in the Hebrew Bible not in history. It is recorded that he was stoned to death in 2 Chronicles 24:20-21.

This is Jesus' way of validating the OT's entire record of the prophets. Notice, Jesus and the apostles' teachings are not just based upon the words of God quoted in the OT, but also the narratives sections. They are all true!

In his teaching, Jesus referred to many other OT people, places, and events:

The wilderness serpent Jn. 3:14 Elijah and Elisha Luke 4:25-30 God speaking through a burning bush Mark 12:26 Noah: Mt. 24:37-39 Abraham: Jn. 8:56 Circumcision: Jn. 7:22; cf. Gn. 17:10-12; Lv. 12:3 Sodom and Gomorrah: Mt. 10:15 Lot: Lk. 17:28-32 Isaac and Jacob: Mt. 8:11 The Manna: Jn. 6:31, 49, 58 David as the author of Psalm 110: Mt. 22:43 Solomon: Matthew 6:29 Jonah: Matthew 12:39-41; Luke 11:29-32

3.1.2 Stephen gives a brief account of the history of Israel recorded in the OT.

Acts 7

He referred to God and Abraham, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Joseph and his family, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, and the prophets as part of the history of the Israelites.

3.1.3 Paul referred to past events narrated in the Scriptures as those, which happened for our spiritual benefit.

1 Corinthians 10:1-12

1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play." 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

Paul's exhortation to the Corinthians is based upon real historical events accurately recorded of the Israelites and their rebellion in the wilderness recorded in the book of Numbers. Paul says not to be like them.

V.6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.

v.11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

These things occurred to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.

"took place" = "happened" = real event "occurred" = "happened" = real event

The entire story of the Exodus happened. It was real. It is to be an example to us of what to emulate and what to reject as those who have recived the promises of God in Christ.

3.1.4 Hebrews 11 refers to OT believers as real people.

Hebrews 11 records a variety of OT believers who trusted God through difficult circumstances: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah Isaac, Jacob, Esau, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets

3.3 The genealogies in the NT are evidence of the historical truthfulness of the OT records

Matthew 1

Luke 3

Genealogies by their very nature, involve real people.

In ancient times, the Jews took genealogies very seriously. Their ancestry which traced back to Abraham was the whole basis of their special status as the nation of God. Jewish genealogies did not include people that did not exist.

Vern Poythress, Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary, writes, "I agree that Gen 1 is centrally about theology and about human benefit, but I also think that it sets forth particular events that illustrate and express the theology by exhibiting God's rule over the world...Theology is expressed precisely through God's actions in events in time and space...the NT often refers to OT events in ways that presuppose that the OT is actually giving us history, not parable." (Poythress, Vern S., Biblical Studies: Three Modern Myths in Interpreting Genesis 1 WTJ 76 (2014): 346)

The Bible is a book of the history of God's plan of redemption for mankind. It is a history of God's revelation and miracles in the lives of his people through his prophets and through his Son and his Son's apostles.

Conclusion:

Is the Bible inerrant, that is, true in everything that it affirms not only concerning spiritual and moral truth but concerning people, places, events, and physical phenomena?

Yes.

Jesus and the apostles taught that:

All of the Bible is the Word of God. All of the Word of God is true. Therefore all of the Bible is true.