The Inerrancy of the Bible
This morning we’re going to look
at the subject of the inerrancy of the Bible; that is, is the Bible a book without any
mistakes when it was originally written? The Bible
does claim divine inspiration for its very words in those original
manuscripts and for the entire content. The entire
Bible claims to be inspired. This is
called the doctrine of verbal plenary inspiration.
If this doctrine is true, and the Bible does
teach it, then we have in the Bible an inerrant revelation from God. God has revealed Himself to us in a book in
which He allowed no mistakes of information, no false conceptions to be
conveyed. The Holy Spirit superintended
the words and the content. Whatever
modern discussion may be, the Bible will be the final word pertaining
to the spiritual realm. Its information, if this
doctrine is true, is beyond question. No
matter what you or I may think, when the Bible has spoken, we have the
However, today the Bible is under
attack relative to its
inerrancy. The argument is that since
fallible men wrote the book, it is impossible for the Bible to be free
error. This of course ignores the
supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Polls taken recently indicate that well over half of
clergymen, and I don’t mean the liberals.
I mean the Bible-accepting clergymen.
Well over half of them say that they are not firmly
the inerrancy of the Bible.
The question we face then is: Can we trust the Bible? If
it does have mistakes in it, at what point
are the mistakes to be found? How will
we recognize them? At what point this in
the Bible we cannot trust? At this point
it is true, we can trust it?
Some try to minimize this issue by
claiming it doesn’t make
any difference. The idea is even if the
facts are wrong, it is teaching spiritual truths, and the spiritual
through whether the facts are right or wrong.
But if the Bible writers were mistaken, or if they
were lying, how do
you and I know that the spiritual truth, that their mistakes and
that are supposed to teach are really true?
We can’t. The
something and we must seek to say what the writers mean.
I want to acquaint you this morning
with the nature of this
attack among our own camp of conservatives—the people who accept
the Bible as
the Word of God but who edge on the idea that it is inerrant. I think you should first of all be acquainted
with what our own conservatives, with whom we are sympathetic, have to
say. Then if we have time this morning, we
get to some of the specific mistakes that the liberal brings up to say,
where the Bible is wrong.”
The issue among conservative questions
is over this matter
of inerrancy. The conservative
Christians fall under two groups. One of
them is the fundamentalists. That is the
old name which meant those who stood against the liberalism and the
of the 1920s when liberalism was taking over whole denominations. Fundamentalism stood on certain basic points
against liberalism. One of the basic
points was the inerrancy of Scripture.
The Bible was inspired and it was inerrant. The fundamentalist said you cannot say you
are a Christian in the New Testament sense of the Word unless you hold
inspiration of Scripture and the inerrancy of the Word.
Now this point of view is opposed in
the conservative camp
by a group which is referred to by the neo-evangelical group. This group came into existence several years
ago and basically, without going into too many details, the
felt that fundamentalism had to be involved in the social needs of
well as preaching the gospel. So the
movement was begun. Let’s get
fundamentalists out into social action that the liberals have been long
engaged in. Well, of course,
fundamentalists have been in social action.
They’re the ones who have been in the
forefront of every mission field
in the world, in the hospitals and the orphanages, and the relieving
and the provision of human needs. And
they have done this all over this nation as well. But
they have never made the mistake of
saying when you improve a person’s housing, when you fight
racism, or when you
seek peace on the international scene, that this is equated with
the Word of God which is what the liberal says.
Now the neo-evangelical wants to find
a common ground of
cooperation with the liberal. The place
that he wants to find this common footing is with social action
activities. None of those things in
themselves are objectionable. Humanity
does have these needs. But as you read
in the New Testament you’ll find that these things are always
individual believers who are oriented to the Word of God, and they do
the basis of that separation unto the truth of the Word and not by
over into the line that they are going to improve society.
Within the circle of the own experience they
act as believers according to doctrinal principles, but they do not
change society. They do not expect to
resolve the ills as much as they may speak out against them.
For this reason, Paul when he found a
runaway slave in Rome
did not say, “Good, I hate slavery. You’ve
escaped from your master. Don’t go
back.” Instead he sat down and wrote
the book of
Philemon and sent it with this slave back to his master. Paul’s
changing of this was left with the
privacy and the priesthood and the freedom of the slave owner as a
take the act to free this man, which he may well have done.
So between fundamentalism and
stands this confrontation on the issue of the inerrancy of Scriptures. Is the Bible in its words without
mistake? And in its content without
error. Many neo-evangelicals use some
means to avoid standing for the inerrancy of Scriptures.
They want this common ground with the
liberals. When you take a look at the
liberal world and you say now what is it that is the biggest conflict,
biggest difference, we as conservatives have with the liberals, it
to authority. Well what is the authority? The authority is the Word of God.
If you say that the Bible is the final
authority, that’s one thing. If you
the Bible is partly the authority, but we must use reason to analyze
mistakes out of the Bible.
So if an evangelical says, “I
want to get together with a
liberal,” he will immediately see that the first thing he has to
do is to tone
off this business that every word of the Bible came from the mouth of
therefore it’s right. Once he can
off from saying that everything that the Bible is right in its words,
has opened vast doors on matters where the liberal claims the Bible is
and the conservative can go along with him.
So in our own camp, the neo-evangelicals make
certain concessions about
For example, they say that the Genesis
creation account is
not necessarily historical. It may be a
poetic type of presentation. It may be a
piece of legend that is presented to convey a spiritual truth, but they
willing to accept the fact, as the liberal says, these are not
accounts. There never was an actual
Garden of Eden. There never was an Adam
and Eve who began the human race. There
never was an actual of a 24-hour six-day creation period in which God
into existence the world as we know it.
They also hedge on the question of the flood, that
it was not a
universal flood as the Scriptures indicate.
So neo-evangelicalism has increasingly
held to plenary
inspiration but they reject verbal inspiration.
Inspiration of Scripture they hold to, but they do
not hold to the
inerrancy of Scripture.
Dr. Lowery, professor of Dallas
Seminary, puts it in these
words: “In other words, some because
apparent difficulties in the Bible, such as historical and
problems, are concluding that these sections are not inerrant, though
inspired. One hears more and more these
days, ‘I believe the Bible is inspired, but I cannot believe that
it is without
error.’ Inspiration, yes. Verbal inspiration, no. Why
is it so?
… For some it is
the result of
honest wrestling with problems which have shaken their faith. For others we cannot help but feel that it is
part of the current worship of intellectualism as a sacred cow and a
step in achieving the approbation of godless intellectuals, so
In order to deal with this problem,
comes up with a concept that has been sometimes called the double
theory. This theory presents the idea
that there are two kinds of inspiration.
John Whitcomb, scientist, Christian, creationist,
has said concerning
this concept among neo-evangelicals, in order to get around the
problem: “Briefly stated, this
maintains that God has given to man two revelations of truth, each of
fully authoritative in its own realm:
the revelation of God in Scriptures and the
revelation of God in
nature. The theologian is the
God-appointed interpreter of Scripture, and the scientist is the
interpreter of nature, and each has specialized tools for determining
meaning of the particular book of revelation which he is called to
The Double Revelation
This is the double revelation theory. God has revealed the Scriptures and the
theologian tells you what that means.
God has a revelation in nature and the scientist has
to tell us what
that means. When the scientist has
spoken in his realm, the theologian can’t go over and say,
“Wait a minute. You’re wrong.
The Bible contradicts what you’re
saying,” because the scientist is the
authority in the realm of natural revelation.
This way, what they have done is to say that
inspiration and inerrancy
are two different things; that inspiration applies to matters of life
faith, but inerrancy does not apply to peripheral matters.
They separate that there are certain things
in the Bible which are major matters and some which are peripheral
matters. What are peripheral?
Well, how the universe came into
existence. Where the solar system came
from. The origin of the earth. The creation of man. How
far the flood went. Minor factors of
history. So neo-evangelicalism basically
by the desire to present a position of intellectual acceptability to
Now there is among neo-evangelicals a
strong pride of
scholarship that will come through as you read their writings,
when you read what they have to say about the fundamentalist ministers. Now this is what Acts 17:32-33 describes and
decries for us. Luke, in writing about
Paul’s experience, says, “And when they heard of the
resurrection of the dead,
some mocked, and others said, ‘We will hear thee again of this
matter,’ so Paul
departed from among them. Here the
apostle Paul coming to the intellectuals at Athens, speaking on Mars
in that moment of time they had the greatest opportunity of their lives. They had now come up against the one man in
all of their experience that could have given them divine viewpoint. Because of their arrogant intellectualism,
because of their snobbery of scholarship, they looked down their nose
and when he said it is possible for a dead person to come back to life,
smiled at him and said, “Well, that’s fine young man. Come back again and we’ll listen to you
sometime.” And they walked off. And when they did, they walked straight into
hell. That was their opportunity, and
little did they realize it but that was the moment in time when they
come to the realization of the truth.
So this pride of scholarship is very
great among the
evangelicals and it is a very hazardous thing.
Dr. Harold Ockenga is the founder of
neo-evangelicalism. In Christianity Today,
1960 issue, he wrote, concerning the desire on the part of
for this contact with scholarship. He
says, “The desire to win a new respectability for orthodoxy in
circles by producing scholars who can defend the faith on intellectual
ground.” Now I’m not going to
go into it this morning
and review the background of fundamentalism for you, but I’ll
just tell you
that some of the greatest scholars that every lived were fundamental
ministers. They were fundamentalists,
and they were the most respected biblical scholars that ever took
breath on the
face of this earth. So this is rather an
inane statement but this is the thinking behind neo-evangelicalism,
must come to scholarship so that the liberals will respect us for our
Dr. Edward John Carnell, who one time
was president of
Fuller Seminary, wrote a book called The Case for Orthodox Theology. He spent one-third of this book in belittling
the mentality of fundamentalism and downgrading their fundamentalism as
incapable of meeting the liberal on his own ground.
So what they called for is scholarship, but
scholarship means degrees among neo-evangelicals from status schools. These are schools of infidelity.
1 Corinthians 2:14 tells us that we don’t
come to a knowledge of God through this kind of intellectualism. Consequently, the neo-evangelical and his
pays more attention to what an unbelieving liberal theologian will say
what the Bible says. The neo-evangelical
says that there’s hope now for us fundamentalists because they
produced in the conservative camp some men who have got some mentality
able to do some scholarship. This
obsession for intellectual acceptability by the liberal world has
placed scholarship and science in authority over the Scriptures.
Dr. Ockenga, in an associated press
dispatch, December 8th,
1957 says, “The evangelical believes that Christianity is
defensible, but the Christian can’t be obscurantist in scientific
pertaining to creation, the age of man, the universality of the flood,
other debatable biblical questions. The
neo-evangelicalism is willing to face the intellectual problems and
in the framework of modern learning.”
You notice that Dr. Ockenga says that
it’s debatable whether
there was a universal flood. It’s
debatable concerning the creation. It’s
concerning the age of man. What he is
implying is that man may be millions of years old.
This little quote is also from Dr. Ockenga: This was a quotation in The Sword of the Lord. Dr. Ockenga said, “I contend that it
difference whether God used literally an anthropomorphic handful of
whether he used some creature already in existence when He formed man
dust of the ground. Such creatures are
dust of the ground and no more. As to
God’s ability to do either, I strongly affirm it.
I hold that the Bible does not tell us what
method He used by which He did create.”
Now this, of course, is a threshold of
evolution. That is, the concept that God
created some creature—he was a pre-human creature.
More and more neo-evangelicals move to this
direction, and please remember: If you
have not gotten it straight yet, get it straight now that the mass
movements led by conservative leaders are neo-evangelicals. This is the theological background that is
tearing people apart and, as usual, splitting churches and pitting
one against another as these things always do, and it’s because
of the false
premise upon which they’re founded to begin with.
These people are functioning from the point
of view increasingly that God had some pre-anthropoid type of creature,
developed …, and finally he came to a point where God leaned
down and breathed
into his nostrils, and this animal creature received a human soul and
human being. That’s what he means
God does not tell us the method by which He created.
Dr. Bernard Ramm wrote a book called The
of Science and Scripture, and in it he says, “If the
difference between the
sciences and the Bible were to grow to a very large number and were of
serious nature, it would be questionable that we could retain faith in
Scripture. True, we may believe some of
the Bible in spite of science, but certainly the situation would change
believed all of the Bible in spite of science.”
Now here’s the neo-evangelical statement that
if science contradicts the
Bible too much, we must say that there must be something wrong with the
Bible. Science cannot be all that
wrong. But science can be all that
wrong, and science has been demonstrated to be all that wrong. There has been many a time that a scientist
has eaten crow. If there’s anything
scientist (as well as the liberal) has been well fed on over the ages,
crow, because they’ve come to definitive positions only to be
proven wrong with
the Word of God to stand their critical attack again and again.
Quoting Dr. Carnell again, “The
Genesis account implies an
act of immediate creation. But the same
account also implies that God made the world in six literal days. Since orthodoxy has given up the literal day
theory out of respect for geology, it would certainly forfeit no
it gave up the immediate creation theory out of respect for pagan
theology. The two seem quite
parallel.” We don’t give up
something because geology
comes along and says this is what it must be if the Scriptures speak
the other direction. We hope for geology
to get enough information to see why it is mistaken.
Another quotation by Dr. Carnell: He says, “Orthodoxy does not deny that
is progressively changing, and what is this but evolution.
It may be, at least I’m not concerned to deny
it, that within limits science must define for us there has been
evolution—genetic derivation of one order or species of living
another. The convergence of many lines
of evidence has satisfied the great majority of scientific men that at
present it is so.”
Now we have spoken to you a little bit
on these Sunday
mornings about evolution, what it’s based on, what its concepts
stem from, and
how inane this increasingly is being demonstrated to be, let alone the
contradiction to the very first and second laws of thermodynamics which
indicate that everything is created with full power and that from then
everything deteriorates and breaks down to simpler forms, not to more
forms as evolution must claim. Science
itself denies the concept. But Dr.
Carnell here, a leading evangelical theologian, has clearly declared to
great sympathy for the concept of evolution.
Another quotation from Dr. Carnell: “Scripture only requires us to say that
physical antecedent of man was not denoted man until God performed the
miraculous act of divine inbreathing.”
Now there again is the ground for theistic evolution. God created a pre-hominoid, and he carried
him on, and developed him to the point until this animal became a human
by the conversion act of God. That is
not the teaching of the book of Genesis.
That is an accommodation to the thinking of liberal
theologians and of
So the neo-evangelical leaders reflect
a very dangerous subservience
to science and to unbelieving scholarship.
1 Corinthians 1:19-21 speak of this as well as 1
Timothy 6:20-21. The neo-evangelical has a
consequently, to accept authority from science and questioning on the
that the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scriptures. In
general the neo-evangelical feels that the
Christian’s view of the Bible should be in line with what he
discoveries. The liberal’s position
naturalistic explanation of miracles is the thing that the
tends to move toward. Many a young
person comes out of college and he doesn’t realize why he thinks
things, like the fact that he might want to come up and say,
“Well, I think
there are laws. There are natural
explanations for miracles. We just
know enough about miracles. We call them
because we don’t know the laws behind this, and we really are
natural laws.” Well the place they
that up is because somewhere along the line in their education over
years neo-evangelicalism has been corroding the mind of Christian
they begin projecting this to their students.
And all of a sudden this youngster comes home and
he’s thinking in terms
of a distorted point of view that is contradicted by the Word of God. When the Lord uses the word
“miracles” in His
Bible, He means something that overrides natural laws.
So the issues of inspiration are
actually given a secondary
place to neo-evangelicals and there is upon salvation.
As you look upon neo-evangelical movements
you’ll find this to be true. The
emphasis is to de-emphasize Scripture, to de-emphasize the authority of
Word of God, to make as little issue over the fact that when the Bible
all of their mouths are closed. But they
will make a great emphasis upon evangelism and salvation, and they will
great emphasis upon social needs of humanity.
That’s the thrust. This,
course, gives them the ground that they’re looking for of a
common stand with
the liberal, and consequently in the overall thrust you come out with a
conglomerate gospel which the Word of God says is under the anathema of
God. It’s under the judgment and the
curse of God.
So I don’t care if you yourself
are preaching a true
gospel. If the people that you are
associated with in the movement are preaching a gospel of social action
salvation, you have brought yourself under the judgment and the
anathema of God
because you are lending dignity and credence and acceptability to what
rejected. All of this stems from the
desire among the neo-evangelicals to make conservative biblical
respectable in intellectual circles; to make certain that the Bible
be contradicted by something that science may discover.
You can see why, in our conservative
tend to reject the idea of verbal inspiration.
They use the word “plenary” but they
will avoid the word “verbal.” In
a survey taken by the neo-evangelical
magazine which is called Christianity Today, it was begun to give
this point of view within the conservative camp. A
survey taken by this magazine indicated, “The
survey revealed regarding theological beliefs among American clergymen
there were 12% liberal, 14% neo-orthodox, 35% fundamentalists, and 39%
conservatives (or neo-evangelicals). The
most alarming admission of the report was that the issue which
the fundamentalist clergy (… the conservative neo-evangelical
clergy) was the
doctrine of Scripture. Fundamentalists
subscribe to total or complete inerrancy whereas those who were
either did not subscribe to total inerrancy or had doubts about the
The observation of a liberal named L
Harold DeWolf, who
wrote a book called Present Trends in Christian Thought: Mr. DeWolf made this observation concerning
the trend in the conservative camp today.
He says, “There is a noticeable though
indecisive change in the doctrine
of biblical inspiration and authority.
Some of the new evangelicals, unlike most of the
teaching verbal inspiration of the Bible, stressing rather plenary, or
inspiration. This marks a movement to a
more flexible position.”
This is a liberal, mind you, who is
looking upon the
conservative camp and he sees exactly what’s happening. He says there is this group called
obscurantist fundamentalists who insist that the Word of God is without
is inerrant. There is this other group
that is becoming flexible and is moving with the times and with modern
scientific discoveries and understandings, and is willing to say that
of the Bible may contain mistakes after all.
Now that happens to be the issue that is before us.
So today there are two conservative
views of the
interpretation of Scripture and that’s what I’m trying to
get at this morning
so that you will understand when you hear the other camp speaking, you
know the frame of reference from which they’re speaking. We have two views in our camp.
The neo-evangelical—for them the Bible is an
authoritative record of all that God wants to make known to us. It is not God’s purpose however, he
secure inerrancy in peripheral matters—the things that he
to faith and life. The other side is the
fundamentalists, or whatever you may want to call them.
You may want to put your own name on
them. I know that fundamentalism in a
fanatical sense has some bad meanings, and I trust that you understand
not talking about snake charmers and snake handlers.
However, I notice that Mr. Big
sometimes out there when he
speaks about fundamentalism has quite consistently referred them to the
handlers. The only snake handling that
has come within the realm of our experience in this ministry is in
when we beat the brains out of copperheads that keep coming in. But that’s about the extent, and man we
handle them too much. And I stand right
there and I watch the staff who are kind of funny characters sometimes,
they think it’s cute to take a dead snake and milk its fangs to
see what they
can do with the venom. I have to stand
there and watch to see if they throw it in the fire.
That’s as close as we want to handle snakes,
on the end of a nice long pole.
But that isn’t the kind of
fundamentalists we are, so let’s
get over that and let’s not take that sneaky attack because
it’s unbecoming of the
leadership to even imply that.
The fundamentalist says the Word of
God includes all that
God intended for us to have is His full revelation, and that it
peripheral information, and that every word is inspired, so the Bible
of all error, discrepancies, and inaccuracies in its original
manuscripts. So the neo-evangelical view
of Scripture is a
blatant contradiction of the view of Jesus Christ and of the
claim concerning itself about its own words.
The Bible everywhere indicates that its words are
“Thus saith the Lord.”
Now if God is untrustworthy in these
peripheral matters, if
we can’t trust Him to tell us whether He actually an Adam and Eve
actually propagated the human race, if we can’t trust God to tell
us that he
actually covered this earth so that the highest mountains were covered
water entirely in the flood that wiped out the hybrid generation of
and half-human being and started over with those eight human beings,
can’t trust this God in anything. If
cannot be trusted in these so-called peripheral matters, how do we know
be trusted in the things that are going to determine whether we spend
in heaven or hell? We have a lot at
stake there. And where are we going to
find it? From that liberal who goes out
there and says, “I’m going to think this through. And I’m going to sit down and by my
going to analyze how I should do this.
And after I’ve done this, I’m going to
tell you this my friend: If you get out
there and work for humanity’s
needs, you’re going to go to heaven.”
Now you know who came up with that idea, and it was
not God. If the Bible authors were
unreliable in their
peripheral matters, we can’t trust them in doctrine.
What is Peripheral?
The issue is how to determine what is
peripheral. That’s a problem in
itself. Do you know what the liberal says
peripheral? The virgin birth.
What difference does it make, as one of the
men said who led in prayer at one of the ecumenical evangelistic
meetings? He stood up there to lead in
prayer, and you ask him, “What do you think of Jesus
Christ?” And he says, “Well, I
think He was the son of
a prostitute and a Roman soldier.” And
the liberal says, “What difference does it make?
Sure we can lead in prayer. It’s
the spirit. It’s the effect. The spiritual truth still comes through.” Does it?
Jesus Christ never said that we are to distinguish
between the authority
of the facts of history, geography, science, and the authority of
recorded. Even Jesus quoted from an Old
Testament that He had as a result of copies upon copies that had been
down. And within that Old Testament
there were problems of copying, but He treated that Scripture as indeed
very words of God.
The neo-evangelical rejects verbal
inspiration because he
wants to accommodate the liberal’s pride of intellect, and
resistance on the part of the liberal to biblical authority. So, they make room for all the liberals’
human viewpoint. Do you know where this
is going to go? You may perhaps project
it for yourself, but the time is going to come and we have the signals
around us that this is exactly where we’re going.
The time will come when those in the
conservative camp on the neo-evangelical side are going to begin
of the other basics of the Word of God.
They’re going to go well beyond inerrancy. They’re going to go well beyond these
that deal with the authority of Scripture because once you have
authority of the words of God, then you will go far afield, and
where in time they will go because they are bound and determined that
going to get together hell-bent one way or another with the liberal. They are not going to offend.
They are going to get him to working together. They’re going to move with him. And the liberal says, “Beautiful. Beautiful.
All I want is religious action.
And any time I can get with the conservatives,
I’ve got the biggest kind
of religious action going …
Now there are certain types of errors
just briefly this
morning that we’ll look at that the liberals say we have in the
Bible. Number one is scientific inaccuracy. I want to point out right off the bat that
many of the so-called errors of science in the Bible are really
the liberal’s philosophy of science rather than the facts of
science. If you hold to the philosophy of
and then you read that the Bible says that God created man, you will
the Bible has a scientific mistake. It’s
not because it’s a mistake in the Bible.
It’s because it’s in conflict with your
philosophy of science. And you philosophy
of science says that there
can be nothing supernatural.
For this reason, the liberal says that
the teaching about
Adam and Eve is a ridiculous scientific error, but they have never been
prove it otherwise. Science is
restricted to the empirical realm in which we live.
We have to operate with science through our
senses. It is built upon repeated
observations and experiences by which we reach new principles and
concepts. Science can demonstrate, for
similarity of the hands of a man and the hands of a gorilla or an
a chimpanzee, only man’s is better. Science demonstrates that. An animal can’t his hands like man can. This is amazing. Here’s
a hand, obviously with similarity, but
Now science looks at that.
It comes up with all the facts and all the analysis
and all the bone
structure, and then it makes a decision.
How does it make a decision on the interpretation of
this? On the basis of your philosophy. And may hold the philosophy of evolution, do
you know what you’ll say? You’ll
that out here began this animal, and gradually it improved and improved
it came from the paw of an animal to the hand of a man.
How did you come to that conclusion?
On the basis of your philosophy.
Or it may be devolution. You
may say it began with the beautiful hand
of Adam, and then he had some relatives that got way out there, running
out in the woods and boozing it up and living it up high, and they
degenerated until finally some of them became chimpanzees.
And some of them became orangutans.
And some of them became some of your friends,
and so on down the line. Now that’s
called devolution. How did you come to
that conclusion? On the basis of your
philosophy. What fits your
If your philosophy is that things go
from a good point to a
lesser point, you go that way. If your
philosophy is that things go from a simple point to an improved point,
evolution, you go that way. But you
could also say that there is one Creator who made the animal’s
paw and the
human hand. And because they had a
common Creator, He used a basic common good design adapted to the
He was making. Now that is also a
philosophy, but it is one which is confirmed by Scripture.
Many of the attacks that you find of
so-called errors of
science in the Bible are just exactly that.
So always say, “Wait a minute.
Are you talking about established scientific
laboratory facts, or are
you talking about your philosophy of science?
Is that where the conflict really is?
Nobody can repeat in a laboratory the creation of
the world as an
experiment. Any comments about the
origin of the world must stem from your frame of reference, from your
viewpoint. If your frame of reference is
that the Word of God is authoritative and that its words are accurate,
that’s the way you will decide the origins of the world. That’s the way that you will interpret
scientific facts that you have before you.
Scientific theories are always changing as new data
changes. So there is new interpretation,
and obviously the scientist has very little basis for coming up to
the Bible and saying, “This is a scientific error,” because
about the time he
says that, more complete information will prove how true the Bible is.
Sometimes the Bible writers use
language of appearance. The critics have
said, for example, the Bible
writers speak about the four corners of the earth.
So the critics have said, “There’s a
in the Bible. We know that the earth is
not flat as that statement implies.” But
how many of you call your wife outside and say, “Look at that
sunset. I’m going to get up early
watch the sun rise.” Now you know
sun doesn’t rise and you know the sun doesn’t set. It’s the earth that’s turning that
appearance, but you are using language of appearance.
You think the Bible writers were telling us
that the world was flat? No, they were
using the language of appearance just the way you and I do.
1 Corinthians 15:39
One time, 1 Corinthians 15:39 used to
considerable attack as one of the great scientific errors of the Bible. The apostle Paul says, “All flesh is not
same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of
another of fish, and another of birds.”
And the liberal critic said, “That’s
wrong. We know that all flesh is made up
protoplasm, and all flesh is of one kind.
Paul was in error. This
gross scientific mistake.” Well we
since learned about cytoplasm and about the nuclei of cells, and we
that, sure enough, they do distinguish into these distinctive
different kinds of flesh, and they are not the same at all. Paul was right. The
liberal’s intellectualism was wrong while
trying to catch up with what God had already revealed.
Another point of attack is historical
accuracy. So much of the Bible’s
references to history
are tied up with its teachings of doctrine that if you deny and throw
upon the historical references of the Bible, you also cast doubt upon
doctrinal teachings. The New Testament
on the assumption that the Old Testament is true. The
climactic events of the Bible are
recorded as matters of historical reality:
creation, the death and resurrection of Jesus
Christ, His ascension into
heaven, and so on.
Archaeology, again, has constantly
testified to the
remarkable accuracy of the Bible, and the details of history,
topography. However, H. G. Wells scoffed
at the biblical account of Solomon’s wealth.
And here’s a beauty: He
was a petty Jewish king. The outgrowth
of Jewish story telling with the mythological tendencies and the
crude simple-minded people.” Now
a typical expression of scoffing that Solomon was a very wealthy man,
was an extremely wise man, and that he was a tremendously powerful king
One of the examples that demonstrates
this was the fact that
for some time the critics had known that how Jerusalem was situation
to the Gulf of Aqaba and the Mediterranean Sea. And
down on the tip of the Gulf of Aqaba is Ezion-Geber,
a port city. Now for some time the
knew that Solomon had a seaport here at the tip of the Gulf of Aqaba at
and they knew that his caravans came down here near the Dead Sea. They came down the Jordan valley and came up
on the plateau segment, and they came down to Ezion-Geber.
And they put his trading materials on board
ship and they sailed to Egypt and to Ofer and other places where they
going to trade. Then the return trip was
again by sea, up again to the port at Ezion-Geber, and then this time
followed what is called in Scripture the King’s Highway, and then
Jerusalem by camel caravan.
Now the critics said, “Just take
a look at that. He’s supposed to be
such a smart man. For a man who was so
smart, Solomon was
really dumb, because obviously he could have started up further and
short distance to the Mediterranean Sea and then sailed right down to
the Nile River and done his trading. Why
would he go all the way down this dusty rough trail through this hard
go all the way down here to get on board and to sail then?
Well an archaeologist named Nelson Glueck
found Solomon’s mines in Edom south of the Dead Sea.
He found crude furnaces where there were these
veins of iron and copper that were in this area that Solomon possessed. What we have discovered now is that the crude
refinery was done right here at the site where the ore was dug, and
crude form it was transported a short distance down to Ezion-Geber, and
Solomon had built this town in a valley that had prevailing winds. He set his furnaces in such a way that these
winds acted as a forced draft for the complete refining, the last stage
refining of his metals, before he transported them for trade purposes. This technique of refining metal was lost for
centuries until the modern times when the Bessemer converter was
Here’s the rationale and the
wisdom of what Solomon was
doing. Why in the world would he have dug
his ore, taken it all the way back to Jerusalem, taken across country,
especially where he didn’t have conditions ideal for refining the
metals? Whereas here it was all readily at
Now the Word of God has demonstrated
again that this man was
indeed smart. His refined metals he
would then transport. He traded for
peacocks and gold. Gold was so common in
Solomon’s constructions that it became practically a base metal. He had so much of it. Now
that was wealth. He was wealthy, he was
smart, and he was very
The critics like to claim that Daniel
was mistaken—in error. They said
that Daniel really lived during the
Babylonian and Persian Empire periods.
He didn’t know that Nabonidus was the last
emperor of Babylon. But the book of Daniel
says that Belshazzar
was the last ruler, and he ended up that night with the handwriting on
when the Persians came in under the wall and conquered Babylon. So they claimed that Daniel was written
during the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments.
A university professor, Dr. Dougherty found
some cuneiform tablets, and for a long time this was one of the
favorite attacks on the Bible—the big mistake that Daniel had
made. Then lo and behold Dr. Dougherty in
the cuneiform form tables discovered that indeed Nabonidus was the last
Babylon, but that he did not care to rule so he appointed his son
co-ruler, and Nabonidus went off to work on the Hanging Gardens, and
ran the kingdom. For this reason, Daniel
was absolutely accurate when Belshazzar said, “If you can
hand-writing on the wall, Daniel, I’ll make you third in the
kingdom.” They used to joke about
that too—third ruler
in the kingdom. Because Nabonidus the
father was the number one ruler, Belshazzar was the number two ruler,
Daniel would have had to been number three.
The critics were wrong.
One more is grammatical inaccuracy. Errors in grammar are usually departure from
customary usage. The writers of the Bible
were not trying to imitate classical style.
You know that language usage changes over the years. What may be once standard form now becomes
wrong form. What may be wrong may now
become correct. God used the language
style of the human authors to communicate His word in a way that people
understand. Whatever grammatical
structures that author would normally use, if it communicated the
of the Word of God, that’s what He used, and that’s what
the spirit of God
permitted him to use.
So the Bible contains the living
speech of people to whom it
was addressed, and grammatical forms were varied from the norm as per
individual writer. For this reason we
have the Bible in the speech of intelligent educated men, in the speech
shepherds, some of it in poetry, and some of it in prose, but it is all
inspired and it all communicates accurately the divine message.
John E. Danish, 1971
to the Basic Bible Doctrine index
the Bible Questions index