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Our Credible Bible 3: Inerrancy and Textual Variants

Posted in Our Credible Bible

Our Credible Bible (Lesson 3)

Inerrancy and Textual Variants

Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall

Throughout church history, believers have considered the Scriptures to be accurate and reliable, both historically and theologically. Many words have been used to try to express this belief in concise, precise form. The two most common terms of late have been “infallible” and “inerrant”.

Infallible refers to the unfailing nature of Scripture. It will not let us down. If we are sad, it comforts us. When tempted, it strengthens us. When lost, it saves us. If doubting, it assures us. When we stray, it rebukes us. When discouraged, it encourages us. When worried, it brings us peace.

The Bible is a reliable, sufficient, trustworthy guide for us in our daily lives. It will never misdirect us. It will accomplish the purposes God meant for it to achieve; it won’t return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11).

“Inerrant” means without error, wholly true. The Bible verses being considered are deemed to be true, not false. We will never be led into error by anything it teaches. Baptist confessions have often conveyed this concept by saying the Bible has “truth for its matter, with no mixture of error.”

The word inerrant refers only to the original documents, never to copies. Since we do not, as best we know, have originals, some people do not like the term inerrant, but belief in iner

Our Credible Bible 2: Why These 66 Books?

Posted in Our Credible Bible

Our Credible Bible (Lesson 2)

Why These 66 Books?

Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall

Thanks to the Dead Sea Scrolls we know we have a reliable record of the books Jesus and the early believers deemed Scripture. At this point, we would be well served to consider why we accept the 39 Old Testament books, but not the Apocrypha, as Scripture. We reject the Apocrypha because Jesus said the prophets, a common way for referring to Holy Writ in His day, went from Abel to Zechariah (Luke 11:50-51). Abel was killed in Genesis; Zechariah was killed near the end of the book of Chronicles, which is the last book in the Hebrew Old Testament.

Once convinced of the makeup of the Old Testament, our next issue to face is; why have a New Testament at all? Why did we not stop with the 39 Old Testament books? Why did early believers, who obviously believed the Old Testament books were Scripture, feel a need to add any more books?

Two answers are very plausible. One, Jesus had promised to send His disciples the Holy Spirit, who would make them remember Jesus’ teaching (JN 14:26), testify about Christ (15:26), and lead them into all truth (16:13).

Two, the Old Testament was a collection of open-ended books. Many of them ended looking ahead to a time when God would restore His people, and send Messiah. For instance, Jeremiah and Ezekiel predicted a coming new covenant. Other Old Testament bo