But is the Bible really "God's Word?"
The historic Christian church's faith in the inerrancy of Scripture (in the original manuscripts) is established, at least in part, on the basis of Christ's view of Scripture. At the very least, Jesus is considered authoritative by even non-Christians, and a great prophet by other religions. If these affirmations are correct, we must acquiesce to what Jesus said. Jesus affirmed some 75 times that the Scriptures cannot be broken and are reliable down to even the smallest notation of language ("jot and tittle" as it is translated in the King James Version).
Norman Geisler (in the Halverson book listed in the resource section) lists these criteria for establishing if a book was from God: (1) It would claim to be God's Word. (2) It would be historically accurate when it speaks on historical matters. (3) The authors would be trustworthy. (4) The book would be thematically unified and without contradictions. (5) We would have received accurate copies of the original manuscripts. (6) It would make statements that would reveal knowledge about the way things work beyond the knowledge of its day. (7) It would make predictions about the future that could not be known through natural means. (8) The message would be unique. (9) The messengers would be confirmed by miracles. (10) The words would have a transforming power.
Only the Bible meets these tests. If there is, in fact, an all-sovereign, loving God, is it not reasonable for Him to have left us a guide book as an insight to Him?
Or consider this logic: The Bible speaks of condemnation of all people as sinners. Would individuals have written these words, thus condemning themselves?
When interpreting the Bible, "Scripture interprets Scripture." All passages on a topic should be analyzed together, along with the context of the passages and the rest of the Bible. When so analyzed, we find no contradictions or errors in the Bible. We at Faith Facts have been studying the Bible for over 30 years and have not found any seriously problematic passages.
It is helpful to appreciate that the Bible, while truly divinely inspired, is a human book with human characteristics, human perspectives, human interests, human thought patterns and emotions. God used people to write the Bible. Each writer had their own particular writing style, while the message is from God. We should keep in mind that the Bible uses different literary devices, including poetry, parables, hyperbole, allegories, case studies, satire, metaphors and other figures of speech. To say that the Bible is God's Word is not to believe in a "dictation theory" in which the biblical writers wrote down word-for-word what God dictated. Even conservative evangelical Christians reject that idea.
Like other human communication, the Bible should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. We should not assume that the unexplained is not explainable. We should not confuse our fallible interpretation with God's infallible revelation.
Over time, what the Bible says has been largely verified as accurate and worthy of trust. This gives us confidence that the things it says that are more difficult to verify, are also true. If someone continually makes statements to you that you can check out and verify, you will grow to have confidence that other things he says are true as well.
Christians are confident that one's belief in the Bible as God's Word and the final authority for faith and life is documented and well founded. This conclusion has never been more valid in all of history than it is today.
A note to our liberal Christian friends who may say that they are Christians, but question the authority of the Bible. At the very least, the Bible must be a basically reliable and trustworthy historical document. Without this basis one's claim to be a Christian would be suspect or even irrational, since almost everything we know about Jesus is from the Bible.
Faith Facts agrees with those in the historic orthodox tradition that the Bible is without error in the original manuscripts. We affirm no creed or confession outside the Bible, but find the Chicago Statement on Bible Inerrancy helpful in explaining the concept of inerrancy.