The Inerrant Word of God

Neil Girrard
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Scriptures Referenced in This Article:
          (Follow the Scripture links if you want to study the Scriptures for yourself.)
Num. 23:22 π Jdgs. 21:25 π Isa. 34:14 π Mt. 13:38 π Mt. 17:5 π Mt. 24:4 π Mt. 24:12 π Mt. 26:14 π Lk. 8:11 π Lk. 11:52 π Jn. 1:1-4 π Jn. 1:14 π Jn. 5:37-40 π Jn. 10:27 π Jn. 14:6 π Jn. 15:26 π Jn. 16:13 π Acts 17:30 π Acts 20:30 π 1 Cor. 1:10 π 1 Cor. 12:13 π 1 Cor. 15:10 π Eph. 4:3 π 2 Ths. 2:3 π 2 Ths. 2:12 π 1 Tim. 4:1 π 2 Tim. 2:17 π 2 Tim. 4:3-4 π 2 Tim. 4:4 π Tit. 1:9 π Tit. 2:1 π Heb. 2:1-3 π Heb. 4:12-13 π Jas. 1:21; 2nd π Jas. 1:22 π 1 Jn. 2:20-21 π 1 Jn. 2:24 π 1 Jn. 2:27 π 3 Jn. 9 π Rev. 17:5 π Rev. 20:11-12
Greek Words Mentioned in This Article
Assembly, “Church” (KJV)Ekklesia – [1577] π Fablesmuthos – [3454]

Paul prophesied, “The time will come when…they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables (Greek, myths [ 3454 ])” ( 2 Tim. 4:3-4 ) Today we are seeing this prophecy fulfilled in mainstream “Christianity” on such a widespread scale that it is all but impossible to conclude that this is the time of the apostasy, the great falling away from the faith that occurs before Christ’s return ( 2 Ths. 2:3; top ) In order to see this, though, we must first understand what Paul actually said and meant. To do this, we will examine one of the currently popular myths of churchianity – the inerrant Word of God.

To be inerrant is to be “free from error, infallible.” (Webster’s) Where do we find this inerrant Word of God? Is it the 1611 King James Bible (KJV), the so-called Authorized Version? In order for the KJV to be the inerrant Word of God, we must find absolutely no errors whatsoever. We need look no further than the words “satyr” (mythological half-goats, half-human beings – Isa. 34:14 , etc.) and “unicorn” (mythical one-horned horses – Num. 23:22 , etc.; top) to find error within the KJV text. We find further error embedded in the KJV when we discover that King James himself specifically and arbitrarily commanded his translators to “keep certain old words” in the text. He specially singled out the word “church,” whose primary meaning is that of a building wherein religious rites and rituals are practiced (a meaning more comparable to “temple”), to translate the Greek “ekklesia” [ 1577 ], a word that refers only and entirely to the people who now have certain responsibilities because they now belong to Christ and God. These few errors (and there are more) are enough to tell us, if we will admit the obvious truth, that the KJV is not the inerrant Word of God.

Is it the New American Standard Bible (NASB)? The NASB keeps all Old Testament quotes in the archaic familiar (“thee” and “thou,” etc.) as if that were the only proper way to speak to God. What about the New International Version (NIV)? The NIV refuses to capitalize the personal pronouns for God or Jesus but will capitalize for things like “the Twelve.” ( Mt. 26:14 , etc.) Is the Amplified Version the inerrant Word of God? The Amplified takes up Charles Williams’ notion that grace is only the “unmerited favor” of God, often omitting the fact that His grace is also His power by which He works through men. ( 1 Cor. 15:10 , etc.; top) And each of these perpetuate the KJV’s error regarding “church” which even William Tyndale (the brilliant, gifted, even graced interpreter whose work comprises some 90% of the KJV) translated ekklesia most often as “congregation” or “assembly.” What about the latest editions of the Nestle-Aland and United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testaments? Aside from the fact that these are only accessible to those fluent in Koine Greek (a fact that immediately disqualifies these from being the Word of God to everyman!), a quick perusal of the copious footnotes quickly shows the large number of variations there are in the Greek texts.

No, we cannot find the inerrant Word of God entirely encapsulated in any one of these versions of the Bible – nor in any other. We need only find one error, however textually inconsequential, to dismiss that text as the inerrant Word of God. We only think to look to any of these because we have turned the idea of the inerrant Word of God, which is a valid New Testament concept, into a myth. Many self-proclaimed “Christians” and “Bible scholars” will be horrified at the truths already spoken here about their own preferred version of the Bible, yet these statements remain truth nonetheless. Those who can only see the strengths of their favored version and not its weaknesses, are guilty of the idolatry known as Bible worship.

The chief fallacy that turns the concept of the inerrant Word of God into a myth is that we unconsciously confuse our Bibles with the Word of God.

Let us return to Paul’s prophecy: “…they will turn their ears away from the truth…” ( 2 Tim. 4:4 ) Jesus said, “When the Helper comes, [the Holy Spirit] whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” ( Jn. 15:26 ) and “when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth.” ( Jn. 16:13 ) That same Spirit of truth prompted Paul to write, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…” ( 1 Tim. 4:1 ) What Paul is prophesying here is that people will no longer seek the truth of the Word of God from the Spirit of truth but will instead heap up teachers who will have forgotten or forsaken “sound doctrine” (see Tit. 2:1 and following), they will teach myths (like the Bible as the inerrant Word of God) that cause the listeners’ ears to be soothed and scratched because now they don’t need to personally appear before a holy God who commands them to repent. (see Acts 17:30 ) or who expects them to actually do anything besides listen. (see Jas. 1:22 ) They are no longer guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit of truth but instead choose, according to their own preferences, whatever “doctrines” seem right and good in their own eyes. ( Jdgs. 21:25 , 2 Ths. 2:12; top ) The subtle snare of this method of learning the Bible is that whatever truths one acquires become a replacement of Him who is the Word of God. God will indeed honor even this kind of misguided seeking after Him for a time but there will quickly come the time when we must choose whether to follow Christ’s Spirit of truth or our own intellect and reason. Paul, as did other New Testament writers, clearly prophesied that many, even most, in the end time, would make the wrong choice.

Believing this myth that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God deposits a person directly back where the Pharisees were. Jesus said, “And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” ( Jn. 5:37-40; top ) Whereas the “church”-ite might be able to see how this applied to the Pharisee, most remain unable to see how it applies to themselves. Many “churches” and “theologians” go so far as to ridicule the notions that a believer even can hear the voice of Jesus – there are many self-serving reasons for this but the deepest bottom line may very well be that it challenges their status as their own “God.” For whatever reason in each individual, where one does not hear the voice of God, that one does not abide, that one does not truly believe (as is evidenced by their refusal to let God be God in their own lives). These may be expert “theologians” and “Bible scholars,” but they do not have eternal life because they do not turn away from their own carnal ability to know, reason and understand spiritual truths and turn to Jesus to change them.

The inerrant Word of God is the Spirit of truth. Rules of translation and interpretation may have their usefulness, to be sure, but they are not God! Any reading of the New Testament’s quotes from the Old Testament quickly shows that the Spirit of truth is not bound by any man-made rules of interpretation.

The Balance

As with every aspect of New Testament truth, there is a check or a balance which keeps the truth from being taken too far in any one direction. In fact, there are two checks or balances that weigh against these truths about the Word of God. The first is the universality of the gift of the Holy Spirit to all believers. We “have all [that is, all who have truly been born into God’s family] been made to drink of one Spirit.” ( 1 Cor. 12:13 ) And John wrote, “You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. …let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. …the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” ( 1 Jn. 2:20-21 , 24 , 27; top )

As with any passage that touches upon all, the application of these truths will depend on the condition of the individual. There are at least three categories of individuals to whom this passage applies:

  1. the young believer who would wisely steer away from modern errors,

  2. the older believer who has come under and been diverted away, in varying degrees of amount, from a pure experience of faith and life in Christ, and

  3. the older believer who has truly lived his or her life by personally interacting with and following the Spirit of truth, unswayed and unmoved by the doctrines and movements of men.

In the first category, the application is to simply look back to the first spiritual encounter one had with Christ, when one knew that this was truly an interaction with the divine. That implanted Word ( Jas. 1:21 ) is Christ Jesus Himself. Hear Him! ( Mt. 17:5 , Heb. 2:1-3 ) Those in the third category, who truly have never strayed from the implanted Word in spite of the traditions, practices and teachings of men, are those who might well qualify to be a genuine elder in the body of Christ ( Tit. 1:9; top ) and are not likely to need any instruction in this regard, though the confirmation of their life’s path may be refreshing to them.

But those in the second category, those who have allowed their minds and thinking to be corrupted, who have followed after strange gods (their “pastor,” their own pet doctrines, their denomination’s “distinctives,” their own preferred “theology,” etc.), will need to surrender afresh and anew all that they think they know back to Christ Jesus, the Word of God who is the way, the truth and the life ( Jn. 14:6; top ), so that He can re-instruct them as to what in their knowledge and beliefs is true, what is false and what is some kind of mixture of the two. Only in this way can one recover from confusing the Bible with the inerrant Word of God and it is extremely easy to begin this healing, transformative process but not complete it.

Because we are in the time of the end, lawlessness (men doing what is right in their own eyes) will abound. ( Mt. 24:12 ) Men believing themselves to be “Christians” but who believe in and follow, not the Christ but instead follow those ideas and concepts about Christ and God which appeals to their own personality, already fill – and run – the “churches” which in turn falsely claim to be the authentic, visible expressions of the right way to follow Christ and God. This fact alone makes it extremely difficult to find any group of people who can enter into the second check or balance against the unrestrained usage of “the Word of the Lord” (that label used to justify what any one person might claim to be from the Spirit of God, whether genuinely so or not): the unanimity of the Spirit. ( Eph. 4:3 ) Because all those who truly learn from and follow the Spirit of truth hear the voice of the Lord ( Jn. 10:27 ), we can rely on the unanimity (one mind, one judgment – 1 Cor. 1:10 ) of the Spirit to weed out rogues who seek to build their own kingdoms and draw followers away from Christ and after themselves, as the modern “pastor” and the historical “bishop” has done since shortly after the time of Paul. ( Acts 20:30 ) It is precisely because lawless “theologians” and self-proclaimed “Bible scholars” (tares, sons of the devil – Mt. 13:38; top ) are allowed to co-mingle (changing the meeting from a sacred assembly of true ekklesia into a mixed multitude of genuine believers with non-believers, pseudo-believers and/or mis-believers) that the unanimity of the Spirit cannot be found. This is the exact same reason there are so many denominational and sectarian splits fracturing both the “church” and the ekklesia.

Only when genuine followers of Christ’s Spirit of truth are gathered and unified by that Spirit will we see Christ’s true ekklesia. These people will demonstrate their genuine nature by faithfully attending to the affairs and needs of Christ’s kingdom for which the Spirit gathered them. So long as men bring together a mixed multitude, the only work the Spirit of God will be doing will be to purify and isolate those members capable of being genuine ekklesia so as to bring about the repentance (preferred) or removal (as necessary) of those non-believers, pseudo-believers and mis-believers who prevent the local or specialized assembly from being able to attain to the unanimity of the Spirit.

So long as elements of the prostitute ( Rev. 17:5 ) are confused with members of Christ’s body and bride, there will be no unanimity of the Spirit to counter the spurious use of “the word of the Lord” – and reliance upon the doctrines men have concocted over the centuries will only produce further division and sects. Thus, if there has been no focus on training and discipling all to hear the voice of the Shepherd through the leading of the Spirit of truth, there will not be the one accord that protects the assembly from every Diotrophes ( 3 Jn. 9 ) and Hymenaeus ( 2 Tim. 2:17; top ) who comes into our midst. We need not start any “witch hunts” for these sorts of people – that will only create “heretics” and “reprobates” where none truly exist. In any assembly where the Spirit of truth is genuinely followed, the separation and differences between the tares and the wheat will become readily apparent to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

Jesus’ warning about the sign of His return remains paramount: “Take heed that no one deceives you.” ( Mt. 24:4 ) Be led into all truth by His Spirit of truth – all else is mere deception. Only by following His Spirit of truth can we ever hope to find, know and follow He who is the inerrant Word of God. But if all we want is to have our ears soothed and scratched, we will continue to passively submit ourselves to demonized “pastoral” overlords who strut across the stage and posture themselves (literally and figuratively) behind their pulpits, standing between the people and God, neither entering the kingdom of Christ and God for themselves nor allowing others to do so either ( Lk. 11:52; top ), as they give forth teachings and “Bible studies” that perpetuate “Bible worship” as the Bible continues to take the place in our lives of the truly inerrant Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Let he who has ears hear.

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