What does it mean that the Bible is infallible?Question: "What does it mean that the Bible is infallible? What is biblical infallibility?"
Answer: The word infallible means “incapable of error.” If something is infallible, it is never wrong and thus absolutely trustworthy. Similarly, the word inerrant, also applied to Scripture, means “free from error.” Simply put, the Bible never fails.
The Bible claims to be infallible in 2 Peter 1:19, “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable.” Peter continues with a description of how Scripture came to be: “No prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20–21).
Also, we see infallibility implied in 2 Timothy 3:16–17, “All Scripture is God-breathed” and has the effect of producing servants of God who are “thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The fact that God “breathed” Scripture insures that the Bible is infallible, for God cannot breathe out error. The fact that the Bible equips God’s servants “thoroughly” for service shows that it guides us into truth, not error.
If God is infallible, then so will be His Word. The doctrine of Scripture’s infallibility is based on an understanding of God’s perfection of character. God’s Word is “perfect, refreshing the soul” (Psalm 19:7) because God Himself is perfect. Theologically, God is closely associated with His Word; the Lord Jesus is called “the Word” (John 1:14).
It should be noted that the doctrine of infallibility concerns only the original documents. Mistranslations, printing errors, and typos are obvious human mistakes and are easily spotted, most of the time. However, what the biblical writers originally wrote was completely free from error or omission, as the Spirit superintended their task. God is truthful and perfectly reliable (John 14:6; 17:3), and so is His Word (John 17:17).
The Bible claims complete (as opposed to partial) perfection in Psalm 12:6, Psalm 19:7, Proverbs 30:5, and many other places. It is factual throughout and, in fact, judges us (rather than vice-versa), “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
The Bible is the sole objective source of all God has given us about Himself and His plan for humanity. As God’s infallible Word, the Bible is inerrant, authoritative, reliable, and sufficient to meet our needs.
Recommended Resource: The Big Book of Bible Difficulties by Geisler & Howe
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