Did Jesus Christ Believe Inerrancy of Scripture?

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BIBLE DIFFICULTIES
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 160 books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

The first formulations of the doctrine of inerrancy had not been established according to the authority of a council, creed, or church, until the post-Reformation period. The critic would argue how could Jesus have believed in a view that was not in existence until 1,500 years after his life. When we look at all that Jesus had to say about Scripture, we can say Jesus believes in what defines the Inerrancy of Scripture view, which is believing in the view itself. Inerrancy of Scripture is the belief that the Bible is without error or fault in all its teaching. Scripture in the original manuscripts does not have any errors, mistakes, or contradictions in all that it affirms. This was the view of Jesus Christ based on his teachings.

All disciples of Jesus Christ should agree that all that he taught is true. Clearly, Jesus Christ not only knew that the original Scriptures of the Old Testament were inerrant, but he also taught this by what he said. Therefore, whoever claims to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, should also agree that the Scriptures are inerrant.  Yes, what Jesus said about Scripture could only apply to the OT Scriptures, as the NT books did not yet exist. Jesus’ foreknowledge would also enable him to know that the original New Testament Scriptures were to be inerrant as well. How can you have inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16), moved along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21), and not have inerrancy of Scripture?

Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy with Exposition

Inerrancy of Scripture was the prevailing Jewish belief of Jesus’ day. Jesus was recognized as a first-century Jewish teacher or rabbi (Matt. 23:8; Mark 9:5; John 1:38; etc.), even by his enemies the Jewish religious leaders. Inerrancy of Scripture is stated or implied in Jesus’ sayings in all four Gospels. If we were to add up all that Jesus said in the four Gospels it would be about a 3-hour sermon. Jesus makes over 120 references to the OT Hebrew Scriptures.

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The Gospels has Jesus frequently using the formula “it is written” to introduce quotations from Scripture. This formula appears in (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10, cf. Luke 4:4, 8, 10; Matt. 11:10, cf. Luke 7:27; Matt. 21:13; 26:24, 31; Mark 9:12-13; 11:17; 14:21, 27; Luke 19:46; John 6:45),  Then, we have a similar formula, “Have you not read…?” (Matt. 12:3, 5; 19:4; 21:16, 42; 22:31; Mark 12:10, 26; Luke 6:3). These sayings treat the Old Testament Scriptures as completely authoritative revelations from God. Jesus read from Isaiah 61 in the synagogue on the Sabbath and then said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16-21) The entire account shows us that Jesus thought of Scripture in the usual Jewish way of his day, as inerrant and authoritative.

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In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matt. 5:17-18) Luke has: “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter in the Law to fall.” (Luke 16:17) Jesus’ confirmation of the authority of even the smallest letter or stroke of a letter of the Law emphasizes preserving every letter and particle of the Hebrew text.

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Jesus responded to the Pharisees’ criticism that his disciples were breaking the Sabbath, Jesus cited the Scripture of David and his companions eating the sacred bread that was for the temple priests (Matt. 12:1-5; Mark 2:25-26; Luke 6:3-4). Jesus taught that the book of Jonah was factual. (Matt. 12:39-41; Luke 11:29-30) Jesus quoted Isaiah’s hard saying about Israel hearing and not understanding to explain why he spoke in parables. (Matt. 13:13-15; cf. Mark 4:11-12) Jesus scolded the Pharisees for promoting their traditions over the word of God in Scripture: “He answered them, ‘And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, “Honor your father and your mother” [Ex. 21:17], and, “Whoever curses father or mother must surely die” [Lev. 20:9]. But you say that whoever tells father or mother, “Whatever support you might have had from me is given to God,’” then that person need not honor the father. So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God. You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said: “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.”’” (Matt. 15:3-9; cf. Mark 7:6-13)

Belief In the Doctrine of [Absolute] Inerrancy of Scripture Is THE Identifying Mark of a True Christian

John 10:34-35. Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, … to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be nullified).” Jesus referred to Psalm 82:6 as both “the word of God” and “Scripture.” Moreover, Jesus said that “Scripture cannot be nullified” (broken).

It is unbreakable Another biblical claim for inspiration is that the written word is unbreakable, or infallible. Jesus said to the Jews, to whom He had quoted from Psalm 82, “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Edward J. Young has put it,

The force of his argument is very clear, and it may be paraphrased as follows: “what is stated in this verse from the psalms is true because this verse belongs to that body of writings known as Scripture, and the Scripture possesses an authority so absolute in character that it cannot be broken.” When Christ here employs the word Scripture, he has in mind, therefore, not a particular verse in the psalms, but rather the entire group of writings of which this one verse is a part.

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For Jesus, then, inspiration meant a divinely authoritative and unbreakable writing.

It is irrevocable. Another claim for inspired writings is that their message is irrevocable. The Bible states, “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished” (Matt. 5:18). Again, “But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail” (Luke 16:17). The claim is unequivocal; the message of the written word, including the smallest letters, must be fulfilled. In a similar claim, Jesus included the whole Old Testament, section by section, as He said, “All the things that are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44). Peter added these words: “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold” (Acts 1:16).

It has final authority The biblical writers and Jesus Himself claim that the written word is the final arbitrator in matters of faith and practice. Jesus quoted the Old Testament Scriptures with finality when resisting the tempter (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10). He used the Old Testament decisively to settle the question about the resurrection in His answer to the Pharisees (21:42) and in vindicating His authority to cleanse the Temple (Mark 11:17).[1]

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Matthew 5:17-18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 “Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets; I came not to destroy, but to fulfill. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one iota or one point[58] shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Luke 16:17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to go unfulfilled.

In Matthew and Mark, we are told that the Pharisees said to Jesus that Moses permitted them to give their wives divorce papers. (Deut. 24:1-4) Jesus’ response wasn’t that the text was inaccurate or invalid, or that Moses was mistaken, but rather, Jesus with the authority to do so was altering what God the Father by way of Moses had permitted the stiff-necked Israelites to do. “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of your hardness of heart.” (Matt. 19:7-8; cf. Mark 10:4-5). Jesus reinforced his words by quoting Genesis (Matt. 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9).

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Luke 16:31 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’”

“Moses and the Prophets” was an expression that meant the entire Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures, which is viewed here by Jesus as the authoritative word of God. 

Matthew 22:31-33; Mark 12:26-27; Luke 20:37-38: “And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God.” A quotation from Exodus.

Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS

Matthew 22:29; Mark 12:24: “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God”

Matthew 22:44; cf. Mark 12:36: “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? David was inspired when he wrote Psalm 110.

Matthew 23:23; cf. Luke 11:42-43: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, … have neglected the weightier matters of the law… These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”

Matthew 26:54, 56; cf. Mark 14:49; Luke 22:37: “How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way? . . . But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets” 

John 13:18: “the Scripture must be fulfilled”

[1] Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, Rev. and expanded. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), 51–52.

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