The Internal Evidence of Inerrancy, Part 2


By Bob Courtney. Read Part 1.

Today, the truth of God’s Word is not believed by a vast portion of our society. We have moved from the idea that truth is whatever you think truth to be to the belief that there is no truth. How do we reach such a generation? The answer is in our understanding of the inerrancy of Scripture. “The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible’s own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.”3

So, we stand firmly on what God has said in His own Word concerning itself. Psalm 19 states,

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. (Ps 19:7-9)

God’s Word is declared to be perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, and true. Such a Word is capable of restoring, making wise, rejoicing the heart, enlightening the eyes, and enduring forever. Essential results most needed in ministry today.

How often we, as pastors, need to reset our focus by a journey through Psalm 119. Among the forest of statements about God’s Word is the fact that “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven” (Ps 119:89). Upon this basis, Jesus prayed for His disciples and future followers as well in the significant prayer recorded in John 17:14-17,

I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

Jesus states that God’s Word is truth. Present tense. Not “was truth,” nor “could contain truth,” nor “might be truth.” It is and continually exists as truth. And such truth would separate (sanctify) God’s faithful followers in a world dominated by the evil one.

Another fact declared in God’s Word is that our belief in the gospel message is anchored in the truth that we have received in Scripture. Paul’s argument in the magnificent fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians is a testimony that the important beliefs we proclaim are given as authority and upon them we have our hope. As stated in The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy,

Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives.4

The truth Paul proclaimed in the early verses of 1 Corinthians 15 shows quickly that these were not his words, but God’s Word, as recorded in the Scriptures.

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Cor 15.1-4)

Paul preached from the Scriptures. The Corinthian believers stood on the Scriptures. They were saved because of the Scriptures. They were even holding fast to them.5

Paul did not proclaim from a position of experience or even use his own apostolic authority to make such a statement. God’s Word recorded it without error or fault and thus it was sufficient to stand upon. The burial and the resurrection of Christ were also declared in the same fashion. If the First Epistle to the Corinthians were written in 56 AD,6 then Paul’s letter predates the writing of the Gospels.

Yet, the truth of the passage is not found in the narrative of these Gospels alone, but in the authority of the Old Testament Scriptures. That Christ died for our sins is recorded in Isaiah 53, “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities” (Is 53:5). That Christ was buried in a rich man’s tomb is also declared in Isaiah 53, “His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death” (Is 53:9). The chapter does not finish until it gives a glimpse of the resurrection as well, “If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand” (Is 53:10).

It would be hard to identify these verses as anything less than the resurrection since there are the statements of seeing offspring and prolonging days after He has died. Interestingly, those who deny inerrancy have issues with the book of Isaiah as well. How appropriate that Paul would reference passages from the prophet Isaiah as well as others texts the Old Testament to affirm the truth of the gospel He proclaimed. He did not need to explain that the Scriptures were true. He simply declared them as true.

The Word of God declares its own inerrancy. It affirms it with direct statements of passages in the Old Testament and declarations from Jesus in the Gospels and with apostolic authority from the Epistles. Upon these biblical truths our doctrine is based. From it we preach and teach with authority to a world that can’t or won’t identify truth. Our generation of IFCA men has been given a precious truth—the inerrancy of God’s Word. Proclaim the truth with God’s authority. Remember that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Ro 10:17). Our ministries must be anchored to the inerrant Word of God.


3 R.C. Sproul, Norman L. Geisler, Explaining Biblical Inerrancy: The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, Hermeneutics, and Application with Official ICBI Commentary, (Arlington, TX: Bastion Books, 2013), 5.

4 Ibid.

5 The Greek phrase ei katechete speaks of the present reality of their ‘holding fast’ rather than a hopeful potential that they might as suggested by ‘if you hold fast’ in our English translations. I prefer the phrase ‘since you hold fast’ and find it much more encouraging about the Corinthian believer’s understanding of the Word. Paul had delivered to them the facts that Christ had died for our sins ‘according to the Scriptures.’

6 The author agrees with the dating given in the Ryrie Study Bible: Charles Ryrie, The Ryrie Study Bible, New American Standard Bible, (Chicago, Moody Publishers, 1977), 1726.

Dr. Robert Courtney is the Pastor of Hillsdale Bible Church (Hillsdale, OK) and President of Doulos Language and Bible Institute.