I have yet to have someone come up to me and question the inerrancy of the Bible. However, I have had members of the church youth group asked me “What if Christianity is not all true?” My initial response is to ask them if they have been reading their Bible, and if they have been praying. A healthy prayer life will increase their hunger for the Word and their capacity for faith. Through prayer, and an increase in faith, one can approach the test in a trusting manner, instead of as a skeptic.
We cannot always rely on external criteria to prove Biblical text, though it oftentimes does. Another response I give is to encourage them to participate in a deeper study of the Word. You should look at the Greek and Hebrew translations of certain challenging verses in order to better ascertain their meaning. The youth who question are wise, however, even in their unbelief, to seek council and understanding of God’s truths. Lastly, I often tell the youth to read the book “More than a Carpenter” (or at least the first chapter), which provides a Biblical argument for the existence and supreme authority of Jesus.
One must realize that, as stated in 2 Tim 3:16 that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. Adhering to the Verbal Plenary Theory of biblical inspiration, there is a dual authorship to the scriptures. God mysteriously superintended the process of writing; ensuring that every word recorded was what He wanted. As the text was translated, and recorded into new manuscripts, errors and redactions did occur. However, one must assert that this process was also divinely inspired, and thus, the Lord has a hand in every addition or redaction. When modern translations of the Bible are compared to the Masoretic Texts, some of the oldest copies of the Bible known to man, they are nearly identical. The Christian scribes showed great caution, often having multiple correctors read through their copies to check for errors.
The Holy Spirit is part of the Godhead, or trinity. Thus, the Holy Spirit is God. The Holy Spirit does, in fact, give the believer a greater cognitive understanding of the biblical text. However, one must make sure that they are digging deep into the verses to gain a better understanding of the meaning of the text. Many of the teachings on the bible arise out of self-interest. Again, I have not had any personal experience with someone who has defended their illegitimate interpretation of a passage by appealing to the Holy Spirit. I do believe that many people, however, take portions of the Bible to attach to their testimony, or to support their argument, though that verse is not what the Biblical author intended it to mean.
As 2 Peter 1:20-21 says,” Above all, you must understand that 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.” We must be careful to ensure that each detail we interpret from scripture is correct. One Sunday morning at Church, a man was giving his testimony. He said, however, that in Genesis 32, Jacob lost his wrestling match. Gen. 32:24-25 says “So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.” The interpretation given from the pulpit sought to fit the nature of the man’s testimony. Though the speaker’s message was meaningful and powerful, this detail was misconstrued to fit the nature of his message.
In situations such as this, I appeal to the scriptures to prove themselves. Oftentimes, scriptures that are difficult to understand can be cross-referenced for better understanding. Also, it is wise to seek council on verses that are not easily interpreted. Studying the Bible must begin with prayer and worship. We must desire to study the scriptures with due diligence in order to correctly interpret their meaning.