Each week during worship, just before the sermon, our congregation sings a portion of the song “Speak O Lord” written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. It is one of my favorite parts of our liturgy. Week after week, through the ups and downs that accompany pastoral ministry, I look forward to this moment when I will hear a multi-generational and diverse congregation join with one voice and sing:
“… Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow’r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.”
As we prepare for the preaching of God’s Word, I sometimes listen to those around me and take in the fact that all of us in that moment are desiring the same thing. From the oldest to the youngest member, we want to be found in a spirit of humility, submission, and belief concerning the Scripture about to be shared. In these moments, we are training our congregation to recall that the entirety of the Scripture is without error or fault and is 100% trustworthy in all that it presents.
When the beauty of the doctrine of inerrancy is held fast and guarded by the pastors and leaders of the body of Christ, the implications can echo through the entire congregation. Here are a few practical areas where the doctrine of inerrancy can have an impact:
In the pulpit
The doctrine of inerrancy brings great humility to our sermon prep. On more than one occasion, I have gotten down the road with an idea about how I wanted to preach an upcoming sermon only to realize something I was seeing was not correct or needed further study. The inerrancy of Scripture guides and guards our sermons and allows us to train those in our care to study deeper than they may believe they can. The doctrine of inerrancy, together with exegetical and expository preaching, allows us to train our churches to know God more fully and trust Him more deeply so they can speak about Him most truly.
In our public discourse
Believers today need to reclaim what it means to be a people of the book. I have watched tearfully as friends have deconstructed their faith and, in many cases, it started with an abandoning of their belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. The beauty of this doctrine is that it does not find its roots in man’s understanding of God’s Word or in the development of the canon, but in the person of our triune God. God does not lie and there is no deceit found in Him. Therefore, His Word as the revelation of Himself to us cannot contain falsehood. The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy is helpful and clear, and I encourage you to consider making it a core document in your statement of beliefs. Two other resources to help train your church members how to confidently defend the validity of Scripture with their lost family and friends are Greg Gilbert’s book, Why Trust The Bible, and the documentary, “The God Who Speaks.”
In family discipleship
A father once approached me in our church because his teenager was questioning the Bible. He shared with me that in a moment of feeling defeated by the questions he could not answer, he told his kid, “Well, the Bible would be different if it was written today.” I quickly rebuked him and told him to never say that again. If I had left the conversation with just those harsh words, neither he nor his teenager would have a right understanding of Scripture. Instead, we carefully began to walk together through the beauty of the inerrancy and infallibility of God’s Word. We looked at passages like 2 Samuel 7:28, Psalm 119, and Proverbs 30:5-6. We started to draw lines in the sand with verses like Psalm 12:6 and Numbers 23:19. What began to take shape was a renewed and robust understanding of God’s nature. When God was understood more fully, the confidence in His Word was trusted more deeply. All the questions the student had were not answered, but his source of truth had been reclaimed to its rightful place in God. The doctrine of inerrancy can help families in your church live out the biblical mandate to make disciples of their children.
In our gospel proclamation
Salvation shines brightest in a church that holds fast to the doctrine of inerrancy. Because God’s Word is truth, His gospel can be believed, offering hope and rest for every weary and burdened sinner and every questioning skeptic. The doctrine of inerrancy propels followers of Christ to be bold, confident, and urgent proclaimers of the good news far and wide. Proverbs 25:25 says, “Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” The best news has come to us from the shores of heaven itself through the person and work of Jesus Christ, and the doctrine of inerrancy keeps us building the church until its completion.
Brother pastor, we need the perfect truth of God’s Word to be exalted above our leadership doubts, our worries for God’s people, and our own self-righteousness that too easily creeps into the corners of our heart. I pray the doctrine of inerrancy will echo through your congregation and be used by you to carry many into the halls of eternity.