All evangelical Christians believe in Jesus Christ as the unique Son of God, and have accepted Him as their Savior and Lord. They seek to obey His great commission: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations. . . . Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: . . . Amen" (Matthew 28:19,20).
Therefore, we ought to teach His "all things" the same way He did. He is our authority for He Himself created all things (Colossians 1:16).
Among many other truths which He taught, there are two basic doctrines on which all the others depend. One is the verbal inerrancy of Scripture; the other is the special creation of all things by God in the beginning.
The problem is that many Christians, who believe these truths, disagree on what they mean. Therefore, on the assumption that all who really believe on the Lord Jesus Christ will accept His authority as to their meaning, let us look first at what He taught about the Bible, then at what He taught about creation.
In the days when He was on Earth, He had only the Old Testament, of course, but the gospel records make it clear that He accepted these Scriptures as coming without error from God. He quoted and referred to them often, always indicating that He accepted their records as true and authoritative.
For example, in answering a question about the vital issue of marriage and divorce, He simply quoted from the Genesis account of the first husband and wife, saying: "Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matthew 19:4-6).
Here the Lord was quoting from Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, the two complementary accounts of the creation of the first man and woman, accepting both accounts as true and compatible, and as establishing the divine pattern for all future marriages.
When resisting the three temptations by Satan in the wilderness, He defeated him merely by quoting an appropriate verse of Scripture (Matthew 4:4,7,10; citing Deuteronomy 8:3; 6:16; 10:20, respectively). "It is written," He said, and that settled it!
Christ accepted the verbal inspiration of the Bible—the words, not just the thoughts. Once the Jews were about to stone Him because, "Thou makest thyself God," He then quoted Psalm 82:6 in His defense. "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If He called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of Him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" (John 10:33-36). His argument depended entirely on the use of one word—"gods"—in Psalm 82:6). Christ believed in verbal inspiration!
Even more striking is His statement in Matthew 5:18. "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." The "jot" was the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and the "tittle" was a small mark used to distinguish between two similarly shaped letters. There could hardly be anywhere a stronger statement of inspiration of the Old Testament writings, and it was made by Christ Himself. All true Christians should hold the same high view of Biblical authority that He did.
As far as the New Testament is concerned, He assured us that His own words would be accurately preserved. "Heaven and earth shall pass away," He said, "but my words shall not pass away" (Mark 13:31). In fact, the writing of all the New Testament would be accomplished through the Holy Spirit. "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: . . . and He will shew you things to come" (John 16:13). "He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (John 14:26).
At the very end of the New Testament, Jesus speaks again: "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" (Revelation 22:18,19).
Note the emphasis on "the words of the book," not just the concepts. Lest anyone question whether these warnings came from Christ, the very next verse settles it: "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).
There is no doubt, therefore, that the Lord Jesus Christ believed and taught the absolute verbal inerrancy of all the Bible. Therefore, we who believe Him and seek to follow Him must do the same. All of His apostles, as well as His prophets of the Old Testament, did so, and so should we.
There are many other reasons, of course, for believing in the inspiration, infallibility, and authority of the Bible. Its writers (Moses, Isaiah, Paul, etc.) all claimed to be writing with such authority. The Bible contains hundreds of fulfilled prophecies and scores of remarkable scientific insights. Its historical records square with all the known facts of secular history. Its unique and powerful message of salvation was written by over forty different writers over a period of at least 1500 years, yet all parts are consistent with all others, with innumerable internal evidences of divine inspiration. There is no other book like this in the whole wide world!
But the greatest evidence of all is that Christ (the second Person of the Holy Trinity) accepted and taught its inerrant authority in all things!
He taught the historicity of Genesis, for example, especially the account of the creation, as we have already noted (see Matthew 19:3-8). He referred also to Abel's murder, speaking of "all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias" (Matthew 23:35).
He also accepted the historical reality of the worldwide Flood in the days of Noah: "As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all" (Luke 17:26,27). The notion that this event may have affected only a certain region is negated by His comparing it to His second coming. ". . . the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Matthew 24:39). If Christ believed in the global flood, our modern "progressive creationists" would do well to rethink their advocacy of a "local flood."
The Lord also taught the historicity of the catastrophic destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in the days of Abraham (Luke 17:29), the miraculous provision of manna to the children of Israel in the wilderness (John 6:32,29), the burning bush revelation to Moses (Luke 20:37), the incident of the brazen serpent in the wilderness (John 3:14), the unique wisdom of Solomon (Matthew 12:42), the amazing experience of Jonah in the belly of the whale (Matthew 12:40), the remarkable prophecies of Daniel (Matthew 24:15), and all the other "hard-to-believe" records of the Old Testament Scriptures.
He even taught the fact of a recent creation! "From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female," He said (Mark 10:6). That is, according to Christ (who was there) God made Adam and Eve at the beginning of His creation—not 4.6 billion years after the beginning, as many modern scientists (who were not there!) would have us believe.
The same truth of recent creation was also implied by Him in Luke 11:50 when He referred to "the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world." That is, God's prophets have been suffering bloody persecution since the very foundation of the world, not just starting 4.6 billion years after the beginning.
When Christ spoke of a coming period of "affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created" (Mark 13:19), He was implying that there had been many lesser afflictions on God's people in the world ever since the beginning.
We suggest that those Christians who question the truth of any portion of the Bible or who try to "wrest" the Scriptures (II Peter 3:16) to make them accommodate some current scientific claim or some "private interpretation" (II Peter 1:20) ask themselves if they are prepared to explain to the Lord their reasons for doing so. Remember that "every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Romans 14:12). Would it not be better in that day to have believed and taught what Christ believed and taught? With respect to the great historical records of early history, we need to remember His rebuke of the religious leaders of the time when He was on Earth. "If ye believe not [Moses] writings," He said, "How shall ye believe my words?" (John 5:47).
He said that "the Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). Evolutionists may try to break it; New Agers and occultists may try to break it; secularists and hedonists may try to break it; all manner of skeptics and even compromising Christians may try to break it. But The Scripture cannot be broken!
* Dr. Morris is Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.