Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
Bookmark and Share

The Inerrancy of Scripture


Clement of Rome (fl. c.90-100): "Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit. Observe that nothing of an unjust or counterfeit character is written in them" (I Clement, xlv).

Clement of Alexandria (c.155-c.220): "... truly holy are those letters that sanctify and deify; and the writings or volumes that consist of these holy letters or syllables, the same apostle consequently calls ‘inspired by God ...’"

Irenaeus (fl. c.175-c.195): "[We are] most properly assured that the Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God and His Spirit ... all Scripture, which has been given to us by God, shall be found by us perfectly consistent ..." (Against Heresies, II, xxviii).

Gregory of Nazianzus (c.329-388): "We trace the accuracy of the Spirit in detail to each separate stroke and letter; for it is blasphemous to suppose that exact pains were bestowed by the compilers of the Books, or even the smallest letters, without design."

Basil the Great (330-379): "No single syllable of the sacred writings is to be neglected." "Every word or action must be accepted on the testimony of inspired Scripture."

Chrysostom (c.344/354-407): "There is divergence in the historical narratives of the Gospels ... but there is no contradiction."

Augustine (354-430): "Lord, surely your scripture is true, for you, being truthful and Truth itself, have produced it ... ‘O man, what my scripture says, I say’" (Confessions, XIII, xxix). "I believe most firmly that no one of those authors has erred in any respect in writing" (Epistle LXXXII). "I have learned to hold the Scriptures alone inerrant." "The Faith will totter if the authority of the Holy Scriptures loses its hold on men. We must surrender ourselves to the authority of Holy Scripture, for it can neither mislead nor be misled." "Freely do I admit to you, my friend, that I have learnt to ascribe to those Books which are of Canonical rank, and only to them, such reverence and honour, that I firmly believe that no single error due to the author is found in any one of them." "... the evangelists are free from all falsehood, both from that which proceeds from deliberate deceit, and that which is the result of forgetfulness."

Luther (1483-1546, German Reformer): "The Scriptures have never erred." "Every word of the Bible is God’s word, and therefore the Bible is without error."

William Whitaker (1547-1595, Anglican): "Whereas, therefore, no one may say that any infirmity could befall the Holy Spirit, it follows that the sacred writers could not be deceived, or err, in any respect. Here, then, it becomes us to be so scrupulous as not to allow that any such slip can be found in scripture ... it is the special prerogative of scripture, that it never errs" (Disputations on Holy Scripture, pp. 37, 40).

William Perkins (1558-1602, the "father of English Puritanism"): "The purity of Scripture lies in the fact that it stands complete in itself, without either deceit or error:  'The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times' (Ps. 12:6)" (The Art of Prophesying, p. 10).

William Ames (1576-1633, English Puritan): "Only those could set down the rule of faith and conduct, who were in that matter free from all error because of the direct and infallible direction they had from God" (The Marrow of Theology, pp. 185-186).

Johann Andreas Quenstedt (1617-1688, German Lutheran): "The canonical Holy Scriptures in the original text are the infallible truth and are free from every error; in other words, in the canonical sacred Scriptures there is found no lie, no falsity, no error, not even the least, whether in subject matter or expressions, but in all things and all the details that are handed down in them, they are most certainly true, whether they pertain to doctrines or morals, to history or chronology, to topography or nomenclature. No ignorance, no thoughtlessness, no forgetfulness, no lapse of memory can dare be ascribed to the amanuenses of the Holy Ghost in their penning of the Sacred Writings."

Francis Turretin (1623-1687, Genevan Theologian): "For since nothing false can be an object of faith, how could the Scriptures be held as authentic and reckoned divine if liable to contradiction and corruptions?" (Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. 1, p. 71).

George Hutcheson, 1618-1674 (Scottish Presbyterian): "Albeit men who do not reject the scripture will be very assiduous to wrest and throw it to countenance their opinions and ways, and to bring their light to it rather than seek light in it, yet its verdict doth stand unalterable; for ‘the scripture cannot be broken,’ or loosed; that sentence, that they are gods, cannot be annulled, let men cavil or gloss it as they will" (Comm. on John 10:35) .

Louis Gaussen (1790-1863, Swiss Reformed): "The ancient Church, viewing the whole Scripture as an utterance, on the part of God, addressed to man, and dictated by the Holy Ghost, has ever maintained that there is NOTHING ERRONEOUS, nothing useless, nothing superfluous there; and that in this divine work, as in that of creation, one may always recognise, amid the richest plenty, the greatest and the wisest economy" (Theopneustia, p. 146).

Adolphe Monod (1802-1856, French): "The more I study the Scriptures, the example of Christ, and of the apostles, and the history of my own heart, the more I am convinced, that a testimony of God, placed without us and above us, exempt from all intermixture of sin and error which belong to a fallen race, and received with submission on the sole authority of God, is the true basis of faith."

B. B. Warfield (1851-1921, American Theologian): "Thus in every way possible, the church has borne her testimony from the beginning, and still in our day, to her faith in the divine trustworthiness of her Scriptures, in all their affirmations of whatever kind. At no age has it been possible for men to express without rebuke the faintest doubt as to the absolute trustworthiness of their least declaration ... The church has always believed her Scriptures to be the book of God, of which God was in such a sense the author that every one of its affirmations of whatever kind is to be esteemed as the utterance of God, of infallible truth and authority" (Works, I, pp. 57-58). "The authority which cannot assure of a hard fact is soon not trusted for a hard doctrine ... Historically, [this] is attested by the driftage of every school of thought which has sought to find a ground of faith in any lower [view] than the Church’s doctrine of a plenary inspired Bible" (Works, I, p. 181). "It is not enough to point to passages difficult to harmonize; they cannot militate against verbal inspiration unless it is not only impossible for us to harmonize them, but also unless they are of such a character that they are clearly contradictory, so that if one be true the other cannot by any possibility be true. No such case has as yet been pointed out ... We repeat, then, that all the fierce light of criticism which has so long been beating upon their open pages has not yet been able to settle one indubitable error on the New Testament writers" (Works, I, pp. 421, 422-423).

Harold Lindsell, American: "There is no evidence to show that errancy was ever a live option in the history of Christendom for eighteen hundred years in [any] branch of the Christian church that had not gone off into aberrations" (The Battle for the Bible, p. 69).