Is the Bible the Inerrant Word of God

By R. A. Torrey

Chapter 5



"But know this, that in the last days grievous times shall come. . . . Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But abide thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Every scripture is inspired of God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work." — 2 Tim. 3:1, 12-17.

Our subject this morning is, "What to do with the Bible." You will find the text which contains the substance of what I have to say, in 2 Tim. 3:i, 12-17:— "But know this, that in the last days grievous times shall come . . . Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But abide thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Every Scripture is inspired of God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work." — 2 Tim. 3:i, 12-17.

Paul here tells Timothy of the "difficult times" that are coming, times of great peril and testing. He tells him of the certainty of persecution for those who are faithful to Christ Jesus. Then he tells of the great increase of evil men and subtle errorists, both deceiving themselves and also deceiving others. It is an exceedingly dark picture that he draws, but it is a very accurate and graphic picture of our own times. It is a startlingly accurate picture of our own times. It is a picture to fill one with apprehension and dismay, were Paul to stop here, but Paul did not stop here. No, he went on to say, in substance, "But, Timothy, even with these exceedingly dark days ahead, there is nothing to be afraid of, there is a path of perfect safety, though perils lie on every side. That path of safety is found in the study of, and trust in, and obedience to, the Holy Scriptures, which are "inspired of God" (that is, to translate more literally, "God-breathed"). However, many and however subtle false teachers may be, the Holy Scriptures are able to make thee wise unto salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus. Furthermore, Timothy, you can put perfect confidence in these Scriptures, for they are God-breathed, and are profitable for every needed use, for teaching, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness, and through the study of these, no matter how the night darkens and the perils increase, the man of God will be complete, furnished completely unto every good work."

We are living today in the days that Paul so accurately pictured nearly nineteen centuries ago — the evil men, the spiritual jugglers (which is the exact force of the word translated "impostors"), and spiritual impostors of all sorts, are increasing at an appalling rate, and they are becoming more and more cunningly, and more and more shamelessly, "worse and worse." You will find them wherever you go, in the country as well as the city, and in the foreign field as well as at home, in China and Japan and India as well as in America. How shall anyone who sincerely desires to serve God, and accomplish the very best results for Him, find safety? What shall he do? Our text answers the question. You will find safety in the Book, the one Book of God, "the Sacred Writings," the Writings "inspired of God" the Bible; the Bible which we have conclusively proven to be the Inerrant Word of God. Paul, of course, had the Old Testament books in view when he wrote these words. It was these Timothy had "known from a babe." But if what Paul says in these words is true of the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament, and it is, it is certainly true of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. The Bible, if a man use it aright, will make a man perfectly safe, no matter how error may abound and how subtle it may be. And the Bible, if properly used, will make him to be thoroughly equipped for God's service. But how must we use this Book to be safe in these times of increasing darkness and peril, and to be completely equipped in a time when so many workers, yes, even so many ministers and theological professors, are making an utter shipwreck of their usefulness? This exceedingly important question is answered in the Book itself, indeed is very largely answered in my text. So my subject this morning is, "What to do with the Bible." In our recent addresses we have clearly proven the Bible to be the Inerrant Word of God and on the basis of that demonstrated fact, we take up the subject of "What to do with the Bible," what shall we do with the Book which is proven to be the Inerrant Word of God?

I. Believe the Bible

The first thing to do with the Bible, if we are to find safety in it from the multiplying errors and moral perils, and other perils of the day, and if we are to have complete furnishment through the Bible for every good work, is to Believe the Bible, Believe the whole Bible, for, as we have seen, the whole Bible is the Word of God. When you allow yourself to entertain doubts as to the absolute reliability of any statement of the Bible, the Bible loses its power to save you from that error which that statement exposes. The Unitarian understands that, and so he seeks to undermine our faith in the Gospel of John. The Universalist understands it, too, and so he seeks to undermine our faith in those passages which clearly set forth the doom of the impenitent. The Christian Scientist understands it, and so he seeks to undermine our faith in those parts of the Bible which lay bare the disgusting folly and the many glaring falsehoods of Christian Science. The Spiritualist and the Theosophist understand it, and so they seek to undermine our faith in those passages that lay bare the Satanic origin of those thoroughly demoniacal creeds. Professor Kent and his colleagues, who hate the precious doctrine of the substitutionary character of the death of Christ and the atoning value of His shed blood, and allied doctrines, understand it also, and so they bring out their "Shorter Bible," that calmly eliminates the passages that contain these doctrines. As, for example, by omitting entirely from the 3rd chapter of Romans the 25th and 26th verses, the very heart of that wondrous chapter. And this so-called "Shorter Bible" eliminates these passages, and kindred passages, without one particle of manuscript evidence, without one particle of textual, or other sanely critical reason for such elimination. Believe the Bible, that is the first thing to do with it, believe the whole Bible. Believe, not a man-made "Shorter Bible," but a God-made full Bible. Listen to the text again, "Every Scripture is inspired of God (God-breathed), and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." The Revisers tried to tinker up that verse and make it read differently, by changing the position of the word "is" in the verse, but this they did without a particle of reason, indeed against all reason, there not being one single instance of such a construction of a sentence to be found anywhere else in the Bible. But even were we to admit the correctness of, the change, even then they have failed to accomplish their object, for there can be no doubt that by "every Scripture inspired of God," if Paul had used that phrase, he would have meant every Scripture of the Old Testament. Believe the whole Bible. The proof that the whole Bible is the Word of God is, as we have recently seen, unanswerable and, therefore, the whole Bible is worthy of your absolute confidence. When you begin to doubt any part of it, look out. Doubt of that kind is a "leaven" that grows with surprising rapidity, until it has "leavened the whole lamp." When the destructive critics began their work, they began with portions of the Bible that did not seem so vital, but they went on and on, until now they do not hesitate to discredit everything that is most fundamental. Yes, they even discredit the teachings of Jesus Christ Himself, and not only discredit His teachings but discredit the conduct of our glorious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. They do not hesitate to demand that we accept their authority and Inerrancy instead of the authority and Inerrancy of Jesus Christ.

Twenty-five or thirty years ago, I was talking with a good man and a sound man, but not a very clear and far-seeing thinker, about the destructive criticism as it stood then. He said to me, in speaking of some of the more mildly destructive theories, "They tell me it does not touch any vital point anyway, and what difference does it make whether Isaiah wrote the later chapters of the book or whether someone else wrote them?" I told him that this was only the entering wedge, and I urged him to look to where it would lead and where it would end. It has led to and ended exactly where I then predicted it would. Any smallest insect of destructive criticism is like the little borer ant which gets into the underpinning of Hawaiian houses and bores and bores away unseen, until suddenly the whole house collapses. Believe the Bible, believe the whole Bible. It will prove in the ultimate outcome every time that it is either the whole Bible or else no Bible at all. Today it is Professor Kent as he was fifteen years or so ago, tomorrow it is Professor Kent as he is today, next day it is a critic who puts Bob Ingersoll all in the shade, and the next day it will be the Devil himself, laughing and jibbering and jabbering and mocking, saying, "Yea, hath God said?" (Gen. 3:1.)

But exactly what is involved in believing the whole Bible?

1. In the first place, Believe its every statement, its historical statements, its doctrinal statements, its statements of every kind. Every statement that the Bible makes (that is, the Bible as originally given) is absolutely true. Of course, as we have seen in a recent sermon, that does not mean that every statement that every one is recorded in the Bible as making is necessarily true, for, as we saw then, the Bible records some statements that the Devil made and uninspired men made, but the Bible statement that the Devil or these uninspired men made these statements is absolutely true.

2. In the second place, Believe absolutely its every Promise. Risk anything and everything on its every promise. Take every promise as meaning all that it says. Never discount the least bit any promise in the Word of God. Some of these promises are stupendous, some of them seem incredible, but, nevertheless, believe them in all their height and length and depth and breadth, for they are God's Word.

Of course, we should note carefully to whom the promise is made, for some of the promises of God's Word were made to individuals and some of them were made to the Jews as Jews, and we should believe them only as applying to those to whom they were made. The Bible is always careful to make clear to whom any promise is made, and every promise made to believers in Jesus Christ belongs to every believer in Christ, if he will only trust it and appropriate it. The promises made to Jewish believers belong to Gentile believers as well, for God distinctly tells us in His own Word that "in Christ Jesus" "there can be neither Jew nor Gentile" (Gal. 3:28), and it says, still further, "and if ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise" (Gal. 3 129) .

3. In the third place, Believe absolutely every Warning in the Bible. We should believe the warnings of the Bible as well as its promises. We should believe what it says about the punishment of sin just as firmly as what it says about the rewarfl of righteousness. We should believe what it says about the guilt and awful doom of the unbeliever as unquestioningly as what it says about the wondrous privileges and eternal rewards and glory of the believer. We should believe what it says about judgment as confidently as what it says about salvation. We should believe what it says about hell as firmly as we believe what it says about heaven. Here we see the inconsistency of many people and many preachers today. They accept all the Bible has to say about heaven and glowingly expatiate upon what it says about heaven, but when they come to the Bible's equally clear and definite statements about hell, they qualify them and tone them down, or throw them overboard altogether. We have exactly the same reason for believing in an eternal hell of conscious and awful suffering as we have for believing in an eternal heaven of unutterable joy and glory; namely, God says so. There is no other proof that there is a heaven awaiting the believer than the same proof that there is a hell of appalling conscious agony, that will never end, awaiting every one who persistently rejects Jesus Christ in the life that now is. God's Word declares that there is such a heaven and it also declares that there is such a hell, and that is the only ground for believing in either, and that is a perfectly sufficient ground for believing in both.

Believe, also, its warnings as to the results in the life that now is of certain courses of action. For example, its warnings regarding the chastisement and sufferings and manifold wretchednesses of the backslider. Believe its every warning.

4. In the fourth place, Believe its every Prophecy. For example, believe its prophecies concerning war and peace, its prophecies concerning the future of Israel, and its many prophecies concerning the Second Coming of Christ. What the Bible so plainly prophesies concerning the Second Coming of Christ is especially hated at present in certain at least nominally Christian quarters. This hatred of the teachings of the Bible concerning the Second Coming of Christ is blind, fanatical, bitter and fierce. It does not stop at active persecution. A well-known Professor in the Chicago University publicly advocated, during the recent war, an investigation as to whether the money that was being given for the furtherance of this precious truth did not come from German sources, and suggested that those who were teaching this truth ought to be punished as German sympathizers. A great denomination, with a glorious history, is openly making it very unpleasant, and very difficult, for any of their ministers and missionaries who hold and teach the doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ, while at the same time they welcome with open arms those who question the Virgin Birth of our Lord and the Resurrection of the body of Jesus from the dead and the reliability of the Scriptures not only into their ministry but even into their theological chairs both here in America and in China. But our part is to believe a doctrine if it is taught in the Word of God, no matter what it may cost to believe it.

II. Obey the Bible

But we should not only believe the Bible because it is the Word of God, we should also Obey the Bible for the same reason. The words of the Apostle James need to be earnestly heeded today, "Be ye doers of the Word, not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (Jas. 1:22). As we have proved the Bible to be the Word of God, its every commandment is God's commandment and should be obeyed. Of course, we should note carefully to whom any specific commandment is addressed. Some commandments are addressed to the Jews as Jews, some to believers in Christ, and some to individuals. The Bible always makes it clear to whom any specific commandment is addressed. Of course, every commandment to a believing Jew is also for a believing Gentile. The Bible has but one commandment for unbelievers, whether Jews or Gentiles, and that commandment is to believe on Jesus Christ (Jno. 6:28, 29) . Until a man does that, no obedience to any other commandment in the Bible is acceptable to God. There is no use in preaching Christian ethics to unbelieving men, to men who reject Jesus Christ, to unregenerate men.

1. Obey every Commandment of the Bible that is addressed to you. We must not pick and choose. They are all God's Word, and to disobey any one of God's commandments is an act of rebellion against God. For example, God commands all believers in Jesus Christ to "rejoice in the Lord always" (Phil. 4:4), and for any believer in Jesus Christ to have a joyless moment is for him to disobey God. Again, God commands every believer in Jesus Christ, "In nothing be anxious" (Phil. 4:6), and for a believer in Jesus Christ to have a moment of anxiety or fear is for him to disobey God.

2. Not only obey every commandment, but Obey exactly. Do just what God says to do, not something nearly like it, something that seems to you just as good, but do exactly what God says to do.

3. Obey unhesitatingly. It always pay to obey God, so when it becomes clear that God commands you in His Word to do anything, do it at once, without the slightest hesitation or questioning. Do not recoil from any commandment of God and question and parley, obey immediately.

4. Obey gladly. No matter how hard the commandment may seem, or what sacrifice it may involve, or what disaster seems to be involved in obedience, with joy do the very thing God tells you to do. God commands it, therefore I gladly do it. Never forget that every commandment in this Book is a commandment from your Heavenly Father, whose love to you is not only wiser than any earthly father's but more tender than any earthly mother's. You do not understand why your Father commands you to do this thing. But why should you understand? Can you not trust Him and ask no explanations? Just do it, and do it gladly.

III. Study the Bible

In the third place, we should Study the Bible. As the Bible is the Word of God and no other book is the Word of God, we should study it as we study no other book. Of what value is what man says, even the greatest and wisest of men, in comparison with what an infinitely wise God says? In the light of the fact that the Bible is clearly proven to be the Word of God, it is supremely irrational not to study the Bible as we study no other book.

There is in the Bible the truth that will safeguard you against every error of these times, or any times, but this truth, though it is there, will not safeguard you unless you see it and know it, and you will not see it, and cannot know it, unless you study long and earnestly the Book in which it is to be found. The Bible has no magic or "hocus-pocus" power. It has power only for the truth it contains, and to see that truth and feel its power, you must study, study, study, the Bible.

1. Study the Bible with eagerness and avidity. Study it with eagerness and avidity just because it is the Word of God.

2. Study the Bible every day. To let a single day go by without studying the Bible is to insult God. There is a deeper significance than most of us realize in the words of Acts 17:11, "Now, these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so." Never let a day pass without digging 'into that Book. I have read the whole Book through I do not know how many times. I have read the New Testament through in Greek many, many times. I have committed whole chapters and whole books to memory. I have stored it in my heart. Nevertheless, never a day would I let pass that I did not dig into it again, not one single day. He is a wise man who so arranges his affairs as to give a solid hour every day to Bible study. It certainly pays.

3. But not only study it every day, Study hard. Many do what they call "Bible study," but it is only lolling over the Bible, dreaming, mind wandering, wool gathering, instead of gathering the nuggets of gold for which one must dig and dig and dig. Give your whole mind and your whole heart to your Bible study. When you do study the Bible, concentrate on that one thing, roll up the sleeves of your intellect and pitch in. Mark well the significance of Solomon's words, as found in Prov. 2:1-5, "My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and lay up my commandments with thee; so as to incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thy heart to understanding; yea, if thou cry after discernment, and lift up thy voice for understanding; if thou seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures: then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God."

4. Study the whole Bible; for we have seen that the whole Bible is the Word of God, and we should seek to know the whole mind of God. We cannot afford to neglect any part of the Bible; study the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, study Matthew's Gospel and Mark's Gospel and Luke's Gospel as well as John's Gospel. Do not be content with that silly and conceited book, Kent's "Shorter Bible," or the "Shorter Bible" of anyone else. Study the whole Bible. Professor Kent says in the introduction to that volume of the "Shorter Bible" which appeared first, "The New Testament," that "the 'Shorter Bible' aims ... to single out . . . those parts of the Bible which are of vital interest and practical value to the present age." If these words mean anything, they certainly mean that the "Shorter Bible," while it omits much, does present everything in our present Bible, the real Bible, which is "of vital interest and practical value to the present age." That statement or implication is a gross falsehood, and not only does Kent's Bible not contain all that "is vital and of practical importance to the present age," but in what he does give he does not give what God really says, but what he thinks God would better have said, and oftentimes his alleged translation is not a translation at all, but an interpretation, and frequently a very weak and silly interpretation, and oftentimes an out-and-out substitution of his own ideas for what God really said.

How to Study, I have said elsewhere. (See "How to Study the Bible for the Greatest Profit" and "The Importance and Value of Proper Bible Study.")

IV. Memorize the Bible

In the fourth place, we should not only study the Bible, we should commit large portions of the Bible to memory. Fill your mind and your memory with it, and then meditate upon it day and night. It is as true today as when David wrote it of old, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth its fruit in its season, his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." (Ps. I:i~3.) What is there in all this world that is so good to fill the memory and the heart with as the golden words of God? Happy is the man who has his memory full of them.

V. Live the Bible

In the fifth place, Live the Bible. I am often asked what is the best translation of the Bible — the Authorized Version, or the Revised Version, or Weymouth, or Rotherham, or Wilson's Diaglott, or Moffatt, or J. N. Darby, or what? The best translation of the Bible, beyond a question, is the translation into daily living. Get the Bible into your heart, saturate your mind with it, and then live it out. Be a walking Bible in your character and conduct, be the Word of God incarnated in a human life again today. Of course, that is only measurably possible to each one of us. It has never been fully realized in but one person, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate "Word of God." (Jno. 1:14.) The Christian is the only Bible the world reads, so be sure that you are an accurate translation into life of the written Word of God.

VI. Love the Bible

In the sixth place, Love the Bible. Logically, this should have come first, but there are reasons for putting it sixth. Love the Bible. The Psalmist said, "My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thine ordinances at all times" (Ps. 119:20), and he said again, "The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver" (Ps. 11972), and again, "Oh how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day" (Ps. 119:97), and again, "I opened wide my mouth, and panted; for I longed for thy commandments" (Ps. 119:131), and again, "I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil" (Ps. 119:162). Jeremiah says, "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy words were unto me a joy and the rejoicing of my heart" (Jer. 15:16). Job said, "I have treasured up the words of his mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12), and the Lord Jesus Himself said, "He that is of God hath the words of God" (Jno. 8:47). Certainly, if the Book is God's Word, and, as we have seen, it undoubtedly is, beyond an honest question, every true child of God will love and cherish it above gold. What is so precious as the revealed Will of God? That is what this Book is. Some silly people, who fancy themselves wondrous wise, talk about "Bibliolatry." I have never known a Bibliolator, that is a man who worshiped the Bible, but, thank God, I have known some who love the Bible, their Heavenly Father's Word, above all earthly treasures. Our Lord Jesus made two of His most wonderful promises to those who did love His Word. He says in John 14:21, "He that hath my commandments and keepeth them ("and keepeth them" means more than obeyeth them; it means to regard them and hold on to them as a precious treasure), he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him," and He says in Jno. 14:23, "If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." Those are wonderful promises. When you get home, take them and meditate upon them. One of the best evidences that one really is a child of God is that he really loves the Word of God. One of the best evidences that one is not a child of God is that he does not love the Bible, that he is perfectly willing to have parts of it discredited and glad to have it cut down from its full compass to a "Shorter Bible."

VII. Teach and Preach the Bible

In the seventh place, Teach and Preach the Bible. As Paul advised Timothy, "Preach the word, be urgent in season, out of season." (2 Tim. 4:2.) What else is so worth telling people, as what God says? What other work is so important and beneficent as teaching the Word of God? Our text tells us that the Bible "completely furnishes the man of God unto every good work," because "it is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." This Book is the one thing we must teach and preach if the people to whom we minister are to get the teaching, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness which they so sorely need. Teach the Bible not only publicly, but from house to house (Acts 20:20), not only to crowds but to individuals, and teach and preach nothing but the Bible. There is nothing else as good as the Bible to teach and preach, it "is the sword of the Spirit" (Eph. 6:17), and as David said of the sword of Goliath, "there is none like it" (1 Sam. 21:9).

I received a letter once from a Methodist pastor who was forty-five years of age. In that letter he asked me if I thought he had better take up the study of the history of Philosophy, as some of his friends were advising him to do. To this I would reply, compared with the incomparable Word of God, man's profoundest Philosophy is utter foolishness.

Every child of God can teach and preach the Bible; not necessarily to large congregations or even to Bible classes, but to individuals in the home and on the street, and everywhere. Whatever else you may be called upon to teach, Mathematics, Reading, Spelling, Grammar, Science, Philosophy, Literature, History, Latin, Greek, or whatever it may be, be sure that you also teach God's Word. They may not permit you to do it in your school but you can do it out of school. There are many ways of doing it and many places in which to do it. To sum up, Believe the Bible, for it is the Inerrant Word of God: Obey the Bible, for it is the Inerrant Word of God: Study the Bible, for it is the Inerrant Word of God: Store your Memory with the Bible, for it is the Inerrant Word of God: Live the Bible, for it is the Inerrant Word of God: Love the Bible, for it is the Inerrant Word of God: Teach and Preach the Bible, for it is the Inerrant Word of God.