01 September 2004                 
A Prayer
of Jesus
I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise
and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will


By Edgar Jones


There are many inerrancy statements from many different sources on the Web but they generally conform to this statement from the Baptists:

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.

I accept this as a good concise definition of the Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy that is our subject.  Now that you know the subject, I will proceed to express my views on it -- views that are formed by the teaching of the Lord Jesus.

I do not intend to enter into a debate or to submit a long list of errors.  Having read and observed such debates for quite a while, I have concluded that they are futile.  If a person believes in this doctrine, it is very unlikely that anything can be said to move her of him from it.  For one who disbelieves it, as I do, the same is true. I could list many Biblical errors, but there are many such lists and no need of more.  I do not even propose to hold the topic in the forefront here, but to do something else altogether. 

What I will do here is to examine the utterances of Jesus and ask his view of the "Holy Scriptures."  I have been doing just that for a very long time and have reached some definite conclusions.  Perhaps the conclusion most pertinent to this discussion is that this doctrine of biblical inerrancy is a red herring.  My Webster's Collegiate defines
red herring thusly:

2 [from the practice of drawing a red herring across a trail to confuse hunting dogs]: something that distracts attention from the real issue

This doctrine is a red herring because Christians bring it out and drag it across the Way of Jesus to confuse and distract others who might otherwise enter into salvation.  It is a very successful ploy, which is confusing and deceiving millions and binding them to many other false doctrines, to the endangerment of their souls. 

Why seek to settle the question of biblical inerrancy by referring to Jesus? 

That is an easy question.  It's because he has the ring of Truth and is the Truth, through whom I have learned the reason for the existence of the world and for my life within it, and why the world and my life within it are as they are. Yes, Jesus stated emphatically that he is the Truth, which I often quote, but that is not why I honor him as the only source of Truth.  Any one can make that claim, but Jesus backed it up with a gospel and a personal witness that is powerful and persuasive. Then he signed and sealed it with his blood, on the cross.  He gives me peace in a warring world and the hope of life eternal.  That's why he is my sole source of Truth.

His teaching is self authenticating. We go now to him.

I. Jesus On the Scriptures (Law and Prophets)

When Jesus referred to "the scriptures" he indicated the Old Testament only because the New Testament scriptures did not exist.  He did, however, anticipate the New Testament and we will learn his view of it later.  For now, we speak only of the Old Testament and its collection of documents, sometimes called "the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms" or simply "the Law and the Prophets, or the writings as in "It was written."  He also used terminology common to modern Christians when he spoke of the "Word of God," but he meant by this something very different from the Christian definition, which is "The Holy Bible." We will refer to his utterances containing each of these terms.

The Scriptures

From the Lord's perspective, there is no difference between modern Christendom with its priests, pastors, teachers and churches, and the Judaism of the First Century with its priests, rabbi's (teachers) and synagogues.  He made one statement that is fully applicable to the former as to the latter (which he directly addressed) and it contains within it his view of the scriptures in a brief phrase:

John 5
37 And the father having sent me, that one has witnessed concerning me. Neither his cry have you ever heard nor his image have you ever seen, 38 and his word you do not have abiding in you, because he whom that one has sent, in this one do you not believe. 39 You search the scriptures, because you suppose in them to be having eternal life, and these are those witnessing concerning me. 40 And you do not want to come to me in order that you have life.

Just look at that!  Even though those persons were diligently searching the scriptures, they did not have the Father's Word abiding in them! 


Because they refused to believe Jesus whom the Father sent! (vs.38)  If they had believed Jesus, they would have the Father's Word abiding in them -- clearly because Jesus alone utters the Word of God. 

And what were they seeking in their search of the scriptures?

Eternal life!  Exactly the same quest as that of modern Christendom where the adherents -- priests, bishops, pastors, and teachers -- search the scriptures.  But they do not have Life because they refuse to come to me as Jesus expressed it.  Again, this is the diagnosis of modern Christians.  They are searching their "inerrant scriptures," the Holy Bible, for eternal life while refusing to go to Jesus. 

Then Jesus stated his view of the scriptures:

. . . these are those witnessing concerning me.

That's it.  The Law and the Prophets are witnesses to Jesus, and as such they are very reliable in those contexts that he validated by his references to them.  So we find him emphasizing this point to his disciples shortly before his Ascension:

Luke 24
44 So he said to them: these are my words which I spoke to you while yet being with you, because it is necessary all the things written in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms concerning me be fulfilled. 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. 46 And he said to them that: It is likewise written that the Christ suffer and arise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins be preached upon his name to all the nations - beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

He made mention of the scriptures several times in the synoptic gospels, and each time he was calling forth their testimony to himself.

What Was Written (the Writings)

Scriptures are, by definition, what has been written.  Using this terminology, Jesus appealed to the scriptures many times to explain how they witness to him.  The following utterances are typical:

Mark 14
And having sung they went out to the mount of olives. 27 And Jesus says to them that: You will all be stumbled, because it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.
John 5
46 For if you were believing Moses, you would have believed me; for concerning me did that one write.

He has stated the function of the scriptures, to bear witness to him.  Here we see this function fulfilled in both Mark 14:26,27 and John 5:46.  Moses wrote of him, and by this statement Jesus indicates that, in the restricted writing of Moses that was of him, they should believe it.  This does not indicate that everything attributed to Moses was without error.  There are many other utterances in which Jesus referred to what Moses wrote, beginning with his responses to the Devil in the wilderness temptations.  None of them state that Moses was inerrant in what he wrote, or that everything Moses wrote was the Word of God.


Moses was credited with writing the Torah (Pentateuch).  Is it  inerrant?

The scriptures do not provide eternal life, as we learned in the utterance of John 5:37- 40 quoted above.  The Torah was attributed to the authorship of Moses, and Jesus spoke to the people of Israel on the basis of that perception.  We see its limitation in this utterance of the Lord:

John 6
29Jesus answered and said to them: This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom that on has sent. 30 They said therefore to him: Therefore what sign do you work, in order that we may see and believe in you? What do you work? 31 Our fathers ate manna in the wilderness, just as it is written,
He gave loaves to them in the wilderness to eat.
32 Therefore Jesus said to them: Truly truly I say to you, Moses did not give to you bread from heaven, but my father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the one coming down from heaven and giving life to the world. 34 Therefore they said to him: Lord, always give us this bread. 35 Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life; the one coming to me will not hunger, and the one believing in me will not thirst ever.

Only Jesus gives the "true bread from heaven."  The bread of Moses was and is therefore false bread!  The text continues:

49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and died. 50 This is the bread coming down from heaven, in order that anyone who eat of it also not die. 51 I am the living bread having come down out of heaven. If anyone eat of this bread, he will live to eternity.

Jesus is the living bread; Moses is the dead bread.

Then, in the same context, Jesus contradicted Moses with these words:

46 Not that anyone has seen the father, except the one being beside God, this one has seen the father.

The evangelist reinforces this utterance of the Lord:

John 1
No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, the one being in the bosom of the father, that one declared him.

But Moses says this:

[30] So Jacob called the name of the place Peni'el, saying, "For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved."
[10] and they saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness.
[11] Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.
[14] and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that thou, O LORD, art in the midst of this people; for thou, O LORD, art seen face to face, and thy cloud stands over them and thou goest before them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.
[4] The LORD spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire,
[10] And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,

Jesus is not reluctant to correct the errors of Moses, and in so doing he teaches all who can hear why there are errors in the Old Testament.  We find this in this encounter:

Matthew 19
 7 They say to him: Why therefore did Moses command to give a scroll of divorce and put her away? 8 He says to them: because Moses tolerated it to you because your hard heartedness. This did not come to pass from the beginning. 9  But I say to you that whoever puts away his wife except for fornication, makes her commit adultery, and the one having married the one having been put away commits adultery.

Jesus came into the world to do what Moses did not do; he corrected the errors of Moses, who wrote that the command of Moses (Matthew 19:7) was a command of the Lord and taught it as such.  In this utterance Jesus reveals why the Torah was not the Living Word.  The people of ancient Israel were hard hearted and could not receive the Living Word!  We should also observe that Jesus attributed this writing only to Moses and not to the Lord.

We can make a similar observation about much of the Torah, where we again find Jesus correcting it in the Antitheses of the Sermon on the Mount -- that is, the "you have heard that it was said . . . but I say unto you" statements.  In no case did Jesus attribute the "it was said" to God.

The Law and the Prophets

This is another term by which Jesus designated the scripture of the Old Testament.  We have in this utterance his exact description of what he was not to do and what he was to do to them:

Matt. 5
Do not think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I came not to destroy but to fulfill.

To fulfill means here to fill up what is empty, to complete what is incomplete, to perfect what is imperfect, to correct that which errs or to provide what is lacking.  Now Moses (in the Law) represents God as one who is genocidal and merciless:

Genesis 20
[16] But in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes,
[17] but you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Per'izzites, the Hivites and the Jeb'usites, as the LORD your God has commanded;

This is nothing but merciless, genocidal ethnic cleansing.   In great contrast, Jesus shows God to be merciful and non violent, and commands his disciples to be perfect and complete, as the Father is perfect and complete:

Luke 6
36 Be becoming merciful, just as your father is merciful.
Matt. 5
48 Therefore be complete as your heavenly father is complete.

Jesus did not get this from Moses, did he?  All excuses are aborted in Jesus. Being hard hearted is no longer acceptable.  That is why he terminated the rule of the Law and the Prophets (incomplete as they were) with John and directs us to be following him as he proclaims the Gospel of the Kingdom (God's rule). 

Luke 16
16 The law and the prophets are until John, from then the kingdom of God will be proclaimed . . ..

The Word of God

Jesus sometimes, but not often, used this phrase to ascribe words to God.  Unless Jesus erred, then the specified words, as "Word of God," must be inerrant if God is inerrant in his Word.  We should include the times when Jesus, in prayer, used "your word" or similar expressions.  For example, we have this:

John 17
16 They are not from the world just as I am not from the world. 17 Make them holy in the truth; your word is truth.

Christians will tend to understand this to be an assertion that the Bible is Truth, because their indoctrination compels them to believe that the Bible is the Word of God and, as such, is inerrant.  Doesn't Jesus himself assert that the Bible is inerrant by this utterance?  This Google search will take you to hundreds of Web sites that preach inerrancy on this basis. 

It is not so, and all one need do is to back up two verses, to John 17:14 to determine what Jesus means by it.

14 I have given them your word,

So, when Jesus said, your word is truth, he referred only to the Word as just defined by him -- the word Jesus had given them.  If you want to continue to insist that this refers to the Bible, there is nothing I can say to help you except to back up just a few verses more and read this:

John 17
8 that the word as much as you gave to me I have given to them, and they received it and they knew truly that I came from beside you, and they believed that you sent me.

You will not be convinced even yet, but if I direct you to yet another utterance, you will have absolutely no excuse for not believing what Jesus truly meant when he said, Your word is truth.

John 12
48 The one rejecting me and not receiving my words has one judging him: the word which I spoke, that will judge him in the last day. 49 Because I have not spoken from myself, but the one having sent me, the father himself has given to me commandment what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What therefore I speak, just as the father has spoken to me, thusly I speak.

So it is clear.  If you insist on refusing to believe Jesus, but rather to twist his words as so many do (see the sites in the Google search again for examples), you will be judged by that very word on the last day.

Jesus attributed his own words to God, and that is the word that is Truth.  However, there were a few words in the Law and the Prophets that he also accepted as from the Father.  In what follows, we point to every utterance when Jesus uttered this phrase, "word of God" (parallels not included).

Luke 4
3 Now the devil says to him: If you are the son of God, tell this stone to become bread. 4 And Jesus answered him: It is written that
Not upon bread alone will man live
But upon every word of God.
This is from Luke's account of the wilderness temptations.  Now, we have to ask, What did Jesus mean to indicate by the reference to every word of GodDid he meant to refer us to Moses and the Prophets as the Word of God?  Absolutely not, and of that we can be very certain if we can believe Jesus as he utters the Word of God in the utterance already examine above:

John 6
Therefore Jesus said to them: Truly truly I say to you, Moses did not give to you bread from heaven, but my father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the one coming down from heaven and giving life to the world. 34 Therefore they said to him: Lord, always give us this bread. 35 Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life; the one coming to me will not hunger, and the one believing in me will not thirst ever.

You see?  One lives upon every word of God. One does not live by the word, or "bread" of Moses, but only by Jesus.  Here (Luke 4:4) Jesus is explicitly casting his Word as "every word of God" because that is the only life giving bread.  I stated above that "there were a few words in the Law and the Prophets that he also accepted as from the Father."  We don't find them here, do we?

Jesus also uttered "word of God" when interpreting the Parable of the Sower:

Luke 8
11 Now this is the parable. The seed is the word of God. 12 Now that by the road are those hearing, then comes the devil and takes the word from their hearts, in order that not having believed they not be saved.  

It is not immediately evident that he is speaking only of his Word, but a careful consideration of the contexts of this and the parallel utterances confirm that to be the case.  They, all of them, already had the words of the Law and the Prophets and needed no sower to distribute it to them.

Conclusion: the "seed" that is the word of God consists of the utterances of Jesus and not of the scriptures (the Law and the Prophets).

He later expanded, first calling that "an evil generation" then speaking of how "the queen of the South" came from the ends of the earth to hear Solomon, but something greater than Solomon is here.  Just so, the men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah, but something greater than Jonah is here. 

Luke 11
27 Now it came to pass when he was saying these things a certain woman having lifted up her voice said: Blessed is the womb which bore you and the breasts which gave you suck. 28 But he said: On the contrary, blessed are those hearing the word of God and guarding it.

Conclusion, as above, the word of God is what they were hearing from Jesus.  It was not the Law and the Prophets.

We also have this, in which the evangelist speaks of "word of God" as being the words spoken by Jesus:

Luke 5
1 Now it came to pass the crowd pressed upon him and was hearing the word of God, and he was standing by the lake Genesaret. . . ..

The conclusion is inescapable: the word of God in all these utterances refers only to the utterances of Jesus.  Now we go to yet another utterance in which Jesus spoke the words, "word of God."

Mark 7
9 And he says to them: Well do you set aside the commandments of God, that you may keep your traditions. 10 For Moses said: Be honoring your father and your mother, and the one reviling father or mother shall be brought to the end by death. 11 But you say: If a man should say to his father or mother: Corban, which is: a gift to God, whatever by me you may have been profited, 12 You no longer allow him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 making void the word of God by your traditions which you have handed down, and many such similar things you do. 

This is the sole exception.  He speaks of the word of God in vs. 13, and it applies to the Fifth of the Ten Commandments.  Further, he seems to be including all of the Decalogue as words of God, when he refers in vs. 9 to "the commandments of God."  I understand that to be what he means; here we have an utterance of Jesus that speaks of words of Moses (vs. 10) as the word of God. 

This calls for a review of what I have already written, because if the words of Moses (the Decalogue) are the words of God, how can they be "dead words" as I have previously asserted? 

We can reconcile this and respond to this question in two ways.  First, by visiting the Antitheses of the Sermon on the Mount. 
There are six of these, and I have numbered them and separated them by a space for easy reference.

21 You heard that it was said to the ancients: You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be liable for judgment. 22 But I say to you that everyone being angry with his brother  will be liable for judgment. And Whoever says to his brother: Raka, he will be liable to the council, and whoever says: You stupid, he will be liable to the Gehenna fire. 23 If therefore you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and be going first and be reconciled to your brother, and then having come, be bringing your gift. 25 Be being kind to your opponent swiftly while you are with him in the road, lest your opponent deliver you up to the judge and judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I say to you, you shall not come out from there until you have yielded your last penny.

27 You heard that it was said: You shall not commit adultery. 28 But I say to you that everyone looking at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 And if your right eye makes you stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you, for it is profitable to you that one of your parts perish and not your whole body be thrown into Gehenna. 30 And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you, for it is profitable to you that one of your parts perish and not your whole body be thrown into Gehenna.

31 And it was said: Whoever puts away his wife, let him give her a divorce. 32 But I say to you that everyone putting away his wife except by reason of fornication makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries the one having been put away commits adultery.

33 Again you have heard that it was said to the ancients: You shall not swear falsely, but you will perform your oaths to the Lord. 34 But I say to you do not swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is God's throne, 35 nor by the land, for it is his footstool, nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great king, 36 neither by your own head, for you are not able to make one hair white or black. 37 Let your word yes be yes and no be no, and what is more than this is from evil.

You have heard that it was said: Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. 39 But I say to you not to oppose evil, but whoever strikes the right side of your cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And to the one wanting to sue you and take your shirt, give up to him your coat also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to whoever asks of you, and from the one wanting to borrow from you do not turn away.

You have heard that it was said: You shall agape-love your neighbor, and you shall hate your enemy. 44 But I say to you, be agape-loving your enemies  and be praying for those persecuting you, 45 in order that you become sons of your father in the heavens. For he makes his sun to rise upon the evil and the good, and sends rain upon the just and the unjust.
46 For if you agape-love those agape-loving you, what reward do you have? Don't the tax- collectors do likewise? 47 And if you only greet your brothers, what do you do more than anyone else? Don't the nations do likewise? 48 Therefore be complete as your heavenly father is complete.

The first concerns the Sixth Commandment, You shall not kill.  The second concerns the Seventh Commandment, You shall not commit adultery.  The third does not refer to a commandment of the Decalogue, but to the law delivered to Moses in Deut. 24:1- 4.  Therefore it follows that the "word of God" in this utterance of the Lord refers to commandments given through Moses in other than the Decalogue.

The fourth does not refer to the Decalogue either, but to another commandment that God gave to Moses in Leviticus 19:11,12.  The fifth refers to a commandment repeated in Exodus  21:24, Leviticus 24:20 and Deuteronomy 19:21, and therefore not to the Decalogue.  The sixth and final Antitheses refers to the commandment of Leviticus 19:18, not to the Decalogue.

We must conclude that Jesus counted, at the very least, these words of Moses as also the word of God.  Given that two of them are from the Decalogue and that the Fifth Commandment has already been verified, we think it is also correct to ascribe all of the Decalogue as commandments of God, and therefore as words of God. 

Yes, these are words of God, but do you see that none of them are satisfactory to Jesus -- all are deficient -- since he replaces each with his "but I say unto you?"  Is it possible that a word of God can be inadequate, incomplete or erroneous?  I include "erroneous" because if it is not the complete word of God, it leads to less than the will of God and therefore commands less than the will of God.  Such is surely erroneous in the sight of God.

So we have words of God that are not complete, not perfect.  Jesus seals this statement by his last comment in the 5th Antitheses:

Therefore be complete as your heavenly father is complete.

He has lifted the commandments of God, given through Moses, to a higher level because, as they stand in Moses, they are not complete, and therefore imperfect and erroneous -- even though they are words of God! 

Where is the fault?  What is the lack?  Is it with God? 

Certainly not; it is with the ancient Israelites, concerning whom we have already learned that Moses delivered to them something less than God's will and purpose, in the matter of divorce, because of their hard hearts. 

Now we understand how it is that the "word of God" given through Moses is dead bread --  it is not the Living Word.  I stated above that there are two ways to reconcile the words of Moses as being "dead bread." We have presented one way, and the second springs from Jesus response to a man who asked him what he must to to have eternal life.

Matt. 19
And behold one having come to him said: Good teacher, What good thing should I do in order that I have eternal life? 17 So he said to him: Why do you call me good? No one is good except one - God. But if you wish to enter into life, be keeping the commandments. 18 He says to him: Which? So Jesus said: Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, 19 Honor father and mother, and agape-love your neighbor as yourself. 20 The young man says to him: All these have I kept.  What do I yet lack? 21 Jesus said to him: If you wish to be complete, be going, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come be following me. 22 But when the young man heard this statement he went away troubled, for he was having many possessions.

Do you see it?  At first it seems that Jesus intends to ascribe life to the Law of commandments, but then we see that this is just the introduction.  The young man asserted that he had kept all the commandments necessary for life, then assumed, correctly, that he yet lacked something.  Yes, he did; again, the bread of Moses fails to produce life because the man loved riches more than God.

Someone may say that what is lacking in all of the above is the First and Great Commandment, for Jesus does not mention
it there specifically, though this "young man" who did not love God enough to part with his riches could be said to fail of life (eternal) because of disobedience to this commandment of Moses which, had he kept, would have produced life. 

Can this 'bread of Moses' bring life?

No, it did not bring life to anyone under the Law.  It is not too hard to keep for good hearted persons, but it is  too hard to keep for hard hearted persons, so the bread of Moses remains "dead bread."  It was  Moses who first delivered this Great Commandment (Deut. 6:4), but he failed to provide the Light that enables men to keep it.  He made an effort with Deut. 6:6-9,  but the hearts were too hard to "be upon your heart." As a result, Israel and the whole world remained in darkness. 

Jesus provided what Moses lacked; he provided the Light for a dark world and the example for his disciples to follow to receive eternal life.  I will say it once more:

Moses is dead bread; Jesus alone is the Living Bread and, as he said,

No one comes to the Father but by me

There is but one more utterance of the Lord that incorporates the phrase, "word of God."  I believe, in view of the above, we will be able to make more sense of it than most have, because it is a reference to a Psalm:

John 10
31 The Jews again took up stones in order that they stone him. 32 Jesus answered them: Many good works I showed you from my father; because of what sort of work among them do you stone me? 33 The Jews answered him: Concerning a good work we do not stone you but concerning God slander, and because you being a man make yourself God. 34 Jesus answered them: Is it not written in your law that: I said: You are gods? 35 If he called them "gods" to whom the word of God came to be, and the scripture cannot be loosed, 36 which the father made holy and sent into the world, you say that I slander God, because I said: I am the son of God? 37 If I do not do the works of my father, do not believe in me. 38 But if I do them, and you do not believe in me, be believing in the works, in order that you know and be knowing that the father is in me and I in the father.

To what does Jesus point as
the word of God?

The entire Psalm is an indictment of the judges of Israel, who are men.  The Psalmist, having delivered the indictment, pleads in the final verse for God himself to arise and judge, not only Israel, but the nations!  In this context, "judge" means ruler, one with authority over others.  The Psalm puts the judges in a council with God, and then quotes God as he exhorts them.  Most translators end the quotation with vs. 4 and consider vs. 5 a comment by the Psalmist because of the shift from second to third person.  I believe, to the contrary, that all the Psalm, except vs. 1, the introduction, and vs. 8, the closing plea to God by the Psalmist, is a quotation (word) of God.  The shift from second to third person indicates that God is pointing to the ones described in vs. 3 & 4, the weak, fatherless, afflicted, destitute and needy -- and the "wicked" that oppress them, as he continues to address the judges.  We have confirmation that the ones being addressed are men in the vs. 7,

You shall die like men, and fall like any prince.

We have asked to what Jesus refers when he spoke here of "the word of God."
Now we are in a position to answer.  He was not referring to the entire Psalm, but to the quotation of God relayed by the Psalmist (vs. 2-7), and he is designating this as a word of God.  In the Psalm, this "word of God" came to the judges, and God himself called them 'gods.'

It is a huge overkill to conclude, on the basis of this utterance of the Lord, that all the scriptures (the Law and the Prophets) are the inerrant word of God, but that is exactly what many do, and they seek  to confirm it by reference to the phrase of Jesus, 

. . .and the scripture cannot be loosed,

when the obvious application of the phrase is to the word of God designated in the Psalm, and not all of the scriptures, or even Psalm 82 as such. 

This phrase seems a very important statement about scripture, and we must examine it carefully to determine what he means.  Many claim it to be a statement asserting biblical inerrancy by the Lord.

Is it?

"Loosed" is a rendition of the Greek, luthasan, that is a form of the verb, luo, that may mean, in addition to "loosed," broken, relaxed (RSV), released, untied, made void, and other things as well.  We see how very important
is the context to the meaning .  I define its use here as it is in Matt. 5:19 where Jesus speaks regarding the commandments that he was about to deliver:

19 For whoever sets aside one of these least commandments and so teaches men, he will be called least in the kingdom of the heavens. But whoever does and teaches them, this one will be called great in the kingdom of the heavens.

Here it means exactly as rendered, and the same definition should be applied to John 10:35.  Jesus means us to understand that that particular scripture in Psalm 82 must not be relaxed or loosed to mean something less than what it says: that God called men "gods" to whom His word came.  It is the grossest distortion of scripture to understand and teach that the phrase,

. . .and the scripture cannot be loosed,

applies to the entire Bible and means that the Bible is inerrant.  It is only the quotation of God in Psalm 82 that Jesus designates "the word of God." Many translations and most Christians prefer "cannot be broken" here rather than "cannot be loosed" or "cannot be relaxed."  That's because "broken" seems to speak of destruction or transgression of a word of scripture.  It is very misleading to render it in this way.

Having listened to Jesus as he speaks of the scripture of the Old Testament, we can say that he viewed some portion of them as the Word of God, yet imperfect and incomplete because the hard hearted Israelites could not receive the perfect Word of God.  This resulted in errors in the Old Testament, many errors such as the errors Moses made by issuing permission for divorce and remarriage and by commanding ethnic cleansing in Canaan.  Jesus came, not to destroy this word of God, but to make it complete, perfect, and inerrant!  The Old Testament is not inerrant, and therefore cannot give eternal life due to the hard hearts of the Israelites, who were unable to receive the complete and perfect Word of God.

II. Jesus on the New Testament

The genuine utterances of Jesus as reported in the gospels are the only perfect words of God in the New Testament.  Nevertheless, there are twenty three additional documents in the New Testament, for a total of twenty - seven.  It is the twenty - three that is the focus of attention here.  I said above that Jesus anticipated them, and our task here is to show that this is true and that he did not honor them as the Word of God.  This is not to say that they are without value, for they are extremely valuable for the wealth of information provided about the faith and activities of the early disciples.  I am very thankful for them, only they are not the inerrant Word of God.

Jesus anticipated them when he spoke of false prophets, in the following utterances:

Matt. 24
Then they will give you over to affliction and they will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations because of my name. 10 And then many will be stumbled and they will betray each other and will hate each other. 11 And many false prophets will rise and will deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness shall abound, the agape-love of many will grow cold.
24 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise and shall give great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even the chosen. 25 Behold I have forewarned you.

Mark 13
21 And then if any say to you: Behold there is the Christ, or: Behold here, be not believing. 22 But false Christs and false prophets will arise and will make signs and wonders in order to be deceiving if possible, the chosen. 23 But you be looking; I have foretold you everything.
Did Jesus prophesy the coming of true prophets to follow him? 

No, you will search in vain.  The reason for this is as stated in Mark 13:23: Jesus himself
foretold you everythingThere is, from the conclusion of his prophecies, nothing more to foretell.  It follows that no subsequent prophecy has his approval because there is no need for such.  We should also understand the marks of the prophesied false prophets and false Christs: they will give great signs and wonders so as to deceive. . . ..

Paul was one of these, who claimed as a sign of his calling:

12 Indeed the signs of the apostle were worked among you in all patience, in signs, in wonders, and in powers.

He had given little attention to the Word of Jesus, therefore he did not know that he was blowing his cover as the false prophet that he was.  And yes, he has deceived many, precisely as Jesus foretold.  He is the strange shepherd from which the sheep of Jesus flee!  Muhammad is another false prophet.  Joseph Smith is another, Mary Baker Eddy another . . . . Bar Kokhba is another . . . they are many precisely as Jesus said.

From this alone we can readily understand that none of Paul's epistles are inspired by the Holy Spirit; they surely are packed with error, as one would expect under such circumstances.

Did Jesus prophesy that there would yet come true prophets who would perform signs and wonders?

No, he did not. 

Certainly there are many who attempt to make void the Word of God by placing limitations on the utterance of the Lord (I have foretold you all things),  by claiming that this concerned the catastrophic events of the Jewish rebellion when the Temple and the City of Jerusalem was destroyed and many perished.  But the inescapable word from Jesus is "
I have foretold you all things."  I   do not see that that omits anything, do you?

I do not mean to imply that Jesus gave every little detail of the future, but that he prophesied the major future events relevant to his disciples.  That surely includes things pertaining to the end of the world and the present age.  The Acts, the epistles, and Revelation contain prophecies that are meant by the Deceiver to deceive.  They are not inspired, and they are not inerrant.  This is easily demonstrated in the case of Revelation, because the book discredits itself by insisting that its prophecies must shortly come to pass. They did not.

We must examine one more utterance of the Lord in the present context because there are those who will rush forth with the assertion that Jesus validated the scribes, wise men and prophets of the New Testament by this utterance from Mark and Luke, displayed here in parallel columns for easy comparison:

33 Serpents, generation of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of Gehenna?

For this reason behold I send to you prophets and wise men and scribes. Some you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in you synagogues and persecute from city to city,
35 in order that all the just blood come upon you poured upon the land from the blood of just Abel until Zacharaiah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
Truly I say to you, he will bring all these things upon this generation.
47 Woe to you, that build the graves of the prophets, for your fathers killed them.
Therefore are you witnesses and you agree with the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their graves.
And because of this the wisdom of God said: I will send to them prophets and apostles, and of them they kill and persecute,

in order that the blood of all the prophets shed from the foundation of the world be required of this generation,
from the blood of Abel until the blood of Zacharius, the one destroyed between the altar and the house. Yes, I say to you, it will be required from this generation.

The highlighted text is the focus of our attention.  If Jesus promised to send prophets, wise men, scribes (Matthew) or prophets and apostles (Luke), we can reasonably interpret the twenty - three books of the New Testament, exclusive of the gospels, to be the work of those prophets, wise men and scribes. Accepting these accounts from Matthew and Luke as records of the same utterance that differ only due to the differing sources utilized here, we examine Matthew's record first.

We ask, to whom does the Lord address this utterance?

In context, it is to the Pharisees and scribes of the generation then living (vs. 29, not shown).  However, it is to them only as they are representative of all the generations of all time of all men.  He is prophesying that they will do such terrible things to the prophets, wise men and scribes whom he "sends," as to justify their being charged with guilt for every drop of blood poured upon the land from just Abel, the son of Adam and first man slaughtered in the Old Testament Record, to Zechariah the son of Berechiah. 

The identity of this last Zechariah is in much dispute, because Zechariah the son of Berechiah was the minor prophet (520 BC) of whose death we know nothing, but there was a Zechariah, a prophet, who was slain in the Temple but who is identified as the son of Jehoida (II Chron. 24:20 - 22).  I will not attempt to resolve this problem, except to state that the context requires that Jesus intends to include a span of maximum limits.  He begins with Abel in Genesis 4, therefore he has some other extreme limit in mind that points to Zechariah.  The limits may be chronological, since Abel is the first person murdered in the chronology of the Bible, but this leaves us without a definite incident for the other chronological limit.  One resolution is to suppose that the limits are not chronological but scriptural.  In this resolution, Abel is the first person slain in the scriptures, and the Zechariah here mentioned is the last person slain in the scriptures.  This works well because II Chronicles is the last book in the Hebrew Bible, as Genesis is the first (The Christian Bible has a different order).  Yet the problem remains because this Zechariah is the son of Jehoida, not Berechiah!  We need not resolve this here, but you can read a knowledgeable discussion of this textual problem on this site:


The essential thing here is to recognize the scope of these limits.  They begin with Abel, the first man slain, and end with Zechariah, who in some sense is the last man slain.  But whatever the identity of this Zechariah, Jesus is charging the scribes and Pharisees with his death:

. . . .until Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

This, though the evidence indicates that Zechariah perished hundreds of years earlier.  How could he charge them with that murder?

It gets worse, because he is charging them with the all murders of just persons ever committed:

. . . in order that all the just blood come upon you poured upon the land from the blood of just Abel . . . ..

I have highlighted
land because it is obvious that in this context he means to indicate the entire earth, which is a better word for this phrase.  It is obvious because he goes to the first murder committed on earth, Abel, to the last.  Jesus is charging them with culpability for all the righteous blood shed on the earth in all of human history to that point!

They were not there when Cain slew Abel; or when Zechariah was slain in the Temple -- yet Jesus states that the blood of these slain -- of all the slain of just men on the earth,

. . . all the just blood come upon you poured upon the land (earth).

That being the case, we can go back to the critical statement of vs. 34 and began to understand it:

For this reason behold I send to you prophets and wise men and scribes.

The second person in this context applies, then, not only to the men whom he addresses, but also to all their fathers to whom he sends prophets and wise men and scribes.  The verb "sends" is in the present tense, because from the point of view of the Eternal Son, everything is present.  This is not a promise to begin sending prophets to that time and people, but a statement of what he has been doing from the time of Abel.  He has been sending prophets, wise men and scribes, and they have been killing them.  He continues to do this, but as we will see, this continuance is for a very limited time. 

How can he justly charge them with the blood shed by their human forebears, all the sons of Adam, from Cain to that day?

We find the answer here:

Matthew 23
29 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the graves of the just, 30 and you say: If we were in the days of our fathers, we would not have been their partners in the blood of the prophets. 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those having murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up then the measure of your fathers.

How so?

Back up in this same chapter 23 to vs. 9:

9 And do not call anyone your father on the land, for one is your father in the heavens.

All who claim earthly fathers identify with those fathers and are complicit in the sins of those fathers because, whatever their crime, the sin results from identification with the man of flesh.  But he seems to be saying that they will bear the penalty of their fathers, while the fathers do not bear it:

. . . in order that all the just blood come upon you poured upon the land from the blood of just Abel . . . ..

Why not charge Abel's blood to Cain?  Why only to the scribes and Pharisees of his own day?  Listen:

John 9
41 Jesus said to them: If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now you say: We see. Your sin abides.
John 15
22 Except I came and told them, they would not have had sin. But now they do not have pretext concerning their sin. 23 The one hating me the father also hates.       24 Except I did works among them which no other has done, they would not have had sin.  But now they have seen me and have hated both me and my father.

Cain did not have the Light so as to know better -- nor did any one on earth until Jesus, the Light of the world, came and spoke to them.  They were blind, therefore they were not accountable for their evil deeds.  Then Jesus came and spoke to them the words of God; this exposure to the Light made them accountable yet they refused to hear him, saying instead, "We see."  Then, when they identified with those who slew the prophets, calling them "our fathers," they took on themselves the blood of those whom their fathers slew.  Then they proceeded to prove their paternity by crucifying Jesus and persecuting his first disciples.

So, when Jesus spoke saying,

I send to you prophets and wise men and scribes. . .

he was identifying them with their "fathers" to whom he had long sent prophets, wise men, and scribes.  This applies to the scribes and Pharisees personally also, because they continued to have the prophets and wise men and scribes  whom the Lord had sent.

We can confirm this by referring to Luke's testimony to this utterance, where the Lord is quoted as saying,

And because of this the wisdom of God said: I will send to them prophets and apostles . . ..

No one can find this quotation from any scripture, but it has a ready explanation.  Jesus is the Logos, the Eternal Word of God, who is with God from the beginning.  Now note the shift of tense in the verbs: "wisdom of God said" (past tense) and "I will" (future tense).  We have a ready explanation of the saying through the realization that Jesus drops back to a point in time prior to sending the prophets of old (past tense) to indicate that he (the Word) had determined to send prophets and apostles to the Hebrews, accounting for the future tense, for that is what he proceeded to do.

According to Luke, His resolve was to send them
prophets and apostles. These were consecutive.  The sending of the prophets ended with John the Baptist (the . . . prophets were until John), and he had yet to send them the promised apostles.  That, of course, was what Jesus was about to do.  These apostles, as we know, were sent out into the world to be his witnesses, not to be prophets with new doctrines or prophecies.

As Matthew, Luke completely identifies that generation with their fathers:

Woe to you, that build the graves of the prophets, for your fathers killed them.  Therefore are you witnesses and you agree with the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their graves.

And when he says,

. . . of them they kill and persecute,

he indicates that generation, for they, the scribes and Pharisees, leaders of the Jews together with their followers will proceed to kill and persecute the apostles whom Jesus, the Logos, was sending to them.  This is a matter of the record of history, both in the Acts and secular history.

That generation, as in Matthew, is also charged, in Luke, with the blood shed by their fathers.  Luke leaves absolutely no question as to the limits of this blood.  While we had to do some searching in Matthew to determine those limits, Luke is up front and very specific:

. . . in order that the blood of all the prophets shed from the foundation of the world be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel until the blood of Zacharius, the one destroyed between the altar and the house. Yes, I say to you, it will be required from this generation.

Again, the reason he did not make previous generations accountable is the same as explained in the discussion of Matthew's rendition of this utterance.  They were in the dark, did not have the Light, and in a very real sense, were representative of the children of men that had not reached the age of accountability until the First Century, when Jesus came to explain the facts of life -- of eternal life.

This leaves one further need for explanation concerning this utterance of the Lord, which is this difference between Matthew and Luke:

I send to you prophets and wise men and scribes. (Matthew)

I will send to them prophets and apostles. (Luke)

Prophets and apostles, as in Luke, fit the facts of history perfectly, for the Lord did indeed send prophets to earlier generations, and apostles to that generation.  But what can we say of the wise men and scribes in Matthew?

Their mention here is very positive, being joined to the praiseworthy prophets.  The same is true for the scribes.  But you will search the gospel's in vain for another utterance of the Lord that is positive towards either.  To the contrary, both the wise and the scribes are heavily condemned in the gospels.  When we consider Luke's demonstration in both the gospel and the Acts as being a careful historian, we can conclude that Matthew's version of the utterance is erroneous.  I don't mean that Jesus spoke erroneously, but that either the evangelist or a later 'scribe' erred in inserting words (wise men and scribes) that Jesus did not utter.  Neither Mark nor John record this utterance.

Yes, Jesus anticipated the twenty three New Testament documents other than the gospels when he anticipated the coming of many false prophets who would deceive many, as they do this day.  They were also scribes who gave the twenty three to the world, but Jesus did not send them.  The scribes he sent were those prophets who wrote and testified of Jesus.

III. Jesus on His Own Words

We have examined Jesus' views of the Old Testament and the New Testament.  All that remains of the Bible is his own utterances contained in the gospels.  We turn now to consider the question:

How does Jesus evaluate his own words? 

It is easy to obtain this information because he is not reluctant to tell us.  This section will therefore be content with pointing to a few of those words -- not all of them -- there are many -- with a minimum of commentary.  I say 'a few' because there are many, and it is not necessary to point all of them.

As stated above, any person can make grandiose statements about himself or his ideas and utterances.  The fact that Jesus did this is not what causes me to believe in him.  It's what he said otherwise -- his good news of the kingdom and related teachings -- that have made a believer of me. That, and the fact that he has given me peace - peace not of this world or as the world gives -- precisely as he promises.  He is thoroughly justified in every attribution of his words to God.  Listen as he speaks from the Fourth Gospel:

John 8
31 If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
40 But now you seek to kill me a man who has spoken to you the truth, which I heard from God;
John 14
6 I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the father except through me.
John 12
48 The one rejecting me and not receiving my words has one judging him: the word which I spoke, that will judge him in the last day. 49 Because I have not spoken from myself, but the one having sent me, the father himself has given to me commandment what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What therefore I speak, just as the father has spoken to me, thusly I speak.
John 15
24 Except I did works among them which no other has done, they would not have had sin.

The works of Jesus consists of his bearing and declaring the words that he heard from God, the Father.  His claim is that he is unique in this work, as we see above in John 14:6 (no one comes to the father except through me.) and 15:24 (I did works among them which no other has done).  This claim puts all others who preceded him in the shade, while he among them all is the Light.

Concluding Remarks

The Bible is not the inerrant Word of God.  We have examined this claim of biblical inerrancy in the Light of Jesus' teachings concerning the scriptures and the writings of those who wrote after him and have found no basis for it.  He is highly offended with those who put the Law and the Prophets, and the New Testament epistles, on the same level with his unique utterances.  Jesus alone, whose words were first uttered in the First Century, is the inerrant Word of God.  He is the Truth, the only Living Water and the only Living Bread.  Even when he acknowledged some small portion of the Old Testament to be the word of God, he nevertheless found it defective because it was made less than the Word of God due to the hard hearts of the Israelites who first received it. 

This claim of biblical inerrancy causes millions to seek eternal life amid the dead words of the Law, the Prophets, and the Apostles.  There is no excusing this, because all who make the claim have the words of Jesus readily available to them if they will only listen.  T
heirs is a sad end except they repent because it is by the only inerrant words of the man, Jesus, that all will be judged on the Last Day:
. . . the word which I spoke, that will judge him in the last day.

Here, then, is my overall conclusion concerning the scriptures:

The Old Testament points to Jesus; the New Testament points away from Jesus. Jesus points to himself.

To whom does the New Testament point?

It points to the mythical Christ figure of Paul, which is one of those false christs of whom Jesus warns us, put forth by one of those false prophets of whom Jesus warns us.

But don't take my word for it.  Take the word of God himself, spoken from the Mount of Transfiguration to those transfixed disciples as the Law and the Prophets (Moses and Elijah) faded away:

This is my chosen son, be hearing him!

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