Does the Bible claim to be God's word, and if so, in what sense and to what extent?
Jeremiah 1:9 Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me:"Behold, I have put My words in your mouth."(NKJV)
Jeremiah 2:1 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 "Go, and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem saying, 'Thus says the LORD... (NKJV)
In addition to hundreds of passages in the Old Testament that refer to the "word of Yahweh" [Yahweh is a transliteration of a Hebrew word for God, KH] coming to so and so and claims of "thus says Yahweh," there are also claims that the words that they wrote were the words of Yahweh.
Exodus 24:3 Moses came and told the people all the words of Yahweh and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, "All the words that Yahweh has spoken we will do."
Moses told the people what he called the "words of Yahweh," and the people accepted them as "all the words Yahweh has spoken." Then the text claims that Moses wrote down the words of Yahweh.
4 And Moses wrote down all the words of Yahweh....[edited, kh] 7 Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, "All that Yahweh has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient." 8 Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, "See the blood of the covenant that Yahweh has made with you in accordance with all these words."
Moses wrote down what the Exodus writer claimed were the "words of Yahweh," so that later when he read what he had written, the people understood that they had heard him read not the "ideas" of Yahweh but the WORDS of Yahweh. Jeremiah, whose claim that Yahweh touched his mouth and put his words into the prophet's mouth we have already noticed, later claimed that he wrote down the words that Yahweh had spoken to him: "The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh: Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: ‘Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you’ (30:1-2). (From Farrell Till's Traditional Bible Inerrancy, Part Two. See link below.)
Mt. 10:19 "But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you." (NKJV)
Luke 21:12 "But before all this occurs, they will take you into custody and harass you because of your faith. They will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13 This will provide you with an opportunity to testify. 14 Make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance. 15 I'll give you words and wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to counter or contradict." (CEB)
What was said in these passages is not the kind of "inspiration" that is being taught by the new fundamentalists. It is a very clear description of verbal inspiration, so if the apostles were verbally inspired whenever they were preaching or defending the gospel before rulers, when what they said would be heard by their audiences and then gone forever, how likely is it that when they wrote epistles that were allegedly intended to be the "word of God" all through the Christian era, God would simply have given them the "thoughts" and "ideas" they were to write but leave the selection of the words up to them?
Such a premise seems preposterous. It would mean, for example, that the sermon Peter preached on the day of Pentecost was verbally inspired but the account of it that Luke recorded wasn't, that Luke had been given only the "ideas" of what to record or perhaps had learned about it by "oral tradition," whereas Peter had been given the very words that he spoke. Such a view doesn't agree with what the New Testament teaches. (From Farrell Till's Traditional Bible Inerrancy, Part Two. See link below.)
John 16:13, "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come." (NKJV)
I Corinthians 2: 6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written:
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." [Isaiah 64:4]
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" [Isaiah 40:13] But we have the mind of Christ. (NKJV)
Ephesians 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles-- 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: (NKJV)
II Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.(NKJV)
Rev. 22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. (NASB)
Why would total inerrancy have to be a logical necessity or consequence of verbal inspiration? Well, first of all, an entity that is omniscient would know everything that it is possible to know in matters of science, history, geography, chronology, etc., etc., etc. If this omniscient entity should also be omnipotent, then he would be able to do anything that is logically possible to do. So if an omniscient, omnipotent deity verbally inspired the writing of a text, it would have to be completely inerrant unless deception was a characteristic of the omniscient, omnipotent deity who verbally inspired it. In the case of the biblical god Yahweh, the Bible claims that truth and honesty are features of his nature. If an omniscient, omnipotent deity should verbally inspire an errant text, the errors would have to be intentional, because the inspirer is omniscient (so he would have to know that he was guiding the writers to put errors into the text), and the inspirer is omnipotent (so he would have the ability to keep the errors out of the text). Therefore, if errors are in a text that was verbally inspired by an omniscient, omnipotent deity, they would have to be there because of an intentional act to deceive or mislead. However, the Bible god is allegedly "omnigood," which would exclude dishonesty and deception from his nature. There is only one conclusion that all of this could lead to: If the Bible was verbally inspired but contains errors, then the entity who inspired it was not omniscient or not omnipotent or not omnigood. It would be logically impossible for the verbal inspirer of an errant document to have all three characteristics. (From Farrell Till's Traditional Bible Inerrancy, Part One. See link below.)
The situation is this--remove the inerrant, supernatural Book, and there is absolutely no substance to the claims of Christianity; it is but another world religion without portfolio, without credentials! (The First Annual Gulf Coast Lectures, Church of Christ, Portland, Texas, 1993, pp 34-35. See full quote in Farrell Till's Traditional Bible Inerrancy, Part One--Emphasis added by Farrell Till. See link above.)