THE man was lost. The long dark ringers of the coming night were creeping across the sky. Suddenly he remembered he had a small compass for just such an emergency. When he looked at the compass it told him he was wrong, but he was sure he was right, so he decided there must be something wrong with the compass. Sitting down on a rock he took the instrument to pieces. Next morning a party of searchers found him frozen to death with the dismantled compass beside his body. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. 14:12).
Our God loves us and He has given us a dependable compass. That compass is the Bible. As the compass shows the way to the confused traveler, so the Word of God shows to life's travelers the way to heaven, to life, to a life akin to God. The Bible is from God, therefore, like its Maker, it "cannot lie." It is a sure, unerring guide. "By studying and obeying the directions, not one soul would lose its way to heaven." —Selected Messages, book 1, p. 16. "Cling to your Bible, as it reads, . . . and obey the Word, and not one of you will be lost."— Ibid., p. 18.
We can with perfect assurance follow the Book of Truth. God is its author. He "cannot lie." Therefore, truth unmixed with error is the Bible's contents. Our God is infallible and all that He inspires is infallible. Some have objected to the use of such descriptive words as "infallible" and "unerring" being applied to the Word of God today. They would have us believe that as a guide to salvation the Bible is correct, but when it deals with such subjects as astronomy, biology, chronology, history, and science, it is not reliable and mistakes are common. These doubts, I am sorry to say, have been expressed by some who are trusted. However, this should not surprise us. This is to be expected in this climax hour, for has not our infallible Bible in its unerring prophecies warned of just such a situation: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Tim. 4:1).
Danger of Doubt
Note carefully the phrase, "doctrines of devils." Devils are the authors of certain religious teachings or doctrines. "Hath God said . . .?" (Gen. 3:1). Doubt of God's Word was the foundation of the devil's first temptation of man—the temptation that opened the floodgates of tragedy on the children of men. Doubt and distrust still lie at the root of all sin. Once complete trust in God's Word is weakened, apostasy soon follows. This has happened again and again in recent months. Listening to such words of doubt, some have naturally concluded that if one part of the Bible is unreliable, what can one trust? They have gone out into darkness and unbelief. This has raised my anger (righteous, I trust). I recall the words of Jesus when He said that a man would be better off dead than cause one of His little ones to stumble. Thus the question of an in fallible Bible is paramount.
We Can Trust the Bible
Note but a few of a myriad of reasons that could be given as to why we can trust in an unerring, infallible Bible:
1. The Very Nature of Our God Demands an Infallible Bible. How could a holy God in whom is no darkness, One who "cannot lie" (Titus 1:2), inspire men to write any thing less than a perfect, unerring, infallible account? "Infallible," I understand, means incapable of teaching deception; while "unerring" means not liable to be proven false or mistaken. If there are scientific errors in the Bible, why should there not be errors of theology and of salvation as well? If the God who made and guides the stars does not know the correct movement of the stars, what kind of God is He? If in the original text He inspired mistakes in the common things of life, can He be trusted in the great issues of eternity? The issue cannot be side-stepped or shelved. If one part is erroneous, can any of it be trusted?
2. The Bible Claims Infallibility: "Every word of God is pure" (Prov. 30:5). These words are pure—free from error. If the Bible is liable to error in one place, or in one particular, what guarantee have we that it is not in error in another? To brush some sections of God's Word aside as trivialities is to reveal a very irreverent attitude. "The Bible is not to be tested by man's ideas of science, but science is to be brought to the test of this unerring standard."—E. G. WHITE, Signs of the Times, March 13, 1884, p. 161. Note carefully, not only does the voice of inspiration pro claim the Scriptures "unerring" but also it is worthy to note what is stated regarding the field of science. That is significant, for science has become the god of millions. Too often some who claim to be members of God's remnant church pay this false god far too much secret worship.
3. Jesus, Heaven's Glorious Commander, Accepted the Scriptures as Unerring. We do well to stay by our one and only Ex ample. He whispers down the ages to us today: "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). "Thy word is truth" (chap. 17:17). "The scripture cannot be broken" (chap. 10:35). "My words shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:35).
Jesus appealed to the Scriptures as the final authority; never once do we find Him questioning its truth. He made no excuse or apology for anything written there. He cites or alludes to it more than four hundred times. Our Lord did not belong to the liberals or to the higher critics. Christ accepted the Bible as it existed without comment or question, and His acceptance places on it the final seal of approval.
The testimony of Jesus today confirms this: "When men venture to criticize the Word of God, they venture on sacred, holy ground, and had better fear and tremble and hide their wisdom as foolishness. God sets no man to pronounce judgment on His Word, selecting some things as inspired and discrediting others as uninspired."— Selected Messages, book 1, p. 23.
When did God give man authority to decide what is truth? If some of the Bible is not correct who is to decide what is true and what is false? It would drive a person mad trying to decide what is truth and what is error. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim. 3:16). In verse 17 we see the result of this inspired Word. The man of God is made "perfect," "throughly furnished," or thoroughly perfected, and so "perfect." This again reveals a perfect, unerring Book, for if the Scripture is not perfect, how could it make the man of God perfect?
For Our Learning, Not Our Criticism
"Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning" (Rom. 15:4). Whether those holy writings deal with salvation, history, or science, they are for "our learning," not our criticism. If some parts of the Bible are error, may I ask who is the "infallible" critic who will divide for us the truth from error? Is it not fallible, erring man in his pride trying to raise himself above God's Word? How clear is the testimony of our Lord through His servant? "The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His will."— The Great Controversy, p. vii.
Yes, the Bible is infallible. You can trust that Word for time and for eternity. Again we read: "Man is fallible, but God's Word is infallible."—Selected Messages, book 1, p. 416. We can use and should use the words "unerring" and "infallible" to describe the Scriptures of truth. Ever remember, the Christ who loved you and gave Himself for you, is the author of the Bible (1 Peter 1:11). Thus anyone who would question the final authority of this Word belittles Christ. Our Lord rose from the dead. He lives and He reigns. All power belongs to Him (Matt. 28:18). His Word is also living and powerful, for He cannot err, He cannot fail; His Word endures for ever (1 Peter 1:25).
What a contrast we find between the Bible and the greatest works and discoveries of man. Time has overthrown many of the claims and the speculations of much that is called science. They have been forced to give way to fresh discoveries, but certainly not so with the Word of our God. Discoveries confirm it and the passing years prove its incredible predictions. The bricks unearthed by the archeologists have been thrown through the cobwebs of doubt and criticism. To this golden but godless age this Word still speaks and will continue to speak with unerring authority despite the doubts of the twentieth-century gnostics. "Whatever in so-called scientific teaching contradicts the testimony of God's Word is mere human guesswork."— The Ministry of Healing, p. 462.
Uphold the Word
The tongues of angels are insufficient to set forth the wonders of Scripture. I would like in my last sermon to be found up holding the imperishable Word of my Lord. To hold aloft the light that came from our living, loving, life-giving Lord. It is infallible! It is unerring! It is eternal! It is living! May we follow this Word which, like its Author, "liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Peter 1:23). When science, falsely so-called, has bowed its haughty head for the last time and crawled into a dishonored grave, the Book of God will still shine with undimmed luster. As the foolish traveler took the compass to pieces because it did not agree with his erring judgment, so many handle the Word of God with like fatal results, and thus today, as in the long ago, the Bible declares, "Fools die for want of wisdom" (Prov. 10:21).
Yes, the Bible is a wonderful compass and guide. What satisfaction it brings to life! In the dark valley of the shadow of death it is not only a comfort, it is the only comfort and assurance. Men by the mil lions have gladly died for this Book. They have stained the heather of Scotland's high land hills with their lifeblood, died in Spain's inquisitions, Rome's dungeons, and Italy's valleys rather than give it up or surrender its sacred truth. The stake, gallows, galleys, or the rack of torture have all failed to make those who know this infallible Book to give it up, to deny it, or to cease to love and trust it. Remember, "The written Word is our only safety."— Selected Messages, book 1, p. 158. "Take the Scriptures as they read."—Ibid., p. 170. All knowledge is useful, but this is essential. Let it not go; keep it, for it is your life (Prov. 4:13).