You have probably seen him or known him—He is the hypocritical husband. He is the man who speaks or writes or preaches about marriage, who proclaims his enduring affection for his bride, but who treats her dreadfully. Or maybe he just treats her apathetically. He is glad to tell others about his love, but his actions contradict his words.
As someone who both writes and preaches, I have been struck by my tendency toward hypocrisy in this way. I know that I am capable of teaching what the Bible says about marriage (or anything else, for that matter) even when I don’t act what the Bible says about it. I am capable of writing “8 Ways to Guarantee the Flame Lasts Forever” while acting as if I don’t care if it lasts another 5 minutes.
But I don’t mean to write about marriage today, I mean to write about the Bible. This article actually began over a friendly discussion of inerrancy. A friend and I were discussing a proper understanding of the Bible’s claims about itself and I found myself thinking about the people of Grace Fellowship Church. I found myself wondering about their understanding of the Bible, and whether or not they would affirm inerrancy.
I think they would—I think they would all agree with the claim that the Bible is without error and that it does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact. And I think this is true whether or not they have ever heard the word inerrant. Here’s why: The most effective way of teaching inerrancy is not to teach inerrancy, but to teach the Bible. Inerrancy can (and sometimes should) be defined. But more often it should simply be displayed. And I am convinced that it is best displayed in the normal week-by-week expositional preaching of the Word.
It is here, in the preaching of the Word, that we show what we really believe. It is here that we show our theology in action. We open the Bible, say what it says, believe what it proclaims, and do what it commands. We open it up, allow God to speak, and then live out what he has spoken. There is nothing fancy about it. But there is something extraordinary and downright supernatural.
As people sit under this kind of preaching week after week, year after year, and book after book, they see inerrancy, they experience inerrancy, they believe inerrancy, and they consider anything less unthinkable. The most important lessons on inerrancy are not the ones in the systematic theology text but in the pulpit.
I have learned far more about marriage by seeing marriage than by reading definitions or descriptions of it. That is both right and good. And as important as it is to know and define the word inerrancy, it is far more important to see it. When we preach the Bible as inerrant, we teach people to understand that it is inerrant.
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