God’s Word for You
Proverbs 30:5-6 The flawless infallible Word
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, April 7, 2021
5 “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield for those who take refuge in him. 6 Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and you will be found to be a liar.”
“Flawless” is the result of being refined again and again, tested (Psalm 119:140) in the sense of a metal undergoing refining until all of the impurities are removed. God’s word has never had any impurities, but man can’t imagine the real meaning of flawlessness or purity without the added idea of purging. The word of God has been flawless from the beginning. God, through his word, is a shield to everyone who takes refuge in him. This image is of course of a soldier using a large shield to fend off arrows (Ephesians 6:16) or the smaller shield, the buckler, to fend off the attack of the sword or knife (2 Samuel 22:31). This is another way of saying that God and his word are our refuge in times of trouble (Psalm 9:9, 46:1, 59:16; Proverbs 22:3, 27:12; Nahum 1:7).
Verse 5 is a proof text for the infallibility of the Bible. Other passages that teach this to us include Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that he should lie,” John 10:35, “Jesus said, ‘The Scripture cannot be broken,’” and John 17:17, “Your word is truth.” Infallible means without mistakes. Lutheran pastor Johannes Quenstedt wrote: “The canonical Holy Scriptures in the original text are the infallible truth and free from every error. In other words, in the canonical Holy Scriptures there is found no lie, no falsity, no error, whether in the things or in the words; but in all things, and each single one, that are handed down in them are the most true, whether they pertain to doctrine or morals or history, chronology, topography, or nomenclature. No ignorance, no thoughtlessness or forgetfulness, no lapse of memory can or dare be ascribed to the amanuenses (recording secretaries) of the Holy Ghost in their penning of the sacred writings.” There is no error in the text of the Bible even in unimportant matters. This should not be confused with certain minor errors of copying that occurred by human hands in the transmission of one manuscript to another, but the vast, vast majority of such errors are matters of spelling and certain items of grammar that do not have any impact of the message of the Scriptures for the people of God. Furthermore, note that we are confessing that the original Hebrew and Greek texts are the infallible Word of God. I worked as a translator on a published Bible translation a few years ago, and I am the first to admit that errors in translation, verse numbering, spelling, English grammar, and other things do happen. Also, poetry is especially difficult to carry from one language to another, but Hebrew poetry at least has the advantage of avoiding rhyme. When we fail to understand the meaning of a passage of the Bible, the problem is not with the text or with the Holy Spirit, but with the sinful men and women who read it.
Verse 6 is the command not to add or subtract from God’s Word. This command is stated at the beginning of the Bible (Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32), here in the middle of the Bible, and again at the end (Revelation 22:18-19). By repeating the command, God shows that books of the Old Testament written after Moses were still taken as the Word of God and falling within the command, since God himself is not subject to such prohibitions. And by repeating the command again at the end of Revelation, God has shown that not only Revelation but the entire New Testament to be the infallible Word of God, and likewise not to be added to or subtracted from. This applies not only to the books of Moses or the Proverbs or Revelation, but to the whole Bible.
Even though Moses did not have the Gospels or the Prophetic books, the writings of Moses were sufficient for the church in Moses’ day. Even though Paul and the Apostles did not yet have the Gospels, the writings of the Old Testament and the preaching of Jesus were sufficient for them and for the church of their day, declared to be holy and true by the added testimony of certain miracles and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We have the full text of the Bible. There will never be another Testament of the Bible to be added, since the full message of our salvation is complete and presented in its completeness in the 66 books of the Holy Scriptures. Since Scripture contains everything necessary for faith and a godly life, Scripture has the characteristics of perfection and sufficiency.
Obviously this passage preaches the Law to us by forbidding us to add or subtract anything from the Word of God, but it also preaches the Gospel. It promises that the Bible is the Word of God and it is sufficient for us, for our salvation, and it is a shield and a refuge for everyone who trusts in Christ. We are assured that the salvation we have in Jesus is sufficient, and since his salvation is perfect, we are perfect in him. We will be examined in the Last Judgment, and everyone who has put their trust in Christ will be declared flawless, tested, holy and righteous. This is God’s promise, purer and more certain than the purest and finest gold. This is your salvation.
Pastor Timothy Smith