If the Scriptures are infallible, what relevance does that have to our life?
It is the final authority. Non-negotiable, and not open to debate.
When we say that God is infallible, it literally means that He is incapable of erring or making mistakes. If we accept that all of the Scriptures are His inspired (“God-breathed-out”) Word, then by extension, the Bible is also “infallible” (from the Latin word “fallere”; to deceive). The infallibility of Scripture means that since it is the very Word of God, it cannot mislead or deceive us. Some passages of Scripture that attest to its own infallibility include Psalm 19:7-14 (speaks of the law of the Lord being “perfect” and the testimony of the Lord being “sure”); Hebrews 2:1-4; 2 Peter 1:16-21; 2 Tim. 3:15 and John 17:17.
Axiomatically, if we accept the infallibility of Scripture, it follows that it is the basis for authoritative counsel. Jay Adams writes, “The ministry of the Word in counseling…is totally unlike counseling in any other system because of its authoritative base. This authoritative character stems, of course, from the doctrine of inerrancy. If the Bible were shot through with human error, and were no more dependable than any other composition – if it were not a God-breathed revelation – this note of authority would give way to opinion. But, because the Bible is inerrant, there is authority.” (Jay Adams, “More Than Redemption”, p. 18.)
Where direct commands are given in Scripture, a Christian may give authoritative counsel in the form of a command or prohibition, appealing directly to what is stated in the Bible (i.e. pre-marital sex; insubordination to an employer; etc.) However, a believer will often have to deal with questions where the Bible does not give specific instruction (but does provide general, guiding principles.) In such cases, he must assess the situation and distinguish between his or her own opinion, based on knowledge of biblical principles, and the absolute authority of Scripture. In all cases, the counsel given both as absolute imperatives (“You may not commit adultery”) and advice given on the basis of Scriptural principles (“You might want to find a sport for your son to play that does not involve games on Sunday afternoons, since Exodus 20:8 tells God’s people to keep the Sabbath day holy”) must be rooted in the Bible, rather than any system of thought which does not claim divine authority.
Finally, Jesus’ example of absolute adherence to God’s Word in the wilderness should be used as an illustration of how, because Scripture is infallible, it is the final authority for how we are to make decisions and proceed. Luke 4:1-12 demonstrates how Jesus responded to every temptation and attempt at Scripture-twisting from the devil with “It is written…” His response and behavior, even at great personal cost, models the attitude we are to imitate when faced with temptation: what is “written?” Why does that matter? A biblical command or prohibition is metaphorically “written in stone” (is non-negotiable) because all Scripture proceeds from the mouth of God. As such, it is perfect (infallible) and is therefore the ultimate authority for issues both of orthodoxy and orthopraxy.