In October, it will have been 40 years since leading evangelical Biblical scholars came together to draft and sign the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. In 1980, the group produced a collection of essays entitled "Inerrancy" that was edited by Dr. Norman Geisler.
In the first few chapters of that important work, Dr. John Wenham and Dr. Edwin Blum outline, in detail, that both the Apostles and Jesus himself quote the Old Testament as the very words of God and, as such, are infallible and authoritative. For example, Jesus dressed down the traditions of the Pharisees for attempting to void "the word of God" (Mark 7:13) and in Matthew 22:31 Jesus, referring to the Old Testament, states, "...have you not read what was said to you by God." The Apostles follow their master and the Spirit inspires Paul to write that all Scripture is "God breathed (2 Tim. 3:16).
I could go on and on but you get the point.
The focus, especially early on, of liberal critics of the Bible was the Old Testament. They labeled it as the product of competing parties within Judaism, filled with errors, myths, etc. Liberal critics tried to "get behind the text of the Old Testament" and get to the "real history" of Israel. Even after many admitted that these attempts had produced no consensus whatsoever among scholars, the theories they set forth such as the multiple authorship of the first five books of the Bible by the competing camps known in academia as J, E, P and D are largely taught as fact in most seminaries despite no strong historical evidence that such a process ever took place. Liberal Biblical scholarship has become an ongoing game of textual Jenga! It confuses young Christians to the point that many have actually lost their faith over such an approach. Yet, the academic game goes on with little attention paid to how did Jesus and His Apostles view the Old Testament? Why would they quote it as the very words of God Himself, perfect and absolutely authoritative if it was just yet another middle eastern library of imaginative myths?
I first read the Bible when I was 25 years old. I understand how a modern reader can struggle with the Old Testament. I remember reading about Satan in the Garden and Balaam's talking donkey and thinking to myself, "Is this the Word of God or a Disney movie?"
I then attended seminary and had to learn about all of the critical approaches to Scripture, especially the Old Testament. I doubted its trustworthiness until years later. One of the many reasons I came back to believe the Old Testament as inerrant history is that Jesus and His Apostles saw it and quoted it as such. Liberal critics of the Bible who call themselves Christians would do well to wrestle with the words of Jesus and His chosen representatives as well. If a person calls him- or herself a Christian but reduces the Old Testament to "fairy tales" interspersed with some history, they not only attempt to sit as judge over God's Word but they also are, at the very least, implying that Jesus himself was lying or was not as informed as modern day critics, which, at the end of the day means they truly believe He was not the sinless God in the flesh but simply a good hearted rabbi with a quant pre-enlightenment view of history and textual study.