In my opinion, biblical inerrancy is one of those concepts that differentiates Christianity from other faiths.  Other faiths claim that their scriptures are divinely inspired, and are without error but the bible backs it up.   P.D. Feinberg describes inerrancy as “ the view when all facts are become known, they will demonstrate that the Bible in its original autographs and correctly interpreted is entirely true and never false in all it affirms, whether that relates to doctrine or ethics or to the social, physical, or life sciences.” (Elwell, 2001, page 156)  As Christians, if we truly believe that the Bible is the word of God, then we must believe what is contained in it.

After all if we find something wrong within its pages then what other error is there that has yet to be discovered.  Did the resurrection truly happen?  Did eleven of the twelve apostles die as martyrs or did they just write that to add credibility to what they were writing?  Once we believe that we see an error then there is no limits to what else is in error.  This is described as the slippery slope argument “for many individuals and institutions the surrender of their commitment to inerrancy has been a first step to greater error.” (Elwell, 2001, page 158)  Erickson states, “Inerrancy is a corollary of the doctrine of full inspiration.  If, then, it should be shown that the Bible is not truthful, our view of inspiration would also be in jeopardy.”  (Erickson, 1998, page 251)  To believe in inerrancy is also to believe in what the early church fathers believed.

Polycarp, Ignatius of Antioch, and many others quoted extensively from the scriptures as being the authoritative, inerrant word of God.  Many of these heroes of the faith died for what they believed in.  Would all of these people die as martyrs if there was the smallest possibility that what they believed had errors?  In Evidence for Christianity, Dr. Archer states, “There is a good and sufficient answer in scripture itself to refute every charge that has ever been leveled against it.  But this is only to be expected from the kind of book the Bible asserts itself to be, the inscripturation of the infallible, inerrant Word of the Living God.”  (McDowell, 2006, page 76)

 

References:

Elwell, Walter.  Evangelical Dictionary of Theology.  2d ed.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2001, 156.

Elwell, Walter.  Evangelical Dictionary of Theology.  2d ed.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2001, 158.

Erickson, Millard.  Christian Theology.  2d ed.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1998, 251.

McDowell, Josh.  Evidence For Christianity.  Nashville, TN:  Thomas Nelson Inc., 2006, 76

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2 thoughts on “Inerrancy Matters

  1. Even if the Bible magically fell from the sky, wasn’t copied down tens of thousands of times over and over again, clerical errors hadn’t crept in there in the process, there’s still one source of error that the Bible is helpless to do anything about: the people who read and interpret it. Case in point: Tertullian’s ‘On the veiling of virgins’ – Can you imagine a more bizarre practice than to require all virgins to wear veils at all times? How unrighteous the unveiled young adult (not-virgin) would appear among a group of veiled young adults (virgins). Or because the Bible is inerrant, is it us who is in error for not forcing all of our women to cover their heads (1 Cor. 11)? Even if the Bible’s not wrong, people often are – hence the clerical errors in the manuscripts of the Bible, of the tens of thousands of them out there, no two are just alike. And we just discovered yet another cave with another set of scrolls safely tucked away in sealed jars. Who knows what we will find in there?

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