Why does Biblical Inerrancy matter (to me)?


The Scripture at the heart of this debate is 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

“16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant [man] of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

This is the scripture most evangelicals will refer to describe the inspiration and inerrancy of scriptures.  Heck, I can’t think of any Bible Believing Christians who believes contrary to this.  In fact, this has been a fundamental cornerstone of belief for most protestant Christians.  (Even Mine)

It seems common knowledge to assume divine inspiration of the bible is also to imply divine authority.  For a Christian, belief in Holy Scripture is the Word of God, and carries the full authority of the God of the bible.  And the doctrine of divine authority and divine inspiration calls for the infallible teaching of God and therefore also requires full agreement.  And every command of the Bible is the directive of God himself and therefore unquestionably and respectfully promotes the idealism of the infallibility and inerrancy, not just of the bible, but also of God.

So, Why is Inerrancy or Errancy important to me?

The majority of protestant denominations attests and affirms biblical inerrancy, so does the one I have been raised in the faith in.  The doctrine of biblical inerrancy is an extremely important one because the issue reflects on the character of God and is foundational to our understanding of everything the Bible teaches. Here are some partial reasons why we should absolutely believe in biblical inerrancy as presented by {http://www.gotquestions.org/Biblical-inerrancy.html  }:

1. The Bible itself claims to be perfect. “And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times” (Psalm 12:6). “The law of the Lord is perfect” (Psalm 19:7). “Every word of God is pure” (Proverbs 30:5 KJV). These claims of purity and perfection are absolute statements. Note that it doesn’t say God’s Word is “mostly” pure or scripture is “nearly” perfect,…, leaving no room for “partial perfection” theories.

2. The Bible stands or falls as a whole. If a major newspaper were routinely discovered to contain errors, it would be quickly discredited. It would make no difference to say, “All the errors are confined to page three.” For a paper to be reliable in any of its parts, it must be factual throughout. In the same way, if the Bible is inaccurate when it speaks of geology, why should its theology be trusted? It is either a trustworthy document, or it is not.

3. The Bible is a reflection of its Author. All books are. The Bible was written by God Himself as He worked through human authors in a process called “inspiration.” “All scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). See also 2 Peter 1:21 and Jeremiah 1:2.

4. The Bible’s message must be taken as a whole. It is not a mixture of doctrine that we are free to select from. Many people like the verses that say God loves them, but they dislike the verses that say God will judge sinners. But we simply cannot pick and choose what we like about the Bible and throw the rest away. If the Bible is wrong about hell, for example, then who is to say it is right about heaven—or about anything else? If the Bible cannot get the details right about creation, then maybe the details about salvation cannot be trusted either. If the story of Jonah is a myth, then perhaps so is the story of Jesus. On the contrary, God has said what He has said, and the Bible presents us a full picture of who God is. “Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89).

5. The Bible is our only rule for faith and practice. If it is not reliable, then on what do we base our beliefs?

Inerrancy is not the center of belief.”- William Lane Craig

After doing much reading and research, I feel like I got the impression, I am making too much of a big deal out of this Errancy-Inerrancy issue.  It seems like a large portion of Christian scholars confess and believe that the scriptures are with flaws and errancy.  This is mind-blowing to me, because I thought belief in a perfect God and perfect bible go hand-in-hand.  That you couldn’t have one without the other.  But it seems to that many Christian scholars don’t perceive it that way.  Even world-renowned Christian Apologist William Lane Craig, says that inerrancy is not a fundamental belief for a believer and that Christians should not get too caught up in the doctrine of inerrancy.  And that we should not lose faith, because a person thinks the bible has a few errors.  In fact, he even implies that the bible difficulties are more because we have a lack of understanding of inerrancy, and may have too radical of an approach on biblical inerrancy.  You can listen Dr. William Lane Craig here talk about biblical inerrancy.  Even the famous, C.S. Lewis didn’t believe in the inerrancy of the bible.  —Now whether they are implying the autobiographical text, I don’t know.  But holistically and contextually speaking they still affirm that the scriptures and the bible is errant, yet they still hold to their Christian faith.  According to Jonathon Dodson “Does your Bible contain errors? Yes. Does that mean Scripture is inerrant? No.”  But that seems to defy logic, common sense, and the definition of inerrancy. Is it me, or does that just seem off?

About M. Rodriguez

When I first received Christ salvation, I made it a priority to read the whole bible and I did. But it was the Bible that made me question my faith. For I found it flawed and lacking. Due to this I launched a personal inquiry/investigation into my faith, and ultimately realized that the Christian God of the Bible was indeed man-made. Now I Blog about those findings and life after Christ.
This entry was posted in apologist, atheist vs christian, bible, bible contradictions, biblical difficulties, biblical inerrancy, christian, christian faith, confusion, contradiction, Dr. William Lane Craig, fallacious, fallacious reasoning, god, inerrancy, infalliable, Johnathon dodson, logic, trust your bible and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Why does Biblical Inerrancy matter (to me)?

  1. Lorena says:

    Well said! This is my favourite part,

    The Bible stands or falls as a whole. If a major newspaper were routinely discovered to contain errors, it would be quickly discredited.

    When politicians are running for office, a pitiful article they wrote in their youth gets them in trouble, but the Bible with its countless errors passes the test. That often baffles me.

  2. Nate says:

    This is exactly how I feel about it. To me, the fact that apologists are backing away or redefining what “inerrant” means just proves the skeptics’ point. On the other hand, if this means that Christians will become more and more tolerant of those around them, then I’m okay with it. Liberal religion doesn’t bother me a great deal; fundamentalism frightens me.

  3. portal001 says:

    Considering how many Bible translations are printed and from many different printing companies I am not surprised that there are errors to be found in certain printed editions of different translations.
    But this doesn’t mean that The Bible is incorrect. This also doesn’t rule out that the Greek and Hebrew are inerrant. It could be that the autographs are inerrant, so the earliest copies are inerrant. Through the mass production of copies upon copies of different translations, coming from different sources – errors have found a way (whether intentional or not) into texts that have the apparent “tick” of authenticity just because they are leather-bound and titled with the bible.

    Because the newer texts are translated by different groups of: missionaries, academics, proponents of “higher criticism”, liberals, conservatives ect then it is not surprising that there could be so much confusion between translations. There is a risk that some groups have translated texts through placing their own agenda on the text they are translating. For example a conservative might lean towards one translation of a word in their “new translation”, whereas a liberal might translate it another way in their “new translation”.

    I don’t think this necessarily discredits the earlier Bible translations.

  4. portal001 says:

    “There is a risk that some groups have translated texts through placing their own agenda on the text they are translating”

    Of course if The Bible is not inspired by God, then like any text written by humanity, translation of it will be influenced through the agendas of the people translating the text. Since people (I don’t think) can really seperate themselves from their beliefs and therefore thier personal agendas. They can be aware that they are bias, and therefore once aware they can possilby keep their bias under some control. But I think that unless the collection of Autographs are inspired and guided by God then the text has always been guided by human agenda’s. It is therefore a question of trust I think.

    • I agree this is why I recommend anybody and everybody to study textual criticism, the history of the bible, manuscripts, and bible translations & translation methods.

      Mama didn’t raise no fool

  5. portal001 says:

    Since we don’t have the original Autographs it seems (I could be wrong) then the question I have is: are the very earliest copies of The Bible inerrant?

    Because even if the newer translations contain errors this is an error in textual translation – not in Biblical authenticity.

    Anyone can “translate” scripture, I think some individuals could have even translated books of the Bible personally and then published them on the internet. This doesn’t (in my opinion) discount the authenticity of The Bible.

    Again, the question is for me is: Are the earliest records of The Bible authentic? And if so, these “newer” translations are irrelevant to the core issue of Biblical inerrancy, however the concern would then be that there are all these incorrect and misleading translations that people may point to and exclaim – Aha! See! The Bible has errors!
    Which would be sad (and dangerous) if in fact The Bible didn’t have errors, and it was the “new translations” that did.

    • as to your question about are the very earliest copies of The Bible inerrant?

      I really don’t know the answer to that question, but from my understanding, the earliest copies of the manuscripts had the most errors and discrepancies, because the people who copied the early NT manuscripts were not professional scribes, so they were more prone to mistakes and copyist errors.

      I would recommend readings by ehrman if you would like to learn more about this

  6. portal001 says:

    “Again, the question is for me is” – apologies for my sentence structure, Im rushing

  7. Nate says:

    These are good questions, but what use are perfect Autographs if we don’t have them or they don’t exist? We can only judge the Bible by what we have, and what we have is certainly not perfect. You’re probably aware that entire passages (the Johannine comma, the story of the lady caught in adultery) remained in the Bible for years, even though they weren’t authentic. It’s hard for me to rationalize why God would allow that, if he wants mankind to have his word and will hold them accountable to it.

    • reyjacobs says:

      “You’re probably aware that entire passages (the Johannine comma, the story of the lady caught in adultery) remained in the Bible for years, even though they weren’t authentic.”

      The Johannine Comma is no more inauthentic than the equally Trinitarian ending of Matthew. And the Pericope Adulterae is no more inauthentic than the Wedding at Cana.

  8. ignorantianescia says:

    I don’t see why the Bible should stand or fall as a whole. It is a collection of many texts from different genres from different time periods – these cannot all be read by the same approach.

    • Lorena says:

      Exactly, that’s why it doesn’t make any sense for this time period. Ancient writing is useful as history of human thought, not as rules to live by today.
      The Bible is a great read, and many good lessons can be learned from it. Lessons can be learned from any book. But from there to believe that there is some god in heaven who says he loves humans yet sends them to hell is a big leap.

      • ignorantianescia says:

        I can’t deny there are plenty of “rules” in the Old Testament – though many can better be called purity laws, but I think that the New Testament is overall rather different in this respect, where principles become more important.
        So my point was that the books of the Bible should be read based on what the book at issue actually is. If some books cannot be read as historical fact, it is not meaningful to point at historical errors in them. Genesis has several historical errors, but it is not a historical account. I’d still consider them inspired though, but the message is what matters, not historicity.
        But even in sorta historical books, historical errors are not problematic, because those books are deliberately theologised history. History is used as a frame for making a theological point and describing God’s activity in history.

      • Lorena says:

        So what flavour of Christianity are you promoting? Fundamentalists claim the Bible is history. Here is a question for you. Do you believe that the widow in the story actually poured oil until she ran out of pots?
        Another, do you believe that Jonah actually lived in a big fish’s tummy for 3 days and 3 nights?

        What does context have to do with believing those stories or not?
        This is important. I don’t know who you are. Are you Anglican? Unitarian? Baptist? New Thought?

        I came from the a fundamentalist background, and I attack those teachings, so if you come from a different background, we are talking apples and oranges.

      • ignorantianescia says:

        Reformed Protestantism, with Neo-Calvinist and Barthian tendencies. So it seems we are talking apples and oranges. Doesn’t matter, though, it’s still all right to discuss these issues.

        As for the questions, no on both counts; I also do not think Jonah was a historical person. The book is a work of parody.

    • Well because this is vital critical Life or Death Issue,

      People are giving up their lives not just spiritually, but physically for this Bible. right Prior to the reformation, The scriptures were only allowed to read and written in Latin. but then people like Tyndale, Matthew, Coverdale and wycliffe to name a few. Took upon themselves the brave mission to translate the bible into English.

      Some these men were ex-communicated from the church, ex-humed, others were killed all for this bible. William tyndale who is widely regarded as the most influential person of the English bible was first gagged to death, before they burned him at the stake.

      During the high points of the protestant vs. catholic era. If one or the other was find with a bible from the opposite sect, they were severely punished.

      So this issue today is still critical, with great historical implications, because people have died for it. So put it this way, they didn’t die for just a part of the bible, but the died for the entirety of the bible.

      • darula313 says:

        Yeah they died for the bible,all those issues already took place.the same thing that was written was happening,its coming to pass.it all really dont matter he said what he said now its up to us,who side you on really.said there is only going to one in the end,when JESUS come back.same way yall analyze in the world it happened it the bible,skeptics.he just dont communicate with some ppl anymore.so were did we come from it wont from a mokey i hope.you tell me.(look at all the inerrancy in my typing)hell theres alot going on in this world that cant be explained………………………..do ALEINS exist or is that a myth tooooooooooooooooo.

  9. Lorena says:

    Well, we do come from different places. You weren’t tortured as a child with the thought that God could send fire from heaven to consume you if you disobeyed. I was also told the Bible was in-errant and should be interpreted literally. So when that is the teaching, we have to attack the in-errancy.

    Basically, the Jesus you grew up with is different from the one I grew up with. They barely resemble each other, so it didn’t damage you the way it damaged me (I could say “us”, but I don’t feel I have the right to speak for other ex-Christians.)

    I can see some merit to studying the Bible the way you do, sure. But I still see it as a book of human creation, a book of humans trying to understand inexplicable reality. From that point of view, I will even go as far as saying the book is beautiful–and inspired–by great mystical minds with deep insights into human psychology.

    But, personally, even if I want to see it that way, I still have problems with the OT God who is portrayed as a mass killer. Or with the NT God who reportedly killed his own son (a death-penalty worthy action). Or with a God who sends people to hell for failing to worship him.

    I just fail to see a unified message that will lead me to believe the entire Bible is speaking about the same god, not to mention a non-mythological god.

    So, yeah, I do reject the Bible as THE holy book.

  10. portal001 says:

    I wasn’t really specifically indoctrinated to any church or belief when I was a young child. My parents were I would say quite liberal while I was growing up. They didn’t push thier own personal beliefs on me, which I am grateful for. My parents would probably consider themselves Anglicans back then, although we rarely went to church services. I think my mum went to more church services when she was younger (she grew up in the country). I went to a public school, but in year three I moved to a Catholic primary school and had my Eucharist and then later my Confirmation.

    During my years at Senior school a friend invited me to an AOG church. I started attending regularly, and accepted Christ. I spent a number of years there. Because this AOG church was further away from where I lived I started visiting a local Baptist church. Through a gradual transition I started to go to the Baptist church more frequently. Through my relatives and friends I have been exposed to various faiths including Islam, New Age.

    Because I think I have quite an impressionable personality, if I was brought up in a fundamentalist home I think I would have probably subscribed to that fundamentalism. At least into my young aduly life.

  11. portal001 says:

    adult* btw I’m 23 so I’m still quite young (and probably still quite impressionable).

  12. reyjacobs says:

    Inerrancy is only important to faith-onlyists. If inerrancy is false, then Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith alone (the only thing you really care about) is clearly just another dumb theory by an immoral guy trying to defend his immorality.

    To those who view the point of religion and the Bible as to make us more moral, inerrancy is not necessary.

    Speaking of inerrancy, in Romans 2 Paul says “not the hearers but the doers of the Law SHALL be justified” but in Romans 3 “by the works of the Law shall NO flesh be justified.” Contradiction.

    In John Peter is told by his flesh and blood brother Andrew “We have found the Christ” at the beginning of the Gospel. In Matthew, Jesus tells Peter upon his confession, “Flesh and blood have NOT revealed this to you, but my Father….” Oops! Somebody screwed up!

    In John, Jesus makes his disciples by the river JODRAN BEFORE JB is cast in prison. In the Synoptics Jesus makes his disciples by the sea of GALILEE AFTER JB is cast in prison.

    Of course, Paul says Abraham was justified by faith APART from works. James says Abraham was justified by a COMBINATION of faith and works. Contradiction. And worse, Genesis itself says “He believed the LORD and counted it to him as righteousness” (i.e. Abraham believed God and therefore counted God as righteous) not Paul and James’ mistranslation of “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.” So there’s a double whammy.

    Lets see….ah yes! Paul strings together tons of passages that in context are about ATHEISTS and acts like they apply to everyone (in Romans 3) to establish the false doctrine that its impossible to be righteous.

    Paul misuses the story of Pharaoh as if God did NOT show Pharaoh any mercy but only hardened him without mercy (quoting a made up phrase not found in the OT) “I will harden whom I will” as contrary to another phrase (found in the OT) “I will have mercy on whom I will”. But Exodus 9 shows God hardened Pharaoh by mercy (As other passages there do) but Exod 9 says “I could have killed you with the plagues already, but I spared you….” i.e. had mercy on you.

    Paul’s potter analogy is a not from Jeremiah’s potter text but of the apocrypha!!!!! Oh the horrors!!!! Wisdom 15:7 “For the potter, tempering soft earth, fashioneth every vessel with much labour for our service: yea, of the same clay he maketh both the vessels that serve for clean uses, and likewise also all such as serve to the contrary…” Jeremiah’s text (chapter 18), of course, maintains free-will, and Paul’s whole point is the rejection of free-will.

    Jeremiah 31 Rachel weeping in Ramah for her children are not…well Matthew says it was a proph of Herod killing babies when Jesus was born. But in context, God says to Rachel “Weep not for there is still hope for your children to return from the land of the enemy to their own border” — i.e. its about the Assyrian Captivity of the Northern tribes! Ramah, after all, is in Samaria and is NOT equivalent to Bethlehem despite what fundamentalists who deny geography imagine to themselves.

    Isaiah 7 likewise is a time-specified prophecy. AFTER the child is born of a virgin but BEFORE he knows the difference between good and evil, the TWO CONTEMPORY KINGS who oppose Ahaz will be chased off their thrones by the king of Assyria. Obviously this had to happen in Isaiah’s time not hundred of years later — and according to Isaiah 8, it did happen in Isaiah’s time.

  13. Pingback: Does Inspiration imply inerrancy? | The BitterSweet End

  14. unkleE says:

    BR, just thought I’d come back to this old post and well-worn topic, for a brief comment:

    “But holistically and contextually speaking they still affirm that the scriptures and the bible is errant, yet they still hold to their Christian faith”

    1. Not believing in inerrancy doesn’t necessarily imply errors. It means (i) we don’t hold inerrancy as a doctrine, and (ii) there may or may not be errors, and any particular case may or may not be an error.

    2. Pretty much all christians believe that the Bible is reliable on important matters. That is as much as we get anywhere in life, but that doesn’t prevent us making decisions, getting the right often enough, and living lives. And since inerrancy only applies to the originals, it is as much as we get with inerrancy anyway.

    So how can there be a problem for you? The reliability we get with inerrancy = the reliability we get without inerrancy = the reliablilty we get in normal life. It’s all the same (more or less) – if we can make decisions on the basis of one, we can make decisions on the basis of all.

    At least that’s how I see it.

  15. Pingback: Is Biblical Inerrancy, Biblical? Does Inspiration imply inerrancy? | The BitterSweet End

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