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Research:Bible

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This page contains research notes for the Bible article.
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Inerrancy

Some links to get started:

  • The Bible: The Inerrant Word of God, By: J. Hampton Keathley, III (especially section "Clarifications Regarding Inerrancy")
    • Apparently quoting from "Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology, Victor Books, Wheaton, IL, 1987, electronic media. (some formatting by Awc)

      Formerly all that was necessary to affirm one’s belief in full inspiration was the statement, “I believe in the inspiration of the Bible.”
      But when some did not extend inspiration to the words of the text it became necessary to say, “I believe in the verbal inspiration of the Bible.”
      To counter the teaching that not all parts of the Bible were inspired, one had to say, “I believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible.”
      Then because some did not want to ascribe total accuracy to the Bible, it was necessary to say, “I believe in the verbal, plenary, infallible, inerrant inspiration of the Bible.”
      But then “infallible” and “inerrant” began to be limited to matters of faith only rather than also embracing all that the Bible records (including historical facts, genealogies, accounts of Creation, etc.), so it became necessary to add the concept of “unlimited inerrancy.”
      Each addition to the basic statement arose because of an erroneous teaching.

    • Clarifications Regarding Inerrancy (apparently quoting Paul Enns):
      • Inerrancy allows for variety in style.
      • Inerrancy allows for variety in details in explaining the same event.
      • Inerrancy does not demand verbatim reporting of events.
      • Inerrancy allows for departure from standard forms of grammar.
      • Inerrancy allows for problem passages.
      • Inerrancy demands the account does not teach error or contradiction.
  • biblical inerrancy, 2005-2010 Timothy Minisries
  • Biblical Inerrancy—Part 2: The Evidence, By Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon, © Ankerberg Theological Research Institute (2003)
  • Why can we not have inerrant copies of the Bible today?, Tekton
  • Biblical inerrancy, Wikipedia
  • Biblical literalism, Wikipedia
  • Inerrancy: Is the Bible free of error? All points of view, Copyright © 1997 to 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, Author: B.A. Robinson
There are a number of additional Christian terms that are often used in connection with "Inerrancy:"
  • "Plenary" means that the Scriptures are sufficiently complete and adequate to communicate God's will to mankind.
  • "Infallible" means that the Bible passages "never deceive nor mislead." They can be relied upon.
  • "Authoritative" means that the Bible, as the expression of God's will to us, defines what we are to believe and how we are to conduct ourselves." Steven Ibbotson states: "The Bible is authoritative because it is God's inspired word to humanity." 5 From these beliefs logically flow that it is "binding on all people." Everyone will eventually have to "give an account for how they lived in light of its teaching." 2 This concept has obvious difficulties when it is applied to persons who have never heard of Jesus, the gospel, the Bible, or perhaps even Christianity itself.
  • "Autograph copies" refer to the original, hand-written copies of the books of the Bible. It is important to remember that none of the original copies exist. We only have access to copies of copies of copies of.....
  • "Inspiration" is the belief that God monitored the authors of the Bible and prevented them from making errors in their writings. More details
  • Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy
    • "When total precision of a particular kind was not expected nor aimed at, it is no error not to have achieved it. Scripture is inerrant, not in the sense of being absolutely precise by modern standards, but in the sense of making good its claims and achieving that measure of focused truth at which its authors aimed."
  • Statement of Faith, Fuller Theological Seminary

    III. Scripture is an essential part and trustworthy record of this divine self-disclosure. All the books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, are the written word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. They are to be interpreted according to their context and purpose and in reverent obedience to the Lord who speaks through them in living power.

  • Biblical Inerrancy, quoting Daniel Fuller, “The Nature of Biblical Inerrancy,” Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, XXIV (June, 1972), p. 47:

    “A communication can be in error only if it fails to live up to the intention of its author...if they fulfill this intention we regard them as inerrant.” The purpose of biblical writers was, “to report the happenings and meanings of the redemptive acts of God in history so that men might be made wise unto salvation.”

  • The Extent and Nature of Inspiration, By Dennis McCallum, quoting Montgomery, John Warwick, God's Inerrant Word, p.24, (Bethany Fellowship Inc., Minneapolis, Minn.,1973) quoting Daniel P. Fuller's article "The Nature Of Biblical Inerrancy," in the American Scientific Affiliation Journal.XXIV/2 (June 1972)p.50.:

    Scripture as a whole is revelatory, either directly revelatory or facilitating the revelation. The directly revelatory part concerns the main purpose of the Scripture (to make man wise unto salvation) and is inerrant. The facilitating parts are not inerrant and are important only as a framing for the revelatory parts - therefore, they should not be made to harmonize with science and history.


In summary, most religious liberals believe that the scriptures were written by very human and capable individuals, but that their works were not inspired by God. Their writing is not inerrant.
Retired bishop John Shelby Spong answered an inquiry about biblical inerrancy from a Sunday school teacher who had just been fired from a Presbyterian Church in Tennessee because he would not present the Bible as perfect and infallible to his class. Bishop Spong responded:
"The idea that any educated person would today try to defend the idea that the Bible is either perfect or infallible is difficult for me to imagine."
"When I confront people quoting biblical texts literally and thus in defense of some theological agenda or prejudiced attitude, I tell them they are asking the wrong question of the Bible. The appropriate question is not, 'Is this literally true?' for the world of biblical scholarship settled that question years ago with a resounding 'no'. The proper question is rather, 'What does this story mean?'
Then I might inquire about 'What need in the life of the person making the literal claim does the presumed literal authority of scripture meet?' Religion has always been more about the search for security than it is the search for truth - people crave certainty. When there is no certainty or insufficient certainty, people will go to great lengths to create it. The more irrational the claim, the more the insecurity is apparent. There is nothing rational about claims for the inerrancy of the Bible, or for the infallibility of the Pope. There is nothing rational about religious anger, religious persecution, religious wars, religious inquisitions or religious hatred of other faith traditions. However, the way to confront this irrationality is not with rational arguments no matter how tempting it is to try that approach."
  • Homosexual Ordination Vote Widens Gap Between Presbyterian Factions, in Religion Today: In debating the issue, officials from the PC (USA) stated: "We acknowledge the role of scriptural authority in the Presbyterian Church, but Presbyterians generally do not believe in biblical inerrancy. Presbyterians do not insist that every detail of chronology or sequence or pre-scientific description in scripture be true in literal form. Our confessions do teach biblical infallibility. Infallibility affirms the entire truthfulness of scripture without depending on every exact detail."

Manuscripts

See Research:Biblical manuscripts.

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