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Inerrancy

Introduction:

On this page we will present information defending and discussing the issue of the inerrant Bible. The owners of this website adhere to inerrancy and find that God’s word cannot be God’s word if there are any errors in it. if there are real errors in the word of God then that tells us that either God is incapable of correcting his word or that no one is listening to God and they keep including those so-called errors.
 
Now the big problem for those who say that the Bible is errant is—verification. Where is the correct manuscript of the complete Bible that shows that there are mistakes within the ages of those manuscripts we have. Since the opponents to inerrancy cannot produce such a manuscript, and the demonstrate beyond a shadow of doubt that that ms. is God’s actual and true words we must conclude that the Bible is inerrant
 
We also believe the Bible is inerrant because I Cor. 13 tells us that love believes all things and God has not changed his word yet so we believe God and we believe we have his actual words in our possession today.
 
But here are some excerpts to further this discussion:
 
#1. Biblical Inerrancy by John Gerstner
 

We could compose a book many times the size of this one consisting merely of

fervent and eloquent evangelical appeals to the Bible itself as the proof of its own

inspiration. Some three thousand times the Bible does make this claim for itself.

“Thus saith the Lord” is a veritable refrain of the Scriptures. No book in the history

of literature has made such frequent and moving assertions of its divine origin.

Because of this remarkable characteristic of the Scriptures many have almost

unconsciously concluded that the Bible is the Word of God.
 

This we believe and later shall attempt to prove is the right doctrine. The Bible is

the Word of God; the inerrant revelation from above. It is the Word of God indeed,

but not because it says so. Rather, it says so because it is….
 

One of the precious doctrines of the church is called the “Internal Testimony of the

Holy Spirit.” Like the self-attestation of Scripture it is a most gracious gift of God to

his church. And like that gift it is sometimes misunderstood and misused even by

those who love it most. A case in point is the one before us in which the Internal

Testimony is submitted as proof that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
 

The thinking here may be shown to be wrong, but it does have the merit of being

clear. It runs like this. Just as the Bible certifies itself by the letter of Scripture, so

by the living voice of God the Spirit convinces the hearts of men. Many think that

the Bible’s witness to itself remains a dead letter until the living Spirit of God

speaks within the soul. But when the Spirit does thus speak men have the most solid

possible basis for knowing that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Some, by no

means all, of the advocates of this view go on to teach that unless the Spirit testifies,

the Bible is not the Word of God; and only when he does is it the Word of God.
 

 In any case, the argument at first glance is quite impressive. When God witnesses to

his own Word, how can there be any doubt that it is his inerrant Word? If you want

evidence, these men assure us, here is the best. What more can any reasonable or

spiritual person desire than to have God speaking directly to his own soul?
 

We agree. As this case is often stated it leaves nothing to be desired. We would

never be so foolish as to question the very voice of God in our souls. Our search for

truth would be ended promptly when God opened his mouth and spoke and that to

each of us individually and inwardly…
 

Now, where does the church get the idea that it is the “pillar and ground of the

truth”; that it is to bind and loose on earth? From the Bible! So it is the Bible which

is the basis of the church’s authority, not the church which is the basis of the

Bible’s authority. The Bible is the pillar on which the church rests, not the church

the pillar on which the Bible rests. Incidentally, the expression in I Timothy 3:15

that the church is the pillar and ground of the truth does not point to a pillar on

which truth rests but to a pillar on which truth was posted for public announcement

in antiquity. In other words, it refers to the church as witness to the truth and not

the basis of it…
 
#2. Inductivism, Inerrancy, and Presuppositionalism By Dr. Greg Bahnsen
 
However, these two committed empiricists and anti-presuppositionalists do not come to the same conclusion about the inerrant nature of Scripture -- that is, in the application of their common inductive approach they have reached contrary positions. Fuller maintains the full inerrancy of "any Scriptural statement or necessary implication therefrom which involves what makes a man
 
wise to salvation" (p. 331): "if it errs where historical control is possible in matters germane to 'the whole counsel of God' which 'makes men wise unto salvation,' then all the Bible becomes questionable" (p. 332). Pinnock calls this unacceptable" "Though convenient for sidestepping certain biblical difficulties, this dichotomy is unworkable and unscriptural" (p. 334). We must,
 
instead, take the view of the Biblical authors: "The attitude of Jesus and the Apostles toward Scripture was one of TOTAL trust.... What Scripture said, with A PRIORI qualification, God said, was their view.
 
The whole GRAPHE is God-breathed and fully trustworthy" (p. 334). Consequently, "the theological truth is discredited to the extent that the factual material is erroneous" (p. 335). So we observe that Fuller and Pinnock have agreed on all three of the aforementioned these, but they have not ended
 
up in the same place. These two empirical apologists do not see eye to eye with respect to Scriptural inerrancy and authority. What makes this divergence of conclusion so interesting to us today is the additional fact that, in their differing conclusions about Scriptural inerrancy.
 
Fuller and Pinnock make decided counter-accusations that the other writer is really less than true to the radical demand of inductivism. Each man considers himself to be the genuine champion of inductive empiricism in the attempt to relate faith to history. Says Fuller, "I would argue that really, after all, you are on Van Til's side, not on Warfield's " (p. 331): "there is a part of you that wants to be inductive, to let critical thinking prevail. But you can't go all the way" (p. 332). Fuller challenges Pinnock with these words: "Are you willing to be as consistently inductive as he [Warfield] was?" (p. 332), and after mentioning resistance to the thunderous veto against induction in Pinnock's book on BIBLICAL REVELATION Fuller asks, "Are you willing to go all the way in resisting this veto?" (p. 333). Thus Fuller thinks that Pinnock has arrived at his viewpoint on Scriptural inerrancy by a manner inconsistent with inductivism.
 
Nevertheless, and on the other hand, Pinnock feels that it is, rather, Fuller who has not been faithful to the inductive epistemology we have just outlined. He declares: "Fuller is less empirical at this point than Warfield and I, because if he were more careful in his induction, he would see at once that the dichotomy he has proposed {between revelation and non-revelational statements in Scripture} is untenable in the light of what he calls 'the doctrinal verses'" (p. 334).
 
Indeed, Pinnock says that Fuller's view of inerrancy would "make it relative to some dubious A PRIORI standard, inaccurately derived from the doctrinal verses" (p. 334). Pinnock concludes that Fuller "is less than fully consistent in the way he relates faith and history.... Most of the material which in his view would belong to the 'revelational' category lies outside the reach of science and
 
history, safe from their critical control" (p. 334) -- even though in reality the theological and factual material "are so inextricably united in the text" (p. 335). And so there we have the counter-allegations. Pinnock feels that Fuller is not consistently inductive; Fuller says the converse is true….
 
The reason it is important for us to consider and analyze this important exchange on inerrancy between Pinnock and Fuller is simply that it brings to the surface certain latent issues and inconsistencies in the popular evangelical witness today. There is a basic intramural dispute that must be resolved in our approach to inerrancy, and this resolution is a necessary first step toward
 
our apologetic reply to those who are antagonistic to an evangelical understanding of Scripture and its authority. Fuller correctly observes, "But we evangelicals have a basic question we must settle before we can talk very coherently with those farther afield" (p. 330).
 
That basic question is epistemological in nature -- viz., whether we should take an inductive or presuppositional approach to the nature and authority of the Bible. We must conclude from our previous discussion that Christ's Lordship -- even in the area of thought -- cannot be treated like a light switch, to be turned on and off at our own pleasure and discretion. Christ makes a
 
radical demand on our thinking that we submit to his Word as self-attesting. To do otherwise leads away from a recognition of his divine person and saving work, for it leads away from an affirmation of Scripture's inerrancy. Moreover, it simultaneously leads away from the intelligibility of all experience and every epistemic method. One must begin with the testimony of Scripture to itself, rather than with the allegedly neutral methods of inductivism.
 
And this means acknowledging the veracity of Scripture even when empirical evidence might appear to contradict it (following in the steps of the father of the faithful, Abraham: Rom. 4:16-21; Heb. 11:17-19). The classic inter-school encounter between Pinnock and Fuller points beyond itself to the basic and inescapable need for a presuppositional apologetic, rather than the allegedly pure inductivism espoused by Pinnock and Fuller.
 
#3. The Rationality of Belief in Inerrancy by J.P. Moreland
 
In recent years, scholars arguing against a conservative understanding of biblical inerrancy have appealed to a wide range of issues. It has been argued, for example, that belief in inerrancy should be abandoned or redefined because inerrancy is not taught by the Bible and it was not the view of many leaders in the history of the church. Others argue that the concept of inerrancy is not adequate to capture the nature of the Bible as revelation. As important as these and related issues are, one suspects that Donald Dayton put his finger on the central reason why some scholars feel a need to abandon or redefine inerrancy: "For many, the old intellectual paradigms [including inerrancy] are dead, and the search is on in neglected traditions and new sources for more adequate models of biblical authority." Simply put, many no longer think that it is rational to believe that inerrancy is true. What are we to make of this objection?
 
Is it no longer possible to hold that belief in the inerrancy of Scripture is a rational position to take? The purpose of this paper is to argue that belief in inerrancy is rational, i.e., one is within his or her epistemic rights in believing that inerrancy is true.2 In what follows, I will clarify the objection that belief in inerrancy is not rational. Then, some relevant features of the theory of rationality will be sketched and applied to the question of the rationality of inerrancy. For the sake of argument, let us assume that we possess a clear definition of inerrancy as it is understood by, say, the Evangelical Theological Society. This is not to imply that no more work is needed in clarifying all the aspects of a definition of inerrancy. But the doctrine of inerrancy, as it is held by the ETS and other conservative evangelicals, is sufficiently clear for our purpose.
 

After all, proponents and opponents of inerrancy have understood the doctrine well enough to argue

about it. The question before us is whether or not belief in inerrancy , so understood, is rationally

justifiable….
 

I have tried to analyze the objection that it is no longer rational to believe that inerrancy is true. I have tried to meet this objection by clarifying what the objection is, and then by sketching and applying some important features of a theory of rationality. The reader may not agree with the arguments I have used.

But I hope enough has been said to show that the rationality of belief in general, and of inerrancy in

particular, involves a number of complicated issues. If this is so, then critics of inerrancy should be

cautious. A naive appeal to problem passages and "implausible" harmonizations simply does not capture the situation accurately.
 
#4. Inerrancy of the Bible by Johnson C. Phillips
 

Right from the time of the Old Testament, believers have held that the Word of God is

Inerrant. Inerrancy means that in producing the original manuscripts, the sacred authors

were guided by Holy Spirit in such a way that they transmitted perfectly, without error, the

exact message which God desired to record for men. Since the Word of God is infallible, it

cannot err. And since it is Inerrant, it contains no mistakes.
 

The doctrine of Inerrancy arises out of the nature and declarations of the Scriptures

themselves. Biblical books everywhere present themselves as being the Word of God. When

the Lord speaks, He cannot lie; neither can He teach truth by means of error. His veracity as

well as His power is at stake. If he spoke erroneously at the beginning or mingled the true

with the false, what could we think of Him ? He would be an unreliable God, delivering an

unreliable message. Even the non-believer knows this implication, and that is why the

rationalists spend so much time to somehow show that the Bible contains errors.
 

With our eternal salvation standing or falling on the testimony of Bible, what certainty could

we find in a Revelation that can contain error ? Or what if God, after giving to the sacred

authors a message exact in every detail, had showed Himself unable afterwards to effect its

transmission in a way worthy of confidence ? This would only mean that He had deceived us.

And in that case, His initial revelations would have become untrustworthy by now.

Inerrancy is a fundamental belief of evangelical Christians, and every Apologist should both

understand as well as defend this doctrine.,,
 

1-Inerrancy does NOT mean uniformity in all the details given in analogous

accounts written by different authors:

2-Inerrancy does not exclude the use of symbols and figurative language:

3-Inerrancy does not imply the use of an exact technical vocabulary, conforming to

present scientific terminology:

4-Biblical message must be put back into its own historical setting:

5-Inerrancy has to do with the whole of the Biblical message:

6-Inerrancy does not imply omniscience on the part of the Biblical authors:
 
#5. Biblical Inerrancy by Stephen L. Andrew
 

This article first examines the history of the debate over

biblical inerrancy within modern evangelicalism. Second, it

examines traditional arguments both for and against inerrancy. We

will demonstrate that inerrancy is an important doctrine to promote

and defend, but caution is urged in choosing arguments to support

it. Not all arguments for inerrancy are valid.
 

At the outset it seems appropriate to consider definitions that

have been offered for the doctrine of inerrancy. Paul D. Feinberg

presents an excellent definition from the perspective of an

advocate:
 

Inerrancy means that when all facts are known, the Scriptures in

their original autographs and properly interpreted will be shown to

be wholly true in everything that they affirm, whether that has to

do with doctrine or morality or with the social, physical, or life

sciences.1
 

Article XII of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy offers a

similar affirmation in support of the doctrine:

We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from

all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.
 

We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to

spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions

in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific

hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn

the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.2

For the purposes of this article, we shall understand“inerrancy” in
light of both of the above definitions…
 

This article considers arguments against inerrancy only from

the point of view of Protestant evangelicalism, which applies an

essentially grammatical-historical hermeneutic to Scripture and

confesses Scriptural authority. Critics of inerrancy who come

from this perspective often identify themselves as “limited

inerrantists” (following B. B. Warfield’s original designation4) or

as advocates of “biblical infallibility.”
 

To limit confusion, I shall refer to this position as “limited inerrancy.”

A good definition of this approach follows:
 

The Bible is inerrant if and only if it makes no false or misleading

statements on any topic whatsoever. The Bible is infallible if and

only if it makes no false or misleading statements on any matter of

faith and practice. In these senses, I personally hold that the Bible

is infallible but not inerrant…
 

Nonetheless, it is reassuring to know that the doctrine of

biblical inerrancy was not just invented in the 19th century.

Augustine, in his Epistle 82, wrote: “Only to those books which

are called canonical have I learned to give honor so that I believe

most firmly that no author in these books made any error in

writing.”31
 

 Luther stated simply: “Scripture cannot err,” and “The

Scriptures have never erred.”32 Calvin referred to Scripture as “the

inerring standard,” “the infallible rule of His Holy Truth,” “free

from every stain or defect,” “the inerring certainty,” “the certain

and unerring rule,” the “unerring light,” the “infallible Word of

God,” “inviolable,” “infallible oracles,” and he even (perhaps in a

fit of great enthusiasm) stated that the Bible “has nothing

belonging to man mixed with it.”33…
 

Finally, as a representative of the Princetonian school (whose members undergo historical

revisionism at the hands of Rogers and McKim), Charles Hodge

declares: “The whole Bible was written under such an influence as

preserved its human authors from all error, and makes it for the

Church the infallible rule of faith and practice.”34…
 

First we defined “inerrancy” and “limited inerrancy” and

presented a brief history of the modern debate beginning with

Warfield and Orr and continuing up until the present day. Then

we clarified some hermeneutical presuppositions and considered

arguments that have been presented in favor of inerrancy: the

slippery-slope argument, the epistemological argument, the

historical argument, and the biblical argument. Next we examined

some of the arguments against these evidences for inerrancy and

evaluated them.
 

In closing, I found that the slippery-slope argument is

logically indefensible and empirically questionable. Furthermore,

it is utterly irrelevant to the real issue at stake: is the Bible in fact

inerrant? On the other hand, the epistemological argument is

highly persuasive, provided one begins with inductive reasoning

and only then proceeds to deductive argumentation.

The historical argument clearly favors inerrancy, but by itself it proves nothing

and is thus invalid for the normative claims of inerrancy. Finally,

the biblical argument seems to stand unrefuted by its critics. In

sum, the epistemological and biblical arguments carry the day for

inerrancy. Ultimately, I judge inerrancy to have borne its burden

of proof.
 
#6. The Witness of the Bible to Its Own Inerrancy by Gleason L. Archer
 

Does the Bible actually assert its own inerrancy as the revealed Word of God? Does it really

lay claim to freedom from error in all that it affirms, whether in matters of theology, history, or

science? Are proponents of this view truly justified in their insistence on this high degree of

perfection in Scripture, or are they actually going beyond what it affirms concerning its own

authority?
 

These questions have been raised by those who advocate a lower concept of

biblical authority, and it is important for us to settle them as we seek to come to terms with the

Bible's own witness.
 

Before we launch into an examination of specific passages in Scripture that bear upon this

question, it would be well to define as clearly as possible the basic issues involved. Otherwise

we may lose sight of the objectives of this type of investigation.
 

Inerrancy is attributed only to the original manuscripts of the various books of the Bible; it is

not asserted of any specific copies of those books that have been preserved to us. Some early

portions of the New Testament have been discovered by archaeology (such as the Rylands

Papyrus 457 fragment of John 18, and the Magdalen fragment of Matthew 26), dating from the

second century AD., within a century of the original composition of those Gospels.
 

The earliest complete copy of an Old Testament book is still the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah (lQIsaa),

dating from the mid-second century B.C. There are some Qumran fragments of the Pentateuch

that are even earlier, coming from the third or fourth century. All these tend to support the

received text of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures as preserved in the standard scholarly

editions (Nestle and Kittel).
 

There is far more textual support for the text of Holy Scripture

than there is for any other book handed down to us from ancient times, whether the works of

Homer, the Attic tragedians, Plato, Cicero, or Caesar. Nevertheless, these are not the original

manuscripts, and minor errors have crept into the text of even these earliest and best copies of

the books of the Bible….
 

What confirmation do we have that God has in fact maintained that kind of control over the

preservation of the manuscripts? The answer is in the critical apparatus appearing in the

scholarly editions of the Old and New Testament. Many hundreds of ancient manuscripts have

been carefully consulted in drawing up this apparatus, both in the original languages

themselves and in the languages into which they were translated (from the third century B.C.

to the fifth century AD.). Yet a meticulous examination of all the variant readings appearing in

the apparatus shows that no decently attested variant would make the slightest difference in the doctrinal teaching of Scripture if it were substituted for the wording of the approved text….
 

The same finding can hardly be sustained for any other ancient document preserved to us in

multiple copies, whether the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Behistun Rock inscription of

Darius I, or the Middle Kingdom novel known as The Tale of Sinuhe. These all present

differences in wording that affect the actual message or teaching of the document. Only of the

Bible is it true that such a degree of deviation is not found. How may this be accounted for? It

is best accounted for by the supposition that God the Holy Spirit has exercised a restraining

influence on the preservation of the original text, keeping it from serious or misleading error of

any kind….
 

The question naturally arises in this connection: If we do not now possess the inerrant original

manuscripts, what is the point of arguing that they must have been free from all error? Why do

we not simply accept the fact that textual errors have crept into the wording of the Bible as we

now have it and try to make the best of it in its imperfect form? Is it not enough for us to

maintain that even in that form it can present us with an "infallible rule of faith and practice"

(to use the standard phrase of the Westminster Confession of Faith)?
 

In answer to this, it should be pointed out, first of all, that there is a great difference between a

document that was corrupted with error at the start and a document that was free from mistake

at its original composition. If the original author was confused, mistaken, or deceitful, then

there is little to be gained by employing textual critical methods to get back to an

approximation of the original form. The errors and misinformation inhere in the archetype

itself and serve only to the disadvantage and hurt of the reader.
 
Only if the original was correct and trustworthy is any useful purpose served by elimination of copyists' errors. The pursuit of textual criticism itself implies a trustworthy original, the original wording of which has decisive importance….
 

Jesus of Nazareth clearly assumed the errorlessness of the Old Testament in all its statements

and affirmations, even in the realms of history and science. In Matthew 19:4, 5 he affirmed

that God himself spoke the words of Genesis 2:24, with reference to the literal, historical

Adam and Eve, as he established the ordinance of marriage. In Matthew 23:35 he put the

historicity of Abel's murder by Cain on the same plane of historical factuality as the murder of

Zechariah the son of Barachiah. In Matthew 24:38, 39 Jesus clearly accepted the historicity of

the universal flood and Noah's ark: "For as in those days before the flood they were eating and

drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they

did not know until the flood came and swept them all away...." This record, bearing upon both

history and science, has been scornfully rejected by those who trust in the infallible accuracy

of modern scientific empiricism.
 

The same is true of the account of the prophet Jonah's preservation from drowning through the

agency of a great fish that three days later spewed him forth on the shore. Yet Jesus put his

crucifixion and resurrection on the same historical plane, saying, "For as Jonah was three days

and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights

in the heart of the earth" (Matt. 12:40). In the same way, Christ goes on in the very next verse

to confirm that the heathen population of Nineveh really did repent at the preaching of Jonah,

just as recorded in Jonah 3:7-9. Even though this account has been treated with skepticism by

modern scholarship, the New Testament indicates that Jesus regarded it as sober fact…

We are faced with a basic choice in the matter of biblical authority. Either we receive the

Scripture as completely reliable and trustworthy in every matter it records, affirms, or teaches,

or else it comes to us as a collection of religious writings containing both truth and error.

If it does contain mistakes in the original manuscripts, then it ceases to be unconditionally

authoritative. It must be validated and endorsed by our own human judgment before we can

accept it as true.
 

It is not sufficient to establish that a matter has been affirmed or taught in

Scripture; it may nevertheless be mistaken and at variance with the truth. So human judges

must pass on each item of teaching or information contained in the Bible and determine

whether it is actually to be received as true. Such judgment presupposes a superior wisdom

and spiritual insight competent to correct the errors of the Bible, and if those who would thus

judge the veracity of the Bible lack the necessary ingredient of personal inerrancy in judgment, they may come to a false and mistaken judgment - endorsing as true what is actually false, or else condemning as erroneous what is actually correct in Scripture.
 
Thus the objective authority of the Bible is replaced by a subjective intuition or judicial faculty on the part of each believer, and it becomes a matter of mere personal preference how much of Scripture teaching he or she may adopt as binding…
 

The authority of Scripture requires that in whatever the author meant to say by the words he

used, he presents us with the truth of God, without any admixture of error. As such it is

binding on our minds and consciences, and we can reject or evade its teaching only at the peril

of our souls….
 
#7. Inerrancy and Infallibility of the Bible by P D Feinberg
 
Definition of Inerrancy
 
Inerrancy is the view that when all the facts 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.
 
A number of points in this definition deserve discussion. Inerrancy is not presently demonstrable. Human knowledge is limited in two ways. First, because of our finitude and sinfulness, human beings misinterpret the data that exist. For instance, wrong conclusions can be drawn from inscriptions or texts.
 
Second, we do not possess all the data that bear on the Bible. Some of that data may be lost forever, or they may be awaiting discovery by archaeologists. By claiming that inerrancy will be shown to be true after all the facts are known, one recognizes this. The defender of inerrancy argues only that there will be no conflict in the end.
 
Further, inerrancy applies equally to all parts of the Bible as originally written. This means that no present manuscript or copy of Scripture, no matter how accurate, can be called inerrant.
 
This definition also relates inerrancy to hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is the science of biblical interpretation.
 
It is necessary to interpret a text properly, to know its correct meaning, before asserting that what a text says is false. Moreover, a key hermeneutical principle taught by the Reformers is the analogy of faith, which demands that apparent contradictions be harmonized if possible. If a passage appears to permit two interpretations, one of which conflicts with another passage and one of which does not, the latter must be adopted.
 
Probably the most important aspect of this definition is its definition of inerrancy in terms of truth and falsity rather than in terms of error. It has been far more common to define inerrancy as "without error," but a number of reasons argue for relating inerrancy to truth and falsity. To use "error" is to negate a negative idea.
 
Truth, moreover, is a property of sentences, not words. Certain problems are commonly associated with views related to "error." Finally, "error" has been defined by some in the contemporary debate in such a way that almost every book ever written will qualify as inerrant. Error, they say, is willful deception; since the Bible never willfully deceives its readers, it is inerrant. This would mean that almost all other books are also inerrant, since few authors intentionally deceive their readers.
 
Some have suggested that the Bible itself might help in settling the meaning of error. At first this appears to be a good suggestion, but there are reasons to reject it. First, "inerrancy" and "error" are theological rather than biblical terms. This means that the Bible applies neither word to itself. This does not mean that it is inappropriate to use these words of the Bible. Another theological term is "trinity." It is, however, more difficult to define such words.
 
Second, a study of the Hebrew and Greek words for error may be classified into three groups: cases of error where intentionality cannot be involved (e.g., Job 6:24; 19:4), cases of error where intentionality may or may not be involved (e.g., 2 Sam. 6:7), and cases where intentionality must be involved (e.g., Judg. 16:10 - 12). Error, then, has nothing to do with intentionality.
 
Admittedly, precision of statement and measurement will not be up to modern standards, but as long as what is said is true, inerrancy is not in doubt.
 
Finally, the definition states that inerrancy covers all areas of knowledge. Inerrancy is not limited to matters of soteriological or ethical concern. It should be clear that biblical affirmations about faith and ethics are based upon God's action in history. No neat dichotomy can be made between the theological and factual…
 
Another objection is that inerrancy is unfalsifiable. Either the standard for error is so high that nothing can qualify (e.g., even contradictions have difficulty in qualifying), or the falsity or truth of scriptural statements cannot be demonstrated until all the facts are known. The doctrine of inerrancy is not, however, unfalsifiable in principle; it is unfalsifiable only at present. Not everything that bears on the truth and falsity of the Bible is yet available. How then is it possible to affirm so strongly the doctrine of inerrancy now? Should one be more cautious or even suspend judgment? The inerrantist wants
 
to be true to what he or she thinks the Bible teaches. And as independent data have become available (e.g., from archaeology), they have shown the Bible to be trustworthy.
 
Another criticism is that inerrancy fails to recognize sufficiently the human element in the writing of Scripture. The Bible teaches that it is a product of human as well as divine authorship. This objection, though, underestimates the divine element. The Bible is a divine - human book. To de-emphasize either side of its authorship is a mistake. Furthermore, this criticism misunderstands man, implying that humanity requires error. This is false. The spokesmen of God were human, but inspiration kept them from error.
 
The objection has been raised that if one uses the methods of biblical criticism, one must accept its conclusions. But why? One need accept only the methods that are valid and the conclusions that are true.
 
Finally, it has been objected that since the original autographs no longer exist and since the doctrine applies only to them, inerrancy is meaningless. The identification of inerrancy with the original autographs is a neat hedge against disproof.
 

Whenever an "error" is pointed out, the inerrantist can say that it must not have existed in the original autographs. Limiting inerrancy to the original autographs could be such a hedge, but it need not be. This qualification of inerrancy grows out of the recognition that errors crop up in the transmission of any text. There is, however, a great difference between a text that is initially inerrant and one that is not. The former, through textual criticism, can be restored to a state very near the inerrant original; the latter leaves far more doubt as to what was really said.

It might be argued that the doctrine of inerrant originals directs attention away from the authority of our present texts. Perhaps inerrantists sometimes fail to emphasize the authority of our present texts and versions as they should. Is the remedy, however, to undercut the base for their authority? To deny the authority of the original is to undermine the authority of the Bible the Christian has today.
 
#8. Problems For Limited Inerrancy by Vern Sheridan Poythress
 

Coleman’s article is vague about just how far the limitations extend. Most of the time he can be

interpreted either as defending a traditional view or as making enormous concessions. Let us see

how this works.

The first position that Coleman presents in an approving light is something like the following:
 

1. The Bible is inerrant in those things which the biblical authors intend to teach as

necessary for salvation.3
 

A major difficulty here is with the phrase “necessary for salvation.” This could mean a number of

things. (a) biblical teaching is necessary for salvation if no fallen human being can be saved without

believing this teaching. (b) A biblical teaching is necessary for salvation if God saw fit to record the

teaching for the sake of salvation. (c) A biblical teaching is necessary for salvation if, in some

circumstances, not believing it puts one’s salvation in question. Still other interpretations are

possible.
 

Under condition (a), none of the NT is necessary for salvation, since people were saved before it was

written. Some of the NT teaching may be necessary, insofar as it simply repeats teaching in the OT.

Moreover, since some people have been saved by reading the Gospel of Mark alone or the Gospel of

John alone, only what is common to both is necessary. Thus, interpretation (a) makes enormous

concessions. Under condition (c), everything the Bible teaches is necessary for salvation, since a

person who believed that the Bible was uncondditionally God’s word and knew that it taught x, yet

out of sheer stubbornness refused to acknowledge x, would thereby raise questions about whether

his relation to God was a saving one…
 

The first problem for limited inerrancy, then, is to define itself, to demonstrate that the chasm between ordinary inerrancy and ordinary fallibility can be bridged.

But to say where the chasm is takes some doing. So let us begin with some easy observations.

Generally speaking, when God speaks to someone or something, he speaks in a context formed by

other things that he says and does, as well as by the person or thing to which he speaks. His words

have, as it were, a contextual coloring. Hence, in the case of men, a thorough understanding of what

he says in a biblical passage demands attention to the historical and linguistic context of the passage.
 

One asks, “What language is it in? To whom did God speak? Who is the human author? What

situation were the addressees in?” And so forth. The sophisticated interpreter therefore approaches

the text with a linguistic-historical framework, to endeavor to bridge the cultural and temporal gap

between himself and the original words. Textual criticism as well as many other techniques are

included. The framework may, of course, have to be modified on the basis of what the passage is

found to say. Everyone grants that from time to time there are difficulties with this approach; and

disagreements may arise. But in more respects the difficulties are not qualitatively different from the

difficulties involved in understanding a contemporary document coming from another cultural setting…

But those who speak of “limitations” on inerrancy appear to want something more. They are saying

that, at certain points, the human reader must be prepared to encounter “mistakes” or “errors” or

“peccadilloes” in certain nonessential matters that the Bible says are the case. Various attempts have

been made to circumscribe what is nonessential—none very successful. Let us call these

nonessential matters where the Bible makes errors or at least doesn’t say things in quite the right way

“muck.” I know that “muck” is an emotionally laden term. I doubt whether it is more emotionally

laden than “error.”
 

At any rate, it will perhaps help to convey to the limited inerrantist how things

really look to the opposing party.
 

According to this view, then, the Bible contains muck, but it is a very small amount in proportion to

the clear and pure teaching. To avoid swallowing the muck, the reader must use a sieve, which filters

out only those biblical statements which lead to intolerable historical, scientific, or (perhaps) moral

difficulties. Drawing the line as to just what is “intolerable” is hard; but let us assume that it can be

done. Even if a position of limited inerrancy is dressed up in fancy language, I think that it boils

down in practice to some such sieve procedure…
 

Here arises an even more serious problem: how can the Lordship of Christ still remain effective?

With the abandonment of (c), the advancing moral consciousness of the Christian can, at crucial

points, be opposed to what the Bible only “seems” to say (but not “teach”?). With the abandonment

of (b), the advancing knowledge of our scholars or our “prophets” can, at crucial points, be opposed

to what the Bible only “appears” to hold. If we have no words that are beyond challenge, there is no

rule that we must obey, and the Lordship of Christ becomes a sounding gong and a clanging

cymbal…
 

I will say this. I do not think that the problems will all go away, or the chasm between fallibility and

ordinary inerrancy be bridged. Does that mean that ordinary inerrancy is condemned to defensiveness and unsatisfying argument?
 

 No. It is helpful sometimes to remember that questions of inerrancy can be seen as a spiritual battle as well as a scholarly nicety. Those who hold for ordinary inerrancy do not have a more difficult trial than Abraham had when he was commanded to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham was faced with a seeming

conflict in God’s word. According to Heb. 11:19, he arrived at a tentative explanation for it, in God’s

power to raise the dead. One wonders what the limited inerrantist of Abraham’s day would have

said. Would he have been tempted to say that Abraham’s resurrection explanation was incredibly

improbable and farfetched, and that in view of the possibility of muck Abraham had best call the

whole project off?. Perhaps, when we meet with difficulties in the Bible, we ought to rejoice that in

some small way we can demonstrate that we are followers of Abraham rather than his detractors…
 
#9. Is the Bible True? by William C. Placher
 

Whenever there's a really intense fight among American Protestants,

sooner or later it seems to turn into an argument over the truth of

scripture. At one extreme, some dismiss any appeal to the Bible out of

hand and consider "authority" a dirty word. Others confidently assert that

only their literalistic interpretations really count as believing the Bible to

be true. Many of us find ourselves wandering around confused in the

middle, wanting to believe in the Bible, not thinking of ourselves as

biblical literalists, but unsure how to characterize our position. Indeed,

much of the, notorious malaise of mainstream Protestantism derives from

a perception that, to the question, "Is the Bible true?" the moderate

answer is, "Well, sort of . . . " followed by either a lot of confusing talk or

an embarrassed silence. ,
 

That perception isn't entirely false. Nonfundamentalists' discussions of

appeals to the Bible have often consisted principally in ridiculing

fundamentalism, without defining any clear Christian alternative to

fundamentalism. I'm going to try, in limited space, to sketch an alternative

way of saying, "Yes, the Bible is true."
 

This claim entails two secondary claims.

First: to say that the Bible is true is to say that what it means is true -- and

what it means is shaped by (among other things) the genres in which the

Bible is expressed, the attitudes it takes to history, and the ways cultural

contexts shaped the meanings of the words that it uses.
 

Second: to say that this particular book is true is to say that we can trust

it, trust it as a guide to faith and life which provides not only specific

claims about God's faithfulness and how we ought to live our lives in

response to it, but also a way of understanding the whole world and a

language in which to speak about that world. These secondary claims

may seem a bit complicated, but acknowledging complexity is a way not

of hedging commitment to the Bible's truth but of fully attending to the

complex ways in which the Bible is true…
 

Another source of confusion in interpreting the Bible, or any text that

originated in a culture different from our own, lies in the different social

conditions of that different time and the ways those conditions give terms

different meanings. For instance, slave owners in the American South

regularly cited the positive biblical references to slavery to support the

ownership of slaves.
 

But slavery in ancient Israel was a very different sort of institution. It was not based on race.

Many slaves were supposed to be freed at the end of seven years, and there was a good bit

of movement back and forth between slavery and freedom. Israelite slavery

may have been a bad institution, but it was a very different institution

from that of American slavery. It was more like the hiring of indentured

servants, if one wants an American analogy. So one can’t simply transfer

what the Bible says about "slavery" to an American context where the

institution and the circumstances are very different and the word

therefore has a different meaning…
 

To understand how the Bible is true, therefore, we must understand its

genres, recognize its attitudes toward the reporting of historical details,

and consider the social context in which it was written. This much could

be said about any text of sufficient complexity.
 

All this makes understanding the Bible sound very complicated. It may

also seem that the truth of the Bible is getting lost in a morass of

qualifications. The issues are complicated, but we needn’t despair of

finding biblical truth because, finally, we can trust the Bible. In this

respect, Christians read the Bible differently from the way they read any

other book…
 

To trust the Bible, to let it define our world and provide a language for

thinking about the world, can transform our lives. But it does not make

understanding the Bible easy. We have to get down to hard work—to

reading the Bible and immersing ourselves in its world and its language.

We need to know the Bible well enough so that, as was true for

Augustine or Luther or Calvin, one passage reminds us of another that

offers a qualification, another that provides support, another that sets out

a different frame of reference.
 

Such immersion in the biblical world and its language leads to much

richer interpretation than either quoting proof texts or picking and

choosing passages we like. When we really know the Bible, we realize its

complexities, its diversities, its ambiguities.
 

One of our problems these days, whether we are "liberals" or "fundamentalists,"

 is how few of us can do that. Fundamentalists quote a single proof text to settle

the matter, and liberals can’t remember any passages at all. If we are to get beyond

such a state of affairs, we will have to study the Bible much more seriously.

 But if we believe the Bible is true, if we really trust it, we ought

to be willing to do the work.