Monday, March 21, 2011

Biblical Inerrancy

Here's a tidbit about biblical inerrancy. This is just "my position" I had to give for a discussion board based on the reading from my class. My research paper will be about 15 pages long, so I won't be posting IT! HAHA. But, maybe some more tidbits as I go along. Enjoy!

(Also, for anyone interested on doing more reading in this area - Erickson's Christian Theology is an excellent place to start. Also, Greisler's Inerrancy [which I didn't have at the time of writing the following] is going to be a major source for my research.)

I believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, thus defined as “when judged by the usage of its time, [it] teaches the truth without any affirmation of error.”1 I believe in what is known as full inerrancy, which claims that the Bible is completely true; while not giving primary aim to scientific or historical data, it nonetheless recounts these as observed in a truthful manner.2 Anything less than full inerrancy limits the authority of the scriptures, upon which my faith is built. If even one part of scripture is said to be erroneous, the door is open for the possibility of the errancy of the whole canon.3

The key foundation for this belief in the inerrancy of the Bible is a belief in an omniscient, omnipotent God.4 In addition, the view that “inspiration involved God’s directing the thoughts of the writers, so that they were precisely the thoughts that he wished expressed”5 is also foundational. Given the corollary belief of inspiration, the Bible must be completely truthful;6 for how could God, an inerrant being, inspire anything less than inerrant scriptures? The Bible repeatedly teaches that God cannot lie, so the inerrancy of His Word follows His character.7

I also believe that any deviation from full inerrancy would seriously affect other doctrines of my faith. At the point in which I disavow the truth and inerrancy of the Bible, I will have to allow consideration for other beliefs and tenets of Christianity to be false.

In relation to what seem to be errors in the scriptures, I am of the opinion that 1) many of these assertions of errors can, in fact, be reconciled when considered in the original purpose for which they were written,8 and 2) I am not privy to all knowledge that exists; therefore, I am humble enough to realize and admit that I do not know the answers sometimes.

Finally, the overall importance in relating the inerrancy of the Bible is that it is full of truth.9 Mostly, the scriptures aim to give truth about God – who He is and what He has done to restore our relationship to Him. “Scripture itself is viewed as an integral part of God’s redemptive activity, a special form of revelation, a unique mode of divine disclosure. In fact, it becomes a decisive factor in God’s redemptive activity, interpreting and unifying the whole series of redemptive deeds, and exhibiting their divine meaning and significance.”(my emphases) 10 The focus is on the grace that God bestows in order that we might be redeemed.

1. Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed., (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), 246.
2. Ibid., 248.
3. Ibid., 250-251.
4. H. D. McDonald, “Bible, Authority of,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 154.
5. Erickson, 242.
6. Ibid., 251.
7. P. D. Feinberg, “Bible, Inerrancy and Infallibility of,” in Elwell, 158.
8. Erickson, 260-262.
9. McDonald, 154.
10. C. F. H. Henry, “Bible, Inspiration of,” in Elwell, 162.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading this and following the logic. What are the "errors" that you'll be discussing? Are they supposed historical contradicions, or places that the Bible contradicts itself, or an old-fashioned "typo" (like the "oops" versions of the Bible that said things like, "Thou shalt commit adultery" that were published in the part)?



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