Argument on the inerrancy of the Bible

The question was: What is your position and argument on the inerrancy of the Bible?

The Bible makes bold claims. While the term inerrancy cannot be found within Scripture, as an extension of the Lord who is perfect, a rational expectation is that His special revelation would likewise be perfect, without error (Erickson 1998, 251. Yet scholars debate the precise meaning of inerrancy. Absolute inerrancy asserts that all claims made by the Bible are without error, even historical and scientific data (Erickson 1998, 248). Conversely, liberal scholars claim that God accommodated faulty human thinking, incorporating it into Scripture rather than first correcting inaccurate thinking (Grudem 1994, 97). Amidst the numerous theories surrounding inerrancy, the most logically and Scripturally consistent perspective is the position of full inerrancy.

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Full inerrancy states that “the Bible is completely true. While the Bible does not primarily aim to give scientific and historical data, such scientific data and historical assertions as it does make are fully true” (Erickson 1998, 248). This position differs from the absolute inerrancy theory in that full inerrancy allows for certain statements to be estimations or even mere descriptions of how certain events occurred. Full inerrancy is founded in hermeneutics. Robert Saucy notes that the genre being examined should be taken into account when examining claims of Scripture.

The interpreter must determine whether the author was speaking in popular language – describing an event’s basic appearance (as in the number killed by the plague in Numbers 25:9) – or if the writer was using technical language (Luke’s account of the Maelstrom in Acts 27) (Saucy 2003, s.v. “Is the Bible reliable?”). Full inerrancy also respects cultural idioms and differences in genre, figures of speech, and the reliability of the person whose words are recorded (Saucy 2003, s.v. “Is the Bible reliable?”). Additionally, full inerrancy aligns with God’s character. Contra liberal claims that the Bible has obvious errors, full inerrancy allows for approximation and recording of events as they appeared, rather than how they actually occurred in an exact technical sense. Thus, full inerrancy aligns with the perfect character of God. The authors of Scripture are thus truthful in describing certain events as they appeared since their goal was not exact scientific record keeping, but approximate descriptions.

Full inerrancy is a hermeneutically balanced and Scriptural position. This perspective upholds Scriptures claims of being without error yet avoids the untenable position of absolute inerrancy which imposes a western perspective on history and science that is foreign to the writers of Scripture.

Erickson, Millard J. 1998. Christian theology. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

Grudem, Wayne. 1994. Systematic theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Saucy, Robert. 2003. “Is the Bible reliable?” In Understanding christian theology. Edited by Charles R. Swindoll and Roy B. Zuck. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Please permit me to take a shot at this.

St. Augustine writes:

If anyone shall set the authority of Holy Writ against clear and manifest reason, he who does this knows not what he has undertaken; for he opposes to the truth not the meaning of the Bible, which is beyond his comprehension, but rather his own interpretation; not what is in the Bible, but what he has found in himself and imagines to be there. (this was quoted by Galileo in his debates with the Roman see; he cites him in his “Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany,” 1615).

The idea here is fairly clear. The concept of infallibility can be taken in two ways: First, that all the facts in the books of scripture are perfectly correct. Second, that what we take from the Scriptures is precisely what we need to know.
If we view the bible as the experience of people with God, then we get a better perspective. This sort of knowledge is precisely what is required to develop a real relationship with him.

And again:

Scripture has a sacredness peculiar to itself. In other books the reader may form his own opinion, and perhaps, from not understanding the writer, may differ from him, and may pronounce in favor of what pleases him, or against what he dislikes. In such cases, a man is at liberty to withhold his belief, unless there is some clear demonstration or some canonical authority to show that the doctrine or statement either must or may be true. But in consequence of the …

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