24 May 2011

Is The Bible Inerrant?

Submitted by Stephen Winters

Inerrant? This word is not in the Bible. So, where did this word come from? I don't like to say anything about the writings in the Bible that they don't say about themselves. Did any of the writers of the various parts of the Bible say, or even think, that what they were writing was inerrant?


Definition of Inerrant: " free from error "

To litterally be "inerrant" it would mean that there couldn't be even one letter out of place, there couldn't be even one misspelled word in the entire Bible.

Many christians say that "We believe that the Bible was without error in it's original..."

What difference does it make if the original manuscripts supposedly were without error.... we don't have the originals, or even first generation copies of the originals. We have translations made from multi-generational copies that have errors in them. Is it really logical to say that God wrote the original manuscripts (through human hands) without error, but then to say God couldn't or didn't keep all the copies error-free?

We are told by well-meaning Christians that the bible was "inerrant" in the "original" manuscripts. However, this is illogical. For one thing, none of the original manuscripts are still around and no modern scholar has ever seen the original manuscripts. Therefore, no one can rightfully make a claim that they are without error.

Secondly, if God had the power "through the Spirit" to have the original documents created without error, then it only stands to reason that He would also have the power to keep the subsequent translations free from error. It makes no sense to say that the "Spirit" caused or enabled the original writers to write error free, only to have the following translations contain errors. What's the point in there being error free original manuscripts unless all the following translations were also to be made error free?

Thirdly, in order for the assertion of inerrancy to stand, their could not be even one error in the original writings and of all the following translations. 

of unholy lips

Where did these claims originate?

Think about it. Did ANY of the writers of the individual books of the bible make any type of claims that their writings were inerrant and infallible? I have not seen such claims by any the authors of the books of the Bible.

If the authors did not make any such claims, where did those claims originate?

Why are people making that claim?

Then the next question that begs to be asked is, "If the authors of the original documents made not claims of inerrancy or infallibility, why are other people trying to make that claim? What is their true purpose?

Is The Belief of Inerrancy Necessary? 

Many religious people think (and adamantly claim) that the Bible has to be viewed as perfect and without error to be of value. However, God is constantly telling us to look at the lowly things, for in them we find God.

"Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Many Christians so strongly try to claim that the Bible is inerrant. Yet They are promoting an unprovable illusion. Anyone with an open mind can find countless websites and books that show the myriad of mistakes and errors in the Bible.

Would The Bible Be Of Any Value it Had Errors?

The power of any writing is not in the supposed perfection of the text, but in the truth and reality of which the authors wrote. Truth can be found in the midst of the errors and contradictions. As humans, they did not write perfectly (perfection is only an illusion, it is not real), but they spoke truth. 

Here, can you read this:

"For God so lveod the wlrod taht he gvae his one and olny Son, taht wohveer bieleves in him sahll not piersh but hvae ernteal lfie."

Here is another paragraph from here:


Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe."

 Could you read those paragraphs? If you were like me, and I presume many others, you could probably read those paragraphs without too much trouble. You might ask, "What was the point of my asking you to read those paragraphs?". Before I answer that question, let me ask you one more question. Have you ever seen any other writing, such as a letter, that had a lot of mispelled words? Were you able to read and understand the meaning of the letter?

My Point it this. All this discussion of the "inerrancy" of scripture seems irrelevant. As you have seen for yourself, you can read and understand text that has mistakes in it. So what if the original manuscripts of the bible had mistakes in it. (And I believe it did. But what would the problem with that be.)

An Incorrect Focus

When people call the Bible the Infallible Inerrant Word of God, they poison it, because that statement is not based upon truth.

Trying to claim inerrancy of the text takes the focus away from the message that was written and instead tries to make a lie into a truth. Whether or not the original documents had errors in them is not important. What is important is the message that the authors were trying to convey.

The "Black Or White Thinking" Falacy

A Black and white, or and "Either OR" Falacy only gives your two choices. 
In this case, the Either Or Falace is, "The Bible has to be viewed as 'inerrant' OR it is of no value." This is a thinking error. In fact, the Bible can still be very useful even when we realize that it does have errors. 



If the Bible is Error Free,

then that means that God wrote it himself, because anything written by men would have mistakes.

If that is true, then the Bible is God's Word

Then the Bible is the only book that God has spoken through

It is the only error free book

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