Is the bible inerrant?

Now you get to tell the Holy Spirit how to do His job?

The scripture tells us he can “move” men, that He comforts us, that He prays for us without words, that He provides knowledge and skills, that He gives gifts, that He nourishes fruit, He convicts of sin, and more, including bestowing instances of speaking in tongues and providing interpretations.

Oh – the Holy Spirit is not an “it”, He is a Person.

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The first mental gymnastic is to (learn to) think like an Israelite. A lot of things suddenly make sense that way.
Here’s one bit: when asked where evil came into the world, a modern evangelical would answer, “In Eden”, but an ancient Israelite would say, “In Eden, with the Watchers and Nephilim, and at Babel” – not one entry but three, and the Messiah is supposed to fix all three. The Watchers got chained up in darkness, and the Nephilim were killed in the Flood, but the spirits of those offspring are stuck wandering the Earth because they don’t get to go to Sheol, and they show up in the New Testament as demons – so it’s no accident when Jesus makes a little foray into Gentile territory and deals with a batch of demons; that’s part of the Messiah’s job, and He was making the point to all the other demons that their party was over, they had to obey Him. The demons recognized this; they recognized Him and didn’t want to be tormented before the judgment they knew they faced. So where in the Old Testament we just don’t find the frequent activity of demons, in the New Jesus essentially assigns His disciples the job of and power for taking them on.

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Unlikely, given that most of the work on it was done in Muslim lands. The extent of Muslim rule allowed Jewish scholars and scribes who had had little communication to do so more easily, and a few schools of rabbis arose with shining reputations for good copying, notably in Babylon, in Tiberias, and in Jerusalem. These scholars noted that literacy in Hebrew was dropping, textual differrences were increasing, and pronunciation was diverging, and they responded by writing Hebrew grammars, comparing copies and judging which variations they thought to be authentic, standardizing the writing of the letters, and adding vowel notations (pointings). They also devised new ways to ensure the text was copied accurately, including such things as summing the total values of the letters along each edge of a page plus diagonally. These scholars came to be known as Masoretes from the Hebrew word for “tradition” because they were intent on guarding the tradition of the Hebrew language itself and right down to the individual letters on each page.

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Hurts and unfair words that are abrasive to our spirit have a tendency with some people to stick with them throughout the years of their life. As a child I was called that plaguing name “Stupid” And it is like a plague sort of like the disastrous Covid revisiting again and again.
As a child while in Catholic grammar school while my peers were out in the playground I would sneak if you will into the chapel at kneel at the altar looking up at Jesus on the cross. I’d pray the prayers taught to us such as the Our Father-the Hail Mary act of contrition. There wasn’t any light turned on in the church the illumination of light came from the candles burning and the sunshine shining through the stained-glass windows. I prayed there before Yeshua for my mom and dad and would feel sorry that Jesus had to go to the cross. It was a simple childlike faith and I embraced it with all of my heart. What I knew was down deep inside of me was my love for Christ. We never even read the bible it was the 1st Vatican. Here the south sorry to say I mad the error of getting involved with Baptists fundamentalist and if I may share this it messed with my Psyche. Now I’m in a spiritual deconstruction phase wanting to go back to spend time with that little boy kneeling before the King. I’d like to say some more buy I’m off with my wife to an appointment. Let me know what you think if you don’t mind. Have a blessed day.

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Sounds like a plan to me! You get super-infallibility in the overlap of that Venn diagram.

Hello, Christopher. It’s so kind of you to share these feelings of the heart, and I thank you for your courage in daring to speak what your soul has been longing to say.

The simple childlike faith of longing to know Christ and love Christ is really all there ever is. We clutter it up and try to hide it when we become adults – perhaps because we’re ashamed of such a simple love, afraid that God won’t find it worthy. But such a love is a great treasure to God and is always received with joy and thanksgiving.

There is a sigh of peace in the universe each time a soul remembers the simple love of the heart, the love of young child.

I wish you a blessed day, too.

No, I just know Him, don’t you?

I do not need to rely on what Scripture tells. He is within me.

Not in the form that “person” usually refers to. The Trinitarian “Person” is a unique understanding. God has no gender as such. It is language that forces gender.

You appear to rely more on human learning than on reality.

Richard

I wonder why you believe I would want to learn to think like an ancient Israelite. Why would I want to be somebody I’m not, somebody different from who I am as the person God has made me to be?

I have great joy in my life as a mystic and as a child of God who trusts in God’s goodness and kindness and charity. I reject anything you could possibly say as you try to persuade me to believe in the darkness of occult teachings such as those found in Enoch and similar apocalyptic texts. I do not believe in the devil or demons or the judgment day or original sin or ANY of the false teachings that trap people in negative spirals of self doubt, self hatred, and lack of trust in God. God is too smart, too loving, too brave, and too forgiving to ever allow any of these negative forces to exist.

Everything we dislike about the human experience and the suffering of our lives in the baryonic sphere of the universe can be explained by other paradigms.

I could spend this lovely day going through your older posts and finding all the places where you contradict yourself and where you try with all your might to never be wrong. But I prefer not to become entangled in a game of pure logic that never ends. It just goes on and on and on with no hope of resolution because resolution isn’t the goal.

You’re free to spend your days as you wish, but I prefer to sit on my balcony with a good book and the comfort of God’s presence always close at hand.

God bless.

I think of it more as a window to God that has smudges and blemishes. It allows us to learn about God and form a relationship with Him. Through it we see the story of Jesus. Like the apostle Paul, I give special precedence to things Jesus says (not I but the Lord) and things related to what He did. But even here I understand the portion of the window we see the Gospels and the story of Jesus through has cracks and smudges. I think the Bible is normative for faith and looking at what it intends to teach is important. I think we can treat what the central narratives intend teach with a hermeneutic of trust unless we have sufficient reason to suspect otherwise.

At the same time, there seems to be a canonical dimension to scripture where the sum is more than the total of its parts. We can accept this as a result of God’s foresight and inspiration or reject it us finding patterns where none truly exist just realizing early Christians read their views back into the Hebrew Scriptures. Passover would be a prime example.

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To understand the Old Testament.

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This reminds me of a cartoon I saw where someone had found the original autograph of one of Paul’s letters and they’d just unrolled the scroll and were exclaiming, “That’s a beer stain!”

And of course the beer stain looked vaguely like Jesus.

I like what one of the Fathers said, that scripture is the “referee” for theology (wish I could remember who, and track down the Greek word that’s being rendered as “referee”). It brought to mind an image of a theologian at home plate who had just hit the ball and a guy holding a stack of scrolls hollered, “Foul ball!”

Given “in the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was (face-to-face) with God, and GOD is what the Logos was (being)”, that’s what we should expect.

We’re finding more and more that some things where it seemed they were reading things back into the Old Testament writings are actually things associated with the Messiah in Second Temple Judaism.
Then there are the quotes where the wording doesn’t match any Hebrew or Septuagint text we have; the question is always, “Is there a text we don’t have, or is the apostle doing his own translation?” (I know there are a couple of places where it seemed that Paul was doing his own translation where (later) ancient manuscripts have been found with the same wording, but some places remain where it seems Paul was thinking Hebrew and translating it as he wrote.
That’s something that really bothered some fellow students in a series of three courses where we read/translated right through the entire New Testament. The professor irritatingly just said, “Think it through”; in a study group session one day one of the guys said, “Look, why can’t the Holy Spirit inspire a different translation?” with an overtone of “Get over it”.

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Well, some of it is debatable but huge chunks of the OT might just be 2nd temple Judaism themselves. Also, for those more skeptical, claiming others also engaged in “poor exegesis” and misread things back into the OT where they don’t originally belong doesn’t help much. One flat earther appealing to another doesn’t make the quality of the evidence or their argument change significantly. I guess either we accept things like typology as real or we don’t.

I like the comparison C.S. Lewis made, that greater realities can’t help but “cast shadows” into our lesser reality.

Exactly. It works the same way when comparing higher dimensions. I don’t know if I’ve said this on Biologos, but the way I look at it is; To God, we are like every character Shakespeare didn’t write, only existing as a byproduct of the fact that Shakespeare existed and he made characters, so it is only natural there are some he didn’t make. After passing death, our experience of reality changes, we are made, thought of, and grown as a whole person, or a character Shakespeare did write, and the creation we live in now is God’s “brainstorming”.

I’ve always wondered how Tim Keller responded when people asked him about the Bible he held in his hand. As a translation, he wouldn’t have called it inerrant. But I’m quite sure he still considered our Bibles to be authoritative. I think in practice Keller must have understood the difference, even if he never discovered how to communicate it to others.

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I would say that God’s brainstorming was done when He chose the set of constants that define the universe – after that it’s just been art in motion.

The only problem with that view is it separates God from His creation. He becomes a distant spectator instead of a close companion.

Richard

Fair enough.

Why must the two ideas be synonymous? Since when did anything have to be perfect to function? Virtually every device invented by humankind has flaws but still functions to its design parameters

Then there is the definition of inerrant. If you start taking into account culture, context, beliefs of the day, and translation, can you still expect some sort of perfect text?

It would seem to me the only reason for wanting an inerrant text is so that you can quote bits without having to check what the original intent was. e.g. Original Sin is basically based on taking 2 verses of Paul out of context and turning them into a doctrine.

Richard

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Hardly. . .

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