Why Biblical Inerrancy?

I try (too often unsuccessfully) not to judge others at all, precisely because I take Romans 2 seriously. When I condemn others, I condemn myself. Why would I preoccupy myself with trying to put modern adjudication of “technical truth” in judgment over the Bible when I want to instead be busy seeing what Christ has to say to me (often through that very Bible) instead? I mean … if “inerrancy” (according to ??? modern inclinations of science or historical/journalistic standards of men) is to be king here, then just dispense with the Bible and make use of these ??? (whatever higher standards) you already have that for you stand above the Bible. Now - you will get me wrong here, because again, you hear nothing but judgment in those words, and it sounds like I’m condemning anybody that doesn’t elevate the Bible above all. But I’m not. Christ is above the Bible. Without His spirit all the “correct” (even inerrant or whatever) Bible reading any of us do is for naught. So yes - there is definitely something (Someone, rather) who is above the Bible, and is in fact pointed to from those very pages.

I guess part of my exasperation showing through here is this: if my own human eyes are already fallible and faulty - and I will inevitably end up misusing the letter of the law (both old and new) to my own advantage, then I’ve got much bigger fish that need frying than fretting over how technically consistent or correct (according to whose standard?) the content of those words were before they entered into our little finite space. (The fundamentalist retorts that he expects it to be true according to God’s standard - in which case - if he has access to that level of insight, then he is admitting he has no need for the printed page, because why would he need to lean on that if he’s already got God?) And as I noted earlier, it wouldn’t matter how pristine any fresh water was to begin with - by the time it’s come down all my own dirty pipes to my tap, - of course it’s going to have our own cultural pollution by that point. I just have to trust that because of where it came from, it still contains the essential germ of what God wants me to hear, and even then - God will still have to open my ears to actually receive it.

So in the end, I know God (as revealed by and shown to us in Christ) will meet me where I’m at - which is in a place of brokenness, wrongness, and fallibility - not in some imaginary space of infallible or “inerrant” understandings. God’s outreach to us was already obliged to enter into a language and society to engage us with what we “know” from those culture-bound perspectives, so … us worrying about whether or not we are getting the complete, unvarnished, “inerrant” truth by the time it’s made its way through all our messy humanity and into our hearts is about like a kindergartner worrying about whether or not his teacher’s words are revealing the entire truth about math and numbers, instead of just trusting that the teacher knows what the student needs for now - just to learn to count, and that any other needed understandings will all be made availble in good time. It’s a posture of trust. The Teacher’s got this.

If you’re feeling judged by all this, then just consider it your own conscience speaking to you. I try to only judge myself, and even that judgment (even if favorable) would not acquit me - in the end, best to just trust to God’s final judgment, and God’s grace and love that is also just as inexorable.

Having only recently become a shameless new fan-boy of Rich Mullins, I commend to you these lyrics for his song “We Are Not as Strong as We Think We Are.” Beautifully sung by him here.

1 Like

Errors? Perhaps we need to define error? It might depend on the knowledge of the day. Or the culture. Or just the interpretation or understanding.


1 Like

It’s a sincere question. I get there are numerous alleged and some very strong candidates for actual errors in the Bible. But for the liberal theologian who still identifies as a Christian, are there any books or chapters that you are confident in saying are free from error?

1 Like

Ecclesiastes, most of the prophets. I mean, Paul wrote what he believed, who am I to claim error?

I really do not think it helps to approach scripture from this angle



What I’m beginning to see, and I think it’s helpful, is how a question like this might expose a critical-deconstructive spirit that can find errors, but is unable to make a determinative statement of truth.

Edit: This post was hidden because several people flagged it, I’ve reread it and find nothing offensive. Spirits like this do exist, and for someone who identifies as a Christian and cannot point to single book or chapter in the Bible that is without error, in a conversation about errors, then that may be something you want to look at more closely. I’m not directing this as an accusation at Richard, he identified several books he believes to be true, but I was responding to his view that he does not find this approach to the Bible helpful.


Well either God overrides the human author’s free will or he did not.If he did you have to explain why God forgot who he baptized (Paul) and if it didn’t then the Bible is a product, or fallen, sinful humans.

Pick your poison. The latter is Ken Spark’s position.

Why? So the goalposts can be moved?

The Bible serves the purpose for which God intends it. Without the Holy Spirit it is just wood pulp, wood pulp to be led out into battle against other wood pulp.

And I think the part about dashing infants on rocks and slaughtering all the killing men and “used” women but keeping virgin girls for yourselves is inerrant. Prove me wrong then we can talk hermeneutics.

This goes back to Sproul’s point about the difference between infallible and inerrant authors.

It’s a serious question what Paul did and did not get wrong.

Or if there is a single book or chapter in the Bible that is free from error. And it strikes me as monumentally disingenuous to find errors, but then to be unable to say what is not in error or that it is all wrong. I could be wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time. But I’m not always wrong.

If only truth was that easy to define.

What was true for Paul may not be so for modern society, values and understanding.


One thing that I am fully persuaded Paul did get right, and this is a real problem for culture today, is that we become like what we worship.

1 Like

Off topic; sorry. I think this thread might be the place to ask this:

Has anyone read this book:

The Bible in a Disenchanted Age: The Enduring Possibility of Christian Faith (Theological Explorations for the Church Catholic) Paperback – January 2, 2018

by R. W. L. Moberly

I had bought it a while back and haven’t read it yet. Just interested in anyone’s take on it; feel free to PM me.
I will try to catch up in the next week on the actual thread. Looking forward to it.

That’s a bit of a circular firing squad, isn’t it?

In a way yes, but we do recover from our wounds and get better at reading it. I’d say each generation has its… hmmm… more illuminated minds.

1 Like

To those looking at us from the outside, I’m sure we deserve every name in the book, but there’s only one name that matters from the name that is above all names.

And while our history is really bananas, I’m fairly confident that it is not the end of the story.

”Do not judge, or you will be judged.”
Matthew 7:1

Okay, you understand that. But read a little further – we are required to make judgements and distinguish between the true and the false among individuals:

True and False Prophets
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

True and False Disciples
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Matthew 7:15-23

Do you understand? It appears not.

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

more important is understanding what to do (or not do) with these judgements.


If we do not believe there are such judgments to be made, there is nothing to decide. So which is more important, believing they exist or not, or understanding what to do with them, the possibly nonexistent judgements.

If we believe they exist, then it is important to know what to do with them. But ‘more important’? More important than what?

(“Watch out” is the only mandate we are given in that passage.)

It would be refreshing if people who see those errors could simply face the facts.

I gave an example earlier of a minor error — but clearly an error.

If one account says Jesus told the Apostles they could take a staff on the missionary journey
If a second account says Jesus told the Apostles not to take a staff on the missionary journey
At least one of these accounts has an error.

People who are dyed-in-the-wool believers in inerrancy will believe what the Bible says no matter what evidence there is to the contrary, so the only way that I have found to help them realize that there are errors is to show them where the Bible disagrees with the Bible

Not for the purpose of usurping God’s place to decide who’s eternally in or out! This is basic stuff, Dale! Of course we discern in order to know whether or not any given message (or even person) should be heeded. We are rather obliged to specialize in that around here, and dealing with the fruit and fallout of various false messaging all the time!