Bibliology: Inspiration And Inerrancy Of The Bible Essay
The Christian Church believes the Bible is inspired and inerrant. This means that God is the one who moved through the writers to communicate to us the words which God wanted us to hear.
This inspiration, however, is not a dictation, but a movement of God’s Holy Spirit through the writer, utilizing the personality and style of the writer. Paul said, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim.3:16), he was dealing with one area, which was the Old Testament. Another reference is 2 Peter 1:21, “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
Inerrancy means that all that is written in the inspired book (Holy Bible) is without error. Inspiration and inerrancy applies to the original writings, not to the copies. In other words, it is the original writings that are without error. The copies, sadly, have copyist errors in them, that were not made intentional.
The Biblical Argument is the Bible teaching its own inspiration, authority and scripture using scripture to support inerrancy. Another argument is historical, which states that this has been the view of the church throughout its history. The last argument of inerrancy is epistemological. It is has been characterized by some as an example of over belief. Out of the three, the strongest will be The Biblical Argument and the weakest being the Epistemological Argument.
Therefore, when people/critics of the Bible point out contradictions what they are doing is either failing to understand the context of the passages they are examining, or they have gotten a Bible with copying errors. The fact is that there are indeed copyist errors on the biblical documents and they account for many alleged contradictions. Again, it is the autographs (original writings) that are inspired and inerrant, not the copies. The copies we have now are copies of inspired documents.
The copies are not themselves “inspired;” that is, they have no guarantee of being 100 percent pure. It does not mean that we can’t trust the Bible. The copies are so accurate that all of the biblical documents are 98.5 percent textually pure. The 1.5 percent that is in question is mainly nothing more than spelling errors and occasional word omissions like the words “the,” “but,” etc.
Nevertheless, nothing affects doctrinal truths. In fact, nothing in history even comes close to the accuracy of the New Testament documents. If the New Testament is disallowed, then all other documents of ancient history (Plato, Caesar, Livy, Catullus etc.), must also be disallowed because the biblical documents are far superior in their copying accuracy than any other ancient literature in existence.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Tim. 3:16-17 NIV) It does us no good to have a Bible that is inspired and inerrant if we do not recognize and use it authoritatively. We must learn to use the Bible, and we must use it, not just as an intellectual exercise, but in helping us learn to follow Christ daily. The ways of using the Bible given us by our text in Timothy are teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training.
There are a handful of manuscript problems–there are a few places where there is disagreement as to what should be written. However, these places are very few, they involve none of the basic (or even secondary) doctrines of the faith, and usually the various different readings mean the same thing anyway. There are, as Peter said “Many things hard to understand” in the Scriptures, but there is not a defect in the Bible–there is a defect in our understanding.
Sometimes, people within the professing church try to challenge the authority or truth of part of the Bible, without taking away from other parts. However, the Bible must be taken altogether. Hebrews chapter 1 sets forth the unity of the Scriptures, and establishes the distinction between the giving of the Old and New Testaments:
Hebrews 1:1-2 states, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” (NIV)
Reading and studying the Bible can only draw you closer to God. Know that it is the truth and it will make you free.
Word count: # 761
1. W.A. Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology 2nd edition 2. E. L. Towns, Theology For Today