Inerrancy of Scripture: Authority by Inspiration
THEO 525 LUO (spring 2012)
Systematic Theology I
Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary
Jacqueline M. Jones (ID# 24515464)
March 9, 2012
The divine inspiration of Scripture guarantees its inerrancy and authority.
Table of Contents
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Under the doctrine of biblical inerrancy, in what sense is the Bible authoritative? This is a question that has plagued the minds of many as a major element of historic Christian belief about Scripture as well as been a controversial topic of academic discussions. One of the major areas of conflict in the theological arena has been biblical authority as noted in a poll of the members of the Evangelical Theological Society. Conflict is not the only issue, because according to L. Russ Bush, many theologians and Bible teachers seem to be uncomfortable with the concept of inerrancy. Bush also points out that the semantic problems of biblical inerrancy are subject to misunderstanding which could be overcome if those misunderstandings concerning the definition or word usage were really all the problem there was. Conflict, uncomfortable, and misunderstanding of a concept are a great recipe mix for the concept to be challenged and tried. The inerrancy of the autographs of Scripture was challenged and tried as early as 1880 in the published works of Augustus Briggs. An even earlier controversy over the issue of the authoritative inspired book of biblical inerrancy was noted concerning the widely influential 1678 work of Richard Simon. Research on the topic of the inspired, inerrant scriptural authority is important in the sense that it evokes acceptance, respect and obedience. It appears that the study of biblical inerrancy and divine inspiration is warranted because of the continued and consistent controversy regarding both.
The question of authority is central for any theology and since Protestant theology has located authority in the Bible, the nature of biblical authority has been a fundamental concern. The Protestant Reformation passed to its heirs the belief that ultimate authority rests not in reason or a pope, but in an inspired Scripture. As we move to the conservative side of Protestantism, the question of inerrancy has been much debated. Based on the understanding of the term as noted in the Dictionary of Evangelical Theology, inerrancy is not presently demonstrable because of its equal application to all parts of the Bible as originally written and the limitation of human knowledge. Arguments for inerrancy are biblical, historical, and epistemological in nature. First, the Bible teaches its own inspiration thus guaranteeing inerrancy as noted in 2 Tim. 3:16 and distinguishing it from false prophets as noted in Deut. 13:1-5. The bible also teaches its own authority in Matt. 5:17 – 20 and John 10:34 – 35 which requires inerrancy by using Scripture to support inerrancy. The historical viewpoint lies in the conviction that biblical inerrancy has been the view of the church throughout history dating back to the corpus of orthodox doctrine and can be cited with clear examples of those who affirm it in each period of the church’s history. In the epistemological sense, the belief of the truth of biblical inerrancy is beyond doubt and question as it is indubitable and incorrigible. Objections to inerrancy are arguments of slippery slope, epistemological, historical and biblical. Slippery slope is the least liked and defensive of the objections, because it eludes to the denial of all inerrancy thus leading to the denial of other doctrines. The objection to the epistemological argument is known as an example of over belief in that a single error in the Bible leading one to conclude that the Bible contains no truth. The objection to the historical argument is based on the theory that the innovation of biblical inerrancy is...