Writing Style Used: APA
Course and Section Number: THEO 201 D06
Short Essay on Inerrancy and Inspiration
For many the idea that the Bible could possibly be inspired or breathed in and have no fault or error in its teaching seems impossible. Yet, as Christians, this is what we believe. We believe that the Bible was written by prophecy that, “…came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21 KJV). We also believe that there are no mistakes in the Bible because, “…His work is perfect” (Deuteronomy 32:4 KJV). While this may easy for a believer to understand, the unbeliever may require a more in-depth examination of inerrancy and inspiration. To claim that the Bible has authority denotes that it warrants obedience, (McDonald, p.153) not only obedience with what is recorded, but also with the truths it claims to make. The authority of the Bible comes from God who not only demands that it be obeyed, but gave His word an innate or inborn authority, “as the authentic embodiment of God’s self-disclosure” (McDonald, p.153). Inspiration indicates that there is some personal or divine will behind what is being inspired (Henry, p.160) and as Christians we believe that divine person to be God. The Bible records many incidents where men wrote as they were moved on by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:21 KJV). 2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) states that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Inspiration means that God literally spirited or breathed out the words that were written (Henry, p.160). This alone affirms that God is the author of scripture. The Bible is not only inspired, but also inerrant which means that it is completely true, never false in all it affirms, without any errors in its original form, with no conflict in the end and is God breathed (Feinberg, p.156, 157). This can only be possible because God is the God of truth and in Him there is no darkness or untruth. (Isaiah 65:16; John 117:17; I John 1:5 KJV). Of the four arguments offered by Feinberg (2001) for inerrancy, the strongest argument is Scripture itself. Scriptures are inspired by God, who is perfect in all ways, which gives us assurance that they are without error (2 Timothy 3:16 KJV). In Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18:20-22 (KJV) God gives the Israelites criteria to differentiate between messengers from God and those from false prophets indicating that a divine message is truthful (Feinberg, p.157). Scripture also points out that God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Titus1: 2; Hebrews 6:18 KJV) and if God cannot lie then the very words He breathed must be truth. However, the weakness of this argument is that the Scripture itself is making the claim of inerrancy, which can be viewed as circular, meaning that the Bible is true because it states that it is. Feinberg also mentions three other arguments for the inerrancy of the Bible. First, Biblical inerrancy has been the wide spread belief throughout Church history. The issue with the Historical Argument is that some believed it stemmed from an apologetic need to avert liberalism, which acknowledged the authority of the Bible but not its inerrancy (Feinberg, p.159) Secondly, that one can only justifiably trust any one portion of scripture if all of it is true. However, on the other hand, if one portion of the scripture were inaccurate, then all of it would be called into question. Thirdly, to reject the inerrancy of the Bible leads to rejecting other important doctrines, which is probably the weakest of arguments due to the number of Christians who deny inerrancy. The relationship between inspiration and inerrancy is an interdependent relationship. As Christians we believe that the Bible is the inspired word of a perfect God who chose His revelation to not only be inerrant in faith and practice but, “…in grammar, historical locations, sociological understanding, mathematics, geology, geometry, or geography” (Townes, p.59). God was so precise in His inspiration that if one part of the Scriptures were inherent then the whole Bible would be called into question. In light of the authority, inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures, it is a Christian’s responsibility to be obedient to the Word of God. Peter said that the scripture is the revelation of Christ who has, ”…given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3 KJV). The Scripture is God’s revelation of Himself to us and will always point us to living for His glory. Word Count # 797
Feinberg, P. (2001). Bible, Inerrancy and Infallibility of. In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic. Henry, C. (2001). Bible, Inspiration of. In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic. MacDonald, H. (2001). Bible, Authority of. In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic. Towns, E. (2008). Bibliology. In Theology for Today. Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning.