“Help Me Understand Biblical Inerrancy?”
A friend of mine with teenage daughters asked me recently if I understood the concept of Biblical inerrancy well enough to explain/justify it for her children. Seems a “pastor” in their local church was attempting to explain the “errors” in the Bible to a group and they were a bit concerned that this leader would indicate the Bible had errors. I was unable to find much on the Probe Web site regarding the inerrancy of the Bible and wondered if you had a document or publication that would cover the topic rather completely yet simply enough for me to understand and to present to these kids. Also, how does the concept of the inspiration of Bible and the inerrancy of the Bibly interplay? It seems to me that if we truly believe the Bible was inspired by God and given to men by the Holy Spirit, it would follow that the Bible in its original autographs would be inerrant.
An excellent resource for a variety of biblical and theological questions is www.bible.org. After reading your letter, I visited their website, typed “inerrancy” in the search engine, and the following resources came up (see bible.org/search/apachesolr_search/inerrancy).
The above link will give you a lot of help with the question of biblical inspiration and inerrancy. Another good resource is When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties by Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe (Baker Books, 1992).
You are absolutely correct in observing that the inspiration of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16; etc.) logically entails biblical inerrancy in the original writings. Although inerrancy cannot be extended to the copies, the science and art of textual criticism has been quite successful in restoring the original text from the thousands of manuscripts available for scholarly study.
Updated July 2011
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