Verses relating to inerrancy

From: bivalve (
Date: Wed Jun 18 2003 - 17:36:20 EDT

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    As has been noted often before on the list, part of the problem is defining inerrant. The assertion that the Bible, properly interpreted, does not teach anything incorrect is quite different from the assertion that the entire Bible must be literalistic history. "Properly interpreted" can be a major loophole; at the same time, it is important to keep track of what the intent of the passage is.

    The assembling of the Bible postdates its writing, so there is certainly not a verse that declares that the entire set of books is inerrant.

    Relevant passages include Jesus' assertions that Scripture must be fulfilled, Mt. 5:18, Is. 40:8, Mk. 13:31, etc. While these, like II Ti 3:16-17 and Rev. 22:18-19, fall short of asserting full inerrancy (plus the open questions of what texts are in mind for each of the references), they do point to the constantly authoritative nature of the text.

    Likewise, traditional attitudes such as the scribes counting each letter show a high value being assigned to the entire text.

    Decisions on the boundaries of the canon also reflect the premise that the Bible is authoritative. Issues such as consistency and origin (e.g., for the NT, coming from apostolic sources rather than a later generation) were major considerations.

    The premise of inerrancy of the texts provides a basis for judging theological claims. A claim of inerrancy plus simplistic approaches to the text readily produce a defense of the inerrancy of one's interpretation. On the other hand, if the text is secondary to our own judgement then each individual preference becomes the standard.

    Claims on inerrancy also reflects issues such as the perception that God's word ought to be truthful. This would tie in to many additional verses.

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