What is Biblical inerrancy?
Simply put, Biblical inerrancy is the idea that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and is without error with regards to its meaning. Inerrancy also applies only to the original text, not copies of manuscripts or modern-day translations. In its original intended form, the Bible is without error.
Why is this important?
The Bible claims in 2 Timothy 3:16
to be given “by inspiration of God.” Some translations use the term “God-breathed” to refer to this same process. If the Bible is inspired directly by God, but has errors, then it stands to reason that God can also make errors or be errant, which would make Him cease to be God in the sense that most Christians view Him as today. Errors in God’s inspired Word would lend to the beliefs that God is not all-powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient), or all-wise (omnisapient), all things that make God supreme over His creation.
Errors in some parts of the Bible also destroy the credibility of other parts. If there is a mistake in one gospel, why should we believe anything else that gospel says? And since most of the gospels overlap, why should we believe anything that ANY of the gospels say? In order for us to have complete faith that the words of the Bible are true, they must be without error.
How is this relevant today?
For many hundreds of years, scholars, theologians and lay people have been trying to either prove that the Bible is full of contradictions and therefore meaningless for application, or that the supposed contradictions are OK to deal with. Some would have us believe that errors in the text are OK, so long as we understand the general principle to what the Bible is teaching. However, that still leads to issues with credibility. If a history book taught that George Washington lived during the Civil War, wouldn’t we be immediately skeptical of what else was taught in that book? That is why the inerrancy of the Scriptures, while not necessary to be saved, is an extremely important piece of Christianity.
Can we prove that the Bible is inerrant?
Some believe that we can’t. While that is technically true because we don’t have the original copies of the text, we can make strong claims on behalf of the text that the Bible has no inconsistencies and that the earliest copies we have access to only have mistakes that are grammatical. While we can’t get into how we can show there are no contradictions here, if anyone is interested we can certainly talk about having a class to discuss some specific contradictions that have been offered and refuted, or how to know hermeneutics (understanding the context and meaning of a passage).
More than anything, when you hear about these supposed contradictions in the Bible, convince yourself of the Bible’s authority by doing your homework! Study the text, search the internet (carefully, of course), ask your pastor or church staff. The Bible is amazingly accurate, as we will get a glimpse of during our S.W.A.T Seminar
. God is good, and if you allow Him to He will show you Himself even in these very instances!