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The Bible As Inerrant...?


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When Christian Fundamentalists, Evangelical Protestants, Fundamental Catholics, and JWs say that they believe "The Bible to be inerrant." What precisley do they mean? Would not all these groups agree that all modern day copies of the Bible are precisely just that="copies"? I mean, no one has the 'orginal' manuscripts as they were found in the sand, and therefore 'ALL' bibles today DO have translations errors in them and thus are in error. For example JW's and Christadelphians acknoweldge that the King James Bible alone holds over 2000 proven translation errors. But each of these faith groups have their favorite versions of the Bible right? Some strict Born again Pentacostals view the KJV as 'THEE" truest Bible and JW's view their New World Translation as such, and the Catholics..their version and so on. Do each of these faith groups that their copies of the Bible ARE 'JUST' copies and that they have translations errors in them.


I myself do not view ANy of our modern day Bibles withOUT error but I neither view the Bible as just a collection of positive 'myths'..to live by. i believe the ORGINAL Bible manuscripts WERE inspired by God...but I believe since then all our modern day Bibles have been tempered with and research proves this, showing you where translations have purposely CHANGED orginal Greek and Hebrew words to support 'their' own agendas.

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As I understand it, many fundamentalists, when pushed on this, will resort to saying that "well, today's versions my not be inerrant, but the 'original manuscripts' are!" - Problem is, there are no "original manuscripts" to be found - merely copies of copies. So, in actuality, their claim is largely moot.

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I, too, have never heard a strong answer to this question from a fundamentalist. What I usually hear is "There may be grammatical and syntactical errors, but if you read it it's obvious what the writer (God) means."


I watched an interesting debate on Larry King Live late on Christmas Eve. There were theologians of call all sorts (including Deepak Chopra) speculating about the Christmas story. The fundamentalist rebuked the liberal Episcipalian by saying, "If the Bible isn't fact, it isn't true." Ironically, he rebuked the liberal Jew's assertion that "the phone book is factual but contains no truth" with "The Bible is not just a bunch of facts!...it contains the Truth. Inerrancy is it's claim!". Someone started to ask, "Which book in the Bible claims that all of the others are inerrant?"


The good thing about a Fundamentalist approach to the Bible is that because they go only to the Bible for the Word of God, they go very deep into it. They, like Jesus, meditate on it, pray on it, memorize it, breathe it. We are Christians. The Bible is our holy scripture. We should know it regardless of how we view it. I'm sure you would agree, BrotherRog.

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When fundy's are shown errors and contradictions in the Bible they eventually leave dealing with the text at hand and begin arguing a particular system. They begin to tell you how it is illogical to embrace a faith that has errors and inaccuracies in it. They begin to talk about an absolute God that has absolute laws that perfectly communicates this in the scriptures. They talk about how one must accept all or nothing for if one error is found nothing can be believed, etc, etc, etc. In the meantime passages are no longer discussed. And this from those who believe in Sola Scriptura!

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Yes, you are right that IS the problem with fundies. Like you confront them as say,"Look 'if' your interpreation of hell is a literal place of hellfire torment reserved for the hopeleslly evil..then how is it that this scripture in Acts said that JESUS WENT THERE FOR '3's days BEFORE being raised up?


This scares them because logic tells them 'if' hell really was an eternal fire pit resrved for the hopessly evil then how could Jesus GO THERE? Furthermore if the Bible says that "God wishes NO ONE to perish" then how could God WISH people to be tormented forever? They know these interpreations contridict and this makes them doubt what Billy Graham said and then they think," oh no! Wait..How could Billy graham be wrong in his interpreations on hell? He's been blessed by God and the the proof that he is right lies in the fact that millions of people have come to know christ and turn their lives around by listening to his teaching of the Bible."


Thus to question Billy graham's interpretations would equal questioning true Christianity..so it must be a trick of doubt placed by the Devil! But they never stop to consider that Billy Graham IS imperfect and therefore his interpreations are imperfect and this has NOTHING to do with the Devil or doubting God or thinking the Bible is just a positive fairy tale. It has to do with the fact that God does NOT contridict himself but imperfect people do and if a contriction lies in Christianity it must be due to man's imprefect interpreations of it and their translation errors. The Fundamentalists can not believe that church translators would purposely have altered orginal Greek and Hebrew words that were found in the orginal manuscripts.


Why can't they believe this? that the church fathers COULD do this? Aren't they Imperfect? Don;t they have selfish agendas. But why would God aloows them to do this? they would reason. Why does God allow Bush to be president? Why do God allow us to all make wrong choices? But how could anyone know what Jesus was really trying to teach us then? they would reason. Being a follower of Christ is about the Golden Rule and this IS understandable without having to sort out translations and Greek and Hebrew. It's pretty universal. As for doctrines? Well, study actual Greek and Hebrew words and their orginal meanings helps...But if these people are too affraid to look then how will they "test and make sure of what they are hearing is really so or not" -Acts 17:11.

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The bible has to be read in historical context. And it also has to be read knowing which parts are symbolism. For example, the bible compares God to a mother bird looking after her chicks. Imagine what an inerrantist would do with this. If it were literally true then God is a bird, and FEMALE no less. the inerrantists's head would explode.

Such inaccuracies or contradictions don't bother me or hurt my faith. There are 2 creation accounts in Genesis, and very different from each other, which many people tend to lump together like a Buffet restaurant. (take a little from this and little from that).

What's important to me and my faith journey is trying to follow what Christ taught me about loving my enemies and taking care of the poor and not bragging about how perfect I am and how sinful other people are when there's a big ol' log in my eye. I have enough to work on doing this.

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If things weren't confusing enough ...


Don't confuse "inerrant" with "literal" or vice versa. They are not the same thing but often get used as synonyms.


Biblical inerrancy is the view that the Bible is the Word of God and is in every detail infallible and without error.


Biblical literalism is the view that certain stories in the bible are literally true, such as the 6 day creation account or the parting of the red sea.


I guess one could believe in inerrancy, but not be a literalist?


But could you be a literalist and not believe in inerrancy? :blink:


Yup! I thought about it. You could! It would be hard, but I think it could be done! Hey, what denomination would THAT be? :D



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There are all sorts of issues here, but I think it may boil down to this:


The fundamentalist movement is a line of defense against the modern worldview. As such it is a retreat to pre-modernism. The fundamentalists find themselves in the conflict between the authority of their interpretation of the Bible, and the authority of science. So called "Higher Criticism" is understood as a direct threat against the authority of the Bible, and to concede to the points made by this "science" would mean, to the fundamentalist, to give up this last line of defense. Not seeing any other options, other than accepting the modern worldview which has no place for any kind of spirituality, they are not going to be convinced by rational arguments.


Today though, there are basically four options presented to us in accepting a worldview.

(1) We can retreat from the modern worldview, close our minds to the facts, and hold on to the premodern worldview.


(2) We can accept the modern worldview with its underlying atheistic and materialistic philosophy and lose God.


(3) We can accept the deconstructive postmodern worldview along with its claim that it is true that there are no true truths.


Or (4), we can accept the premise that there are certain "hard core asumptions" upon which we can build a constructive postmodernism and which, I believe, can help us to recover an understanding of God even while acknowledging that we will never be able to claim, as the fundamentalists do, that everything we need or can know about God can possibly lay between the covers of a book.

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As I mentioned in another thread, I've just recently become familiar with the term "preterism".


Marcus Borg seems to have a preterist (historical) view of scripture.


He discusses reading scripture historically, in context with the happenings that were occuring when any particular "book" was written.


Also he discusses reading scripture from a pre-modern worldview.


I've come to appreciate that certain words and ideas meant completely different things prior to the 1600's.


I think learning what these pre-modern views were is important and I find it very enlightening and spiritually satisfying. I also find reading the Hebrew scriptures from an "esoteric" view to be soul stirring.


My next project (like I only have one :rolleyes: ) is to read the Hebrew scriptures purely from a Jewish point of view. All my studies of Hebrew scripture have been as a "pointer" to Jesus. I want to learn what the Jewish perspective (reform mostly) is on their own scriptures. I'm particularly interested in reading Harold Kushner because he looks at things from a panentheistic view.



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Over 99% of the Bible we have today agrees with the earliest manuscripts we have, and the other 1% doesn't affect major doctrines. It doesn't matter that we don't have the autographs, because manuscript copies were not made linearly, but exponentially. Thus, the assertion that there was a massive re-write by the church to change the text to its liking is pure fiction. Difficulty in interpreting certain passages is just that: interpretation difficulties.


And the only threat "higher criticism" has to offer is revealing the anti-supernatural a priori bias of its proponents.

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I don't believe DCJ's post suggested that he agreed with fundamentalists' view of the Bible, just that the Bible has essentially been interpreted as correctly as possible from the earliest manuscripts possible.


I am a Christian that believes that the Bible is true, that Jesus is the Son of God, that there was a virgin birth, a crucifixion, a ressurrection, etc. I also believe that the Bible is clear about a lot of things, but ambiguous about others. I am against abortion - but I am also pro-choice. I think that homosexuality is wrong, but again, I do not think the Bible gives me a role of being a judge and a jury for those who choose that lifestyle. In fact, the Bible is quite clear that Christians should not judge others, especially since we are all sinners. It will be a personal accounting that all Christians, and indeed all people, will have to make before God in the end.


That said, what drew me to this forum was my disgust and disappointment in the use of God's Word and His Church, or should I say misuse. I do not approve of politics in my Church. I certainly do not approve of my Faith being used to further a political agenda, especially when that agenda is against scripture. I do not approve of Christians abandoning what they know in their hearts to be true, for what is said from the pulpit, or from the television. In fact, today's Christian depends too much on other sources for truth - instead of the Bible.


I read most of the posts on this forum. I appreciate others views, even though many times I am in disagreement. The fact that I will listen and not condemn tells me that I'm a little different than most of the other fundamentalists out there.


God Bless,


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"just that the Bible has essentially been interpreted as correctly as possible from the earliest manuscripts possible."



But, "been interpreted as correctly as possible." By whom? Today the such beliefs as the 'rapture' hell being a literla eternal fire pit for the hopelssly evil, and the belief that women are forbidden from being pastors....all these beliefs ARE viewed as being interpretated as ," been interpreted as correctly as possible," to the orginal bible manuscripts..by the fundamentalists


"I am a Christian that believes that the Bible is true, that Jesus is the Son of God, that there was a virgin birth, a crucifixion, a ressurrection, etc. "


I believe in all these things too..but the problem is along with these many Evangelicals also embrace these as being "bibically true," the 'rapture' hell being a literla eternal fire pit for the hopelssly evil, and the belief that women are forbidden from being pastors,ect.


"I do not approve of politics in my Church. I certainly do not approve of my Faith being used to further a political agenda,"


Actaully this would be a interesting thread within itself. Maybe I will start one.

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