The Inerrancy of Scripture
Over the past 100 years theologians have critically debated the inerrancy of the Bible. Scholars such as J.I. Packer, Calvin, Hannah, and Grudem make a strong case for the historical assertion of Biblical inerrancy. They refute the elements of criticisms with a case for the substantiation of the inerrancy of the Holy Script.
One must begin with the definition of inerrancy. Grudem defines biblical inerrancy as: the inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact (Grudem, 90). To make simple this definition is to define inerrancy as the Bible always tells the truth and it tells the truth concerning everything it talks about (Grudem, 91). This does not imply that it tells the comprehensive nature of every truth, but what it says is true.
The word inerrancy has a long history in Roman Catholic theological vocabulary but has taken the forefront in the American Protestant usage for over the past 100 years (Hannah, 144). The previous term for attributing the truthfulness of the Scripture was infallibility, but when Presbyterians began to reduce the accounts of infallibility, those who wanted to uphold the trustworthiness of the Bible began to utilize the language of inerrancy (Hannah, 144).
The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy makes the following distinction: 'Infallible signifies the quality of neither misleading not being mislead and so safeguards in categorical terms the truth that Holy Scripture is a sure, safe, and reliable rule and guide in all matters. Similarly, inerrancy signifies the quality of being free from all falsehood or mistake and so safeguards the truth that Holy Scripture is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions'(Packer, 146).
Bannerman argues that the early church fathers understood that the Scriptures were inerrant as he states, “the opinion of the early Christian Church as to the inspired Scripture did not differ from that of its Jewish contemporaries. From the time of Christ downwards and for centuries afterwards, there was hardly any difference of opinion as to the infallibility of the Bible” (Hannah, 23).
The author of Acts response in chapter 24:14 that he (Paul) worships, “believing everything laid down by the law or written in the prophets.” As we look at the work of the New Testament in its entirety, the writers without fail are willing to depend on every detail of the Old Testament as true and appeal to it with certainty and confidence. Clement of Rome claimed that the Scriptures were errorless. Justin Martyr, also an early church father, explains that the Scriptures contain no conflicting or contradictory information. (Hannah, 23)
Continuing the historical case of the inerrancy of the Divine Scriptures Irenaeus states, “…being most properly assured that the Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of the God and His Spirit; but we, inasmuch as we are inferior to, and later in existence than, the Word of God and His Spirit, are on that very account destitute of the knowledge of His mysteries” (Hannah, 24). The early churchmen evidenced by in theory and in practice the conviction that the Scriptures were written by and therefore were the inerrant Word of God.
Authority of the Bible
All the words in the Bible are indeed God’s breathed words (2 Timothy 3:16). Jesus' own view of the Old Testament is that it is the 'word of God' (Mark 7:6-13). He equated his own human words with the word of God (John 8:28; 17:8), and his disciple’s words were to be his words (Luke 10:16; Matt 10:40). In fact, the disciples had no restraint in claiming their words were the Holy Spirit's words (Acts 5:32; 15:28).
The Old Testament was seen as divinely inspired and authoritative through its Jewish tradition and was believed to be true not only by the writers of the New Testament but also by Christ himself. Christ demonstrates...
Bibliography: Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion.Edited by John T. McNeill. Translated by Ford Lewis Battles. 2 vols. Library of Christian Classics 20-21. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960 .
Davis, Stephen T., The Debate about the Bible
Philadelphia: Westminster, 1977, pg. 155
Gerstner, John H.Biblical Inerrancy: Part III - Some Unsound Bases for Sound Doctrine.http://www.the-highway.com/inerrancy3_Gerstner.html#Part, pg 7.
Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology.Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1994, pg. 90-91, 95, 97,100.
Hannah, John D., Inerrancy and The Church. Edited by John D. Hannah. Moody Press, Chicago, 1984, pg. 23, 24, 144.
Packer, J.I. God has Spoken. Hodder Christian Essentials. London: Hodder& Stoughton, 1979, pg 146.
Ryrie, Charles C. What You Should Know About Inerrancy.Moody Press, Chicago, 1981, pg. 78, 95.
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