I believe that the Bible is inerrant. While there are different definitions of inerrancy, and it is impossible to discuss details in this short page, I will use one that represents my belief: “The Bible, when correctly interpreted in light of the level to which culture and the means of communication had developed at the time it was written, and in view of the purposes for which it was given, is fully truthful in all that it affirms.”1 To this I would clarify that “the Bible” here refers to the original manuscripts although the doctrine of inerrancy can apply to copies and translations to the extent that they reflect the original.
The doctrine of inerrancy has been misunderstood by many Christians who have not had some formal training in theology. In fact, both those who agree and those who disagree with inerrancy of Scripture often make arguments based on their misunderstanding of the doctrine. The first group often hold a certain translation, interpretation, traditional understanding, or extreme literal interpretation of Scripture as inerrant when in fact it is not. The second group often confuse discrepancies among copies with inerrancy of the original manuscripts, confuse apparent contradictions with real contradictions, or confuse fallibility of human readers with inerrancy of Scripture.
I do not expect that the doctrine of inerrancy can be explained in a few paragraphs, so I will revisit this topic later in form of blog articles. Because of my teaching ministry, I have to deal with issues of inerrancy more often than most Christians reading the Bible for personal edification do. I do believe, however, that the doctrine is becoming more critical to every christian nowadays as the inerrancy of Scripture has been attacked fiercely and many writings against inerrancy have been published.
- Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd. ed. (Grand Rapids, Baker Books: 1998), 259. ↩