Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Inerrancy of Scripture

The ESV Study Bible contains several very good articles. This is an excerpt about the inerrancy of the Bible from the article "Biblical Doctrine: An Overview."

"The doctrine of inerrancy means that the Bible is entirely truthful and reliable in all that it affirms in its original manuscripts. Another way of saying this is that the Bible does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact. Because God is the ultimate author of the Bible, and because God is always perfectly truthful, it follows that his Word is completely truthful as well: He is the 'God who never lies' (Titus 1:2). It would be contrary to his character to affirm anything false. God is all-knowing, always truthful and good, and all-powerful, so he always knows and tells the truth and is able to communicate and preserve his Word. 'O Lord GOD, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant' (2 Sam. 7:28). 'Every word of God proves true' (Prov. 30:5; cf. Ps.12:6; 119:42; John 17:17).

"Inerrancy does not require twenty-first century precision or scientifically technical language. The following quotation from the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy summarizes what inerrancy does not mean:

"'We affirm the propriety of using inerrancy as a theological term with reference to the complete truthfulness of Scripture. We deny that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage and purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations' (Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, Art. XIII).

"The inerrancy of Scripture gives the believer great confidence in the Bible as his sure foundation for understanding all God wants him to know and all that he needs for godliness and eternal life."

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