A Brief Defense of Inerrancy

The following article is an outline of my opening statement for a debate I did on inerrancy while at Houston Baptist University for my theology class:

  1. Define Inerrancy: As defined by E. J. Young in his book Thy Word Is Truth: “By this word we mean that the Scriptures possess the quality of freedom from error. They are exempt from the liability to mistake, incapable of error. In all their teachings they are in perfect accord with the truth.” (113). God though “utilized the distinctive personalities and literary styles of the writers whom He had chosen and prepared” so it is not the same as dictation according to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy in Article 8. Inerrancy refers only to the inspired autographs, not to errors which have crept up in the textual transmission of the Scriptures.
  2. Defend the Textual Veracity of Scripture: “Every reading ever occurring in the New Testament textual tradition is stubbornly preserved, even if the result is nonsense . . . any reading ever occurring in the New Testament textual tradition, from the original reading onward, has been preserved in the tradition and needs only to be identified.” (Kurt and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, 2d ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989), 296.
  3. Inerrancy Defended from the Scriptures: 2 Tim 3:16 –  the meaning of theopneustos is “inspired by God,” “breathed out by God,” “expiration” BDAG Lexicon (the best Greek Lexicon in the world) also approvingly cites B. B. Warfield’s essay “God-Inspired Scripture” defending inerrancy. Rom 3:2; Matt 4:4; 2 Pet 1:20-21; John 10:35; John 17:17; Psa 19:7 are also relevant.
  4. What Scripture Says, God Says: compare Gen 2:24/Matt 19:4-5; Psa 95:7-11/Heb 3:7-11; Psa 2:1-2/Acts 4:25-26; Isa 55:3/Acts 13:34; Psa 16:10/Acts 13:35; Deut 32:43/Heb 1:6; Psa 104:4/Heb 1:7; Psa 45:6-7/Heb 1:8-9; Psa 102:25-27/Heb 1:10-12.
  5. Inspiration Implies Inerrancy: If Scripture is God-speaking and inspired, it is therefore inerrant, since God cannot lie. Num 23:19; 1 Sam 15:29; Psa 18:30; Psa 19:7-8; Prov 30:5-6; Isa 45:19; Rom 3:4; Titus 1:2; Heb 6:18.
  6. Answers to Objections: Some assume that if Scripture was written by humans it must contain errors, but that does not follow logically because of inspiration. Contra Peter Enns, the hypostatic union resulted in a Savior whose teaching is inerrant. Alleged contradictions have been given possible solutions by Gleason Archer in Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Norman Geisler in When Critics Ask, and the numerous conservative bible commentaries which exist.
  7. The Implications of Rejecting Inerrancy: 1. It calls all of Scripture into question. 2. It makes systematic theology impossible since the Scriptures are not theologically consistent with themselves so we cannot have a consistent theology since the Scriptures teach contradictory things. That is why liberals prefer biblical theology over systematic theology. 3. We become the ultimate authority instead of God who speaks to us in the Scriptures since we are the ones who determine what in Scripture to accept or reject. We are the final determiner of what is true or untrue instead of God.
  8. If we believe in a God who can design the DNA molecule with all of its complexity and with the vast amount of information it contains, would he then not be able to control the process of the writing of Scripture so that his revelation to us is without error?
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