When we say that the Bible is the Word of God, does that imply that it is completely accurate, or does it contain insignificant inaccuracies in details of history and science?
Some theologians teach that the Bible is inspired and authoritative, and that it is an accurate revelation of what God wants us to know about salvation—but they leave room for minor errors in non-crucial areas. One theologian, for instance, says that the Holy Spirit's work in inspiring the Bible only guaranteed “selectivity of events and accuracy of reporting and interpretation sufficient to achieve God's purpose throughout the rest of man's existence” (Dewey Beegle, Inspiration of Scripture, p. 190).
However, classic Christianity rests on the assurance that the Bible is completely accurate. It may contain statements that are (1) figures of speech, (2) non-technical descriptions, or (3) difficult to understand. But actual errors would fall into a different kind of category. If there are any errors in Scripture, no matter how small, the book can no longer be our standard of truth. I become the standard of truth, as I determine which Bible statements are right and which are wrong. And if I can't trust God to get the facts straight on things like dates and measurements (where I can check on Him), why should I expect Him to be more accurate in areas like sin and salvation (where I can't check on Him)?
The Bible doesn't use the word “inerrant,” but the idea is obvious.
John 17:17—“Thy word is truth.”
An inaccurate Bible contradicts God's character quality of absolute truthfulness.
Some consider this a minor issue, but the idea that the Bible contains errors opens the door to serious spiritual danger. When people decide they have the authority to label one verse as a mistake, they soon find others that they consign to the “error” category. I've watched it happen over the years. Each generation rejects more and more Scripture, as it gets in the way of their own opinions.
Author: Dr. John Bechtle
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- INTERNAL HARMONY—Answers to a skeptic’s questions about whether the Bible’s internal harmony is truly evidence of its divine inspiration—Read
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