Inspiration and Inerrancy of the Bible
There are different theories as to how God inspired the Bible. Verbal and Plenary inspiration are two theories held by many. These are similar in the belief that they believe the Holy Spirit’s influence was so intense that each word ended up being the exact word God wanted used. Verbal inspiration is more text oriented than author oriented while Plenary holds more to author oriented rather than text oriented. I hold to the belief once taught to me by Dr. Orr that “God is God, and therefore can do anything God wants; God inspired the Bible in his own way; thus the Bible turned out exactly as God intended it”.
With this belief I do not try to prove how the Bible was inspired but rather stress the Biblical support of the theories. 2 Timothy 3:16 is one of the verses most used when proving inspiration in that it tells us that all scripture is from God.
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In 1 Corinthians 2:9-13 we are given Paul’s view to the process of inspiration. In this verse Paul explains that the spirit revealed the things God wanted them to know so that they may understand and write what was freely given to them. As Christians we view the Bible as inerrant.
Inerrancy is the belief that what God inspired in the Bible is without error. In Numbers 23:19 we are taught that God cannot lie, if this is so and the Bible was inspired by God then we are indirectly given support to and definition of inerrancy. There are five common arguments for and against inerrancy of the Bible. The weakest argument is the Slippery Slope Argument. It just states that if you stop believing in the inerrancy of the Bible than you will stop believing in the teachings and end up an unbeliever. Though this may happen to a few people this is not the usual.
Christians can hold to their beliefs without holding to the belief that the Bible is inerrant. The Epistemological Argument is just as weak of an argument. It states that claims of belief can only be justified by believers if scripture is without error. It states that scripture must be beyond a doubt the truth. The problem with this is that a believer should not have to rely on the belief that all scripture is without error to feel that their claim of belief is justified. The Biblical Argument is a great way to defend inerrancy.
In this argument it states that the Bible teaches of its own inerrancy. We can see one of these teachings in Matthew 5:17-20. The argument against this is very weak. It argues that the Bible does not teach inerrancy because nowhere does it directly say that the Bible is inerrant, without error. This to me in no way disproves the argument just argues for arguments sake. The last and strongest is the Historical Argument. This argument states that the bible is inerrant because it has been the belief of Christians throughout history.
Throughout history Christianity has not fallen as many other beliefs and cultures have. No matter how hard disbelievers try to fight scripture it still stands and is believed by many. There are many famous historical theologians that can be used to defend the inerrancy of the Bible. The argument against this is weak in that it argues that the Bible was not taught as inerrant till the 19th century. It argues that the only reason Christians began to say the Bible was inerrant was because of the need for it in apologetics.
The relationship between inspiration and inerrancy is powerful because they are united. Without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit there would be no need of inerrancy. We trust in the inerrancy of the Bible because we are taught that scripture was given to the authors by the breath of God. God is infallible and therefore the inspiration of the Bible is inerrant. When I reflect on the authority, inspiration, and inerrancy of the Bible I know that to be a committed follower of Jesus I must submit to each of these so that I may grow in my faith.