I’ll be speaking in November on the topic of “Biblical Inerrancy and Biblical Authority.” I have pointed numerous times to the thinking of those for whom it is important to use the language of “inerrancy” in describing the Bible, but whose use of the term is far more nuanced than is often the case—and which would almost certainly be shot down by some as not sufficiently “inerrantist” at all! I’m also somewhat familiar with some of the more “standard” technical definitions such as the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.
What I’m looking for, however, is a brief, easy-to-understand definition of “biblical inerrancy” that would ring true with those who are happy to use that language to describe their own beliefs about the Bible. So here’s my question: If you think of yourself as a “biblical inerrantist,” what do you mean by that phrase?
[…] Inerrancy – a Request for Short Definitions(2009/8/6) Darrell Pursiful at Dr. Platypus is requesting short definitions from those who accept or use the language of inerrancy in describing the Bible. Shorter, definitely, than the Chicago statement. Though I don’t […]
Although I am not a “biblical inerrantist”, your post caused me to read the Chicago statement for the first time.
Two adjoining sections really stood out to me, the first of which might serve as a brief description:
“Scripture is inerrant, not in the sense of being absolutely precise by modern standards, but in the sense of making good its claims and achieving that measure of focused truth at which its authors aimed.”
“Apparent inconsistencies should not be ignored. Solution of them, where this can be convincingly achieved, will encourage our faith, and where for the present no convincing solution is at hand we shall significantly honor God by trusting His assurance that His Word is true, despite these appearances, and by maintaining our confidence that one day they will be seen to have been illusions.”
The first statement I can buy, the second one not so much.
I would have to agree pretty much 100% with Michael. The first statement seems quite good, the second seems to send us off on a rabbit trail.
If the Bible writers were trying to accomplish the first (or God through them), then we should look for that.
I do not meet the qualifications of your request for input, but I’ll comment anyway. 🙂
My problem with the word “inerrant” is that I could never get a satisfactory definition of exactly what proponents meant by its use. Meaning changed in context, and any sort of use was killed by a thousand qualifications.
Dr. Denison points this out much better and succinctly than I ever could: