Is the Bible inerrant?
I’m not going to answer that question, but wait! Don’t go! I want you to read my critique of a popular argument against inerrancy.
You probably know how the debate goes. A fundamentalist says, “The Bible has to be inerrant for you to trust it. After all, if the Bible is wrong in one place, then how can you be sure it isn’t wrong in other places?”
And here is a common liberal or non-fundamentalist response: “The Bible doesn’t have to be without error for you to trust it. You trust things every day that are flawed. That chair is not perfect—it can collapse! The phone book is not infallible, but you trust it. The news is not 100% accurate, yet you rely on it to tell you what is going on. Why do you demand that the Bible be totally without error?”
Have you ever heard that argument?
I think it is comparing apples with oranges, myself. The examples that our fictitious liberal friend cites relate to the seen world. The phone book and the news contain information that is verifiable or falsifiable. You can check the facts to determine when they are true and when they are false. The same is true of a chair. You can tell whether or not a chair will collapse by looking at the chair itself. Is it in good condition, or is it broken?
But is that the case with the Bible? I’m not sure that you can totally verify its message. It relates to the unseen world. I cannot prove God’s intentions because I do not see God or directly hear his voice. I have to trust what a book tells me about him. How can I verify what is correct in the Bible? How can I identify what is wrong? There does not seem to be any criteria. So on what basis can I believe one part of the Bible and not another? On the basis of my personal preferences? Why should I trust them?
This is just something to think about. I do not discuss here certain relevant and important topics, such as apologetics, archaeology, and evolution. I’m not even totally opposed to apologetics. I just want to reevaluate the popular liberal argument that compares the Bible to a chair, a phone book, or the news.
I don’t think they’re entirely the same.