The Bible has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Before I could read, it was read to me. Unlike other children’s stories, these had a ring of truth about them for not all the stories had happy endings. In fact the tragedy of the crucifixion had me in tears. The bible was read at home, at multiple church meetings every week and at school every day.

It was on my eight birthday that I took all my birthday money, went to town and bought myself a grown-up bible. No pictures, just text. I was determined to read it all … and I made it all the way through Genesis and Exodus but somehow lost my way in Leviticus. I was determined though, for if this was in some way God’s means of communicating with us, there could not be any task more significant than getting to grips with its content. My relationship with the scriptures continued to evolve as I was exposed to different Christian movements.

Throughout this time a certain idea about the scriptures kept popping up, or was at least implied by those who taught from them. It’s the idea that the Bible is inerrant. Now for someone who loved these texts and revered them as sacred, that seemed like a perfectly acceptable idea.

Here is a summary of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

  1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God’s witness to Himself.
  2. Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: It is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises.
  3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture’s divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.
  4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives.
  5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited of disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible’s own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.

All these ideas made so much sense to me at one stage … but the problem was that I continued to read the Bible itself. In essence the doctrine of inerrancy states that the Bible is as perfect and authoritative as God is. It is therefore inerrant in all it affirms, whether it be a statement of history, of cosmology, of science of ethics or of theology. In fact, because the Bible is seen as God’s self-revelation, it becomes almost indistinguishable from God.

It is significant that the argument for inerrancy starts with a doctrine of God and a theory of inspiration. Based on these pre-formulated theories conclusions are drawn about the scriptures. So a framework is drawn in which scripture should be read. It imposes certain restrictions on how to interpret the text before one word has been read.

Would it not be more honest to start by reading the scriptures without any prejudices and then ask what the scripture reveals about itself? Inerrancy would not be the first thing that jumps out at you, neither would the idea that every statement is God’s word, for it would be obvious that the Bible contains many conversations and arguments between people who did not agree with one another. If the same literary rigor is applied to reading scripture as what is applied to any other literary reading it becomes obvious that wide variety of contradictory opinions abound just as they do in all collections of ancient literature.

So this is exactly what we’ll do in the articles to follow. We’ll look at the actual manuscripts concerned – their origins and their content. By allowing these manuscripts to speak to us directly before imposing our doctrines upon it, a very different message will start to emerge. We might reconsider the statements in the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy at a later stage, but the scriptures themselves is an altogether better place to begin.

In the next article we will look at the facts about the source manuscripts … very revealing indeed.

22 Responses to “The Error of Inerrancy Part 2 in The Scriptures Series

  1. Roger Stark on

    So, so good. I can’t wait for the coming articles. Thank you for taking your time to share your journey of discovery through the revelation from the Scriptures.

    Reply
  2. Al Carden on

    Andre,
    I’m 62 years old. I serve as a hospital chaplain. I learned about the Mirror Bible last year so I have been listening to Francios’ and your lectures on YouTube for about a year now. My theology is in the process of being deconstructed. I was attending a southern baptist seminary when the Southern Baptist Convention split over the inerrancy of scripture in 1979. It became clear to me that people were worshipping the bible. Such a mind set was so prevalently in place in baptist life that it has caused so much confusion and hurt feelings. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles. I look forward to reading them.
    Al Carden

    Reply
    • andre.rabe@gmail.com on

      Hi Al – thanks for connecting.
      As long as God reveals Himself, our ideas about God will be deconstructed. What a fun place to abide in.

      Reply
    • Lynn pereira on

      To Al: I am currently a pastor of a “used to be” SBA” independent church. Our community is based on agricultural mixed with a casino, with a twist of work righteousness. We all are so well meaning in our religion while folks all around us are dying. Your awakening brings life! Thank you for taking the time to express your “deconstruction journey”! You are not alone! And it helps me to know that I am not alone! I choose life! Much more fun!

      Reply
      • Al Carden on

        To Lynn – Wow Lynn! Here it is 2017 and I’m seeing your reply from 2015 for the first time. The amazing thing is how much I needed to read your reply today. It is as though it has been guarded for me to read just when I needed it. It’s amazing how that works. My theological deconstruction continues. The more I hold up to Jesus my blindness the more I am beginning to see things I have never seen before of which I am ever grateful to the Spirit. Hope all is going well with you.

        Reply
  3. John Twemlow on

    This is a bit of a “tongue in cheek” comment, but I wonder if your copying of the “Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy” has proved to be in ERROR? In article 5 it states in part…..is in any way limited OF disregarded… If MY understanding is correct, should it not read….. “OR disregarded.” Maybe our copying abilities also have their times of error!!

    Reply
    • andre.rabe@gmail.com on

      Congratulations John! You have found the secret message contained in this article 🙂
      That would be freaking awesome if I did make a copy/paste error – will check it out tomorrow.

      Reply
  4. Jan Young on

    Ha ha, that’s funny! It’s so easy to make errors, it seems absurd to believe that there are no errors in the Bible. We must focus on the overall meaning and intent, and not on twiggy errors.

    Reply
  5. Jamie Collins on

    Andre…I can SO relate to your childhood journey with the bible: mine went well on into adulthood. I SO appreciate your now journey of study and revealing of the truth! I just finished “Desire Found Me.” Masterfully incredible!!!! It facilitated a paradigm shift already taking place! I followed your book with “Wisdom Jesus” by Cynthia Bourgeault. It was the perfect next step for me in line with your book. Have you read it?

    Reply
  6. Andre on

    I always understood that the Bible reveals the truth that God wants us to know, however yes stuff was written up by people in the Bible that is not necessary truth but was written as a truthful saying by him and is therefore a true reflection what the guy was saying. Scripture must interpret Scripture.

    Reply
  7. lizzette gil on

    Wow! I had never considered the idea of the Bible being as sacred as God and in the same level. But it makes so much sense! It’s like we idolize the Bible without even knowing we are doing it! Thank you for sharing this perspective. I’m looking forward to learning and understanding more.

    Reply
  8. Linda Fox on

    Thank you so much for all the things that you share Andre, it is so good to be able to safely recommend your site to hurting , fragile people that have come out of the system that has been called “church”..Bless you Heaps
    Linda

    Reply

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