Why Do Inerrantists Think the Bible is Inerrant Anyway?

Sometimes I get the objection from inerrantists that ‘God would not leave us a defective Bible’. This assumes, of course, that God has somehow given us a ‘Bible’ in the first place. It diminishes the contributions of the individual writers as though they wrote under God’s dictation or influence, or at least that God protected the ‘Bible’ so that everything in it is true.

Of course, this is merely an assumption without basis except for the inerrantists’ wishful thinking and craving for absolute certainty. It ignores the use of ancient writing practices—including genres that are not literal or historical such as myth, story, poetry and so forth. It also neglects the limitations of the various authors’ eras, cultures, and inadequate grasps of God’s character compared to what we find revealed by Jesus.

The Warning of Revelation 22

Another very weak support for inerrancy is the appeal to Revelation 22:

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

This is used as a warning not to mess with the Bible, but this passage is not about the Bible but only about the Book of Revelation, which is very appropriate for the mysterious and dramatic apocalyptic work that it is.

The Queen of All Inerrancy Proof-texts

The most frequently used ‘proof’ for biblical inerrancy is 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

It is often presented triumphantly as the obvious ‘end of the question’ beyond which there is no need to challenge inerrancy further. But I have three questions.

1. Who wrote this? Inerrantists will answer that Paul wrote it because it begins, ‘Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus’, and since the Bible is inerrant then we can be confident that it was Paul. But among critical scholars some Pauline books are universally accepted as genuine, a few are considered questionable, but 2 Timothy is, so far as I know, universally thought to be NOT written by Paul. So it does not carry Paul’s supposed authority in any way.

2. What does this passage actually say? That we can learn a lot from the Old Testament to our benefit or to train others. Can I say that I agree with that? This would be especially true when this passage was written because the New Testament did not yet exist. But what does ‘God-breathed’ mean? I don’t know what the author intended by this word but I don’t think they meant inerrant.

3. Is this passage, itself, included in any inerrancy claim? No! How can it be? Whatever is meant by ‘God-breathed’ is applied to the Old Testament only as there was no New Testament at the time. And can whatever inerrancy claim being made reach back and include this very passage as an inerrant declaration? No! That would be circular reasoning of the basest sort.

Inerrancy is Nothing More than a Presupposition

Inerrancy is a presupposition. You are not likely to hear this from the rank and file, but inerrantist leaders know this and even defend it. The apologetic of presuppositionalism was developed by fundamentalist Cornelius Van Til, a close companion to J. Gresham Machen during the denominational fundamentalist wars.

The idea of presuppositionalism is that the Bible is divine revelation and the only foundation for rational thought. Presuppositionalism is used in a variety of apologetic contexts but our interest, of course, is in its relationship to inerrancy. Greg Bahnsen, a significant presuppositionalist writer, in an article on Van Til’s presuppositionalism says:

This means the apologist must presuppose the truth of God’s word from start to finish in his apologetic witness. A “presupposition” is an elementary assumption in one’s reasoning or in the process by which opinions are formed. As used here, a “presupposition” refers not to just any assumption in an argument, but to a personal commitment which is at the most basic level of one’s network of beliefs.

Presuppositions form a wide-ranging, foundational perspective (or starting point) in terms of which everything else is interpreted and evaluated. As such, presuppositions have the greatest authority in one’s thinking, being treated as your least negotiable belief and being granted the highest immunity to revision.

I think we can see why inerrantist conclusions on a significant number of beliefs inevitably conflict with progressive views which are not based on this presupposition.

Which Document is Supposed to be the ‘Inerrant’ One?

kjv 1611 john 3

Original King James Version 1611 – John 3

Officially, the Bible is considered inerrant in its original manuscripts (autographs)—none of which we have. As normally practiced among English readers, however, the English translations are treated as inerrant (the Bible clearly says!). However, I was raised in King James only circles where only the KJV was considered appropriate. There were a lot of us! Many even specified the KJV 1611, but I don’t think that is what they meant because they did not read the 1611 in their homes or churches; and they would have found it difficult going had they tried. They probably meant the 1769 Oxford edition.

What About Claims that Jesus, Himself, Confirms the Inerrancy of the Old Testament?

Even if the proofs we have discussed are weak and ineffective, surely Jesus’ confirmation of the inerrancy of the Old Testament is sufficient. We will talk about that later.

Jesus without Baggage exists to assist and support those questioning beliefs they have been taught in fundamentalist, traditional evangelical, and other groups. If you know someone who might find Jesus without Baggage helpful, feel free to send them the introductory page: About Jesus without Baggage.

Articles in this series:
Belief in Biblical Inerrancy Must be the Second Most Damaging, Misguided Christian Belief of All
Why Do Inerrantists Think the Bible is Inerrant Anyway?
How the Bible Actually Works by Peter Enns: a Book Review
Did Jesus Confirm the Inerrancy and Historicity of the Old Testament?
5 Common False Assumptions Inerrantists Make about Me as a Progressive Believer
Inerrantists are My Brothers and Sisters in Jesus—Not My Enemies

See also:
Books and Resources on Inerrancy

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133 Responses to Why Do Inerrantists Think the Bible is Inerrant Anyway?

  1. tonycutty says:

    If the Bible were inerrant, there would be no need for a Spirit of Truth. Nor would there be any need for Jesus. Since believers who place their entire faith in the Bible are moving the focus of their faith from a Person to a book, there is no need for any Personal interaction whatsoever. So much for a Relationship with Jesus…. 😉 To paraphrase the essence of John 5:39-40, why bother with Jesus when you have the Scriptures?

    Liked by 4 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Tony, this is sad but there is a lot of truth to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maryann James says:

        How can one know of Jesus except by the Bible? Or does He mysteriously appear to you and speak to you?
        Where do you get your religious beliefs? Martin Luther? Where did he get his beliefs about faith? Grace?
        At the youth ralley in Texas summer of 2018 a tatooted lady Lutheran pastor read from her liturgical writings of sarcastic, angry and smarmy words punctuated with words such as f–Ck,
        G-d d–m- over and over.
        This being preferable above an “uninspired,
        error filled Bible.” Also,
        TRANSGENDER young folks paraded on stage
        to encourage the teens
        attending this ralley that this is perfectly
        acceptable.
        You can read all about this nightmarish gather-
        ing on the web.
        Now, since you are so well informed about the
        Bible being worthless due to the untrustworthiness of
        Truth, enjoy where your leadership takes you. I for one has recently walked away from your
        denomination after learning of the things I just wrote about…and much, much more. I am just glad that I did NOT raise my children in the Lutheran church. I raised them in a church that upheld the Word of God as true and worthy to find it a way of life. Now my grandchildren are being taught the same.
        So, I leave you to your own beliefs since you think you have more knowledge than the Almighty.

        Liked by 2 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Maryann, I agree with you that we learn of Jesus from the Bible–the New Testament specifically. And that is good enough for me. The overall portrait of Jesus from the gospels is so consistent regarding Jesus, his teachings, and his actions that I find him compelling. In fact, Jesus is the foundation of all my faith and belief.

          It sounds as though you have encountered Pastor Nadia. She is quite a shocker; her tattoos don’t bother me but her language does, so I don’t follow her. I don’t blame you for being put off by her. However, I do agree with her that being transgender is not a problem with God.

          By the way, I am not and never have been Lutheran.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. ACountryBoy says:

    God promised to preserve His word and he has. Either He’s a liar or He speaks Truth and keeps His promises. The choice is ours.

    Liked by 3 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Country Boy, can you share with us where God promised to preserve his word? Thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

      • ACountryBoy says:

        If you have read the word of God, you will have seen His promise. His words shall endure forever. If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, nothing I say will convince you.

        Liked by 2 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Country Boy, you may have false assumptions about me. I read the Bible all the time; I thrive on the Bible. And I do believe in Jesus Christ; he is the foundation of all my faith and belief.

          You did not send any reference as I requested for where God promised to preserve his word. I would really appreciate that. Thanks!

          Liked by 2 people

    • This is the reason that clarifying Jesus as the Word (logos) of God is so important. People tell me all the time that clarifying this is mere “semantics”, but it’s more than that: It’s all about perspective, attitude, and where we go when we need God. The Bible itself never teaches that it is the Word of God. It never does. It never claims that or inerrancy, and any belief that it does is mere presupposition. God has preserved his Word, his Son Jesus Christ. The Word will be preserved in all times, i.e. God will never let the message of Jesus die. It has nothing to do with a book that has been translated to oblivion hundreds of times.

      Liked by 6 people

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Well said, Prog.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Chas says:

        TPG. The word logos was coined by the Greek Stoic philosophers, to whom it meant the Universal Reason, an impersonal wisdom. It was the man who wrote John’s Gospel who tried to apply this to Genesis, in which God spoke, and by that the universe was created. It was also ‘John’ who wrote that this Word had existed from the beginning, and so gave much confusion over whether Jesus was God Himself, or a subordinate Son.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Chas, I agree! John does introduce a Greek philosophical term here, and it might be that he was countering the thought of early Christian Gnosticism. In addition to borrowing from the philosophers and the Gnostics, I think he was guided by the personification of Wisdom in Proverbs 3, “Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold…By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.”

          It is sooo good to hear from you!!!

          Like

    • tonycutty says:

      The choice is not ours. Either god is a liar of He’s not. Whichever we choose does not affect the reality.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Chas says:

      ACB, your comment assumes that it IS His word. If it is not, then it is the men who wrote the books of the bible who are the liars.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. newtonfinn says:

    As I read it, John 7 contains a revealing story about inerrancy. The Jewish authorities, the great inerrantists of their day, are in a meeting, coordinating an effort to find and arrest Jesus. When Nicodemus tries to stick up for him, the authorities tell Nicodemus to search (the Jewish scriptures), and he will find that prophets do not come from Galilee. Back then, as now, the inerrantists, blinded by the words of their books, cannot see Jesus for what he is, the word made flesh.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Alan C says:

    These days I think of “inspired by God” in the II Timothy passage as like when a movie is “inspired by a true story.”
    Another thought: where in the Bible is “word of God” equated with “scripture”?

    Liked by 4 people

  5. This cuts me to the core. I grew up in a household that preached inerrancy to the fullest, and we were taught presuppositional apologetics aggressively. We personally knew Van Til and Bahnsen and their ilk, and so my Dad pretty much made this the Gospel. Just recently, I mentioned to someone that inerrancy is a theological presupposition that is meant to be the foundation of Reformed/evangelical systematic theology. They were aghast and became hostile because of my comment. It seems like many people that believe this assume that the Bible teaches it, though it does not.

    Furthermore, my brother uses that Timothy passage as his last resort when we discuss it. I fully agree with what the verse says, and it seems to me that if inerrancy were the intent of that verse, the statement about the use of Scripture would have been stronger, not just “valuable” for training and so forth. Besides, basing an entire core doctrine on a single verse is simply bad interpretation, as even admitted by fundamentalists/evangelicals.

    On last thing about “God-breathed”: What else is God-breathed in the Bible? Us! God breathed into man His Spirit. Are we inerrant? Absolutely not. That might be a strange and even cheesy argument, but I haven’t found someone yet that can counter it well.

    In the end, what’s wrong with a Bible that is a patchwork of human writings? What is wrong with these writings representing a beautiful look at humans trying to understand and comprehend God? What is wrong with it being a progression of thought towards Jesus himself? In my opinion, that is far more beautiful and poetic that the Bible being a straight transcript from God.

    Liked by 5 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Prog, I must say I enjoyed your comment start to finish, but this little jewel actually caused me to chuckle: “On last thing about “God-breathed”: What else is God-breathed in the Bible? Us! God breathed into man His Spirit. Are we inerrant? Absolutely not. That might be a strange and even cheesy argument, but I haven’t found someone yet that can counter it well.”

      I must give this further thought, as I might be inerrant after all! But no. All the objections to biblical inerrancy still hold for individual human inerrancy. So my momentary dream of personal inerrant inspiration experienced expiration in only moments. But it was nice while it lasted. I can understand the addiction of inerrantists to inerrancy.

      Liked by 5 people

    • newtonfinn says:

      I’m glad I’m not an inerrantist trying to argue with you. Rock solid observations!

      Liked by 1 person

    • tom minkler says:

      Excellent! Very well said!
      Yes what is wrong with that/those, because that’s what everything God made IS! Is there a perfect tree or a perfect rock? What does that even MEAN? The concept of “perfect” is man-made (except in an overall sense of interactive perfection, as everything in the universe fits together like pieces of a limitless puzzle).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chas says:

        tom, perfection cannot exist on earth, or anywhere else in the universe, since all of it is in the presence of destruction. The only perfection in existence is God Him/Herself, because in Him/her there is no destruction.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Cheryel Lemley-McRoy says:

    Anyone who has taken a course in Biblical Hebrew or Greek realizes that our English translations are errant. Hebrew difficult to completely translate to English; each word has so many nuances that if fully translated you couldn’t lift your Bible. The Greek translators didn’t know Hebrew idioms and euphemisms, and so transliterated them, and the original meaning was lost.
    For centuries it was thought that Jesus only spoke Aramaic, and that in his time Hebrew was a dead language. But rabbinical writings of his time reveal that Hebrew was very much alive, and considered a sacred language. And since the Temple and synagogues were considered sacred spaces, only Hebrew was allowed to be spoken there, upon pain of stoning. So if we pay attention to where Jesus is speaking, and he is in a synagogue or in the Temple, we can learn so much more if we read his words in Hebrew.
    Is the Bible inerrant? Our English translations certainly are not. If someone tries to argue with me that the Bible is inerrant because of the Holy Spirit, I am sometimes tempted to respond, did she tell you that?

    Liked by 3 people

    • tonycutty says:

      Absolutely right Cheryel (And how are you; I haven’t spoken to you for a while!)

      One word I found out more about today was the Greek word ‘orge’ which means passion, strong emotions, strong feelings. And it’s translated as ‘Wrath’ in most instances.

      What a huge difference that makes to so many passages translated as ‘God’s Wrath’ rather than ‘God’s Passion’ A huge difference! A perfect illustration of how Bible translators (often unconsciously) translate things according to their leanings…

      And I also read Jesus’s Parable of the Wheat and the Darnel (wheat and tares) comparatively in the Young’s Literal and the NIV. One sounds like a parable of Hell. The other sounds like Jesus removing all causes of sin.

      Guess which one. Guess which way the Evangelicals would prefer it translated. Guess which one is the translation through the Jesus lens… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dennis Wade says:

      From my time spent in Buddhism I learned that the ancient language of Sanskrit was also a very difficult language to translate into English or otherwise. Like ancient Hebrew, words were multilayered with different meanings depending on how you use them.
      It is my belief that the people who used these ancient languages thought and spoke in metaphors and allegories far more than we do now. For instance, if someone was a swift runner, we would say that he runs LIKE a deer, whereas they would most likely have said that he WAS a deer, and the metaphor would be perfectly understood. We find the use of metaphors like this in almost every ancient culture.
      Today, we are far more literal in our terms, and from our point of view there is usually a very precise word for almost everything. And this makes it very difficult for us to understand or to translate the concepts that they were expressing.
      I really do think we have to learn to use our intuition more and to re-learn metaphorical thinking in order to begin to grasp a lot of what is being said.
      One way I use to approach the Bible now is to stop asking whether this story is historically or literally true, and instead to ask WHY it is being told. What is the message that is being passed on? What lesson does this story relay to us?
      For instance, the story of Exodus. There is still no real archeological evidence that there were a large number of hebrew slaves in ancient Egypt, and scholars are still arguing about who exactly built the pyramids and when they were built.
      So where does this leave the whole exodus story?
      But if you stop trying to find literal, historical proof for it, the story itself is rich in spiritual lessons and metaphors about trusting God to guide you, about building a new nation based on more just laws, and about the importance of being able to continually trust God as each adverse condition arises, instead of saying something like, “Well, sure, He delivered us from Egypt, but now we are just going to die in the desert instead.”
      And I find this to be true with most of the Old Testament. The New Testament seems to be more straightforward, with the exception of how Jesus used this metaphorical thinking in his teachings. But even with the NT we have such difficulties with a straightforward understanding because of cultural differences and writers expressing their personal opinions sometimes.
      The only real solution is to have your faith firmly based on a personal relationship with Jesus. He is the actual Word of God made flesh, and is quite capable of making the Bible become something useful to us. I find He even does this with other literature as well. I seem to have gained a lot of good insights about dealing with life from something like “The Lord of The Rings”, and other grand tales!
      ( I don’t say this kind of thing to most people of faith, lest they brand me with the too-freely used label of heresy!)

      Liked by 2 people

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Dennis, this is a great question! “One way I use to approach the Bible now is to stop asking whether this story is historically or literally true, and instead to ask WHY it is being told. What is the message that is being passed on? What lesson does this story relay to us?” Is this not the main point?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy says:

        Dennis Wade, spot on! One of the first things I learned in Biblical Hebrew class was that Jesus didn’t invent the parable. Parable and allegory are ancient teaching methods. And much of the Tanakh is exactly that. We miss the point if we get bogged down with literalism. Bless you.

        Liked by 3 people

      • newtonfinn says:

        I also now ask myself another question as well: Do I really like the story, not in the sense of enjoying it but in the sense of learning something important from it? If not, I move on. Makes that collection of stories called The Bible a much shorter book, at least for me.

        Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Cheryel, thanks for the good information and for the funny scenario: “Did she (the Holy Spirit) tell you that?” You are funny…

      Like

  7. mandibelle16 says:

    I do think the Bible is correct in its teachings & divinely inspired by the word of God, or God’s word through the writers of the Bible. Some words we know to be exactly Jesus’ words and I know for instance with the book of Hebrews, Jesus himself is thought to be the author — so for me I would presume these words are truth. I think the problem lies in many respects not with the Bible, but the nature and fallibility of people who have done their best to translate it, even though this was much needed.

    Even, in the King James Version or Martin Luther in the Reformation, who rightly translated scripture so the common person could read & understand the Bible which was in Latin (or other old languages) only available to Clergy, papacy etc, The issue I do see is that despite God’s perfection, people are not perfect. Perhaps they weren’t in some opinions or small details for original writers of scripture (Paul for instance and his opinion of marriage), and for Biblical translators. I also think we know many religions and denominations interpret different parts or verses of the Bible in diverse ways, so since all these people share imperfections, it’s bound to exist in Biblical interpretation in churches and out side themtoday, even in my own beliefs and understandings, right or wrong, For example, how Baptism is viewed or communion, capital punishment, women in society etc. It changes in many denominations.

    I think what me must take away from the Bible is the main messages of God being creator, omnipotent, ominiscient etc.caring for his people & sending his only son to die for us on the cross, so that we can share that message, and live eternally after we die perfect again, no longer flawed. That Jesus came to save us despite or Sins, that’s what is Key to the Bible, not as much denominational arguements, and those which are inerrant in their Biblical thought or not. People are flawed so they’re understanding of religion or the Bible can be too. Also, interpretation of certain verses can be unclear.

    My point is — interpretation and even translation and certain thougts in the Bible, still share human fallibility despite the Bible’s Divine nature and significance for Christian denominations and to an extent Judaism. Does that make sense?

    Liked by 4 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Mandibelle, yes it makes sense but is not quite how I understand it. I think the Bible was written by a number of authors who were not necessarily correct in everything they wrote. But I do agree that the key to everything is Jesus’ teaching and example to us on how to understand God and to treat other people properly, and in his securing for us eternal life in his resurrection.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mandibelle16 says:

        It’s an interesting thought. It would make sense as they too were fallible in their own times. Perhaps, though if something is divinely inspired, breathed into their minds in a sense, that eliminates their opinions with the actual words of God? I think this b/c of John in the Gospels of the NT: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” (1:1) Which, tells me that even when scripture, knowledge of God, the essence of God, was not written it existed & simply was. Perhaps out of the mouths of Prophets/Christian’s/Apostles etc. who wrote the books of the Bible there is that perfection & existence of a “was” beyond evil or human flaws? I’m not sure I think this completely, but it’s what some might argue. However, on the other hand, we see at times, this does not stop certain authors from sharing an opinion of their own, or a thought that’s out of place. It makes me ponder forsure.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hm, I’ve never heard someone mention Jesus as the author of Hebrews. How would that work exactly? The author mentions being in Rome.

      Liked by 4 people

      • mandibelle16 says:

        I’ve heard much about it as I grew up in the Church. It’s surmising, but I don’t think they know exactly who wrote Hebrews. I’ve had pastors mention it, as did religion teachers as a real possibility.
        This isn’t an awesome source, but it covers why some pastors and religious teachers believe Jesus could be the writer in a concise way. Take a look here: https://www.conservapedia.com/Mystery:Did_Jesus_Write_the_Epistle_to_the_Hebrews%3F

        It doesn’t matter who the author is really, as long as Hebrews too is divinely inspired by God (triune God —Jesus — Holy Spirit). I suppose it’s something I’ve never questioned much. But, the intro to Hebrews in the front of my NIV Study Bible says it’s not Paul as the writing style doesn’t match as thought before the Reformation and beyond. Unlike Paul, the writer indicates he was not around during Jesus’ time on earth, nor received revelation like Paul.

        The earliest suggestion of the author would be found in ‘Tertullian’s De Pudicta 20 (c.200) where the author quotes from Hebrews under the name “Barbabus” — who had authority in the church and was an intellectual and a friend of Paul’s.
        Martin Luther also argued the authorship could be Apollo’s. He was a Jewish Christian and intellectual and a good speaker too. Through Luke we know Apollo’s was a learned man w/ knowledge of scripture and related to the church w/ Paul in the early years.
        When dating the authorship of Hebrews we know it was written BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem and it’s temple in 70 AD as the author does not mention the temples destruction and the end of Jewish sacrifices to God, & also the author of Hebrews consistently uses the ‘Greek present tense’ when speaking of the temple and priestly duties etc. Connected w/ the temple.
        So, your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps, like certain scriptural interpretation or practices in Christianity in various denominations, some lean towards different authors — Jesus, Paul, Barnabus, Apollo’s, or ?

        Liked by 3 people

        • newtonfinn says:

          Since Hebrews is one of the few NT books written in fairly elegant Greek, it’s virtually a certainty that it wasn’t written by anyone from the “backwoods” area of Galilee. For those who haven’t yet done so, please get your hands on David Bentley Hart’s recent and revealing translation of the NT. He’s one of the most widely-respected Christian scholars of our time, an orthodox believer himself, who has done us the immense service of allowing non-experts in ancient languages to get closer than ever to the largely raw and rough original NT texts–a rawness and roughness obscured by smooth-flowing, grammatically-correct English translations.

          https://www.uscatholic.org/articles/201809/what-can-literal-translation-bible-offer-31501

          Liked by 3 people

          • mandibelle16 says:

            My comment was pretty clear it wasn’t someone from the ‘backwoods’ as was is intro to the study Bible written Theologians, that the writer is indeed an intellectual and also connected to the early church and temple rituals, knowledge etc. It’s someone educated & w/ a position of respect in the Jewish community/ religious practices. This much we know. I’ll take a look at your book though 🙂

            Liked by 3 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Mandibelle, I must agree with Prog. After 60 years of being immersed in the Bible and theology I have never heard it suggested that Jesus wrote Hebrews. But apparently this argument is actually made (and I thank you for the link) though I have never encountered it before. I guess there is always something new to learn; however, in this case, I don’t think it at all likely that Jesus wrote Hebrews.

          Liked by 2 people

          • I’ve always been of the mind that maybe Luke wrote it after Paul was killed or no longer available. This Jesus theory is intriguing me, though.

            Liked by 2 people

          • mandibelle16 says:

            It’s interesting to me b/c I grew up w/ the theory that Jesus in all probability wrote Hebrews, & if not him Paul. So, I’m intrigued that you guys haven’t heard of theory or came across it — no offence intended. I’m wondering if in more recent academic studies, this theory has been tossed? But, as I had written early, I hadn’t thought about it a lot in a long while. So, even to read in the Study Bible where I know the intro is not a recent piece of writing, it seems more likely that Paul, Barnabas or Apollo’s wrote Hebrews. I have also heard about arguments for Luke. And I’m interested in reading the suggested book below, which seems to favour Paul. It’s a fascinating debate & mystery forsure. So, much is lost in time & history and sometimes that in itself is frustrating, depending on the quality (or what’s left) of ancient sources & modern & pre-modern theological $
            & historical (etc) study. Thank you all for the discussion 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Mandibelle, Barnabas has long been my choice, but it is nothing more than a wild guess–a fantasy.

            Like

  8. Chuck Gatlin says:

    Biblical inerrancy only became a widely accepted doctrine pretty recently. It certainly wasn’t the view of the 16th century English reformers, who said in their “Articles of Religion” (Article VI) that “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.” That is pretty far from saying the Bible is inerrant.

    Liked by 3 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Chuck, I think the rapid growth in the belief in inerrancy was strongly affected by the reaction of many American evangelicals to the European scholars of biblical criticism and the ideas on evolution from Charles Darwin.

      Liked by 2 people

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  10. Ross says:

    I had to leave one church due to its insistence that I believe in an inerrant bible (and this is in England for goodness sake!). In my current church which I must admit I’ve given up attending services of, I feel I will probably have to stop attending my home group. These are people I know well and love, some of whom have extended much gracious love to me. However, even though they generally don’t know what “inerrantism” is they are all thoroughly infected by it and tend to use terms such as “God’s word”, “we just have to accept”.

    The unfortunate thing is that they feel there is something wrong with me (and I will admit to chips on both shoulders and strong opinions) and that I am being unreasonable due to the strength of my dislike of their cherished and unscrutinised beliefs. Tonight I was “out of order” for pointing out the irony that many surveys show that those who hold to an inerrantist view have never read the complete bible and don’t do it regularly. The further irony is that I have read the whole thing through numerous times whilst being criticised for my lack of “belief” in the bible by those who have never read it through.

    I am yet to become an anti-Evangelical, although I freely state I am not an Evangelical and don’t like Evangelicalism but do state I am an ant-inerrantist. Personally I recognise that the general “Inerrantist” view, as exemplified in the “Chicago Statement” is intellectually flawed beyond any reasonable doubt and really do suspect the whole thing is probably wicked, particularly when you look at the bad blood amongst believers/Christians in the inerrantist culture wars.

    The most telling statement I had was from a friend who tells me I hurt her when I criticise Evangelicalism, because she so identifies as an Evangelical. The sub-plot is that I must not criticise Evangelicalism just because “you have been hurt by some Evangelicals”. Her personal identification as an “ism” or “ist” is not open for question or even considered as unhelpful.

    I think the most important thing for many Christians to do these days is stand up against “inerrantism” and tell people to stop believing in an ancient text which has become deified. What they need to do is listen to Jesus and follow him. I.e. Love God and love your fellow people. The bible may help you in doing that, but it can just as easily help you not do it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Ross, obviously I am no fan of inerrancy–though I used to embrace inerrancy 100%. I can’t speak for anyone else but me, but I see nothing good about remaining in a church that teaches inerrancy and other fundamentalist/evangelical doctrines. I am very unlikely to help anyone change their mind in that situation. What I can do (and actually attempt to do with some success) is help some who have already begun to question what they have been taught.

      I know what you mean about inerrantist who don’t really read the Bible. Some read a lot but others almost none at all. Yet a common recommendation to me from inerrantist is that I read the Bible–which is a hoot. I started reading the Bible seriously when I was 7 and still do–and it has been going on for 60 years now. So another mistaken assumption.

      My final thought is that it is likely not useful to tangle too much with inerrantists unless they are already questioning what they have been taught. That’s my position; I can’t speak for anyone else.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy says:

        Many inerrantists take the biblical injunction “search the scriptures” as a directive to read their Bibles more.
        But the original language is scrutamini scripturas. Scrutamini is where we get our word scrutinize. All scripture IMHO must be scrutinized against who Jesus is.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Charlotte says:

      Ross, I so recognise this. I grew up in Holland and inerrantism was not taught in our church (Dutch Reformed/Gereformeerd) or at school. But when I came to live on a Scottish Island I was in for a shock. And it is as you say: You love the people, but when you don’t quite agree on the inerrancy of the Bible, they look at you as if you are the devil. It is very difficult. Thank goodness our new minister thinks for himself.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Chas says:

      Beware of those who try to intimidate you into silence by saying that you are hurting them!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Steve Hill says:

    I think it’s important for us to ask, “Is there wisdom in the Bible?” I myself would answer that question with a resounding, “Yes, definitely; just as there is wisdom in every religion’s holy books.” But it is OUR job to use the brains that God gave us to decide where that wisdom lies and not just to blindly follow religious dogma, WHATEVER the source. Is wisdom attained by believing every small detail of the Bible as literal truth? Does doing that serve a useful purpose? Or is it more important to try and use Jesus’s teachings and God’s message to improve our own, and others’, daily lives?

    Liked by 3 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Steve, I totally agree! In fact, I believe there is often wisdom in books that are not ‘religious’ or ‘holy’ books at all. Benefiting from the wisdom of the Bible involves reading, perhaps mulling over, and responding to the text–not just accepting it as God’s inerrant propositional truth.

      Thanks for introducing this thought.

      Like

  12. I always have to laugh when someone argues for inerrancy using an English translation of the Bible, as if the Bible were written in English in a culture that values individuality.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Matthew, that is a bit odd, isn’t it? Even if there were a case for inerrancy somewhere down the line (I don’t think there is), I don’t see how it could apply to English translations–and if it did, then which one and why? It makes no sense.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It reminds me of something I heard about people – most people believe that history started when they were born and will end when they die. I’m not sure how else one can make sense of inerrancy beyond that. Scripture doesn’t support it. History doesn’t support it. There was a council that decided on the canon – and at that time there was no English version. I don’t understand the attachment to the King James Version either. It’s redacted as a political document. There are literally verses not in the KJV that should be. But hey, when you’re a king, you can’t have people reading God’s word talking about bringing the mighty down can you?

        Liked by 1 person

        • theotherlestrangegirl says:

          I was recently debating with an inerrantist (I know, I’m a glutton for punishment sometimes) and I was trying to make some points about how inerrancy is not logical. She told me I need to read and study my Bible (Of course, isn’t that always the advice?). I asked her which Bible I should read and study (in an attempt to point out how many different versions of the Bible exist) and I gave her a list of a few of them. She told me the King James Version is the one I should get and study. I asked her why. She said because that’s the only one that we know for sure comes from the true and original Scriptures. Mmmmmkay. I could have pushed further and asked her to show me proof of that (I guarantee she had none, other than repeated phrases of what others have told her), but I grew tired of the argument and left it there.

          Liked by 2 people

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Strange Girl, “I was trying to make some points about how inerrancy is not logical. She told me I need to read and study my Bible (Of course, isn’t that always the advice?).”

            Ain’t it the truth! I hear this all the time. Do some inerrantists think that only inerrantists are interested in reading and studying the Bible? What an assumption!

            Like

          • Kudos to you for even having that much of a conversation. I often like to ask people if they are familiar with a second language. If they happen to be familiar with a second language, then I can share with them the idea that translation from one language to another is an art, not a science. If I can’t connect that way, I ask if they have ever traveled outside of their culture. If so, then they see that people do things and say things differently in another culture. The same applies to biblical translation – the original was written for a different time and culture than our own – which affects the translation. If that doesn’t work, then I just wish them well and move on.

            Liked by 2 people

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Good points, Matthew!

            Like

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Matthew, I agree that the translation of the KJV was a political project, but I don’t remember right off that “There are literally verses not in the KJV that should be.” I thought the KJV was based pretty much on Erasmus’ majority text. What are some verses that are missing that should be there?

          Liked by 1 person

          • I should have had my notes handy on this, sorry about that. Last fall I did a study of Philippians with some folks from our congregation – we did a translation from the Greek and used multiple translations to compare and contrast. One of the translations from the King James Version. I can’t recall which verse exactly, but the KJV completely missed a verse that all the other translations had. It had to do with our relationship with those in authority – but not the “follow all the rules” type of verse. Sorry I can’t remember which verse. I’ll have to go back and see if I can find it.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Matthew, that’s okay. You don’t need to spend time on it. I thought you might just have the information on hand. I am aware of an extra passage in the KJV, of course–in 1 John 5:
            ‘For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.’

            Like

        • theotherlestrangegirl says:

          LacedupLutheran, that’s a good analogy when thinking about the translation from one language to another. I don’t speak a second language fluently, but I speak bits of Spanish, French, and Korean (plus a phrase here or there in Latin thanks to my time studying law in school). That can lead to some really interesting phrases when trying to get something out in another language! And just to think of how many times the Bible has been translated–goodness.

          Liked by 2 people

  13. After so many years in the organized church I was one of those who always defended the bible as inerrant. Yet after many years of having questions that I was afraid to ask I began to have some doubts. I remember reading a section in a bible I had called ‘Between the Testaments’. It actualy made me have more questions and I remember telling someone that if you do not want to doubt the bible do not read that section. Finally after coming to the conclusion that church today is not what God intended, I left the system and began to think about and check into some of the questions I had. It is amazing the things I was taught in the organization that I no longer find to be the complete truth. I wonder why we are taught to basically make the bible our god. We seem to worship it and look to it as the complete guide. Clearly in John 1 we are told that Jesus is the Living Word of God. If he lives within us by the Spirit then the written book, although a help, is certainly not a necessity. We are told that we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. We have the mind of Christ. We are one with God and he lives within us through the Spirit. Wow, how much better is that than trying to interpret and follow a book with so many interpretations and versions.

    Liked by 5 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Done, you said: “I wonder why we are taught to basically make the bible our god. We seem to worship it and look to it as the complete guide.” I think inerrantists would deny that this is the case, but I think you are right on track with it.

      Like

      • SteveD says:

        Agree with Done, the bible was put together by man,the bible has inspired writing for sure in many books but saying its all divine is a stretch in my opinion. I at times enjoy reading it and ponder at the elighqment of some of the writers for the the times it was written. But to get back, the inerrantist camp tends to subconsciously make an idol of it, at least that has been my experience to some degree.
        Live by the Golden rule as much as humanly possible and your afterlife transition will be one of joy and happiness not of fear, doubt.

        Liked by 3 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Steve, I really like this “Live by the Golden rule as much as humanly possible and your afterlife transition will be one of joy and happiness not of fear, doubt.” In fact, I think there is more freedom, joy, and happiness and less fear and doubt even in this lifetime.

          Liked by 1 person

    • newtonfinn says:

      This is the short but extremely informative book we read in seminary that helps to smooth the sudden and jarring transition as one’s Bible reading moves from the OT to the NT. Wonderful little book, easy to read.

      https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2891378-between-the-testaments

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        This was a very important period in terms of development. Just consider the Maccabean revolt; it was very important in forming the Jewish world at the time of Jesus, and it is not even mentioned in the Bible.

        Like

        • newtonfinn says:

          You’re so right, Tim. My understanding of Jesus’ cleansing of the temple, for example, was deepened and clarified when I realized that he was, at least in part, non-violently re-enacting (with the exception of some property damage) the prior cleansing of the temple by the Maccabees, a re-enactment that was an unmistakable challenge to Roman authority and marked him, from that point onward, as a dead man.

          Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Good point, Newton.

            Like

          • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy says:

            Newton, my first mother-in-law was Jewish, and we still celebrate Chanukah in our house. In relating the story to my children, I saw that it was foreshaddowing the coming of Christ to cleans our temple, when we had been defeated by our enemy, and rekindling the light and fire of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

            Liked by 1 person

      • Cheryel Lemley-McRoy says:

        Thank you, Newton. I love this group. I’m always directed to my next read. Just ordered Between the Testaments. Looking forward to reading it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dennis Wade says:

      I’m often reminded of a quote that Bruce Lee made famous and that can be applied very well to the Bible:
      “It is like a finger pointing to the moon. Don’t get so absorbed with the finger that you miss the moon!” – – – the finger being the Bible and the moon being Jesus.
      I remember reading a story about missionaries in Africa who would often be asked by the natives, “Are you an “Old Testament” Christian or a “New Testament” Christian?
      Maybe we should ask today, “Do you believe in Jesus or the Bible?”

      Liked by 3 people

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Dennis, I love this! ““It is like a finger pointing to the moon. Don’t get so absorbed with the finger that you miss the moon!” – – – the finger being the Bible and the moon being Jesus.”

        Like

  14. tom minkler says:

    Excellent article as usual and many great comments! Especially the part that those Biblical texts were written about the OT. We have a modern concept similar to those “proof texts,” which is called a copyright notice!

    I think that “inerrant” is a made up human concept. We can imagine such things as straight lines or perfect circles but they are IDEALS and not actually found in nature! God did not create them, we did! Is there such a thing as a “perfect tree” or a “perfect rock”? Nonsense! We made it up! That’s part of eating from the tree of the experience of function and dysfunction, that life (“Eve”) offers us, we divide everything into categories, duality such as tall/short. good/evil and those are all gross oversimplifications. Everything has some of both and exists on a continuum.

    It’s not that i believe that such a thing as “inerrancy” exists but the Bible isn’t, it’s that the concept itself is bogus. Nothing touched by flawed humans is flawless!

    I applied for a “class” or group at my church called a “huddle” which is like a focused discipleship class, but to get in we had to fill out a short questionnaire, and of the questions is do we believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. I had to honestly answer “no” and i even included a page of explanation, and met with one of the pastors. But they don’t get it. And to reach people like me don’t they need people like me participating? Very disappointing!

    As another commenter also noted, what do they even mean by “the Bible”? Which one? I understand that some people really want or need things to be simple and straightforward. But aren’t we supposed to be evolving or progressing into beings that can understand complexities, instead of being stuck on absolutes and literalness?

    Thanks for being a light in the darkness!

    Liked by 3 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Tom, I really like your comment! It is like a fresh voice–a new angle–in the conversation. I am sorry you were not accepted in the ‘huddle’, but some people cannot tolerate a different view. By the way, thanks for the kind words about the blog.

      Like

  15. newtonfinn says:

    i just ran across this article in my morning walk through favorite websites. Politics aside, I felt it should be shared with those who follow JWOB. Much food here for thought…of an unpleasant but necessary variety. When we talk back and forth in a commendably civil, even friendly manner about inerrancy, fundamentalism, etc., THIS is the backdrop of our conversations–why they are so vitally important, why the work that Tim and others do to try to change that backdrop matters so much.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/02/15/pence-and-the-benjamins-an-eternity-of-anti-semitism/

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Sojourner says:

    Great article Tim and I am really enjoying the comments. This is an area I lack knowledge in. I agree that inerrancy does not make sense and I am gleaning from the comments made concerning that. I just ordered and received Rob Bell’s book, “What is the Bible“ but have not started reading it yet. One of the things I’m really curious about is how they came up with the Canon and who these people were that make up the “they.“ What motivated them to choose the manuscripts they did and discard others? Is it possible that their motives were not always pure and God allowed that to influence their choices knowing that He/She could work around that like They do with so many things that They allow men to do? Would it really be like God to override man’s free will when it comes to man writing about God and then other men choosing between all the writings as to what really came from God? I ask this question in light of the fact that it seems to me that God rarely overrides man’s free will even when men choose to do horrendous acts against humanity such as murder, rape, genocide etc etc. It seems to me that God sees the mess that we have created by exercising our free will as something He/She can work with and actually make something beautiful out of it. I believe, contrary to what some people get from the Bible, especially the old testament, nothing that man has done or will do catches God by surprise. God has a plan and love has already won. God is love!

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Sojourner, let me share how the general selection of the New Testament canon came about. Various books were collected by individual churches and then shared with other churches. The question about the books were, ‘Which books were profitable to be read in the churches?’ There are several lists over the first few centuries where a church father indicated the stated what books were universally accepted or questioned.

      However, the books on the list that ultimately did not attain universal acceptance as being profitable to being read in the churches were still legitimate documents by early Christians, for example: The Shepherd of Hermas, The Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas, and others. I still enjoy reading these books; you can buy them in a separate book called The Apostolic Fathers. On the other hand, there were books, now in the New Testament, that for a long time were not universally accepted as profitable reading in the churches that ultimately were accepted–like Jude and the Book of Revelation.

      Finally, the universally accepted list was confirmed by a church council. By the way, the Gnostic writings were NEVER under consideration. I hope this helps.

      Like

      • Sojourner says:

        Thank you Tim. That does help a lot. I will definitely be looking into this more. I still wonder who these “church fathers” were making these big decisions. Were these the same “church fathers “ that were deciding who the heretics were and that a good way to handle a heretic would be to kill them which was often done by burning them at the stake in the public square? I’m sure that helped the people who witnessed such things. understand that “God is love.” Could it be that the church fathers at that time did not think it very “profitable” to convey to the churches that God is loving, patient and kind to those who do not toe the mark so to speak according to the holy scriptures as interpreted by those same church fathers? The big question for me is how different are the so called church fathers or church leaders today who believe God needs the threat of eternal suffering in hell fire to persuade people to trust Him and surrender their lives to Him from the church fathers of old? Thank God for this conversation and thank you Tim for all you do to keep this blog going.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Sojourner, you ask a good question. The earlier Church Fathers sometimes disagreed with each other doctrinally, but they didn’t kill anyone–that came hundreds of years later. If they felt someone was really a heretic, they would encourage that they not be accepted in the churches.

          Like

          • Sojourner says:

            I kind of thought that might be the case Tim but, regardless of how the “church fathers “ meeted out their discipline through the ages, the idea that they have a greater understanding of the scriptures than the average Joe and thus have the authority to meet out discipline still exists today in many churches and denominations. Of course I don’t have to tell you that you have been given the tag of heretic along with all the rest of us who question biblical inerrancy and all that that entails. Let us wear that tag proudly and love them no matter what they say and do to us.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Sojourner, you are right that I, and I am sure many others here, are frequently called heretics. I even have a close relative who tells me I am leading people straight to eternal hell. My response is like yours–love them anyway!

            Like

      • Chas says:

        Tim, wasn’t the canon, pretty much as it stands, agreed by the Council of Rome in 382?

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Chas, I am not sure in my mind which Council formally accepted the canon. But I think it was pretty much a settled conclusion by the church before it reached that point.

          Like

          • Chas says:

            Tim, when you look at the books f part 2 of Acts, and the letters attributed to Paul, Peter and John carefully, it can be seen that they might have been used by the Eastern or the Western churches to further their claims to authority. Peter was championed by the west and Paul by the east. Even Peter 2 is likely a product of the east, because it says that the writings of Paul are (effectively) scripture. John’s gospel boosts Peter, and John (although it doesn’t name him) on behalf of the west, to give authority to letters under those names. My strong suspicion is that these books were all produced between the Council of Nicaea in 325 and the Council of Rome in 382.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Chas says:

            Tim, forgot to mention Revelation and its very thinly-disguised attack on Rome as being a book from the east!

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, I am quite sure all the books now found in the New Testament were written long before the Council of Nicaea because they are mentioned by church fathers well before that.

            Like

    • Chas says:

      Sojourner. Strongly in agreement with you. Despite all the horrendous things that people do, God’s plan is working out, and these are part of that plan. One of the most important things in the plan is that OVERALL suffering is minimised.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Charlotte Robertson says:

    Why was the book of Enoch not included? I know it’s kind of strange but Paul mentions it as being in the ‘scriptures’. Anyway, this is a great subject and a wonderful thread with a lot of grace and understanding being shown.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Charlotte, I don’t recall Paul mentioning the book of Enoch as scripture, though the short letter of Jude does. The Book of Enoch was written a couple centuries before the time of Jesus and after the Old Testament canon was closed, but I don’t think it attained nearly the respect of the Jewish people that, for example, the books of Maccabees, Tobit, and Judith did during the same general period.

      Like

  18. newtonfinn says:

    This seems to be my day for linking to articles on purely secular websites that JWOB readers might find thought-provoking or, in the following case, inspirational. I hadn’t been aware that there was a latter day Schweitzer in Africa, and what a joy it was to hear his voice.

    https://www.truthdig.com/articles/jesus-christs-lesson-for-the-21st-century/

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Sojourner says:

    Thanks Newtonfinn for sharing that link. I will definitely be watching that documentary “The Heart of Nuba”

    Liked by 1 person

  20. SpaniardVIII says:

    My friend, you are fighting a battle you ain’t going to win since it is against God. Jesus is called the Word of God in the Book of Revelation, He is also, the Word in John 1:1 [to reveal not only the truth about God the Father but so that everyone [in the future] can know and have the truth about the Son of God’s death and resurrection. God’s Word brings salvation or saving faith to the hearer, those who come with a sincere heart. Your work on this blog is trying to push people into doubting Scripture. Every action that people take will have to give an answer to the Lord in judgment day. Take it as you may, but I hope that you repent and give your life to Jesus Christ before it is too late.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Spaniard, thank you for your concern. However, I agree with you that Jesus is the Word. In fact, Jesus is the foundation of all my faith and belief and has been for many, many years.

      Like

      • SpaniardVIII says:

        Then why attack the Bible where people can get to know Jesus Christ? You seem to be doing double speak. On one side of your mouth you call Jesus your foundation and than on the other side you attack scripture. What’s wrong with that picture?

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Spaniard, I don’t think I attack the Bible. I just reject the false assumption of inerrancy. The Bible is very important, but I don’t think the assumption of inerrancy is the way to approach the Bible. Understanding the times and cultures of the individual writers and what they were saying is far more important than using the Bible as a collection of propositional proof-texts.

          I understand that we have different perspectives about the Bible, but I do not engage in double speak. Following Jesus as my ultimate guide does not require biblical inerrancy; in fact, inerrancy takes away from Jesus’ teaching and example.

          Like

          • SpaniardVIII says:

            ” The Bible is very important, but I don’t think the assumption of inerrancy is the way to approach the Bible. Understanding the times and cultures of the individual writers and what they were saying is far more important than using the Bible as a collection of propositional proof-texts.”

            Don’t you see your contradiction?
            You said the Bible is important BUT it contains errors. If I gave you a map to find your way out of the wilderness to safety and you find out that it is inaccurate, Will you still feel it is important? It will not take you to safety as the direction of the map is wrong, it might even take you to a cliff. A map with errors is worthless.

            Without inerrancy, one can easily dismiss parts of the Bible that does not fit their lifestyle. And, it will kill whatever faith you have as doubt is like a cancer.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Spaniard, I really like your map illustration. But the Bible is not a map, though we might well say that Jesus is our map. The OT is a record of how a tribal group and nation felt about their relationship with God. They wrote a lot about what the thought God was like, but they did so from the limitations of their eras, their cultures, and their inadequate understanding of God’s character that we discover from the teaching and actions of Jesus.

            Even if the OT is thought of as a map–it is an old map; and an old map is no longer accurate because things have changed. Have you ever tried to travel with an old map? Frustrating!

            I understand the need–the almost desperate need sometimes, for certainty in all points of truth. But the Bible has never provided that. But, rather than destroying our faith, abandonment of inerrancy increases our faith. Approaching the Bible without the assumption of inerrancy takes a lot more work, but it is well worth it in richness of faith and belief.

            You said, “Without inerrancy, one can easily dismiss parts of the Bible that does not fit their lifestyle.” And I am sure there are a few who do this–but they don’t represent me or most of the people I know. But inerrantists can do the same thing by twisting biblical passages and using them to support their own personal views. I know because I was an inerrantist for a very long time and saw this happen repeatedly.

            Sure, I would like to have certainty on every issue but we cannot have that. If we did, I would think that inerrantists would agree among themselves on every belief and doctrine–but they don’t. So, instead, I take Jesus very seriously and follow him in his teaching and actions. He is my solid rock.

            Like

  21. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    PRESUPPOSITION NEGATES GOD’S LOVE, GRACE, MERCY AND HIS COMMAND TO TAKE THE GOSPEL TO ALL NATIOINS, LANGUAGES AND PEOPLE!!

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  23. michaeleeast says:

    Presuppositionism is a bit of a handful. I suppose its supposed to be. It’s not possible for the English translation of the Bible to be inerrant. It’s a translation. So interpretation is needed.
    Discrimination and intuition are the best interpreters. Anything violent or abusive can be deleted as far as i’m concerned. These passages contradict the benevolent nature of God. And they can be traced to ancient forms of thinking. Richard Rohr is good on this. He calls it his Jesus hermonuetic. (I’m not sure how you spell that).

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Michael, you raise some good points here. Also, I need to read my first book by Richard Rohr; do you have any suggestions?

      Like

      • Dennis Wade says:

        Tim, just thought I’d mention that if you wish to spend the time listening, there are quite a few videos on Youtube of Richard Rohr. He presents himself very well, and I find his ideas to be very exciting.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Pingback: Did Jesus Confirm the Inerrancy and Historicity of the Old Testament? | Jesus Without Baggage

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  27. andyd63 says:

    Thanks, I really liked your article. While I tend to be a very conservative Christian (and might disagree on many finer points) I do find innerancy to very problematic. My major points when contending tend to be as you pointed out, the lack of original manuscripts and the problems of cultural influences that have obviously had an impact. But my main issue is trying to understand why it’s such and issue. God uses us defective people as vessels of His Gospel to others so maybe He isn’t so hung up on it. Besides, Jesus used the LXX, so obviously He didn’t think it was that important.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Andy, I am glad you liked the article. I think it is okay for us to disagree on certain points–or even inerrancy itself. But I do agree with you in wondering why inerrancy is such an issue. My guess is that the comfort and certainty of having an inerrant Bible handed to them by God is very important to them. I very much agree with you that Jesus did not seem to be bothered that the Bible was not ‘inerrant’.

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  28. Pingback: Inerrantists are My Brothers and Sisters in Jesus—Not My Enemies | Jesus Without Baggage

  29. Endar Malkovich says:

    Now I was following your posts about God’s love and atonement and I agreed with so much of it and then you started talking about inerrancy and that’s where we’re going to disagree.

    Most progressive christians are extremists in their thinking. They read something they don’t like, choose not to investigate the original language and culture and throw it out like the baby with the bathwater. Do not invade the hebrew culture and tear it down to form your own ideology.

    In reality there is right and wrong, good and bad. We live by this creed in every facet of our lives. The hunky dory, all behavior is excusable crap is nonsense. You don’t live by that idea nor does anyone else.

    Homosexuality
    You’re viewing things from your subjective cultural perspective. Should gay people have access to God? Absolutely. Should gay people be loved by god and society? Absolutely. Should homosexuality be accepted and promoted and encouraged? Absolutely not.

    Young Earth
    Does the bible promote young earth? No
    Does the bible promote old earth? No
    Is darwinian evolution true? Absolutely not
    Does the bible promote evolution? Of course not

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