Resources on Inerrancy and Reading the Bible

Belief in biblical inerrancy is at the root of many other unfortunate and hurtful beliefs such as angry God, legalism, condemnation of gays, and rejection of evolution. Inerrancy is the common misunderstanding that everything in the Bible is the same as God’s own word, as though he wrote it himself.

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Books

In The Bible Tells Me So, Peter addresses what I consider, perhaps, the most harmful belief among some believers today—a misguided and mistaken understanding of reading the Bible that assumes that the words of the Bible are straight from God and represent the very voice and intent of God. This has been a huge issue among evangelicals since the 1970s as some began to recognize the Bible as an ancient document written by ancient people from their own times and cultures, while others passionately defended the Bible as God’s own word for all time. (See my full review)

Articles

From Jesus without Baggage

From Peter Enns

From Josh Way

From Evangelical Liberal

From Rob Bell

From Other Writers

Chicago Statement on Inerrancy

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7 Responses to Resources on Inerrancy and Reading the Bible

  1. Chas says:

    The bible contains contradictions, so to believe that it is inerrant is to believe that God contradicts Himself. Why would He do such a thing? The contradictions might be the origin of almost all of the divisions and schisms that have occurred in the ‘church’. However, that is probably because those who have caused the divisions have not been listening to the Holy Spirit, and so have not had the authority that they have claimed to have.

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  3. rogerwolsey says:

    Here’s a link that shares how some people approach the Bible. “Atheists and fundamentalists each tend to read the Bible in the same wooden, overly literalistic manner. The difference is that atheists reject what they read in that manner, while fundamentalists believe it.”
    “All Christians pick and choose which portions of the they interpret Bible literally, progressive Christians simply admit this and share how we discern.” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogerwolsey/2014/01/16-ways-progressive-christians-interpret-the-bible/

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  4. Somebody Else says:

    Christ Himself never denied being Jewish (and in fact at one point implied that He came for the Jews alone, though this was changed/abrogated at least at the Pentecost and possibly earlier, with the weeping woman).

    Point is, modern scholarship has shown that most of the Old Testament probably never happened. Not just the seven-day Creation, but things like the Exodus, the conquering of Canaan by the Israelites, etc. Even God the Father has been shown to have evolved, as it were, from the proto-Semititc deity El.

    I guess my point is, Christianity seems like something I would like, but since Jesus was God and would therefore presumably know the truth of things, the fact that He accepted Jewish religion and history as basically true makes it difficult for me to accept His divinity.

    I’m not trying to be argumentative; please forgive me if I sound that way. Christianity as a religion and system of ethics is very appealing to me, but I can’t get past this one point: that Christ accepted as true things that we know were not, and framed his ministry against a God that we know now was simply one specific incarnation of the father god from the Semitic pantheon.

    I would like, truly, to be able to see a way around this.

    PS> I appreciate your blog. It’s very interesting. Thank you.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Hello Somebody! I like your name; it seems mysterious and intriguing. I certainly understand your issue (unless I have misunderstood it):

      If Jesus was God and knew everything, and yet he accepted things from the Old Testament that we have good reason to dismiss, then how can we have confidence in such a person no matter how appealing he might be?

      I think this is a very valid and critical question. And the premise the question is based upon (that Jesus was God and knew the truth of everything) is, indeed, one that many believers assume; I used to understand it that way myself many years ago. However, I think there are major flaws in the premise.

      The first flaw is that Jesus was ‘God’. Jesus certainly was not the Father and, to whatever extent he had a God nature, he did not play the role of ‘God’ in any way during his human life. Instead, his role was as the son of God; while he was led by the Father and given the authority to represent him, he was at the same time human and in many ways a person of his own human time and culture. He was, as you say, very Jewish because he was a Jew born into Jewish culture.

      This leads to the second flaw in the premise–that Jesus knew the truth of everything. We should not imagine that baby Jesus woke up in the manger, looked around, and said. “Well here I am; the plan can now get underway!” He was a baby. He had to develop and mature, and along the way the realization developed that he was the son of God with a mission to bring the good news of God to the people of Earth. He did not know everything, but he knew about the Father and what he wanted him to reveal to the people about the Father’s nature and the inauguration of the kingdom of God.

      Does this help at all? Let me know, and also share any other aspects of this issue that concerns you. And I am glad you think the blog is interesting–thank you.

      Have a great day, Somebody Else! I look forward to hearing from you. ~Tim

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  5. Pingback: The Bible is not Magically Inerrant: Exposing Inerrancy Proof-Texts | Jesus Without Baggage

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