The Meaning of Biblical Inerrancy
Question. What do fundamentalist Christians mean when they say the Bible is the inerrant, inspired Word of God? Such a claim has a host of meanings, ranging from ridiculous to convincing:
- It could mean that every single fact laid out in Scripture happened exactly as the text explicitly states.
- It could mean that the principles in Scripture are infallible and will never steer us wrong.
- It could mean that the contents of the Bible from beginning to end are applicable regardless of time and space.
- It could mean that God authored the entirety of Scripture, and the writers are just empty vessels; i.e., their own opinions and biases and perspectives do not in any way influence what is written in the Bible.
I probably missed a good few. But even this short list is a lot to wrap your head around. There are so many ideas about what we mean when we call the Bible inerrant, and I don’t know how to make heads or tails of most of them. All I know is that no one—not a soul on this earth—believes they ought to obey every word of the Bible. No one. So really, does that mean there is a soul on this earth who can say in good conscience that they subscribe to the fourth bullet I listed? Seems to be a bit of cognitive dissonance there.