The Word of God is inerrant. His scribes, not so much.


Jesus is inerrant, but the Bible isn’t.

Anyone who’s spent any time in serious study of the Bible (or even someone who’s only delved into it intermittently) will have discovered, for themselves, apparent contradictions, of which there are very, very many.

Just for example, Ezekiel 33:11 (and Ezekiel 18:32) and Psalm 37:13 seem rather at odds.

Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’ (NIV)

but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. (NIV)

How should a Christian respond to such apparent contradictions? It’s not easy maintaining contradictions. Maintaining a contradiction is surely the very essence of cognitive dissonance, and cognitive dissonance is something we all naturally seek to minimise.

Of particular concern are the apparent contradictions in Bible verses about salvation. Is justification through good works or by faith alone? Enquiring minds want to know.

The inerrantist response is to hold that the Bible is inerrant. On the premiss (due to Douglas Stauffer) that

God will preserve His word, and not allow it to pass away.

And then try to explain away the apparent contradictions. All of them. One attempt to do this (with particular emphasis on what the Bible says about salvation) is the doctrine of Dispensationalism due to John Nelson Darby.

Now, I can see that the above premiss has merit and that Dispensationalism is, in some sense, a reasonable response to the apparent contradictions in the Bible.

But doesn’t God operate according to the KISS principle?

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (NIV)

Dispensationalism is complicated. Doesn’t God’s fundamental message have to be intelligible to little children and simpletons? Because Dispensationalism isn’t.


The errantist response is to hold that the Bible is not inerrant. To concede that it’s full of contradictions, some of which cannot be adequately explained away. But that, nonetheless

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (KJV)

and that Jesus’s fundamental message remains intact, which it does.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV)

My reason for writing this post is my concern that those who hold that the Bible is inerrant are fooling themselves. In a bad way. Notwithstanding that Douglas Stauffer (already quoted above) tells us that

Satan has reveled in creating doubt concerning the authority of the words of God.

the simple fact is that there is doubt concerning the authority of scripture as it has been handed down to us. Not to acknowledge and to express doubt such as this is to deceive oneself and maybe others too. It’s my considered opinion that those who persist in maintaining that the Bible is inerrant are involved in more convolutions and contortions than David Bain trying to explain his movements on the morning of 20 June 1994, more turns than a sluggard on his bed, more preposterous suspensions of disbelief than an atheist proclaiming that this blog post is an anticipated result of the Big Bang. They’re playing the exegetical version of Twister—the game that ties you up in knots.


7 thoughts on “The Word of God is inerrant. His scribes, not so much.”

  1. God does not operate according to the ‘kiss’ principle.

    And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
    As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
    2 Peter3:15,16 KJV

    The Gospel for our age *is simple*… Yet dont let Satan’s whiles confound you.

    “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
    2 Cor 11vs4

    and he does this by playing on peoples ignorance of the scriptures, their favorite rationalization, on their failures to

    “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
    2 Tim 2vs 15.

    “I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
    I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.”
    1 john 2:14.

    There are no *Real contradictions* in the bible… only ‘apparent contradictions’.
    The danger is in how people deal with these *Real doctrinal differences*.
    Most try and explain them away as nothing… or puff themselves up with pride and say they evidence *the human factor* and so the Bible cant be believed…. *Believe instead the ‘clever scholarship’* of the ‘educated’ Bible doubters.

    The truth is the Bible is inerrant… you see You Richard confound Christ ‘The Word’ with… *The Scriptures*… the Word of God which himself used to prove his own legitimacy.
    “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:…Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
    And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
    Luke 24vs 25-27

    As Augustine said… “Distinguish the ages, and the scriptures harmonize”.

    So Until a Christian grows in the wisdom of the scriptures he is susceptible to the lies of Satans False doctrines
    This why it is essential to grow in the Scriptures…

    “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”
    Eph 4vs 14.

    *Then you will no longer be a victim of ‘Cunning craftiness’.

    The word of God is the Rock upon which the wise man builds his house.
    Fools instead build their hose upon the sands of Human rationalism.

    The Rock of Divine Revelation.

  2. The Bible is authoritative. Human interpretations that are not in sync with that of the Church are definitely not. This includes dispensationalism. If someone comes up with an idea that is unknown to the Church for 1800 years, it’s not good doctrine.

    The Bible can only contradict itself if one either presupposes false doctrine, or one is, like the Ethiopian eunuch of Acts, trying to interpret it all by oneself.

  3. > The Bible is authoritative.

    Says who?

    You can choose to believe that the Bible is authoritative or that the Bible is inerrant or whatever. You can make Bible inerrancy an axiom in your Christian worldview. And that’s fine, I suppose. But how can such a belief ever be more than an article of faith?

    1. If you stop looking at the Bible as a magic book, and start viewing it as the holy testimony of the Church, the question of whether it is “inerrant” becomes irrelevant. The question is “who is Christ”, not “does this book tell the truth without contradicting itself”.

  4. > The Bible is authoritative.

    Says who?

    Says the Bible. Well, it would say that, of course, if it truly were authoritative! Which is fine, but the logic’s still circular.

    Jesus is my axiom, not a bunch of cherry-picked ancient manuscripts.

    1. If you listened to Jesus Richard you would respect the Bible…. yet you dont.
      The only source you have to believe in Jesus is the scriptures…
      So you are an Empty vessel.

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