Recent Articles

A Textual Analysis of the Passage about the Adulteress

For anyone who loves God’s Word and the story about Jesus’ masterful management of the situation with a woman caught in adultery (found in most English Bibles at John 7:53–8:11), the thought that this heartrending segment of text may not belong to the Gospel of John seems understandably foul. By experience, I know that it can be tremendously disheartening to hear that a passage in your Bible, that you have held as dear and edifying for years, may not belong there. Such a proposition will usher in a flood of thoughts, many of which are troubling, disconcerting, and significantly unsettling.

 


Some Clarifying Distinctives Regarding Inerrancy

While there are many reasons why inerrancy is important, it should be recognized that inerrancy, like many other points of doctrine, is a complex issue.  To better understand it, some further clarification is needed.  Let me point out a few distinctives.

1. Inerrancy is derivative, not creative.  To derive is “to get or receive from a source.”[1]  It is to come from something else.  The inerrancy of the Bible derives or comes from its closeness to the original writings (the autographa) but inerrancy does not extend to the copies of the original writings.  In other words, complete inerrancy does not extend to the translations that we have today.  Translations can have errors in them.  They are not inerrant in the same way that the originals are.


The Preacher and God's Word

Having recognized the primacy of the word in God's own dealings with the human race, it is not at all difficult to note the primacy of the word in that early Christian preaching recorded in the New Testament.

Peter's great sermon given on the day of Pentecost is an example. Peter and the other disciples had experienced a visible out pouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested by the sound of a rushing mighty wind and tongues of fire that had rested on each of the disciples (Acts 2:1-3). They had begun to speak so that others heard them in a variety of languages (v. 4). In addition to this, they had all just been through the traumatic and then exhilarating experiences of the crucifixion, resurrection, visible appearance, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. These were heady experiences. Yet when Peter stood up to preach on Pentecost, he did not dwell on his or anyone else's experiences, as many in our day might have done, but rather preached a profoundly biblical sermon centered on specific biblical passages. The format was as follows: First, there are three verses of introduction intended to link the present manifestations of the outpouring of the Spirit to God's prophecy of that even in Joel. These were a lead-in to the major text. Second, Peter cites the prophecy in Joel at length, giving a total of five verses to it. Third, there is a declaration of the guilt of the men of Jerusalem in Christ's death, which, however, was in full accordance with the plan and foreknowlege of God, as Peter indicates. This takes three verses. Fourth, there is an ex tended quotation from Psalm 16:8-11, occupying four verses. These stress the victory of Christ over death through his resurrection and exaltation to heaven. Fifth, there is an exposition of the sixteenth psalm, occupying five verses. Sixth, there is a further two-verse quotation from Psalm 11:1, again stressing the supremacy of Christ. Seventh, there is a one-verse summary.


The Witness of the Bible to Its Own Authority

Does the Bible actually assert its own inerrancy as the revealed Word of God? Does it really lay claim to freedom from error in all that it affirms, whether in matters of theology, history, or science? Are proponents of this view truly justified in their insistence on this high degree of perfection in Scripture, or are they actually going beyond what it affirms concerning its own authority? These questions have been raised by those who advocate a lower concept of biblical authority, and it is important for us to settle them as we seek to come to terms with the Bible's own witness.

Before we launch into an examination of specific passages in Scripture that bear upon this question, it would be well to define as clearly as possible the basic issues involved. Otherwise we may lose sight of the objectives of this type of investigation.

A Historical Timeline of Inerrancy

1/1/2015 | Truth Remains

Inerrancy & Church History

12/1/2014 | Derek J. Brown

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