This post was originally written for the Systematic Theology 1 class for Liberty University’s John R. Rawling’s School of Divinity. I wrote to respond to the following prompt: “After reading Erickson’s and Feinberg’s sections on “inerrancy,” what is your position and argument on the inerrancy of the Bible? Do you believe this doctrine to be important for the contemporary church? Why? Demonstrate knowledge of the subject matter by inserting substantive content. Also, present the logic, cogency, and evidence of your explanation(s) and argument(s). Avoid casual talks and testimonies by interacting theologically and critically.”
If one is to take seriously the statements of Jesus, the apostles and the prophets, then one must hold to the highest view of the inerrancy of Scripture. Erikson gives two views of inerrancy which in the end are not much different from each other, absolute inerrancy and full inerrancy. Absolute inerrancy holds the Bible is completely true in everything and full inerrancy holds the Bible is completely true and speaks from a human perspective. It seems Jesus and the apostles took the view that Scripture was completely true and noncontradictory. If one claims to be a Christian, then one needs to accept the teachings of Jesus without question.
Jesus claimed in his Sermon on the Mount he was not doing away with the Law or the prophets but, “to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17b – 18, ESV). This does not necessarily teach inerrancy here; however, it does teach the importance and eternality of the Word of God. Yet, he does teach in context that those who do not teach and do the Word of God are not going to enter heaven (vv. 19 – 20).
Jesus also claims Scripture as an authority and true history when teaching on marriage (Matthew 19: 4 – 5). Jesus claims the Scriptures are sufficient to warn people from Hell (Luke 16: 29 – 31). Then the clencher is the Word of God cannot be broken, it literally cannot contradict itself (John 10: 35).
The apostles claimed the prophets were used by God to proclaim a surer word than the eyewitness accounts of the apostles (2 Peter 1: 19). They claimed they were carried along by the Holy Spirit when writing the scriptures (1: 20 – 21). Then they claimed the Bible was breathed out by God as one breaths out words, and is able to perfect a person for good works in Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 3: 16 – 17).
The prophets believed that the Scriptures were perfect, able to revive the soul, give wisdom and make one acceptable to God (Psalm 19: 7 – 14). They believed all the words of God proved themselves true (Proverbs 30: 5). They also believed God cannot lie like men can (Numbers 23: 19). These teachings combined in the Bible prove the Bible teaches itself to be inerrant in its teachings, record of events, and prophesy.
Now the question for the individual person is does he or she believe this? If one claims to be a Christian, then one must hold to this teaching to be a follower of Jesus. If one does not hold to the teachings of Christ, he or she has no legitimate claim to being a Christian.
That does not mean there are not current errors in the Scriptures. These have occurred through scribal errors and trying to harmonize the text. Yet, the original manuscripts must still be there because scries more often added to the text instead take away from it. As one apologist said, “the Bible has suffered no large-scale and consequential change from the time of its writing to the earliest extant copies.” Therefore, the doctrine of inerrancy must go back to the earliest manuscripts in teaching the Bible is without error; however, it has implications in the current Bible people have today.
In summary, the Bible teaches itself to be inerrant in everything it speaks about. Jesus taught the Bible was without error. The apostles and prophets taught the Bible was without error. This means those who do not believe in inerrancy cannot call themselves followers of Jesus Christ. This only applies to the original manuscripts; however, virtually one hundred percent of the original manuscripts have been preserved through textual criticism. This means the church must believe the Bible to be true and follow it in its literal historical-grammatical context.
If you want more information on studying the Bible and how to interpret it correctly, check out the store section at strivingforeternity.org/store. There are tons of resources to help you get started on your journey to interpreting the Bible better. Also invite Andrew Rappaport and Anthony Silvestro to come to your church and teach you biblical interpretation with their Biblical Interpretation Made Easy Seminar. Andrew Rappaport, Anthony Silvestro, Justin Pierce, and other guests on Apologetics live would also enjoy answering your questions on the live show on Thursdays from 7pm – 9pm CST with the link to the stream yard at strivingforeternity.org/apologeticslive. Lord bless you and strive to make today and eternal day for Christ Jesus.
 Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 191.
 Full Ibid.
 Paul Gould, Travis Dickinson, and Keith Loftin, Stand Firm: Apologetics and the Brilliance of the Gospel (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2018), 88.
 Full Ibid.
 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Second Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2020), 85.