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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Answering Bible Difficulties

Don Stewart :: Would the Discovery of One Small Error Cause Everything in Scripture to Be Rejected?

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Question 16

Would the Discovery of One Small Error Cause Everything in Scripture to Be Rejected?

One objection against the doctrine of inerrancy concerns the issue of what a proven error in Scripture would mean. If Christians insist that the Scripture cannot contain any type of error because it comes from a perfect God, then does it mean that the authority of Scripture collapses if an error is found? Must the authority of Scripture be rejected if there is only one proven error found in its pages?

Objection: Why Force the Bible to Be Placed in Such a Difficult Position?

Therefore, it is asked, “Aren’t Christians needlessly putting too much emphasis on this one doctrine which is not explicitly taught in Scripture?” This is especially true because there are a number of unsolved Bible difficulties that still exist without a clear solution. Why then, should we continue to promote inerrancy?

Response:

A few points need to be made. They are as follows:

We Must Have the Biblical Viewpoint on This Issue

While this is a fair question, it has to be answered by looking at the totality of what the Bible says about itself and about God. The doctrine of inerrancy, while not specifically taught in Scripture, follows logically from what the Bible says about God and His words. To be consistent, Christians should have the same attitude toward the Scripture as did Christ and His apostles. That attitude was one of “total trust.” They never cast doubt on any part of Scripture, but rather asserted its truthfulness in all areas in which it spoke. It is clear that Jesus believed the Scripture was without error. It is much better to side with Him on this issue rather than compromising our beliefs to allow mistakes in God’s holy Word.

The Number of Problems Is Not That Large

While there are some difficulties in the biblical text where there is no clear solution at the present, it must be emphasized that the number of these problems is relatively small when we reflect on the size and scope of Scripture. When we consider that the Bible was written from two thousand to three thousand four hundred years ago by forty different human authors, we would expect innumerable problems with the text. Yet this is not the case. The number of problems, relatively speaking, is quite small.

One Error May Mean There Are Others

There is something else that is important to note. While one proven error in Scripture would not necessarily mean that there are other errors in Scripture, what it would mean is that there may be other errors in Scripture. Once a person has admitted that an error exists in a certain place in the Bible, then the rest of Scripture comes under suspicion. It would remove certainty from the Bible. Nobody could be certain that any given passage in Scripture was absolutely trustworthy.

There Are No Errors That Have Been Proven

We again emphasize that there are no such things as proven errors in Scripture. There are difficulties that have solutions and other difficulties that await solutions. Yet, these difficulties are not the same thing as errors. Because the Bible has demonstrated its truthfulness time and time again, and because the claims of Scripture come from the God of truth, it is better to continue to insist that the doctrine of an inerrant Scripture is the only one that fits the facts.

Summary - Question 16
Would the Discovery of One Small Error Cause Everything in Scripture to Be Rejected?

While it seems that Christians have tried to make too much out of the doctrine of inerrancy, they are only being consistent with what the Bible says about itself and God.

Since Christ and His apostles had a high view of the nature of Scripture, so should believers. Anything less does not do justice to what the Bible says about itself. In addition, not only are there no proven errors in Scripture, the Bible has demonstrated time and time again that it is accurate in the face of accusations against it.

Therefore, to be consistent, the believer should embrace the doctrine of inerrancy as the only one that makes sense out of the biblical data.

Aren’t There Examples of Demonstrable Errors in the Bible? ← Prior Section
Does Inerrancy Mean Everything in Scripture Must Be Understood Literally? Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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