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Don Stewart :: Are There Grammatical Errors in Scripture?

Don Stewart

One of the arguments brought forth against an inerrant Bible concerns errors of grammar in the text. Since the language of Scripture does not always conform to the normal rules of grammar, it is assumed to be in error in those particular instances.

The Examples From The Book Of Revelation

This is especially true in the Book of Revelation. John, the author of the Book of Revelation, often uses a plural verb when the accepted practice was to use a singular verb. These are known as solecisms.

In another place John uses an ungrammatical construction in describing Jesus.

John, to the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne (Revelation 1:4).

The words, "From him who is, and who was, and who is to come" are written in very ungrammatical Greek. There are other examples that could be cited.

Grammatical Difficulties Are Not The Issue

Whether or not certain sentences in Scripture conform to the accepted grammatical usage at the time is not really the issue. Someone can make a true statement that is considered to be ungrammatical. In addition, someone else can use absolutely perfect grammar in the process of telling untruths. The real issue is, "Does the author tell the truth?" It is not, "Does the author use correct grammar?"

Who Says What Is Correct Grammar?

There is also the issue of who is to say what is, or what is not, correct grammar. Many authors will use a grammatical construction that is considered outside the realm of normal usage. The author does this to bring about some special affect. Since this is often practiced today, why shouldn't it be allowed in Scripture? There is no such thing as a "grammatical Bible" that tells everyone exactly how people must express themselves in writing.

Revelation 1:4 Emphasizes The Eternity Of God

With respect to Revelation 1:4, John purposefully uses non-standard grammar to emphasize the nature of God. He is the one who exists, who has existed, and will exist in the future. While the verse may be grammatically awkward what it says about the nature of God is absolutely true.

Summary

While there may be some parts of Scripture that do not conform to the accepted means of writing in that day this really does not have any bearing on the inerrancy of Scripture. The key issue is whether or not the Bible speaks truly - not whether correct grammar is always used.

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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