7 Scripture Series 7 2008 Contents Ie Inerrancy


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The seventh lecture in John Allan's series on The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture for Torchbearer Bible Schools. Is the Bible infallible or inerrant or..?

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7 Scripture Series 7 2008 Contents Ie Inerrancy

  1. 1. The contents of Scripture Is the Bible free from mistakes?
  2. 2. Three views… <ul><li>Liberal: the Bible may contain any amount of error </li></ul><ul><li>Fundamentalist: the Bible is entirely free from mistakes </li></ul><ul><li>Other evangelicals: the Bible is without error for all the purposes for which it has been given </li></ul>
  3. 3. Where they stand… Liberal Fundamentalist Other
  4. 4. Ten key issues in the debate <ul><li>What is `truth’? </li></ul><ul><li>What have Christians always believed? </li></ul><ul><li>What did Jesus and the first Christians think? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the consequences of believing in errancy? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there any clear mistakes? </li></ul><ul><li>Just how much precision is necessary? </li></ul><ul><li>Isn’t fact sometimes stranger than fiction? </li></ul><ul><li>What do I rely on ultimately – God or my reason? </li></ul><ul><li>Does believing in inerrancy make us better Christians? </li></ul><ul><li>Is this just an argument about words? </li></ul>
  5. 5. What do we mean by truth? Once a man had two sons... I was King in Jerusalem… We saw his glory…
  6. 6. What have Christians believed about it? `From the Fathers to the nineteenth century, it was possible for orthodox scholars to combine strong statements of Scripture’s inspiration, inerrancy and truthfulness, with occasional apparent acknowledgement that Scripture is sometimes not factually accurate.’ - John Goldingay
  7. 7. Augustine believed that the Spirit led Matthew to make a mistake in Mt 27:9 (it’s Zechariah, not Jeremiah) Calvin said we shouldn’t seek astronomical information from Genesis, which speaks of things `only as they appear’ Luther commented about `discrepancies’ in Scripture: `Let it pass, it does not endanger the articles of Christian faith’
  8. 8. What did Jesus and the first Christians think? They seem to have assumed the total reliability of God’s Word in every detail… Or was it simply a question which they never directly addressed?
  9. 9. John Wenham : Jesus' view of the OT is unchanging... Christ held the OT to be historically true, completely authoritative, and divinely inspired... To him, what Scripture said, God said. He treats OT narratives as factual He regards OT teaching as still authoritative, powerful, and relevant He regards the OT as the true source of ethical behaviour He believes OT prophecy has been fulfilled, and still is being He speaks of “Scripture” generally assuming it’s all authoritative He attaches importance to the very details of a word or phrase
  10. 10. What are the consequences of errancy? <ul><li>The `domino theory’ ? </li></ul><ul><li>– if you can’t believe one part, you can’t believe any… </li></ul><ul><li>Saving time? </li></ul><ul><li>- we shouldn’t focus on defending all the time, but on understanding… </li></ul>
  11. 11. Are there clear mistakes? <ul><li>Numbers can be wrong… </li></ul><ul><li>There can be seeming discrepancies… </li></ul><ul><li>Some historical claims appear to be inaccurate… </li></ul><ul><li>… but are these real `mistakes’? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Solomon’s stables – 40 stalls (1 Ki 4) or 40000 (2 Chr 9:25)?
  13. 13. How much precision is necessary? <ul><li>God hasn’t seen fit to </li></ul><ul><li>give us a perfect TEXT </li></ul><ul><li>or an infallible </li></ul><ul><li>INTERPRETATION </li></ul>
  14. 14. While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus… `Your daughter is dead,’ they said. A ruler came and knelt before him, and said, `My daughter has just died…’ While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus… `Your daughter is dead,’ he said. Mk 5 Lk 8 Mt 9
  15. 15. Isn’t fact sometimes stranger than fiction?
  16. 16. Which do I respect more: God’s Word or my reason? Often we don’t have all the information we need to make a sensible judgment If God’s Word hasn’t let us down before, it makes sense to trust it again We don’t sit in judgment upon the Word of God – the Bible judges us
  17. 17. Does believing in inerrancy make us better Christians? Charles Taze Russell…? The Ku Klux Klan…? Divisive and malicious churches…?
  18. 18. Is this really just an argument about words? <ul><li>The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy: </li></ul>When total precision of a particular kind was not expected nor aimed at, it is no error not to have achieved it. Scripture is inerrant, not in the sense of being absolutely precise by modern standards, but in the sense of making good its claims and achieving that measure of focused truth at which its authors aimed.
  19. 19. The interpretation of Scripture How do we work out what it’s saying? Tomorrow, the next topic: