Stretching my wings with this new method, and I think I’ve struck gold.
“Inerrancy!? Wait, earlier you said the characteristics of Scripture were spelled out in the Acronym SCAN. Sufficiency, Authority….Where does I. for Inerrancy fit in that?!”
Well done, for remembering, Grudem opens this chapter explaining that Inerrancy is usually treated as a sub-section for Authority because it builds on the same arguments.
What does it mean?
The Inerrancy of Scripture means that scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact. And that the Bible always tells the truth and that it always tells the truth concerning everything it talks about
Again, I’d like to point you to some fully fledged awesome complete notes on this chapter…And once you’ve read them, or if you already know about this stuff, here are my 3 favourite takeaways:
- Grudem explains that statements can be imprecise and still be totally true. For example “I live not too far from the park” (TRUE), “I live less than a kilometre from the park” (TRUE), “I live 0.892km from the park” (TRUE). All these statements are true, and their truthfulness isn’t dependent on their precision but rather 1) The meaning implied by the speaker and 2) the expected level of precision for the hearer. Very often we approach the Bible assuming that the original hearers of the text had the same expectations we do. There is a difference between honest vagueness and deceitful vagueness, but vague doesn’t necessarily mean untrue.
- Inerrancy is important to believe, because it tells us about God’s character. If God lies, then we – who are told to imitate God (Eph 5.1) – should also lie. Especially if it is convenient for communication. As it is God doesn’t lie, and His word is Inerrant. I think this stood out to me, because lying is one of those sins that easily accompany pride. We lie to cover our mistakes, to exaggerate our successes. And God’s truthfulness stands in stark contrast to that sin.
- At one point Grudem talks about an objection to inerrancy that says: “The Bible is only authoritative for “Faith and Practice””. This basically means that the Bible is only true when it talks about faith and practice. Not about science or history. However, this restriction is not made by the Bible itself. In fact, the Bible asserts that it is true historically (See all the time the NT writers talk about a historical event mentioned in the OT). So when the Bible talks about geography and science, it is speaking truthful words too.
There we go. Next time we’re looking at Clarity of Scripture.