Systematic Theology 5: The Four Characteristics of Scripture (1.5) Inerrancy

In my defence the book does say “Four characteristics” even though it gives five. This is the bonus one, Inerrancy’. It is usually covered under ‘Authority’ (see previous post). But due to the cultural context of today, where ‘truth’ is considered more and more subjective and God’s word is seen as an optional Pick N Mix, it needed its own chapter.

The Inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact. The Bible always tells the truth and it does so concerning everything it talks about.

I was personally, really glad it got it’d own chapter. As I have found that the truthfulness of scripture is one of the “barriers of belief” for so many people.

Wayne Grudem clarifies that the Bible can be inerrant and still speak the ordinary language of everyday speech. For example talking about the “sun rising” even though the sun doesn’t technically “rise”.

He uses the helpful comparison of phrases which are all true/inerrant, and yet different. Consider:

  • I don’t live far from my office
  • I live a little over a mile from my office
  • I live a mile from my office
  • I live 1.282 miles from my office

Therefore, Biblical statements can be imprecise and still be true: Inerrancy is about the truthfulness, not about the degrees of precision. Such a helpful distinction.

He then outlines six common challenges to inerrancy, (see below for full notes) and then counters each one providing helpful reasoning.

Finally, he raises four problems for a Christian who denies the Inerrancy of Scripture. These include 1) a moral problem (should we imitate a God who lies), 2) a trust problem (can we trust a God who lies/bends truth), 3) an idol problem (do we become the judge of truth) and 4) a doctrine problem (if we can ignore minor doctrines why can’t we ignore major ones).

Please see below my full notes. As always if you are interested in buying this book and studying it for yourself or following along, please do use my affiliate link and support the blog.

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