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 Vol. 6, No. 9 

September 2004

Associate Editorial

~ Page 3 ~

What Do We Mean When
 We Say the Bible Is Inerrant?

By Robert Rushmore

Image When studying any Bible topic, a definition of terms must first be set forth. Inerrant means wholly true or without mistake. It refers to the fact that the writers of the Bible wrote exactly what God, through the Holy Spirit, inspired them to write.

We know the writers of the Bible, who wrote primarily in Hebrew and Greek, were inspired of God. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God..." (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Further, we know from Titus 1:2 that God does not lie. These two facts, (1) the inspiration of the Bible and (2) God does not lie, allow us to conclude the Bible is the truthful Word of God. Therefore, the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Bible are inerrant.

In ancient times, copying the original Bible manuscripts was the duty of scribes. This work was a very meticulous time-consuming task, as the scribes were not permitted to copy a single pen stroke from memory. These copies were later used to make more copies, which were then copied. Since the scribes so meticulously transcribed the manuscripts, very few errors were made. The errors that did occur were minor, since they do not deal with doctrinal issues. The copies of the original manuscripts are still inerrant to the extent that they faithfully represent the originals.

The transcribed texts were later translated into various languages such as our English versions of the Bible. Since the manuscripts used to translate contain minor errors, they were in turn carried over into our English translations as well. Keep in mind that the transcripts remained inerrant since the errors are minor and not doctrinally related. Since these copies of the original manuscripts from which the translations were made are inerrant, the translations, when accurately translated, are likewise inerrant.

In conclusion, inerrant means wholly true or without mistake, referring to the fact that the Bible writers wrote according to divine inspiration. For this reason, we know the original manuscripts are inerrant. Further, the transcripts, which the scribes so meticulously copied, are inerrant as well. It can also be concluded the later translations are inerrant when properly translated. We can have assurance, based on the above chain of inerrancy, that our English translations of the Bible are indeed the Word of God as it was given to the Bible writers through inspiration.

[Translations have strengths and weaknesses depending how faithfully and honestly they were translated. Variance between translations into the same language sometimes is owing to unintentional negligence or intentional bias. Fortunately, there are several English translations that satisfactorily represent the very words of God. ~ Editor]Image

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