What is the Doctrine of Inerrancy?
In 1978, 200 Evangelical leaders, including R.C. Sproul, Francis Schaeffer, John Macarthur, and J.I. Packer met at a conference supported by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy. Biblical inerrancy, as formulated at this conference in the “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy,” is the doctrine that the Bible “is without error or fault in all its teaching.”
“Inerrant signifies the quality of being free from all falsehood or mistake and so safeguards the truth that Holy Scripture is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions.”¹
Charles Ryrie makes it real simple: (1) God’s word is completely truthful and inerrant; (2) the Bible is God’s Word; (3) therefore, the Bible is completely truthful and inerrant. In short, the kind of Bible one believes in is directly proportionate to the kind of God one believes in.
Does Scripture Support it?
“The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” Ps. 12:6
“The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” Ps. 119:160
“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” Prov. 30:5
“For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:18
Why Does it Matter?
Here, Answers in Genesis is most helpful:
Inerrancy Governs Our Confidence in the Truth of the Gospel
If the Scripture is unreliable, can we offer the world a reliable gospel? How can we be sure of truth on any issue if we are suspicious of errors anywhere in the Bible?
Inerrancy Governs Our Faith in the Value of Christ
We cannot have a reliable Savior without a reliable Scripture. If, as many suggest, the stories in the Gospels are not historically true and the recorded words of Christ are only occasionally His, how do we know what we can trust about Christ?
Inerrancy Governs Our Response to the Conclusions of Science
If we believe the Bible contains errors, then we will be quick to accept scientific theories that appear to prove the Bible wrong. In other words, we will allow the conclusions of science to dictate the accuracy of the Word of God.
Inerrancy Governs Our Attitude to the Preaching of Scripture
A denial of biblical inerrancy always leads to a loss of confidence in Scripture both in the pulpit and in the pew. It was not the growth of education and science that emptied churches, nor was it the result of two world wars. Instead, it was the cold deadness of theological liberalism. If the Bible’s history is doubtful and its words are open to dispute, then people understandably lose confidence in it. People want authority. They want to know what God has said.
Inerrancy Governs Our Belief in the Trustworthy Character of God
Almost all theologians agree Scripture is in some measure God’s revelation to the human race. But to allow that it contains error implies God has mishandled inspiration and has allowed His people to be deceived for centuries until modern scholars disentangled the confusion. In short, the Maker muddled the instructions.²
What do the Important people have to say about it?
“I have never quite understood the tendency of so many Christians to pick and choose from Holy Scripture. Biblical inerrancy was not only affirmed unambiguously by Jesus Christ, but is foundational to our firm reliance on God’s promises and revelations contained in the Bible. It seems to me that an attitude of dismissiveness toward inerrancy amounts to intellectual and theological laziness and is ultimately destructive to the faith.” —David Limbaugh