Editors Note: Biblical inerrancy is an important topic. We’ve asked a few people to write on the topic (one supporting inerrancy and one rejecting inerrancy). This article is NOT a position statement on behalf of Changing the Face of Christianity. It is intended to stir your thoughts and engage you in discussion on this incredibly important topic. Read the PRO-Inerrancy article here, and please share your comments on whether you agree or disagree and why.
I hope everyone is having a blessed week and will encounter God in new and exciting ways in the days to come.
The Inerrancy of the Bible
In next week’s article we will begin to discuss how the Bible is put together and what the different translations mean. But before we even get into those basic items there is one thing I think we should discuss: The Inerrancy of the Bible.
To some this may be an unfamiliar word. To many this is a touchy subject. First, let’s discuss what the word means. To believe in the inerrancy of the Bible is to believe that the Bible is perfect and contains no errors. Now the touchy issue: Whether or not you believe this can really affect your theology. Many feel that the Bible is perfectly written as dictated by God. This can lead to people feeling there is no room for interpreting the Bible and that those who do not believe in inerrancy are somehow misrepresenting God. This can lead to fundamental differences between and within denominations however, I do not think it has to. In fact, I feel one of the things that brings such a negative stereotype to Christianity is the in-fighting we often see within the Universal church.
What I believe
I believe in the Bible, but I do not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible
For many, stating that you believe in the Bible but not in its inerrancy is a contradiction. I disagree. Here is what I believe about the Bible:
It was written by men who had real experiences with God. They tried to write about these experiences, they tried to write about understanding the world around them, they tried to write about the infinite, they tried to write about all these things with limited vocabulary, imagination and knowledge. Their result is the Bible. It is the book God intended us to have, apparent contradictions and all. It was written by fallible people who wrote with their own lens. It was through these lenses which they experienced these interactions with God, just as we read through our own lens of background and world views. These lenses shape our understanding and at the end of the day is what, I think, makes the Bible so intimidating and yet so incredible at the same time.
Let’s talk more about the topics of lenses. I use this word as a metaphoric way of saying context and experience. Some say that this means you can shape the Bible to mean whatever you want. That is not what I mean. What I am getting to is that we have to understand the lenses of the writers of the Bible, those that write commentary on the Bible and how we ourselves read it.
As we get more into the different books of the Bible I will discuss the context of when and why the book was written and the lens that the author may have had. This is very important, especially when we read parts of the Bible that deal with incest, slavery, genocide, adultery and other difficult passages that do not seem to fit in our world today.
God finds us where we are and uses the Bible to find us where we are as well
And we are all in different places with different backgrounds and with different experiences. Don’t be afraid of using that. Don’t feel unsure of your own understanding. All these filters are valid, just as is your God-given ability to reason. So read the Bible, and listen to what it is saying to you.