I’m still trying to figure out exactly what it is that I believe. I’ve given up the notion of an inerrant Bible. I’m done with pastors holding it up high and declaring that it is God breathed and inerrant from cover to cover. There are too many problems with that view. There are too many things to reconcile. I’ve spent my last days defending genocide, slavery and oppression of women. No matter how you spin it, slavery as a cultural norm, genocide as a holy war, oppression of women somehow for their own good, it all comes down to God condoning those actions by not instructing against them. So there, inerrancy gone.
What, then, we are left with are inspiration, infallibility, or human construct, or some combination of the three. I keep hearing the call of some not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Okay. Let’s talk about that then. I’m going to do my best to summarize these views without misinterpretation of them.
What exactly is meant by inspired but not inerrant? My understanding of inspiration would be that while the Bible is not textually inerrant is is God’s inspired word in that the writers have relayed God’s message correctly. It is trustworthy in all that it intends to teach. It is doctrinally correct. It still reveals God’s plan, God’s message, and God’s purpose to us.
Infallibility carries a wide range of meanings. It usually means the inability to err in teaching. Whether that means the Church authority, the scriptures as a whole, or the doctrines and teachings within the scriptures is up for debate depending on the denomination or tradition. When in relation to the scriptures as a whole this comes dangerously close to inerrancy, which I’ve decided to let go of.
Next we come to human construct. This would mean that fallen man simply wrote of his limited understanding and experience of God with no inspiration other than his relationship with and to God. In other words, his love or respect or fear of God inspired him to write about his experiences as he understood them to relate to God. God did not physically or spiritually tell the writer what to write.
There could possibly be some combination of the three. The Bible could be divinely inspired to some degree or another, with God actually breathing the words into the writer through the Holy Spirit. Some portions could be correct in their doctrines while others are not. It could be that man’s understanding is not correct. Taken as a big picture book instead of snippets the doctrines and teachings could be infallible though written by fallible man. So while not completely without error, textually speaking, sufficient and trustworthy for knowing God and learning his doctrines and message. Maybe fallen man didn’t get it all exactly right, but enough for God to get his point and his gospel message across. The Holy Spirit then equips the believer for all that is necessary for righteousness. Essentially the Holy Spirit reveals to the believer what was before hidden to the unbeliever.
Regardless of which of these or the combination of them it is understood that the Bible is sufficient to know God, and understand his plan and purpose. If I have gotten anything wrong, misrepresented in any way, left anything out or if you have something to add feel free to comment.