Church at the Cross, Grapevine (2016) – Many people claim that the Bible is merely a human book, irrelevant, full of errors, and unreliable as an authoritative source of truth for all people. But, what does the evidence suggest? Can we trust the Bible? Speaker: Dr. Dan Wallace (author and Sr. Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary).
So with all that in mind (one should familiarize themselves with the first part of this), can we then define what we mean by biblical inerrancy, of course my favorite definition comes from the main text I used at the seminary I attended. I will also give definitions from some other main text that other seminaries use as well.
In case you didn’t catch what that sentence meant is “that the Bible always tells the truth, and that it always tells the truth concerning everything it talks about.”
In the index in the back under “inerrancy” you find some of the following topics under that heading: allows for free quotation; allows for ordinary language; allows for round numbers; allows for textual variants; allows for uncommon grammar; allows for vague statements; human language doesn’t prevent. I will choose one example from this list so you can get the “gist” of what Grudem is saying:
Another definition comes from a newer systematic theological 4-volumn set, it reads as follows:
Another popular text in seminaries defines inerrancy in this way:
One of my favorites comes from large theological treatise, I will here only put his definition, however, the author goes on for about four pages defining some of the ideas and words used in that smaller definition:
One must also keep in mind the psychological foreboding that all of us have. The question is thus: in order to suppress our biases as much as possible, is there a construct and model in which one should view any literary work with in order to test it internal soundness? Besides what I will again post as some rules all persons should follow in order to limit his or her preconceived values and biases they bring to the table, C. Sanders, a famous military historian, in his Introduction to Research in English Literary History, lists and explains the three basic principles of historiography. These are the bibliographical test, the internal evidence test, and the external evidence test.
The bibliographical test is an examination of the textual transmission by which documents reach us. In other words, since we do not have the original documents, how reliable are the copies we have in regard to the number of manuscripts (MSS and the time interval between the original and the extant (currently existing) copies?
Internal Evidence, of which John Warwick Montgomery writes that literary critics still follow Aristotle’s dictum that “the benefit of the doubt is to be given to the document itself, not arrogated by the critic to himself.” therefore, one must listen to the claims of the document under analysis, and do not assume fraud or error unless the author disqualified himself by contradictions or known factual inaccuracies. As Dr. Horn continues:
Do other historical materials confirm or deny the internal testimony provided by the documents themselves? In other words, what sources are there – apart from the literature under analysis – that substantiate its accuracy, reliability, and authenticity?
Of course there will be people who refuse to use the tools that literary critics and legal scholars have devised to keep as much prejudice out as possible. My final story I wish to share with the reader explains what this looks like better than I ever could:
And I would be remiss to note how the Christian world looks at what “the inspired Word of God” means to the individuals involved in the writing of Scripture. Do these lose their person-hood? Do they become automatons? Losing all ability to self, or control like automatic writing in paganism or the occult? These are important questions:
A really good article chronicling various theories on this is here: Who Wrote the Bible: God or Man? Another great post on the matter that does a bang-up job on bullet pointing the issues of textual transmission is this post: History of the Bible: How The Bible Came To Us.
All this defining and understanding above is key for any person to start dissecting Scripture (or as some would view it, scripture) on a level playing field with others who come to this conversation as well.
Here is an often heard MANTRA that Credo House deals with nicely: “You Can’t Use the Bible to Prove the Bible”
 For the seminary student:
The significance of the distinction between inerrant autograph and errant apograph may be seen from another angle. What difference would it make, some have asked, if the autographs did contain some of the errors that are present in the copies? Is not the end result of textual criticism and hermeneutics by both nonevangelical and evangelical essentially the same? As far as the results of textual criticism and hermeneutics as such are concerned, the answer to this last query is yes. By sound application of the canons of textual criticism, most by far of the errors in the text may be detected and corrected. And both nonevangelical and evangelical can properly exegete the critically established text. But the nonevangelical who fails to make a distinction between the inerrancy of the autographs and the errancy of the copies, after he has done his textual criticism and grammatical-historical exegesis, is still left with the question, Is the statement which I have now reached by my text-critical work and my hermeneutics true? He can only attempt to determine this on other (extrabiblical) grounds, but he will never know for sure if his determination is correct. The evangelical, however, who draws the distinction between inerrant autograph and errant apograph, once he has done proper text-critical analysis which assures him that he is working with the original text and properly applied the canons of exegesis to that text, rests in the confidence that his labor has resulted in the attainment of truth.
Some critical scholars have suggested that the distinction between inerrant autographs and errant apographs is of fairly recent vintage, indeed, an evangelical ploy to minimize the impact of the “assured results of textual criticism” upon their position. This is erroneous. Augustine’s statement, which represents the opinion generally of the Patristic Age, is a sufficient answer to demonstrate that the distinction is not a recent novelty:
I have learned to defer this respect and honor to the canonical books of Scripture alone, that I most firmly believe that no one of their authors has committed any error in writing. And if in their writings I am perplexed by anything which seems to me contrary to truth, I do not doubt that it is nothing else than either that the manuscript is corrupt, or that the translator has not followed what was said, or that I have myself failed to understand it. But when I read other authors, however eminent they may be in sanctity and learning, I do not necessarily believe a thing is true because they think so, but because they have been able to convince me, either on the authority of the canonical writers or by a probable reason which is not inconsistent with truth. And I think that you, my brother, feel the same way; moreover, I say, I do not believe that you want your books to be read as if they were those of Prophets and Apostles, about whose writings, free of all error, it is unlawful to doubt.
Robert L. Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, 2nd ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1998), 91-92.
 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 90.
 Ibid., 91.
 Ibid., 91-92.
 Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology: Introduction: Bible, vol. I (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2002), 498.
 Gordon R. Lewis and Bruce A. Demarest, Integrative Theology: Three Volumes in One, vol. I (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 160-161.
 Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books/Academic, 1998), 259.
 Taken primarily from, Bill Wilson, ed., A Ready Defense: The Best of Josh McDowell (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1993), 43.
 R.C. Sproul, John Gerstner, and Arthur Lindsley, Classical Apologetics: A Rational Defense of the Christian Faith and a Critique of Presuppositional Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), 69-70.
 John R. Rice, Our God Breathed Book – The Bible (Murfreesboro, TN: Sword of the Word Publishers, 1969), 72-74.
See more on the Canon here.
Extended Video Presentations
Did the Ancient Church Muzzle the Canon?
Is What We Have Now What They Wrote Then? Part 1
This next video is a very interesting video in that it is an argument on a Temple Library and the transmission of Scripture. Great presentation… shows that there are breakthroughs in Biblical history waiting to be correlated.
The Gospel Coalition (Januray 2015) – Lecture by John Meade. Meade speaks on the authenticity of the Bible. This video is part of ‘The Bible: Canon, Texts, and Translations’ playlist: YouTube Playlist.
This next video is a lecture from Masters Seminary, Theology I Lecture 08 “Authority and Canonicity of Scripture”
And a greatr study is with R.C. Sproul, and he makes a point that has eluded me a bit until now, and they are:
This is an addition to the recently discovered oldest piece of a Qur’an manuscript... dating to before Muhammad. Many will ask what the difference is between how the Bible and the Qur’an were “compiled” into the books we read today. Here is a bit of the difference.
The below LARGE excerpt comes from: Daniel B. Wallace, Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, 2011), 34-40.
Mars Hill Church (2014) – The New Testament: Is What We Have Now What They Wrote Then? Dr. Daniel Wallace is one of the foremost New Testament scholars in the world today. In his Best Sermon Ever, he shares with Mars Hill important teaching on the origin of the New Testament and whether or not what we read in our Bible translations today is the same as what was written in the original manuscripts. If you or a friend have ever had doubts or questions about the validity of the New Testament, or the Bible in general, this is the sermon to watch.
Dr. Daniel Wallace is a native Californian, a pastor, and a former surfer. He transplanted to Texas and has taught for more than 28 years at Dallas Theological Seminary, where he is the professor of New Testament Studies. One of his students over the years was Pastor Dave Bruskas, one of our Executive Elders at Mars Hill Church. Dr. Wallace is also the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of the New Testament Manuscripts. He earned his B.A. at Biola University and went on to earn a ThM degree and PhD from Dallas Theological Seminary. His postdoctoral studies have taken him around the world from Australia to Africa. He has been part of writing, editing, or contributing to more than 24 books. Dr. Daniel married his wife, Pati, 40 years ago and they have four sons and two granddaughters.