Believe it or not I am one who still believes in inerrancy. This may be a shock to a few who think, for whatever oddball reasons, that I don’t.
However, inerrancy is a curious thing to me. I come at it basically from a flow of logic about the perfections of God. God is without error in his very Being. “God breathed out” all scripture (???? ????? ???????????) 2 Timothy 3:16. Unless God has bad breath, “all the writings” breathed out by God were also without error. Viola! Inerrant writings, but with this strong caveat–inerrant only in the original autographs. What “original autographs” means is that the only writings that were ever inerrant were the writings composed by the actual biblical authors themselves, guys like Moses, Isaiah, David, Mark, Paul, John, etc.
Now here is the most curious thing. To the knowledge of all biblical scholars past and present, none of the “original writings” have survived. Technically they are not “extant.” They’re all gone. Disappeared. Nada. All we have today are copies of copies of copies of the biblical manuscripts. Inerrancy does not apply to these oodles of copies. As a matter of fact these copies of copies are notorious for being errant…with error.
Not to fear, though, because no doctrine/teaching/belief/theological conclusion is jeopardized by these scribal errors in the copies of hand-written scrolls.* Yet, if that’s true, then why are there so many different, even opposing views about major doctrines and teachings and theological conclusions? Good question. I think the answer is that all doctrinal statements and theological conclusions are human creations. The doctrine of sin says we are all errant. No Midas touch exists. Humans mess with the Bible like they mess with everything else like uranium. What’s a camel? A horse made by a committee.
So, I do believe in inerrancy, but my belief, sadly, does not apply to anything available…not to my NIV, my TNIV, my NASB, my MESSAGE Bible, my NLT, any variations of my KJV and for crying out loud, the Catholic Bible has 12 extra books not in my Protestant Bibles! Inerrancy doesn’t apply to the writings of the Didache, Clement, Tertullian, Augustine, Athanasius, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Edwards, Van Til, Scofield, Warfield, Chafer, Ryrie, Grudem, D.A. Carson, Osteen, Lucado, Willard, Ortberg, Fee, Dan Brown, McKnight, McArthur, Stott, NT Wright, and even Bill O’Reilly.
So I hold on to belief in inerrancy out of deference to an inerrant God. I don’t place my faith in the Bible. I place my faith in the Trinitarian God–Father, Son, and Spirit who conspired to reveal God’s character, ways and will through a community of (errant) people for a community of errant people in a book called the Bible. This Bible promises that we may live new, but not inerrant lives in the midst of this world infested with trivial to ever more tragic errors. And we live in hope that when “the Perfect” is made known, errancy will be no more.