The Inerrancy of Scripture

By James M. Rochford

Since God cannot lie (Heb. 6:18; Titus 1:2; Rom. 3:4) and the Bible is the Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21), it makes logical sense that the Bible is completely inspired and without error (Jn. 17:17; Ps. 119:160). In fact, this is the affirmation of Scripture itself. The psalmist writes, “The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times” (Ps. 12:6). Solomon writes, “Every word of God proves true” (Prov. 30:5). From biblical affirmations like these, Christian theologians have concluded the doctrine of inerrancy. A well accepted definition of inerrancy is this: everything the Bible teaches, it teaches without error. This would include everything from theology and morals to history and science.

Logical Argument for Inerrancy

We can make a logical argument for inerrancy in this way.[1] Consider these three propositions:

(1) The Bible which is the Word of God cannot err.

Of course, all believing Christians would certainly agree with this statement. The Bible teaches that God cannot commit an error: “God cannot lie” (Heb. 6:18; Titus 1:2; c.f. Rom. 3:4), and he is all-knowing (see “Omniscience”). If God makes errors in his affirmations, then he would either be incompetent, or he would be lying. Either way, this would be an unorthodox view.

(2) The Bible which is the Word of God cannot err.

Most believing Christians would agree with this statement, as well. If God cannot err, then his words cannot err, either. For example, if a computer program does not contain errors, then it won’t produce errors. Likewise, if God is without error, then he wouldn’t be able to speak error or falsehood. Jesus said, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (Jn. 17:17), and “Every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Mt. 4:4). Likewise, the psalmist wrote, “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal” (Ps. 119:160 NIV).

(3) The Bible which is the Word of God cannot err.

Is the Bible the Word of God? It certainly claims to be (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). The author of Hebrews cites Psalm 95, and he claims that this is what “the Holy Spirit said” (Heb. 3:7). Likewise, Peter cites Psalm 2, writing that this is what the Holy Spirit said (Acts 4:25). Moreover, Paul interchanges what “Scripture said” (Rom. 9:17) with what “God said” (Rom. 9:15). These authors considered Scripture and God’s word as interchangeable.

Is the Bible the Word of God or not? If the Bible is the Word of God, then it follows logically and necessarily that the Bible is without error. Jesus said, “The Scripture cannot be broken” (Jn. 10:35), and Paul writes, “All Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim. 3:16). If someone denies the doctrine of inerrancy, then we should ask which of these three propositions they deny. All seem to hang together in a consistent whole, but the denier of inerrancy is forced to deny one of these three.

Jesus’ View of the Bible

We can ascertain an inerrant understanding of Scripture by considering Jesus’ view of the Bible. That is, as Christians, we should adopt the same view of Scripture that Jesus had. Without evidence for the deity of Christ, this would be hopelessly circular reasoning (“We believe in the Bible, because Jesus tells us so!”). But in writing this article, we assume that the reader already believes in Jesus and the case for biblical inspiration (see “A Case for Verbal Plenary Inspiration”). Without believing in Christ, this article won’t make much sense. However, if you do believe in Christ, then you should ask yourself a question: What was Jesus’ view of Scripture?

Jesus’ view of the OT

Jesus believed that the entire OT was inspired by God—even down to the smallest letter. He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Mt. 5:17-18). OT scholar R. Laird Harris writes, “The ‘smallest’ letter was the Hebrew ‘Yodh,’ the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Just what is meant by the ‘least stroke of the pen’ is less clear. Most take it to refer to the small parts of Hebrew letters which distinguish one from the other, like our dot over the ‘i’ and cross of the ‘t’.”[2] Moreover, Jesus included the “Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms” (Lk. 24:44) in his understanding of the OT.

Jesus claimed, “The Scripture cannot be broken” (Jn. 10:35), and he held that Scripture was different than religious tradition (Mk. 7:5-13). He believed in Sodom and Gomorrah, and its judgment (Mt. 10:15). He believed in Noah and the historic Flood (Mt. 24:37). He believed in the historic Adam and Eve (Mt. 19:4). He believed in the prophet Elijah (Lk. 4:25). Jesus believed in the traditional authorship of the OT books (Mk. 12:26 MOSES; Mk. 12:36 DAVID; Mt. 24:15 DANIEL). He even believed in highly criticized sections of Scripture like Jonah and the whale (Mt. 12:39-41), citing them as historical events. Here, Jesus claimed that the Ninevites would stand up at the final judgment against these people. However, if this was merely a parable (i.e. fictional), why would he say this? For instance, a pastor might make a metaphor out of Darth Vader repenting before he died. And he might make the application that you too should repent. However, he would never conclude the metaphor by saying, “And Darth Vader will be in heaven with you, too!”[3]

Jesus’ view of his own words

Jesus claimed, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Mt. 24:35). Here, Jesus consciously equates the authority of his own words to that of the OT. He said, “There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day” (Jn. 12:48). In other words, Jesus claimed that people’s eternal destiny will be decided by how they responded to his words (c.f. Jn. 5:24).

Jesus’ view of the NT authors

Jesus argued that the future authors of the NT had authority to write Scripture. He said, “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me” (Mt. 10:40). In other words, people would be judged by how they responded to the apostles’ teaching. Jesus also said, “The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (Jn. 14:26; c.f. 15:26-27; 16:13).

The Disciples’ view of their own writing

The disciples viewed their own writing as Scripture. For instance, Paul writes, “What I am writing to you is the Lord’s command” (1 Cor. 14:37). He told the Thessalonians, “When you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God” (1 Thess. 2:13). The apostle John frequently argued that his apostolic teaching was from God, while his Gnostic opponents were not (1 Jn. 4:4-6).

The Disciples’ view of one another’s writing

The disciples quoted one another as inspired authors of Scripture. For instance, Paul cites Luke 10:7 as “Scripture” (1 Tim. 5:18). Paul regarded his own writing as Scripture as well. Likewise, Peter refers to Paul’s letters as Scripture. He writes, “Just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Pet. 3:15-16).

History of Inerrancy

Inerrancy has been the historic view of Christians throughout history. Norman Geisler documents these in his book Biblical Inerrancy: The Historical Evidence.

Clement of Rome (AD 95): “Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit… Observe that nothing of an unjust or counterfeit [false] character is written in them (First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, p. 45).

Justin Martyr (AD 150): “But when you hear the utterances of the prophets spoken as it were personally, you must not suppose that they are spoken by the inspired men themselves but by the divine Word who moves them” (First Apology, p. 36). “[Moses] wrote in the Hebrew characters by the divine inspiration” (Justin’s Horatory Oration to the Greeks, p.12).

Irenaeus (AD 180): “The Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God [Christ] and His Spirit” (Against Heresies 2.28.2). “Let us revert to the Scriptural proof furnished by those apostles who did also write the Gospel… The writings of those apostles . . . being the disciples of truth, are above all falsehood” (Against Heresies, 3.5.1). “We should leave things of that nature to God who created us, being most properly assured that the Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God and His Spirit (Against Heresies, 2.28.2).

Origen (AD 250): “Let no one, however, entertain the suspicion that we do not believe any history in Scripture to be real, because we suspect certain events related in it not to have taken place; or that no precepts of the law are to be taken literally, because we consider certain of them, in which either the nature or possibility of the case so requires, incapable of being observed; or that we do not believe those predictions which were written of the Saviour to have been fulfilled in a manner palpable to the senses; or that His commandments are not to be literally obeyed. We have therefore to state in answer, since we are manifestly so of opinion, that the truth of the history may and ought to be preserved in the majority of instances” (De Principiis, 4.19).

Clement of Alexandria (AD 250): “For those who make the greatest attempts must fail in things of the highest importance ; unless , receiving the truth itself the rule of the truth, they cleave to the truth. But such people, in consequence of falling away from the right path, err in most individual points; as you might expect from not having the faculty for judging of what is true and false, strictly trained to select what is essential. For if they had, they would have obeyed the Scriptures” (Stromata. 7.16).

Augustine (AD 350): “[Referring to Genesis 3] If some people take these true facts for mere fables it is because they use familiar, everyday craftsmanship to measure that power and wisdom of God which not merely can but does produce even seeds without seeds… God, then, formed man out of the dust of the earth and, by His breath, gave man a soul such as I have described” (City of God, 12.22-24). “For it seems to me that most disastrous consequences must follow upon our believing that anything false is found in the sacred books: that is to say, that the men by whom the Scripture has been given to us and committed to writing, did put down in these books anything false… For if you once admit into such a high sanctuary of authority one false statement as made in the way of duty, there will not be left a single sentence of those books which, if appearing to any one difficult in practice or hard to believe, may not by the same fatal rule be explained away, as a statement in which, intentionally, and under a sense of duty, the author declared what was not true” (Letters, 23.3.3). “If we are perplexed by an apparent contradiction in Scripture, it is not allowable to say, the author of this book is mistaken; but either the manuscript is faulty, or the translation is wrong, or you have misunderstood” (Against Faustus, 11.5).

The inerrancy debate really began after the Enlightenment, when modern culture began to doubt the supernatural claims of the Bible. As a result, many theologians and seminaries began to weaken on the notion that the miracle accounts in Scripture were true. In fact, this shift in cultural thinking happened rapidly. One key example is Fuller Theological Seminary. Consider how Fuller changed its statement of faith from 1970 to 1972:

FTS 1970: “The books which form the canon of the Old and New Testaments as originally given are plenarily [fully] inspired and free from all error in the whole and in the part. These books constitute the written Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.”[4]

FTS 1972: “Scripture is an essential part and trustworthy record of this divine self-disclosure. All the books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, are the written word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. They are to be interpreted according to their context and purpose in reverent obedience to the Lord who speaks through them in living power.”[5]

“Infallible” means authoritative, but notice that Fuller’s confession lacks the expression “free from all error.” Fuller wasn’t alone in their shift; many seminaries were heading in the same direction.

As a result, Harold Lindsell (former faculty at Fuller) wrote a book in 1976 titled The Battle for the Bible. Lindsell’s book was akin to a journalistic exposé of Christian organizations at the time (e.g. Missouri Synod, Fuller, Evangelical Covenant Church, and the ETS), revealing the various beliefs within evangelicalism regarding the inerrancy of the Bible. As a result of this book, evangelicals drafted the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy in 1978 to form clarity on this issue. 240 of the greatest theological minds drafted this document (including D.A. Carson, Gleason Archer, Norman Geisler, Wayne Grudem, James Boice, Harold Hoehner, Walter Kaiser, J.P. Moreland, J.I. Packer, et al.). We will appeal to this document throughout this article.

Arguments Against Inerrancy Considered

ARGUMENT #1: “If humans are sinful, doesn’t this mean that they corrupted the Bible, when they wrote it?”

Since humans are sinful and prone to error, critics of inerrancy argue that Scripture cannot be without error.

However, while humans are sinful, they aren’t logically or necessarily sinful. For example, Jesus was a human being, but he didn’t sin. Mere human beings sin, but Jesus was not a mere human being. He was more than a mere human being; he was also divine. In the same way, the Bible is a human book, but it is not merely a human book. It is also a divine book. No one is claiming that humans—apart from inspiration—could write an errorless book. That would be impossible. However, they were inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).

ARGUMENT #2: “If God dictated the Bible, then why do the different authors use different style, vocabulary, and expressions?”

If God dictated the Bible to the human authors, then why do the authors of Scripture have different styles? For instance, the author of Hebrews has excellent Greek, but the gospel of John uses a very simplistic vocabulary. How is this possible if God is the author of each and every book?

While there are a few cases of divine dictation in the Bible (Ex. 20:1; Rev. 2:1; 19:9; Jer. 26:2; Jer. 36:23; Ex. 32:16), this is not normative in the way God inspired Scripture. God normally works directly through the personality and burden of the individual author, rather than just turning them into an automaton or dictation machine. This is clear from even a cursory reading of Scripture:

-Paul writes that he couldn’t remember if he baptized anyone besides Stephanas (1 Cor. 1:16), which would be very odd for God to dictate.

-Scripture contains personal greetings to individual people (Rom. 16:3) and personal requests which doesn’t fit with dictation (2 Tim. 4:13).

-The biblical authors had different personalities, styles, grammar, and language that they employed.

All of this points toward confluence: the doctrine that God and man both speak together in Scripture. Theologian B.B. Warfield explains this mysterious doctrine in this way:

If God wished to give His people a series of letters like Paul’s He prepared a Paul to write them, and the Paul He brought to the task was a Paul who spontaneously would write just such letters.[6]

Thus most (if not all) inerrantists deny the “dictation theory” for inspiration in favor of confluence.[7]

ARGUMENT #3: “Maybe Jesus and the apostles were just accommodating a popular view of Scripture at the time.”

Partial inerrantists argue that Jesus and the apostles didn’t really believe in the inerrancy of the OT, but they accommodated to their culture so they would not unnecessarily upset anyone.

However, Jesus and the NT writers never accommodate in any other area. Why would they accommodate in this one? For instance, Jesus chased the religious swindlers out of the Temple (Jn. 2:15). This was the prevailing religious view, and he didn’t “accommodate” to it. Jesus called his interlocutors “blind guides” (Mt. 23:16), having no problem offending the religious consensus. Elsewhere, Jesus didn’t accommodate to the Sadducees’ denial of the resurrection (Mt. 22). He corrected the leading teachers for their understanding of Scripture—but never the inspiration of Scripture (Jn. 3:10; Mt. 22:29).

Moreover, this perspective gives us a theological problem. If God accommodates to false beliefs, then does this authorize us (as current Christians) to accommodate the truth as well? If we are supposed to be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1; 1 Pet. 1:16), then this would imply that we should also imitate him in accommodating to false beliefs.

ARGUMENT #4: “Does the inspiration of the Bible mean that we have to believe everything in the Bible? What about Satan’s lies (Mt. 4:9)? Do we have to believe that these are divinely inspired?”

The Bible contains Sapphira’s lies (Acts 5:8) and the proposition “There is no God” (Ps. 14:1). Clearly, not everything in the Bible is true. How then can we still consider the Bible an inerrant book?

But of course, we shouldn’t forget our definition of inerrancy. Inerrancy does not include all that the Bible contains—only all that it teaches. That is, not everything the Bible describes is necessarily being prescribed. While the Bible contains Satan’s lies, it never teaches these as truth.

ARGUMENT #5: “What about 1 Corinthians 7:6, 10, 12, 25? Paul seems to say that these are not God’s words—but his?”

Paul says that “all Scripture is God breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16). However, Paul says that this particular teaching on marriage is from him—not God (“I say, not the Lord…” v.12). Later, he says that he was giving his “opinion,” rather than God’s command (v.25). Are these portions of Scripture inspired or not?

However, when Paul refers to “the Lord,” he is referring to the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus. The NT often refers to Jesus as “the Lord.” For instance, in Luke 22:61, we read, “The Lord turned and looked at Peter and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, ‘Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times’” (compare with Mt. 26:75). Here, the “word of the Lord” refers to the Lord Jesus—not God the Father. Since Jesus never addressed the topic of virgins, Paul had to address this topic separately. Of course, Paul believed that he was an inspired author, later writing “The things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment” (1 Cor. 14:37; cf. “1 Corinthians 7:10”).

ARGUMENT #6: “There are examples of grammatical errors in Scripture.”

In Ephesians 3:1, Paul gives a fragmentary sentence—not including a verb. He is also guilty of run on sentences (Eph. 1:3-14). Critics of inerrancy often offer these grammatical errors as evidence that the Bible cannot be an inerrant book.

And yet, grammar doesn’t apply to inerrancy because poor grammar does not invalidate the truth of a person’s message. For instance, if old Bill from Tennessee testified in a court of law and said, “That man ain’t the murderer! I done saw him on the other side of town… He was by mine whiskey still, dag nabbit!” No one would say old Bill is a liar, nor would they find him guilty of perjury simply because his grammar leaves something to be desired. Moreover, grammatical rules are often somewhat subjective, so this really shouldn’t be a defeater of inerrancy.

ARGUMENT #7: “The Bible is inerrant in regards to morality and spirituality, but it is errant in regards to history, geography, and science.”

This position is called partial or limited inerrancy. Advocates of this view argue that Scripture is inspired only for the purpose of salvation and morals.[8] Partial inerrantists claim that Scripture is only inspired “for” the purpose of faith and morals—not science and history (2 Tim. 3:16-17). For instance, Daniel Fuller writes,

Scripture as a whole is revelatory, either directly revelatory or facilitating the revelation. The directly revelatory part concerns the main purpose of the Scripture (to make man wise unto salvation) and is inerrant. The facilitating parts are not inerrant and are important only as a framing for the revelatory parts—therefore, they should not be made to harmonize with science and history.[9]

Likewise, Stephen Davis writes, “The Bible is infallible, as I define that term, but not inerrant. That is, there are historical and scientific errors in the Bible, but I have found none on matters of faith and practice.”[10]

However, we disagree with this perspective. The moral and spiritual portions of Scripture are often conjoined with historical and scientific claims. For instance, the Cross was a historical event, but it also had spiritual implications. Biologically, Jesus died to pay for our sins, but spiritually, he also died to pay for our sins. Consider a few biblical examples (cf. Gal. 4:4-5; Rom. 5:14-15):

(1 Cor. 15:14, 17) If Christ has not been raised [HISTORICAL], then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain [SPIRITUAL]… 17 if Christ has not been raised [HISTORICAL], your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins [SPIRITUAL].

In each of these cases, the biblical authors blend the historical and spiritual claims together. As we’ve already pointed out above, Jesus conjoined his teaching on faith and morals with many of the most difficult portions of the OT, including the historicity of Adam and Eve (Mt. 19:4), Noah and the historic Flood (Mt. 24:37), Sodom and Gomorrah (Mt. 10:15), Moses (Mk. 12:26), David (Mk. 12:36), Daniel (Mt. 24:15), Elijah (Lk. 4:25), and Jonah in the belly of the whale (Mt. 12:39-41).

ARGUMENT #8: The doctrine of inerrancy is a new doctrine.

Partial inerrantists often argue that the doctrine of inerrancy arose from Christian fundamentalists in the 20th century. Christians throughout the centuries did not hold to our modern concept of inerrancy. However, a number of counterarguments can be made to this claim:

First, even if this is historically true, it still wouldn’t say anything about the truth of inerrancy. Christians throughout the centuries have held to many false doctrines (e.g. purgatory, sale of indulgences, etc.).

Second, this is historically false.[11] Even during the Reformation, the Reformers and Counter Reformers were arguing over whether all truth was in Scripture, or whether it could be discerned outside of the Bible (through authoritative tradition). However, the debate was never over whether Scripture was inerrantly inspired, but rather, if it is sufficient.[12]

Third, inerrancy became a debate, because Western culture changed. After the Enlightenment, scholars began to question the supernatural nature of Scripture. For instance, consider the Thomas Jefferson Bible. Jefferson (a deist) excised all of the miraculous events from the Bible, keeping only the ethical statements behind. Because the culture changed, Christians needed to explain their view more carefully. Hanson and Hanson write,

Only since the very end of the seventeenth century, with the rise of biblical criticism, has this belief in the inerrancy of Scripture been widely challenged among Christians.[13]

Since Western culture has become anti-supernatural, Christians have needed to respond accordingly. Thus it isn’t that inerrancy is new, but rather, it was never seriously challenged until recently.

ARGUMENT #9: “What is the difference between the CSBI and the Pope making a statement about the Bible?”

Some deniers of inerrancy feel that affirmations like the Chicago Statement are really no different than a papal decree in the Catholic Church. Michael Bird criticizes those who believe in the CSBI as “a kind of evangelical magisterium.”[14] But at least two differences can be cited here:

First, 240 scholars drafted the CSBI. This isn’t the ruling of one person; it is the scholarly view of 240 of the top thinkers in the evangelical community. Between them, they have written, read, and studied almost all of the literature, arguments, and counter-arguments to this material. Last we heard, Don Carson had the NT memorized in Greek, and he told our class at Trinity that he reads one theological text per day! He is just one of the two hundred signers of the Chicago Statement.

Second, this isn’t a statement of DOGMA; it’s a statement of SCHOLARSHIP. The Pope issues decrees via his papal authority, as the vicar of Christ on Earth (under the Roman Catholic view). But the CSBI is a statement of scholarship—not papal authority. Thus those who deny the CSBI are not disagreeing with someone’s opinion; they are disagreeing with their scholarship.


First, while Scripture is inerrant, our interpretation is not inerrant. We agree with the CSBH, which states, “WE AFFIRM the harmony of special with general revelation and therefore of biblical teaching with the facts of nature. WE DENY that any genuine scientific facts are inconsistent with the true meaning of any passage of Scripture.” We should not torture our interpretation of a biblical text in order to fit with a scientific view of the world. We should first determine the possible range of interpretations which are hermeneutically valid, before trying to line these up with history or science (For a good example, see “Young Earth or Ancient Universe?”).

Second, we shouldn’t argue inerrancy with a non-Christian. Before getting someone to believe in inerrancy, we need to build a cumulative case for Christ (see “A Case for Verbal Plenary Inspiration”). Without a firm belief in Christ, no one is going to accept his view of Scripture.

Third, if a believer cannot solve a difficulty in Scripture, this shouldn’t cause them to abandon their faith. Instead, they should learn to give Scripture the benefit of the doubt, until they can find answers to their questions. There are some Bible difficulties that remain mysterious to us, but this shouldn’t cause us to throw out the reliability of the Bible as a result.

Fourth, rejecting the inspiration of the Bible is rejecting Jesus’ direct teaching. For those who consider themselves Christians, it is arrogant and dangerous to start denying aspects of the Bible. This arrogance is the beginning of a slow slip in the heart that denies God’s word. The first sin was to challenge God’s word: “Did God really say?” (Gen. 3:1). By contrast, God consistently empowers those who hold to a high view of Scripture. We see repeatedly that God gets behind those who believe, teach, and hold to his word (Jn. 17:17). This has been observed repeatedly in theologically liberal denominations.[15] As Daniel said, “The people who know their God will display strength and take action” (Dan. 11:32).

Further Reading

Carson, D. A., and John D. Woodbridge. Hermeneutics, Authority, and Canon. Grand Rapids, MI: Academie, 1986.

Geisler, Norman L., and William C. Roach. Defending Inerrancy: Affirming the Accuracy of Scripture for a New Generation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2011.

Geisler, Norman. Biblical Inerrancy: The Historical Evidence. Matthews, NC: Bastion Books. 2013.

Geisler surveys the historic Christian view of inerrancy, surveying the church fathers.

Geisler, Norman & Nix, William. A General Introduction to the Bible: Revised and Expanded. Chicago, IL. Moody Press. 1986.

Geisler may be the strongest defender of inerrancy alive today. He was an original signer of the CSBI and CSBH.

Geisler and Sproul. “Commentary on the Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics and Inerrancy.”

This document helps to interpret and unpack what the Chicago Statement states in each affirmation and denial.

Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan Publishing House. 1994. Part One.

Wayne Grudem has a free lecture series on this topic (found here).

Henry, Carl. God, Revelation, and Authority: Volumes 1-6. Crossway. 1999.

Carl Henry was one of the most brilliant evangelical theologians of the last century. This six volume series is most likely too much to cover, but should be reserved for advanced readers.

Lindsell, Harold. The Battle for the Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976.

Lindsell’s book was the first critical response to theological liberalism in America.

Schaeffer, Francis. No Final Conflict: The Bible Without Error in All That It Affirms. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1975.

[1] Geisler, Norman L. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1999. “See Alleged Errors in the Bible.”

[2] Harris, R. Laird. Inspiration and Canonicity of the Scriptures. Greenville, SC, 1995. 35.

[3] I am indebted to Wayne Grudem for this illustration.

[4] George M. Marsden, Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1987), 113.


[6] B.B. Warfield, “The Biblical Idea of Inspiration,” The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible. 155.

[7] Inerrantist Geisler and Nix write, “The prophets who wrote Scripture were not automatons. They were more than recording secretaries. They wrote with full intent and consciousness in the normal exercise of their own literary styles and vocabularies. The personalities of the prophets were not violated by a supernatural intrusion. The Bible which they wrote is the Word of God, but it is also the words of men. God used their personalities to convey His propo­sitions. The prophets were the immediate cause of what was written, but God was the ultimate cause.” Geisler, Norman L., and William E. Nix. From God to Us: How We Got Our Bible. Chicago: Moody, 1974. 13.

[8] For a recent treatment of this, see Coleman, Richard. “Reconsidering ‘Limited Inerrancy’” JETS XVII. 1974. 207-214.

[9] Fuller, Daniel. “The Nature Of Biblical Inerrancy” American Scientific Affiliation Journal. XXIV/2. June 1972. 50.

[10] Davis, Stephen T. The Debate about the Bible. Philadelphia: Westminster Press. 1977. p. 115

[11] Albert Mohler writes, “Inerrancy was the affirmation and theological reflex of the church until the most recent centuries. Earlier generations argued about the proper interpretation of the Bible, the relative authority of the Bible, and such issues as the translation of Scripture, but not about the question of the Bible containing errors.” Mohler, Albert. Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2013. Kindle location. 566.

[12] Nix writes, “Whether they reflect the nonsacramentarianism of Anabaptists and Baptists or the official statements of creedalism—they indicate that the mainstream of Christianity continued its traditional commitment to the orthodox doctrine of Scripture. Throughout its broad and diverse ranks, Christians officially adhered to the belief that the Scriptures are the divinely-inspired, authoritative, infallible and inerrant Word of God.” Nix, William “The Doctrine of Inspiration Since the Reformation” JETS 25/4 (December 1982) 454.

[13] R. P. C. Hanson and A. T. Hanson, The Bible without Illusions (London : SCM Press, 1989), 51– 52. Cited in Mohler, Albert. Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2013. Kindle location. 588.

[14] Bird, Michael. Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2013. Kindle location. 1045.

[15] Referring to the liberal Methodist church, R. Laird Harris aptly points out, “From a high point of 10,304,184 members in 1966 it has fallen to 8,812,294 in 1991 and is the lowest denomination in America in point of per capita giving… [The Baptist church has] begun—not without opposition—the process of changing their schools and programs to a form compatible with the full truthfulness of the Bible. Back of this movement has been a remarkable growth from 10,598,429 in 1966 to over 15 million in 1991. Other conservative denominations, such as the Assemblies of God have grown phenomenally as have several smaller denominations, some newly started.” Harris, R. Laird. Inspiration and Canonicity of the Scriptures. Greenville, SC, 1995. 35.