The objective of this blog is threefold. First, I hope to demonstrate that the manner in which the Scriptures describe their own inspiration, grammatically and logically requires that they be without error.
Secondly, we will be considering how God could have produced an infallible text using human authors without violating their own freewill. And finally, I will briefly consider what inerrancy entails and what we should expect to find in an inerrant text which has been inspired of God and yet written by human authors.
The Nature of Divine Inspiration requires Inerrancy
“from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings (τα ιερα γραμματα), which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God (πασα γραφη θεοπνευστος) and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:15-17 ESV)
Properly understood, divine inspiration, as described here in 2Timothy 3:16, precludes the possibility of error in any part of the Holy Scriptures (sacred writings). It here says that it is the “Scripture,” which is inspired, not merely the human authors who wrote them. The end-product itself is what is said to be inspired.
The Greek word rendered in the KJV as “inspiration of God” is θεοπνευστος, composed of θεος - “God,” and πνέω – “to breathe,” and is best rendered literally as “God-breathed,” or “breathed out by God.” Jesus expressed the same concept when He said that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matt 4:4).
To illustrate, when I want to communicate something, I carefully choose the right words in order to best express myself. Then, the moment I give expression to my thoughts by sounding out words with my mouth as I exhale, they become “my-breathed” words to my hearers. The Scriptures even refer to speaking as “breathing out” (Acts 9:1). Once those breathed-out words are put in writing, they become my-breathed words in written form, and others can discover my thoughts by reading what I have written.
In a similar manner, the Holy Scriptures are God-breathed words, having proceeded from His mouth as they were being communicated to and through the human authors as they wrote the Scriptures. The main difference is that we are fallible and commit errors, whereas God is truth and cannot err. It logically follows, then, that all Scripture is the inerrant expression of the mind and will of God, preserved for us in written form. That is why Paul says that Scripture, in its entirety, is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
Some Errantists attempt to arrange the wording in 2Timothy 3:16 in a manner which, according to them, would leave room for error in some portions of Scripture. In Greek, the first phrase of the passage simply reads, πασα γραφη θεοπνευστος και ωφελιμος… “every writing God-breathed and profitable…” In English the linking verb “is” must be supplied by the translators.
Those who deny inerrancy argue that “is” should be placed at the end of the phrase. That would make it read, “Every God-breathed Scripture is and profitable…,” instead of the correct reading, “Every Scripture is God-breathed and (και) profitable...” In order for them to place “is” at the end of the phrase they must either drop the conjunction και from the Greek text altogether, or else render the conjunction και as “also” rather than the more natural contextual rendering, “and.” However, this reading is also ruled out by the context itself, since it is evident from the previous verse that Paul means to say every Scripture within the Holy Scriptures is God-breathed. Logically, if God is the source of every portion of the Holy Scriptures, they must be inerrant, just as Jesus repeatedly affirmed (Jn 17:6,14,17; Jn 10:35; Matt 5:18, etc.).
How could God use fallible humans to produce Inerrant Scripture without violating their own Freewill?
The opponents of inerrancy argue that it would be impossible for God to use fallible men to produce an infallible Bible without violating their individual freewill. However, contrary to what some believe, God’s sovereign freewill is not bound by the freewill of man. For example, when king Saul came to take David captive, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he prophesied all night, even though that wasn’t his desire nor his intention (1Sam 19:23-24). Also, God initiated the trances or open visions through which He spoke to Peter and Paul, giving them special revelation (Acts 10:10-16; 22:17-21).
Some portions of Scripture were even dictated by God and the human authors simply wrote down what God said, much as a secretary would do (Deut 27:3,8; Jer 30:2; Isa 8:1; 30:8). John the revelator was told what to write eleven times, and once he was even told not to write what he saw (Rev 1:11;19, cf. Rev 10:4). Certainly, the Scriptures came into being primarily by the will of God and not by the “freewill” of man.
However, while God’s sovereignty is not limited by our freewill, and indeed, He has at times intervened in human affairs against man’s will when necessary, few Inerrantists would argue that God bypassed the will of the human authors as they wrote the Scriptures, in a manner similar to how a spirit might produce automatic writing through a medium in a trance state. The human author’s individual perspectives, emotions and writing styles are evident throughout the sacred text. So, how could God produce inerrant Scriptures, using fallible human authors, without overriding their freewill? I believe that Peter explains how. He said:
“knowing this first, that no prophecy (προφητεία) of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved (φερομενοι) by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21)
Peter begins by pointing out that no prophecy (προφητεία) of Scripture is the private interpretation or opinions of the human author. The word προφητεία (propheteia) is not exclusive to predictive prophecy, as one might think. It refers to anything spoken under the influence of divine inspiration, with or without reference to future events.  What Peter is saying is that no part of Scripture is merely the human author’s own opinions or beliefs.
This goes against the claim of many Progressive scholars who argue that, when God breathed into the human authors, He condescendingly allowed for the inclusion of the human author’s own erroneous ancient Near-Eastern beliefs, as well as other human errors.
In verse 21, Peter further explains that no Scripture was simply what the human authors decided to write, but rather, holy men of God spoke as they were moved, or born-along (φερομενοι) by the Holy Spirit. The word rendered “moved” is φερω, (phero), and is used in Acts to refer to the wind which moves a ship at sea (Acts 27:15). The idea is that the Holy Spirit moved upon the human authors in such a manner that they only wrote what God wanted them to write.
Returning to the question as to how God could use fallible humans to produce Inerrant Scripture without violating their freewill, Peter explains that God’s chosen human instruments were not common self-willed men whom He had to bit and bridle in order to make them say what He wanted to say, but rather, they were “holy men of God,” upon whom the Holy Spirit was able to move without resistance, breathing through them the very words written in the sacred text. They were men after God’s own heart who would have been sensitive to the moving of the Spirit as He breathed God’s words through them. There was no need for God to violate their freewill, since their will was already fully surrendered to Him, only needing the Spirit’s illumination and prompting.
Also, when one takes into account God’s middle knowledge, in which He knows, not only what one will say, but what they would have said under different circumstances, making it possible for God to work all things according to the council of His will, it becomes evident that God could so prepare His human vessels that they would infallibly express His own heart and mind. God is well able to work in His vessels both to will and to do His good pleasure (Php 2:13).
What is meant by Inerrancy?
As already pointed out, the human author’s own distinct writing style can be observed throughout the Scriptures, so even the parts which were dictated by God were nevertheless freely written through the human authors, rather than it being like automatic writing in which the spirit possesses the medium and moves the author’s hand while being in a trance state.
Also, we see that God saw fit to include the human author’s personal statements which have little or no spiritual or authoritative application to us, such as Paul saying things like, “Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come — and the books, especially the parchments” (2 Tim 4:13), or telling Timothy to drink a little wine for the stomach’s sake (1Tim 5:23). While all Scripture is equally inspired and therefore reliable and inerrant, not every part of Scripture is directly applicable to the believer today. What we see throughout Scripture is God’s divine supervision of what the human authors wrote, resulting in its verbal plenary inerrancy, without the need for His dictation of every word. I think that the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, formulated by a large representative group of Evangelical leaders in 1978, expresses very well the Scripture’s own teaching on the subject of inspiration:
“Holy Scripture, being God's own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God's instruction, in all that it affirms, obeyed, as God's command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God's pledge, in all that it promises…” 
“Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God's acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God's saving grace in individual lives.” 
The Holy Spirit superintended the human authors, bearing them along as they wrote in such a manner that all of Scripture’s affirmations are God’s affirmations; all its teachings are God’s teachings; all of its requirements are God’s requirements; and all of its promises are God’s promises.
How do we to approach perceived discrepancies in Scripture?
Space here doesn’t allow for a worthy treatment of this subject. For those interested, I would recommend reading “The Big Book of Bible Difficulties” by Norman Geisler and Thomas A. Howe, as well as “New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties” by Gleason Archer.
Here I would just like to point out that many perceived errors in Scripture are removed when we take into account the rich variety of literary genres and devices in Scripture. Poetry must be understood as poetry, allegory as allegory, hyperbole as hyperbole, historical narrative as historical narrative, etc. There are at least ten literary genres present in the Bible, as well as some twenty different literary devices. Once they are identified and interpreted as such, most apparent Bible discrepancies disappear. Actually, this same variety in literary style is not peculiar to biblical times, since the same diversity is present in our everyday speech. We’re just so accustomed to it that it goes unnoticed.
Some have been greatly troubled by the differences of details in the Gospel narratives because they think they should read like a police report rather than the biographical literature that they are. Each Gospel writer was writing to a distinct audience, emphasizing different details of Christ’s life, ministry and teaching, while leaving out other details.
In writing a biography, many authors do not give a strict chronological account, covering all the details of one’s life in succession. They will often begin by describing a high-point in one’s life, rather than beginning with one’s birth, or they might emphasize certain details, whereas another author might describe the events from a different angle or leave out the same details altogether. There is almost as much liberty of style in biographical literature as there is poetic liberty when writing poems.
The amazing thing is that, all things considered, none of the Scripture’s higher critics have been able to positively identify any untruth or patently false statement in the Gospel accounts. While there are perceived discrepancies, they are not without plausible solutions. And, just as the accused are innocent until proven guilty, so the Bible is true until proven false. It has been on trial now for nearly 2,000 years without any incontrovertible evidence presented against its veracity that would stand up in a court of law.
Some have argued that the Bible contains errors when it comes to matters of science, geography and cosmology. While it is obviously not the purpose of Scripture to teach on matters of science, nevertheless, taking into account the Scriptures’ use of literary devices, it becomes evident that there are no demonstrable errors in science contained in the Bible.
Some, failing to consider the Bible’s use of figurative language, have supposed that the Bible teaches a cosmology in which the earth is flat. However, taking into account its literary style, it is evident that the earth is described figuratively in masonry terms as a building.
God says to Job: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Or who stretched out the measuring line upon it? Who laid its cornerstone? Or who shut in the sea with doors, when it burst forth and issued from the womb; when I made the clouds it’s garment?” (Job 38:4-9). Throughout the Scriptures the same figurative speech is used to describe the earth as a building with pillars and four corners, etc.
Did God mean for us to understand that He literally used an immensely long measuring line to measure the earth, or was He simply making use of the mason’s terminology? Did God literally shut the sea with bars and doors, or is that also figurative, comparing the earth to a building? Would anyone in their right mind take God literally when He said that he clothed the earth with the clouds as a garment? As far as I know, not even the flat-earth society thinks that the earth has four corners. Clearly, this is figurative language, rather than a lecture on cosmology.
Even scientists today continually say things that are not cosmologically precise such as “the sun is rising” or “the sun is in my eyes,” but no one in their right mind would correct them as being in error. Even if those living in ancient times believed that the earth was literally a building with doors keeping the water out, and even if the Bible’s human authors thought the earth was flat, which is very doubtful, nowhere does the Bible teach that the earth is flat. The doctrine of inerrancy simply affirms that the Bible is without error in all that it teaches.
So, the Scriptures testimony concerning itself is that it is the eternal, infallible Word of God, written by holy men of God as they were born-along by the Holy Spirit. And in spite of the fact that it is the most attested of all ancient literature, it has been the most criticized and assaulted of all literature throughout its history.
Nevertheless, after nearly two millennia of attacks from the greatest secular minds, it continues being by far the best-selling book of all time, with an estimated 5 billion copies having been sold. The second best-seller of all time is “The Little Red Book, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung,” which has sold 1.1 billion copies. However, while the Bible still continues as the best-seller after 1,900 years, today, only a little more than a half century after it was first published in 1967, very few people are still purchasing copies of Tse-Tung’s Little Red Book. The testimony of Scripture concerning itself has proven itself to be true over the centuries when it says:
"All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
But the word of the Lord endures forever." (1 Peter 1:24-25)
 Louw and Nida Greek and English Lexicon.
 The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, A Short Statement, article 2
 The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, A Short Statement, article 4