Inerrant and infallible

Inerrant and infallible

Inerrant: to be incapable of being wrong
Infallible: incapable of making mistakes or being wrong

I have never thought that phrase described the bible.

The bible is a set of words.  The source of which is not proven “inerrantly or infallibly”.  Scholars still offer theories and research and new meaning and new interpretations.  Academics still poo-poo one theory in favour of another.  I find nothing inerrant or infallible about any of that – and “that” is the bible.

But I know that, for many Christians, saying “that” is the same as saying GOD is not inerrant or infallible.  And saying that God is not inerrant or infallible is akin to blasphemy.  It draws a line in the sand.  One that has just been stepped over.

So before I am cast out (again) …

I am the receiver of the bible.  I am a human being complete with an ever-changing landscape of living and of, therefore, ever-changing beliefs.  I am not the same person I was at five years old, nor twenty years old, nor thirty, nor forty …  My reading of the bible changes as I change – and it should and must (or else I am not following anything at all – I am stuck in my (ever decreasing) comfort zone refusing to come out).

And if the meaning I find within changes, then how can the bible ever be “inerrant and infallible”?  Because what is crucial to that statement is not the “the bible” – not even God … What is crucial to that statement is me and only me.

As my evidence of that statement I give you the multitude of ologies and isms enough to weary the most devoted soul.   A multitude still being added to today.

So now to the “why” for these words today …

If we could stop being outraged whenever someone says: “the bible is fiction”“where is your evidence” “prove it”.   If we could stop tampering with “the evidence” with an oft-heard: “it may not be inerrant and infallible – but IT IS God-inspired!” only because if you do not believe in God – you are not going to believe “that” either.

Because if we could just STOP being outraged …

Imagine what we might replace that with … Just imagine who the Christian Church might include that it currently excludes … Just imagine who might be drawn into grown-up conversation rather than all this playground-like verbal sparring …

And just imagine what that might ask of your faith …

(that you are not currently asking)



6 thoughts on “Inerrant and infallible

    • 🙂

      Pete I would dream of telling you or anyone else what to think. But I have found greater freedom in not defending the bible than when I did as expected: defended the bible … assumed it was all factually true … was taught it was true … and then found it all to be very divisive … very “man serving” … very “religion”.

      I now think we set out 21st century eyesight on a document never intended to be viewed with those eyes – because those eyes and ways of looking at things never existed when it was written.

  1. Good points, Paul. Infallibility and inerrancy is actually a fairly modern view of the Bible that the Reformers originally used in order to counteract the apostolic succession and authority of the Pope in Catholicism. Bu the early church never made this claim. That’s actually more inspired by Islam, the idea that God gave them the Bible verbatim. But that’s not how it’s inspired. Its’ actually brilliant and living when you let it study you. It records and deals with human nature at a very deep level. In that way, it’s transformational. It’s not helpful or tenable to try to defend inerrancy or infallibility. I think that misses the real power it actually has to transform us.

    • Thanks Mel.

      “It’s not helpful or tenable to try to defend inerrancy or infallibility. I think that misses the real power it actually has to transform us.”

      And the same theme continues in today’s post 🙂

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