In this post my goal is simply to define what is meant by inerrancy. My intent in this post is not to debate or defend this position, but to fairly and accurately define what it means. I think that if we are going to have any meaningful dialog we need to understand how theologians who hold this position define inerrancy.
Inerrancy at it’s most basic definition simply means “without error”, The first position that Millard Erikson defines is the most common one attached to the term inerrancy. Which basically states that it is “without error in all that it teaches including history and science” (Christian Theology p259). For instance Norman Geisler a strong proponent of inerrancy states the following:
If God cannot err, and the original text was breathed out by God, then it follows that the original text of the Bible is without error. – Systematic Theology VI p240
He goes further to say:
Inspiration is the supernatural operation of the Holy Spirit, who through the different personalities and literary styles of the chosen human authors invested the very words of the original books of Holy Scripture, alone and in their entirety, as the very Word of God without error in all that they teach or imply (including history and science), and the Bible is thereby the infallible rule and final authority for faith and practice of all believers. – Systematic Theology VI p241
Although Norman Geisler in his book Systematic Theology V1 has a section on the human nature of the bible he reasserts his position by stating “There is one human characteristic the Bible does not have: errors.” – Systematic Theology VI p257
Finally just to get one more quote to assure consistency as to how it is defined, I look no further than to Wayne Grudem who says “inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact” Systematic Theology p90
For the next post I would like to review when the term “inerrancy” enter into Christian vocabulary, and hopefully look at how the church has defined the scriptures throughout the centuries. This next post might take me a bit of time to properly research, so I may sneak something in between. I was out on vacation for about two weeks and I really do shut down and enjoy the time off. So I do apologize for the gap between this and the first post.