Further background info from Jimmy Akin’s article:
The tricky part is figuring out what is an assertion and what isn’t. Scripture is a complex and rich text that uses many different means of conveying God’s truth. Since some of these involve ancient modes of writing and speech that are not used in 21st century English literature, it isn’t always clear to us what precisely is being asserted. Indeed, Scripture acknowledges that it isn’t always clear, as when St. Peter notes that St. Paul’s writings contain many things that are hard to understand (2 Pet. 3:16).
Because we do not today have a full understanding of the rules by which the ancients wrote history (and the rules varied from culture to culture and from time to time), it can be difficult figuring out what is being asserted in the proper sense and what is not being so asserted.
When we encounter something that is not being asserted, we cannot charge the sacred author with error because only assertions can be erroneous. If I’m not asserting that something is true then I am not making a claim that can be in error. The most that could be said is that what I said would be erroneous if taken as an assertion of fact.
Thus if I talk about the sun rising in the morning, and someone fails to note that I am using phenomenological language (the language of appearances), he might say that what I said was false, but he would be wrong. I was not asserting that the sun literally rises in relation to a stationary earth. That is not the sense in which I meant my words to be understood, and so that is not what I was asserting. I would be wrong if I had meant that, but I didn’t mean that. Therefore, my assertion was not false.
When we approach Scripture, we must be sensitive to the fact that there are many things in it that may strike us as being assertions that, to the ancient audience, would not have been so understood. If we run across something that seems false or seems to contradict some other passage, we know that what Scripture says is not wrong. We simply have not correctly identified what is being asserted in one or both passages.