What does inerrant mean?


#1

I may have fallen into a semantic trap

I was on a skeptics forum where they take great pleasure in pointing out logical inconsistencies or physical impossibilities/improbabilities in the text of the Bible and using that as a springboard to “well it’s wrong here so how can you say that it is without error?”

I tried to explain that when we say that it is “true” that doesn’t mean that is is a literal word for word account and that it uses a variety of literary conventions to convey its message.

But they still press on with the question

What it a good come back to the question of what does inerrant mean?

Also, they make a lot of hay about portions of the OT concerning dietary laws etc that are no longer in effect

The basic question is; if those texts were superseded than why are they still part of the Bible?

Any snappy comeback lines?

:confused:


#2

I think you may be wasting your time with this, simply because people on a “skeptics forum” are not likely to believe anything you say anyway. However, if you still want to try to argue:

I tried to explain that when we say that it is “true” that doesn’t mean that is is a literal word for word account and that it uses a variety of literary conventions to convey its message.

But they still press on with the question

What it a good come back to the question of what does inerrant mean?

When we apply the term “inerrant” to the Bible, we mean that the teachings of the Bible are without error. So, what are the teachings of the Bible? They’re the things that the authors were trying to teach. So and argument such as “God didn’t make the world in 7 literal days” is not relevant, because the author was not trying to expound on astrophysics, but convey the truth that God is the creator, and that creation itself is a miracle.

Also, they make a lot of hay about portions of the OT concerning dietary laws etc that are no longer in effect

The basic question is; if those texts were superseded than why are they still part of the Bible?

The Bible is the complete collection of inspired texts. Even if the Old Law is no longer in effect, they are still the inspired word of God and are useful for reflection. The old laws show the wisdom of the Lord and the obedience of His people.


#3

I’m not Catholic, so my answers may not conform to the answers of the Church, but take them or leave them, here they are.

[quote=Steve Andersen]I tried to explain that when we say that it is “true” that doesn’t mean that is is a literal word for word account and that it uses a variety of literary conventions to convey its message.

But they still press on with the question

What it a good come back to the question of what does inerrant mean?

[/quote]

To me, and as I understand the previous reply to your question, inerrant doesn’t mean you can’t read an error into it, it just means there aren’t any errors in it as it lays by itself. That means you have to read each part as the author intended it: Yes, the beasts in Daniel are not actually animals, they’re kingdoms. He says so, so that’s what he means. If you have particular questions about a partucular passage they claim has an error, send me a personal message… one of my hobies is finding answers to questions like that.

This one is something you have to take a little more seriously. Answer it two ways: admit you could be commiting a sin (not that you are, but that you could be) by eating. But say you won’t accept their judgement on this issue, you’ve discussed it with those you believe God has given charge over the issue and you’re convinced you’re not, but in the Final Judgement, there is a remote possibility you’re wrong. Then point out we don’t discard God’s Word, regardless of the relivance to a specific situation. We don’t disregard the command to not murder when we live as a hermit just because there’s no one to murder. In the same way, we don’t disregard the command to watch what we eat just because the sanitary landscape (or whatever method you choose to use as a basis for it being relivant then and not now) has changed.


#4

Consider this – suppose I were to say, “The sun comes up in the east and sets in the west.” Is that “true” or not?

Well, actually, it only comes up in the east and sets in the west IF you live in the tropics, and then only once or twice a year – for the rest of the world (and the rest of the year in the tropics) it rises somewhat north (or south) of true east and sets some degrees off true west.

Now, it that “true” or not?

Well, actually, it doesn’t rise or set at all – the earth rotates!
But if we were lost in the wilderness and knew that civilization lay to the east, would we not trek toward the rising sun?

The original statement (the sun comes up in the east and sets in the west) is inerrant – that is, it is not wrong, and we can rely on it for the purposes of finding our way out of the wilderness, no matter how astronomers might quibble.


#5

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