Biblical Inspiration and Authority
By Bruce L. Gerig

Two opposing approaches to biblical inspiration and authority: liberal and conservative views.    Today one often hears homophobic Christians preface their condemnation of homosexuals by saying, The Bible says . . .,” implying that every word there came directly from God’s mouth.    But is this true?    To try to answer this basic and important question, we need first to consider two very divergent views which are held today within the Church, on biblical inspiration and authority.   

The liberal approach.    Traditionally the Church has believed that its Scripture, the Bible, was an infallible (completely truthful), authoritative, and reliable guide.1    Yet, “higher criticism” of the Bible (i.e., on the authorship and sources of its various books, contrasted to “lower criticism,” which studies variations in manuscript texts), which developed in the 18th–19th centuries, often reached conclusions that undercut belief in the inspiration and authority of the Bible.2    It is clear that the Old Testament, a linguistically complex text, is a thematically unified work, although at the same time based on various sources (e.g., “Book of the Wars of the Lord” [Num 21:14], “Book of Jashar” [2 Sam 1:18], “Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel” [1 Kings 14:19], etc.3 ).    Yet by the end of the nineteenth century the German critic Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918) forcefully synthesized and presented the “documentary hypothesis,” which claimed that the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible: Genesis through Deuteronomy) grew out of four separate literary traditions (called J, E, D, P); and he further claimed that the Pentateuch had no historical authenticity, but simply presented a throwback of Jewish religious beliefs from the 5th century BC, which existed after the Jews had returned from their Babylonian exile.4    Therefore, it is not surprising that the Bible’s strong internal case for Moses being the author of the Pentateuch (although not adding the report of his death, of course) are shunted aside—in spite of numerous references in these books to Moses writing down God’s words and recording other matters (cf. Exod 17:14; 24:4, 7; Num 33:1-2; Deut 31:9-11, etc.).    Also, there are references in the Book of Joshua to the “Book of the Law of Moses” (8:31, 23:6).    (For a full discussion of internal arguments supporting Moses’ authorship of the Pentateuch, see Gleason Archer’s Survey of Old Testament Introduction, pp. 91-102.)   This  “historical-critical” approach also exhibited a rejection of anything supernatural, as advocated by the German scholar Ernst Troeltsch (1865-1923) who insisted that: (a) all historical statements in the Bible are open to doubt and must be approached skeptically, (b) scholars must work out what happened in the past based on their own present experience, and (c) everything that happens is governed by natural laws of cause and effect, and therefore no miraculous and supernatural are possible.    Biblical scholar Howard Marshall notes that it is sad that so much biblical criticism was conducted from such a skeptical stance, since most historians never hold such a severe skepticism of their sources.    Also, because something unique happened (such as the Son of God coming into the world) does not mean that this could not have happened.5

The groundwork for this assault on the supernatural may also be traced back even further to the German philosopher-theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834), whose book The Christian Faith (2nd ed. 1830) completely redefined Christian theology and exerted enormous influence.  Schleiermacher wanted to recover a Christian faith (of some kind) from the onslaught of secular philosophy, history, and science in his age.6    He saw divine revelation in all religions, with the Christian religion distinguished by being focused on Christ.7    However, he reinterpreted Christian concepts in drastically natural (instead of supernatural) and anthropological terms, so that we feel “God” in our consciousness that we are part of the natural world (God = nature?).    Jesus was not the divine Son of God but only human (a charismatic teacher), “sin” refers not to humankind’s fallen state received from Adam but to how we have ‘obscured our God consciousness,’ and “grace” refers not to God’s provision of salvation through Jesus’ atoning death on the cross but to ‘reclaiming our God consciousness.’    The “Holy Spirit” is not the distinct third member of the Trinity, but simply the collective consciousness of the church.8     In other words, Schleiermacher did nothing less than demolish the whole of traditional Christian theology.    Later, in Gospel studies this new “rationalism” also led to a rejection of miracles, Jesus’ resurrection, angels and other supernatural elements (now considered “absurd” and “legendary”), so that D. F. Strauss would declare in The Life of Jesus Critically Examined (German original, 1874, English trans. 1972) that many of the stories of Jesus were not historical narratives but “myths” from which a spiritual lesson could still be extracted and applied to life.9    This view continues to be what is taught in most liberal seminaries today, where Perrin and Duling’s book has long been used an introductory textbook. 

Although most liberal theologians never mention biblical inspiration at all,10 the “liberal” view generally holds that there are many contradictions in Scripture (like on how Judas died, cf. Matt 27:3-10 vs. Acts 1:16-19), prescientific views like one finds in other ancient materials (like the great age to which early humans reportedly lived), and contradictions to natural law (like Joshua stopping the sun in its orbit, Josh 10:12-15).    Therefore, Scripture must be viewed as a collection of materials written by fallible human beings who reflected on the culture in which they lived.    The Bible contains materials of varying value and quality, and it is “inspired” only like the human works of other “religious geniuses” or like Shakespeare’s Hamlet is “inspired.”11   The reader is then faced with the task of separating the “kernels” of divine [religious?] wisdom from human “husks” that are also in the Bible.    Also, anything contrary to our modern “systematic, substantial knowledge” of the world in which we live (relating to nature and science) must be viewed as “human error.”12    However, the Christian can still focus on Jesus, a “word” to be received with reverence; and with a sense of dependence on God, the Christian can seek the ongoing work of the Spirit.    However, Paul Achtemeier notes that while this approach does eliminate problems arising from internal contradictions and errors that may be found in the Bible and from divergences from modern science, at the same time, any inspiration and authority in the Bible are moved into the hands of the reader.    So, it is hard to see how the Bible has any more spiritual authority than other religious text, and the Bible becomes lost in the larger cultural context.13 

The conservative approach.    It is not surprising that conservative theologians reacted strongly to such skeptical and revisionist views—both by producing works which suggest explanations for the many Bible “contradictions” (cf. Gleason Archer’s Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, 1982), as well as mounting debates, publishing books and convening conferences aimed to defending traditional, historical Christianity.    The end of the nineteenth century witnessed a famous debate between Charles Briggs of Union Theological Seminary in New York (against biblical inerrancy) and Benjamin Warfield of Princeton Seminary (for biblical inerrancy).    Another seminal event occurred in the 1960s when the influential evangelical Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, CA) decided to drop “inerrancy” from its doctrinal statement to describe the nature of the Bible, in favor of “infallibility.”    A host of professors then left this seminary to join other seminaries, and later joined other conservative leaders in 1978 to found the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI), which would write the famous “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy”14    This document declared that because “God is truth and speaks truth only” and because the Bible is “wholly and verbally God-given,” it therefore is “without error or fault in all of its teaching,” not only about Creation but relating to history.    The Scriptures, down to “the very words of the original [text], were given by divine inspiration,” therefore the Bible is “infallible . . . true and reliable in all the matters it addresses.”    Yet, they denied that “inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern precision, irregularities of grammar and spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperboles and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations [from earlier Scripture].”15    Indeed, many apparent “errors” can be explained, if viewed within their context, e.g., Jesus’ reference to the mustard seed being the smallest of all seeds (Matt 13:32) is a botanical inaccuracy today; yet Jesus no doubt made this reference, knowing that the mustard seed was the smallest seed that grew in Palestine at the time that could be observed with the naked eye, and it also had become proverbial for smallness.16    Although liberals ridicule harmonization attempts, logic would suggest that if various eyewitnesses saw and reported on a single event (such as the Crucifixion), something can be gained by trying to piece together their separate and even divergent accounts (e.g., coming up with the Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross).   

It cannot be denied that miracles are abundant in the Bible, both displayed in God’s work with Israel and in Jesus’ ministry and that of the apostles.17    The two most common Hebrew words used for “miracle” are ot (“sign”) and mophet (“wonder”), applied most indelibly to God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt (Exod 7:3, Jer 3:20-22), although ot does not necessarily denote a violation of nature, but points rather to Yahweh’s ordering and overriding of nature and history.    “Signs and wonders” (Greek, sēmeia kai terata) also appears in the NT (Luke 2:12, Acts 2:22, 5:12), as well as references to “mighty works, or deeds of power” (sing. dynamis, plural dynameis, Harper & Row lexicon, p. 108), a more common designation for a “miracle” (Matt 11:22, Mark 6:14).   At Pentecost Peter called for the Jews to take special note of “Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourself know . . .” (Acts 2:22-23, NRSV).18    Christian thinkers such as A. E. Taylor and C. S. Lewis simply reject the presupposition that the world is a closed system of natural causes which does not permit supernatural intervention (a denial that cannot be proved) to accept the belief in a theistic world, which allows for the interpretation of miracles as actions of a personal God in nature and history (as the Bible describes them), including the “grand miracle” of the Incarnation (Lewis) and also of Jesus’ Resurrection.19    Nor is the belief in a transcendent God who exists apart from yet who can interact with our physical world an irrational belief.    The arguments of the medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas (c.1225–1274) for the existence of such a God still carry weight, e.g., that every motion must have an adequate cause, all things in this world require an adequate original Cause, and the design of the universe requires a grand Designer20—a position that is most adequately filled by the Creator God of the Bible.    No one would claim that the automobile, television, or computer could ever have arisen from random variation and mutation, and did not require a human mind; yet the origin of the human mind and other even greater complexities in the natural world also require a Divine mind.    With regards to the credibility of Jesus’ Resurrection, Lee Strobel notes in The Case for Christ (1998) that not only could Jesus never have survived his crucifixion, but nobody, not even the Roman authorities, believed that his body remained in the tomb.    The Jewish authorities bribed the Roman soldiers at the tomb to say that Jesus’ disciples had carried his body away while they slept (Matt 27:62-66, 28:11-15)—but how could they know that if they were asleep!    The biblical evidence, carefully studied—plus the witness of the Shroud of Turin21—all point most plausibly to Jesus actually rising from the dead, miracle or no.    Besides the empty tomb, hundreds of eyewitnesses who had seen and heard the risen Lord speak (1 Cor 15:6) could have been checked out at the time by any skeptics.22    Strobel, a journalist trained in law at Yale, after fully studying all the evidence for Jesus being the risen Christ (and speaking with scholars) said that he came to the conclusion that it would take far more faith for him to remain an atheist than to believe and trust in Jesus of Nazareth.23

What does Scripture say about its inspiration and authority?  Especially for a Christian, one important source for information biblical inspiration and authority is the Bible itself, and we now turn to investigate this.    

A look at the book of Jeremiah.    The prophet Jeremiah explains how the Lord came to him, calling him to be a prophet; and he said, “‘Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.’ . . . Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, ‘Now I have put my words in your mouth’” (Jer 1:4-9, NRSV).    Yet although the Book of Jeremiah contains many oracles (introduced by “The Lord said to me,” 3:6, 11, or similar wording), it also includes first-person narratives (1:1:19, 24:1-2), stories told about Jeremiah by an unknown narrator (20:1-2, 38:1-16), and other general historical accounts (20:1-3, 37:1-5, 40:1–42:4, 52:1-34).    In fact, sometimes it is hard to tell where God stops speaking and the human author or his aide takes over.24   This is why the early Church Father Origen (c.185–c.254) wrote that the Bible not only contains “inspired” (Divine) words, but human words25—and some today think that the Bible contains the Word of God, rather than being the Word of God.26    The third person present in the text here was probably Baruch, Jeremiah’s disciple to whom he dictated his oracles (Jer 36:4ff).    However, the text is made more difficult because there are two versions, the standardized Hebrew text and then the substantially earlier and shorter Septuagint Greek translation, which suggests the later Hebrew text underwent an expansion.27   Now B. B. Warfield rejected a Divine “dictation [word for word]” theory for biblical inspiration, as appears in Jeremiah’s oracles—and yet he and his followers ended up essentially concluding the same thing (an inerrant word),28 a view which hardly does justice to the diverse literary styles that are found in different books of the Bible.29    

A look at the views of NT writers.    Two NT passages bear special weight here:  2 Peter 1:20 and 2 Tim 3:16.    In 1 Peter we read, addressed to believers in general:  “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture [referring to the OT] is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved [pherō] by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (I Peter 1:20-21, NRSV).    Not only did these prophecies derive from the Holy Spirit, but their correct interpretation also depends upon the Holy Spirit; and false heretical interpretations must be challenged.30    The Gospel of Jesus Christ did not derive from “cleverly devised myths” (1 Peter 1:16, NRSV), but from the prophetic word—which may refer to the whole of Scripture (Warfield) or more narrowly to prophesies about Christ, in the larger context here.31    The verb pherō means “to carry [along],” and in Acts 26:15 Luke uses this word to describe his ship being driven along by a stormy wind.32    Moving on to 2 Timothy, the author here reminds Timothy “how from childhood you have known the sacred writings [referring to the OT] that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.    All [pasa] scripture [graphē] is inspired by God [theopneustos] and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness . . .” (2 Tim 3:15-16, NRSV).    William Mounce notes Paul uses graphē ([lit. “[sacred] writings”] both in the singular and plural throughout his letters to refer to the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures; and the literal meaning of theopneustos is “God-breathed” (see NIV).33    This means that Scripture was “breathed out” by the creative breath of God, pointing to Scripture as a divine product, and in every passage (Warfield).34   Yet as Paul Achtemeier notes, a closer look at this passage suggests that it really points to Scripture as being trustworthy in leading a person to salvation and then teaching him or her how to live the Christian life.35   Of course, neither of these passages say that the biblical authors were entirely passive.36   It should be noted also that the author of 2 Peter will group the letters of Paul along with “the other scriptures” (2 Peter 3:16).    Many academics now believe that 2 Peter and 2 Timothy were not written by the apostles, but rather two followers37, yet even so these passages show what early Christian leaders thought about biblical inspiration.

A look at Jesus’ views.    When one looks as Jesus’ view of Scripture (OT), one finds him treating as historical its accounts of: Adam and Eve in the Garden (Matt 19:4-5), Abel’s killing of Cain (Luke 11:51), Noah and the great Flood (Matt 24:37-39), Moses being the author of the Law (Matt 8:4, Mark 7:10, Luke 20:37), Jonah’s surviving for three days in a fish’s belly (Matt 12:40), and Elisha’s healing of Naaman’s leprosy Luke 4:27, cf. 2 Kings 5:14)—including stories which are least acceptable to the modern mind.38    Then Jesus declared:  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have not come to abolish but to fulfill [them].    For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter [Greek: iōta, KJV-ABS: ‘jot’], not one stroke of a letter [Greek: keraia, KJV-ABS: ‘tittle’], will pass from the law until all is accomplished” (Matt 5:17-18, NRSV).    D. A. Carson notes that “the law and the prophets” here was a Jewish way of referring to their whole Scriptures; and Jesus came to “fulfill” them in the sense that they point to him.    Iōta, the smallest letter in the Greek alphabet, points to yod, the smallest Hebrew letter in the Jewish Scriptures; and keraia probably refers to small marks that were sometimes added to Hebrew letters to differentiate sounds.    “Until heaven and earth pass away” refers to the end of this age.39    There can be no doubt that Jesus held a high view of Scripture, although again the main focus is to point to Christ and the salvation which is provided through him.40   However, when Jesus was tempted, he answered the devil with “It is written” (Matt 4:4, 6, 10)—and this occurs in numerous other instances (Matt 11:10, 21:13, 26:31)—and by this he meant, “God said.”41    Howard Marshall notes that Jesus no doubt regarded the Hebrew Scriptures as authoritative, even though sometimes he gave its words new meaning (Matt 5:21-48) and discarded other teachings as not relevant now that he had come (Matt 12:1-14, 15:1-11).42    Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976) held that the Gospels do not give authentic sayings of Jesus, but are only creations of the church devised for propaganda purposes; yet this a highly unlikely view both of Jesus and of the early church.    In fact, the church was born only weeks after Jesus’ death (50 days passed between Passover and Pentecost, John 18:28, Acts 2:1), and there was no time nor inclination for Jesus’ common-folk disciples to do such a thing.    Instead, after Pentecost they were committed to faithfully protecting and transmitting Jesus’ words.43    Jesus also noted that after he was gone the Holy Spirit would “remind” his disciples of everything he had said to them (John 14:26).44

What kind of discrepancies and errors are found in the Bible, in Stephen’s speech in Acts 7?    So, what does the biblical texts show us, relating to biblical inspiration and authority?    A particularly interesting passage is found in Acts 7.    Here, related to Abraham’s call (7:2-4) Stephen told the Sanhedrin that “God . . . appeared to . . . Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran [a town now in southeastern Turkey] and told him, “‘Leave your country and your people . . . and go to the land I will show you’” (7:2-3, NIV).    Yet, this varies from the corresponding account in Gen 11:31–12:1, which describes how, after the death of Terah (Abraham’s father in Haran) and because “The Lord had said to Abram [Abraham], ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you” (12:1, NIV), Abraham and Lot and their families set out for Canaan.    Now Richard Longenecker attributes such variations to the “conflations [joinings] and inexactitudes of variant popular Judaism.”45    Moreover, Ben Witherington holds that one may assume that God appeared twice to Abraham, once in Ur, then again later in Haran—and this, in fact, is the view of Philo of Alexandria (On Abraham 66-67).46

Related to the period of time that the Israelites dwelt in Egypt (Acts 7:6), Stephen describes how God said to Abraham, “‘Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own [Egypt], and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years’” (NIV, italics added).    Yet Exod 12:40-41 tells us, “Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years,” and then they left Egypt (italics added).    Of course, the 400 years in Stephen’s speech may be a round number—even as God earlier had told Abraham that “your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years (Gen 15:13, Hebrew text, italics added).    However, a much larger problem arises here relating to the Septuagint Hebrew-to-Greek translation (that was begun in the third century BC47 ), which predates the standardized Hebrew text (Masoretic, ca. 100-700 AD 48 ).    For Exod 12:40 in the Septuagint speaks of the “dwelling of the sons of Israel, which they dwelt in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan . . . four hundred thirty years(Van der Pool trans., italics added).    We also find the first-century AD Jewish historian Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews 15.2) and Samaritan version of the Hebrew Scriptures implying that Israel only dwelt in Egypt 215 years.    Therefore David Rohl believes that text somehow had dropped out of the Hebrew text with regards to this figure and the part of Israel’s history it was intended to cover.49

Related to the number of Jacob’s family that moved to Egypt (Acts 7:14-15), Stephen says that after Joseph sent for them, “Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five [75] in all . . . went down to Egypt” (Acts 7:14-15).    However, in Genesis we read that “All those who went to Egypt with Jacob—those who were his direct descendants, not counting his sons’ wives—numbered sixty-six [66] persons.    With the two sons who had been born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob’s family, which went to Egypt, were seventy [70] in all” (Gen 46:26-27).    This last figure would also include Jacob and Joseph.50    Yet, the Septuagint (evidently Stephen’s source here) says that “seventy-five [75]” males of the house of Jacob went to Egypt, including “nine souls [9 sons]” born to Joseph in Egypt—although elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible only two sons of Joseph are mentioned: Ephraim and Manasseh (cf. Gen 48:5-6).    Still, other sons could have been born later to Joseph and Asenath (Gen 41:45).     

Related to where Jacob and his twelve sons were buried (Acts 7:18), Stephen says that eventually “Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem . . .” (Acts 7:16).    However, this reference confuses Abraham’s cave at HEBRON, which Abraham bought for Sarah’s body from Ephron the Hittite (Gen 23:3-20)—and where later the bodies of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were buried (Gen 49:29-33; 50:13)—with a second burial plot at SHECHEM, which Jacob later bought from Hamor’s sons and where Joseph and his descendants were buried (Josh 24:32).    Stephen is probably borrowing from a source similar to Josephus, who wrote that after Jacob’s eleven sons died (discounting Joseph, whose bones were not carried back to Canaan until the Exodus), the other brothers’ bodies were buried at Hebron (Jewish Antiquities 2.8.2; cf. also Jubilees 46:8).    So we have multiple, and in certain ways, contradictory sources.  

Related to Stephen’s quotation from Amos (Acts 7:42-43), Stephen recalls: “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O Israel?    [No.  Instead] You lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship.    Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Babylon (Acts 7:42-43, NIV, italics added).    Stephen’s quotation here is close to the Septuagint for Amos 5:25-27, translated by Charles van der Pool (2006) as:  “Did you bring near to me sacrifices and victims for slaughter, O house of Israel, for forty years in the wilderness?    [No.]    And you took up the tent of Molech [or molek or melek = ‘king’ or god] and the star of your god ¨Raiphan, the impressions of them which you made for yourselves?    So I will displace you beyond Damascus, says the Lord.    God Almighty is his [my] name” (Amos 5:26-27, Septuagint, italics added).    We can see here that Stephen changed “made for yourselves” to “made to worship,” and also “Damascus” to “Babylon.”    While the earlier northern tribes went into Assyrian exile (“beyond Damascus,” in Syria), Stephen modified this reference to fit his Judean audience, whose ancestors in the southern tribes had been exiled to Babylon.    Raiphan/Rephan probably is a transliteration of Repa, the Egyptian name for the god Saturn.51    The Hebrew text for the latter part of Amos 5:26 reads “Molech” instead as “your king” and Raiphan instead as Kiyyun (NRSV: Kaiwan), the latter probably transliterated from Egyptian into Hebrew as Kaipan,52 also, apparently a name for the star-god Saturn.53   Inexact quotations may be expected here because people did not own “Bibles” (scrolls were expensive), and so they quoted passages as best they could remember them from memory; yet, also they felt free to adapt OT passage in certain new ways to apply it more directly to their audience.

In summary, we can see how some accounts (e.g., God’s call of Abraham) may contain partial information, which attempted harmonization can resolve.    Yet a more formidable problem lies with the fact that we have two versions of the Jewish Scriptures (the early Septuagint Greek and the later standardized Hebrew), which frequently differ in content (e.g., with respect to counting those members of Jacob’s family who moved to Egypt, plus some text seems to have dropped in the Hebrew text relating to the period of time the 430 years is meant to cover (Israel in Cannan and Egypt).    NT Christians sometimes changed the Scriptural text to give it more relevance to their audience (e.g., Stephen’s quote from Amos 5:26-27).    Yet, also some out-and-out errors are found here which cannot be explained away (e.g., Stephen’s saying that Jacob and his sons were buried in Abraham’s burial plot). 

What kind of discrepancies and errors are found in the Bible elsewhere, and can any of them be resolved?    “[P]lain and obvious” errors in Scripture have long been seen by those not committed to their denial; and as Paul Actemeier notes, inerrancy is really hard to maintain when one begins looking at real Scriptural passages.54     Of the thousands of “discrepancies” noted by John Haley, many consist of scribal errors that have crept into the Scriptural text through the centuries.   For example, Josh 8:4 says that Joshua chose 30,000 men to wait in ambush against the city of Ai in Canaan, whereas Josh 8:12 gives the figure as 5,000.    Now, since various Hebrew consonants stood for numbers, the latter figure probably appeared when a scribe miscopied the lamed character (L = 30) as the he character (H = 5).55    This mistake appears both in the early Septuagint text and the later Hebrew text.    Many so-called doctrinal errors disappear if one does not read every statement in the Bible as a comprehensive statement.    For example, 1 Sam 15:29 says that God “is not a man, that he should repent [NRSV: ‘change his mind’]” (KJV-ABS), while 1 Sam 15:10-11 records the Lord as telling Samuel, “It repenteth me [NRSV: ‘I regret’] that I have set up Saul to be king” (KJV-ABS).    The first reference can be read as referring to God’s general moral character, like relating to his blessing of obedience and his punishment of disobedience, while the second reference probably refers in this context to his feelings of disappointment over Saul’s disobedience, although one cannot say that God was surprised by this.56    This kind of attempt to show how discrepancies might be accounted for is called “harmonization,”57 and indeed it is a useful tool for often showing that differences in accounts are not really errors at all.    Sometimes difficulties dissolve when we simply read the Bible text more closely.    For example, the question has been asked, whom did Cain marry, after he left his parents (Adam and Eve) and killed his only sibling, Abel (Gen 4:12-17)?    Well, we are not told exactly when Cain killed his brother, and we can also note that Adam lived 930 years and “had other sons and daughters (Gen 5:4-5).    Cain probably mated with a sister, before they fled.58

The supernatural and science and the Bible.    Persons who do not believe in the transcendent Creator God of the Bible or his supernatural works in history will find descriptions of these to be “errors”—although people of faith will generally have no difficulty here.    Yet we cannot explain how Joshua commanded the sun and moon to “stand still” in the sky for nearly a full day until the Amorites were defeated (Josh 10:12-14)—although the Creator could do something that gave this effect, without causing great worldwide calamity.    In fact, Edward Pickering of the Harvard Observatory and Charles Totten at Yale University reported finding one day missing in their astronomical calendar calculations, which they traced back to the time of Joshua59    Of course, the Creation story in Gen 1 poses great difficulties—although one must study the Hebrew text very carefully and realize that it was God’s intent to give Moses only a very general account here in everyday language, not modern scientific details which would only sound very strange indeed!60   One discrepancy that is sometimes noted here is in Gen 1:2-5, which says that on the “first day” God separated light from day and there was “evening and morning”—and yet it was not until the “fourth day” that the sun appeared (1:14-19, NRSV).    Apparently a thick cloud cover hung over the earth (1:2), and not until the fourth day did it thin so that the sun could be seen.    (The formation of the earth here is described here from the standpoint of an imaginary person standing on earth.)61    But also how does one reconcile the Genesis account with the fact that geologists have calculated that the Earth and our solar system appear to be 4.6 billion years old?62    So was our world created (or rather refashioned for humankind) in 6 literal “days” (Gen 1)?    First, it should be noted that yom (“day”) in Gen 1-2 need not refer to a 12- or 24-hour period of time, since Gen 2 requires a considerably longer period for Adam to explore the Garden, to name “every animal . . . and bird,” and to feel lonely so that God finally creates Eve; and then Gen 2:4 says that God’s whole creative process took place in a yom.    Therefore, Gleason Archer (Ph.D., Harvard) calls each day here a “creative day” and the universe and earth and its life forms could all have developed over long periods of time and along evolutionary lines—although the main point of the Genesis 1-2 account is that the Creator God of the Bible was in charge from the beginning on, and he stepped in especially at one point to create an unique couple, Adam and Eve.63    Another scientific difficulty exists in Lev 11:6, which says that a rabbit “chews the cud,” which science says they do not, by modern definition.    Yet, it is true that rabbits do have a thorough chewing action that looks similar.    The Bible does not use modern scientific language and concepts but observable categories that had meaning for the ancient average observer.64       

Taking a closer look at other contradictions in Scripture.   In 1 Sam 21:1-6 it is noted that the high priest at that time was Ahimelech, while Mark 2:26 records Jesus saying that when David received the consecrated bread at that time Abiathar was high priest.    Bible scholar Bart Ehrman says that this was a major verse convincing him of errors in the Bible.65    However, Gleason Archer notes that epi here, “when” (Mark 2:26 NRSV), can also be translated as “in the time of” (NASB) or “in the days of” (NIV)—and in fact, shortly after Ahimelech gave David the holy loaves, he and the entire priestly community were massacred by Saul (1 Sam 22:11-19), except for Abiathar who escaped to join David (22:20-23) and become his priest (23:9, 30:7).66   Matt 8:5 notes that “a centurion came to him [Jesus], appealing to him,” while Luke 7:6 says that this centurion first “sent some Jewish elders to Jesus, asking him to come and heal his slave” and then he sent “friends” telling Jesus that the centurion believed that if he only said the word, his slave would be healed (NRSV).    D. A. Carson explains, “probably Matthew, following his tendency to condense,” simplifies the story to place greater emphasis on faith, believing also that “he who acts by another, acts himself.”67    So, are generalizations truthful?    One can see how difficult it can be to judge whether a statement is ‘true’ or not.    Matt 9:18 has a ruler (Jairus) telling Jesus, “My daughter has just died,” while Mark 5:23 and Luke 8:42 report that she “is at the point of death” or “was dying” (NRSV).    Now one should note that both Mark 5:35 and Luke 8:49 say that before Jesus reached Jairus’s house, his daughter had indeed died; so Matthew again has probably condensed the story68   Then there are two accounts of the death of Judas, one of him hanging himself (Matt 27:5) and the other describing him “falling headlong,” busting open his bowels (Acts 1:18).    Of course, both accounts could be true: first Judas hangs himself, then later someone cut the rope (since it was forbidden to touch a corpse) so that his body fell on the sharp rock below and burst open.69    Matt 28:2,5 records that one angel was seen at Jesus’ tomb, while John 20:12 mentions two angels.    Probably at first Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” arrived at the tomb and saw a single angel ‘sitting’ on the rolled-back stone’ and then later Mary returned to the tomb, and when she looked inside, she saw two angels, sitting at both sides of where Jesus’ body had lain.70   At Saul’s conversion, on the road to Damascus, Acts 9:7 tells us that his companions “heard the voice but saw no one,” while Acts 22:9 says that they “saw the light but did not hear his voice of the one speaking to me” (NRSV).    This seems to suggest that Saul’s companions heard the sound of the voice, but not the words that were said to Saul.71

In conclusion, it may be said that there do appear some clear and undeniable errors in the Bible, including Stephen’s statement about Jacob and his twelve sons being buried in Abraham’s tomb (Acts 7:18).    Also Matt 27:9-10 identifies an OT quotation as coming from Jeremiah, when it appears nowhere in that book, and the closest parallel is in Zech 11:12-13.    Then Mark 1:2 identifies a quotation as coming from Isaiah, when the words actually come from Mal 3:1.72    The main problem with the inerrancy view is that if one single error is found in the Bible, then the whole theory collapses.73    Many discrepancies, as we have noted, are scribal errors, which do not affect the doctrinal content of the Bible whatsoever.    Of course, the inerrantists hold that the original manuscripts are without error, which is unprovable since none of these autographs remain.74   And if variant copies of sacred texts were good enough for Jesus and Paul, then why should they not be sufficient for us?    There is no reason that the Bible cannot be powerfully inspired, and yet also contain some errors.75    Notably, the vast majority of account discrepancies can be reasonably explained, if one does not ‘proof-text’ these verses out of context, but allow for author’s intention and selective use of detail—common in all narrative writing.    Many historical questions cannot be definitely answered, since existing historical records are incomplete.    Also, God has accommodated his message of truths to expression in human language, thought forms, and modes of expression that easily could be understood in a particular culture and time.76    Determining errorless “truth” in language is not easy in many cases (except perhaps in a field like mathematics), and the concept is not easily applied to every part of the Bible either.77   Yet, just as God can work through fallible human beings (“clay jars,” 2 Cor 4:7, NRSV) to spread his Gospel message, so God can also use human language with its imprecisions to communicate his word.78  And because some relativity is inevitable because the meaning of Scripture is not always clear, it is better to use the term “infallible” (trustworthy, even with some errors here and there and many unanswered questions), rather than “inerrant.”79               

Some views which attempt to reconcile the Divine side and human side of Scripture.   

William Abraham’s human student-teacher model (1981).    Abraham was a professor of Wesley studies at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University (Dallas).    Although writing from an Evangelical tradition, Abraham rejected the strict inerrant view of biblical inspiration in favor of a view more like that of John Wesley (1703-1791), the founder of Methodism, who held that: (1) the Bible should be studied inductively (drawing general principles from Scripture, not enforcing theories on it from the outside), (2) biblical inspiration must be true to the saving purpose of Scripture (to reveal from God what man needs to know and do to be saved), and (3) while the Bible is authoritative for theology, human reason and experience also play a role.80   Abraham asks, when Scripture says that God “spoke” to the prophets, was this an outer voice or an inner voice?    In other words, can God inspire without using audible words.81    What is important in divine revelation is God’s telling certain people what he is doing in history so that they can grasp the significance of this and thereby know God more fully.82    Abraham proposes a human student-teacher model for understanding biblical inspiration, where a student is inspired through his or her natural intelligence (not by circumventing it), and audible speech is not necessary for this to have an effect in a dynamic classroom environment.    Yet, it is not uncommon for students to make mistakes because of distractions or misunderstandings.83    But also at the same time students ‘inspired’ by the same teacher will no doubt show a significant degree of unity in their written content—although each one may not note and write down all of the same details.84    So also in the Bible one sees different “degrees of inspiration . . . [and] the use of native ability in the creation of style, content, vocabulary, etc.”    The Biblical authors also can make mistakes, yet at the same time provide “a reliable and trustworthy account of God’s revelatory and saving acts for mankind . . . as he [God] inspires his chosen witnesses . . .”85    In analysis of this view, Mark Zia notes that while Abraham’s student-teacher model sheds light on the mystery of biblical inspiration (which can probably never be fully understood), how God inspires a person is probably more different than similar to how a human teacher inspires his or her students, the former action being more internally than externally dynamic.    Another weakness is that Abraham begins with the English concept for “to inspire” rather than the Greek understanding,86 where theopneustos (“inspired of God,”87 generally envisioned a poet or artist going into ecstasy, or madness, as the gods or goddesses transported him beyond his own mind.88               

Clark Pinnock’s dual dynamic personal model (1984).    Clark Pinnock (died 2010) first taught inerrancy at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL), then moved to McMaster Divinity College (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada), where he began to move away from traditional inerrancy, teaching that the Bible can be trusted in what it intends to teach although it may err on side issues.    He would later argue also for a more generous understanding of “holy pagans” in the destiny of the unevangelized.89    He held that the Bible does not teach inerrancy, but rather supports divine inspiration and a general reliability.90    The Bible’s emphasis tends be on providing truth for salvation and on how to live a life of faith and discipleship.91    Pinnock wrote that he wished to avoid both the views that the Bible was the product of mere human genius and that it came about through mechanical dictation; and instead he proposed that it came about through a dynamic personal model that upholds both the divine initiative and the human response.92    God did not decide every word to be used, but let the human authors use their own (literary) skills and vocabulary, while at the same time God’s message was being communicated through them.93    This view of limited inerrancy is one rather of inerrant intent, rather than inerrant fact.94     Pinnock claimed that the view of “perfect errorlessness” in non-existent original texts “was an abstraction that had died a death by a thousand qualifications.”    Moreover, this view overlooked the “dynamic authority of the present text.”95    He held a view similar to Karl Barth (1886-1968) who held that the Bible is not a revelation of God but rather “a witness to the life-giving message of our Lord Jesus Christ”—although this does not mean that Pinnock denied the truthfulness of the general content of the Bible.96    He held that “the Bible may contain errors of incidental kinds, but it teaches none.”97    In analysis of this view, Norman Geisler and William Roach note that Pinnock rejects Augustine’s view that “what the Bible says, God says,” and denying inerrancy can only precipitate a slide from historical Christian doctrine.98   Interestingly, however, Geisler and Roach don’t frame their critique of Pinnock’s view on any Biblical teaching, but rather on how he differs from doctrinal statements included in in the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.99    Pinnock was not afraid to tackle difficult problems in theology:    He advocated that while salvation was in Christ alone, God may take into account how the unevangelized respond to the light that they have (A Wideness in God’s Mercy, 1992), that a doctrine of eventual annihilation of the lost can be based on biblical texts (The Grace of God, 1989), and (more controversial) that God does not entirely know the future (Most Moved Mover, 2001).100

Kern Trembath’s theory of existential inspiration (1987).    Trembath taught theology at the University of Notre Dame, IN (1990-2001), but finally left academia for business.    A professed Evangelical and also Anglican, Trembath holds that any doctrine of inspiration must be anchored in a personal, lived experience of salvation in Jesus Christ and that the Bible is the ultimate rule for the Christian life.101    However, he locates biblical inspiration not in the Bible but in “Christian believers who have experienced salvation from God through the Bible.”102    Still, the Bible is the only reliable written guide God has given us to know how to attain salvation, since it shows us the fundamental attitudes, beliefs, and worship structure of the Jewish and earliest church communities.103    Trembath favors an inductive approach to inspiration which begins with human religious experience, rather than a deductive approach which accepts automatically what is set forth in the Bible without critical thinking.104    Still, the word of God found in Scripture is truthful.    Trembach holds that there are three stages in which a believer receives biblical inspiration from Christian Scripture: (1) the text must be read in an open way that will have a positive change upon his or her life, (2) this awareness must integrated with what he or she already knows, and (3) the believer must make the decision to apply this new awareness to his or her own personal life.105  Trembath was largely influenced by the German Jesuit Karl Rahner (1904-1984), who held that God grounds all acts of human knowing and therefore inspires them, without asserting that God communicates directly to the human mind.106    In analysis of this view, Zia notes that Trembath greatly weakens biblical authortiy by rejecting any divinely conferred power given to the OT prophets or other biblical writers, or to the Bible as a whole, or to the Holy Spirit’s working throughout sacred history and in the Church.    Elevating personal experience above objective doctrine and truth only leads to a  personal subjectivism, rather than an objectively-grounded understanding of God’s plans and truth.107    One has to ask whether Trembath has not moved (at least partially) in the direction of Fredrich Schleiermacher, who set aside biblical authority to find God and the meaning of life in a wholly subjective, personal religious experience; then at the end he seemed to find what in the beginning he wanted to find: the Saviour of his early Moravian piety.108 

Paul Achtemeier’s model of dynamic, comprehensive inspiration rooted in God (1999).    Paul Achtemeier was a professor at the Presbyterian Union Theological Seminary until his retirement in 1997.    His thoughts on biblical inspiration originally appeared in Inspiration and Authority, 1999, reprinted in 2010.    Achtemeier notes that the Bible records not only God’s word, but the faith community’s response to a God who is quite beyond their ability to perceive (or fully understand).109     Although biblical information begins with the original author, it also extends to the community of faith which selected certain books to include in its canon (the church’s “authoritative rule,” the Bible)—even though decisions on it content were not completed for 1,500 years, when the Apocrypha books in the Catholic Bible were excluded from the Protestant Bible (because the Jews had rejected them from their final canon).110    Therefore, biblical inspiration resided in three areas:  tradition, situation, and respondent.    The original “traditions” give witness to the ongoing presence of God with a community which viewed its origin as a decisive act of God.111    “Situations” refer to those demands to use and modify old traditions when the faith community faces new problems in new contexts, e.g., when Israel moved from being desert nomads to an agricultural society in Canaan, or when the Jews were carried into exile.112    “Respondents” refer to new ‘prophets’ who apply the old traditions to new situations, as seen with Jesus, who found new meaning in the old traditions to illuminate the significance of his coming.    Yet, this inspiration also covers the later selection of the canon—all of this unfolding under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.113   Achtemeier then turns to explains the basis for the authority of Christian Scripture:    This does not derive from a doctrine of inerrancy (the biblical text is wholly free from all error), or from the faith community (out of which it grew), or from the collection of books into a canon (decided by church leaders), or from scholars outside the Bible (like the modern “Jesus Seminar,” who voted on which of Jesus’ sayings they thought were authentic or not), or from religious experience (which should derive from the Bible, not the other way around).    Instead, the authority of Christian Scripture derives from God himself.    Paul regularly points to Christ as the source of his authority (Phil 3:7-11, 1 Cor 2:2), and Christ, in whom the authority of the Bible is grounded, is portrayed as receiving his authority from the Father (Mark 1:27, 4:41).114   In analysis of this view, Zia calls Achtemeier’s view of inspiration significant because it acknowledges its communal character instead of being fixated upon one individual who first produced a text; and it strikes a balance between authors, compilers, editors (redactors), and anyone else who contributed to the production and preservation of a text now in the Bible.    Also, Achtemeier’s view of biblical authority is noteworthy.115

Jack Roger’s view of returning to basics.     Jack Rogers, a professor of theology emeritus at San Francisco Theological Seminary, summarizes his views on biblical inspiration and authority in his book Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality (2006), which has become a modern classic in the Christian gay community.    He notes the struggle between the fundamentalists, who believe that the Bible contains God’s literal words and was inerrant, and the modernists who fully embrace the new science and an errant Bible.116    Rogers explains how leaders in his denomination, the Presbyterian Church USA, were attracted to the “biblical theology movement,” which concentrates on both divine self-disclosure in Scripture and the very human element involved in recording its history, understood in its Near Eastern background.    Yet, a small group of ministers complained that the view of the Bible as the Word of God and “what the Bible says, God says” was being rejected.    However, refusing to take biblical verses out of context (“proof-texting”) or always treat them as universal laws enabled the denomination to take a new (and moderated) look at various difficult social issues (including race, women in the church, divorce and remarriage, and homosexuality), as these were viewed through the lens of Jesus’ redemptive life and ministry.117    The denomination wanted to be Christ-centered yet also open to scientific study; yet still in the 1980s they came back to affirm both Jesus Christ as the living Word and the Bible as the written Word of God.118   Then in 1992 seven guidelines were adopted for use in interpreting Scripture:    (1) Remember that Christ and redemption through him lay at the center of Scripture.    The Bible is a story about God and what he is doing in the world.    (2) Focus should be placed on the plain text of Scripture, studied in its grammatical and historical context.    (3) Depend on the Holy Spirit for the interpretation and application of Scripture.    And note that sometimes the Spirit leads the church to new understandings.    (4) Be guided by the creedal statements of the church, which are its rule of faith.    (5) Let the interpretations be in accord with the rule of love, and the twofold commandment of Jesus to love God and to love our neighbor.    (6) Remember that the interpretation of the Bible requires earnest study, to understand the influence of the historical and cultural context on the divine message which has come to us in the Bible.    Some have difficulty separating the central saving message of the Bible from various time-related cultural practices, such as polygamy, slavery, male gender superiority, and a misunderstanding of homosexuality and gender-identity.    (7) Seek to interpret a particular passage of the Bible in light of all of the Bible.    The Bible is not simply an assortment of quotable sayings, but it is a story of the love that God has for us sinners.119        

Conclusion.    It must be acknowledged that there are some “errors” in the Bible, but this does not mean that most passages with discrepancies cannot be ‘harmonized,’ and in other cases “errors” simply reflect flexibility in how language is generally used.    The fact that human language is an imperfect medium does not mean that it cannot be used powerfully and assuredly to communicate truth—although these are truths in the Bible that must be understood within the cultural contexts in which they were written.    It was not God’s intent to communicate modern scientific concepts to ancient man, who would not have known what to make of them.    Biblical truth is inerrant and fully reliable when it comes to God’s revelation of his will concerning our salvation and how to live a Christian life—and probably it is more reliable on historical and other peripheral matters than higher critical academics will admit (although this cannot be proved, since we possess only partial historical knowledge).    It can be misleading to say that “what the Bible says, God says” because this does not take into the account the different contexts into which God revealed himself or the limits of human understanding at that time, which in many ancient cases was very prescientific.    Yet, since Christ and the NT writers took the Scriptures so seriously, we should study and know them no less vigorously—which is not to say that every precept is meant to be universally applied.    Karl Barth’s view that the Bible is just like any other humanly ‘inspired’ book must be rejected;120 rather J. I. Packer’s view of its biblical inspiration involving “concurrent action” both on the part of the Holy Spirit and on the human side is correct.121    With the Bible, we need to be content with what God has given us, although not everything in the Bible is always clear.122   God has prepared his Word not for academics, but for common people (and academics too who can humbly accept it), giving us enough light that we should bow before our Creator God and worship him, and accept his invitation to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps 34:8, NRSV).    It is not always wise to say “just read the Bible and let God speak,” without seriously studying it; and likewise it defeating to think one must understand all of the arguments of “higher criticism” before one can apply the Bible, because one then will never come to faith.123   Yet, using the “grammatico-historical” approach to study Scripture is preferable to getting lost in the agnosticism of “higher criticism”—and it is no surprise that the latter has failed to produce a satisfying explanation of the Bible.124


FOOTNOTES:    1. Daane, p. 820.     2. Marshall 2005, p. 76.     3. Rogers, pp. 489-490.     4. Carpenter, pp. 741-745     5. Marshall 2005, p. 85.    6. Wu 2000, online pp. 15-16.     7. Wu 2000, online pp. 17-18.    8. Wu 2000, online pp. 19-20.    9. Perrin and Duling 1982, pp. 48-49.   10. Achtemeier 1999, p. 84.   11. Achtemeier 1999, pp. 29-31, 84.    12. Achtemeier 1999, p. 33.    13. Achtemeier 1999, pp. 34-36; cf. Marshall 1982, p. 36.   14. Reprinted in Geisler and Roach, pp. 26-30.    15. Geisler and Roach, pp. 27-29. 16. Geisler and Roach, p. 11.     17. Cotter, pp. 101-106.    18. Brown, pp. 371-372.     19. Brown, pp. 379-380.     20. McGrath, pp. 132-134.    21. Gerig, “Is the Shroud of Turin Really Christ’s Burial Cloth?”    22. Strobel, chaps. 11-13.    23. Strobel, p. 265.    24. Marshall 2005, pp. 19-21.    25. Achtemeier 1999, p. 14.    26. Cf. Marshall 2005, p. 21.    27. Stulman, p. 223.    28. Marshall 2005, pp. 52-53.     29. Marshall 2005, pp. 32-33.     30. Green, pp. 230-231    31. Warfield, p. 840.     32.Strong, G5342; Blum, p. 49     33. Mounce, pp. 565-568.    34.Warfield, p. 840.     35. Achtemeier 1999, pp. 93-94.     36. Marshall 2005, p. 25.    37. For arguments against and for authorship of these epistles by Peter and Paul, cf. Green, pp. 144-150; Mounce, pp. lxxxiii-cxxix.    38. Wenham, pp. 6-7.    39. Carson, pp. 142-143, 145.    40. Achtemeier 1999, p. 97.    41. Warfield, p. 843.     42. Marshall 2005, pp. 23-24.     43. Wenham, pp. 32-33.    44. Marshall 2005, p. 29.     45. Longenecker, p. 340.     46. Witherington, p. 266.    47. Greenspoon, p. 171.    48.Crawford, p. 833.     49. Rohl, pp. 229-231.   50. Sailhamer, pp. 261-262, note.    51.Witherington, p. 272.    52. Longenecker, p. 344.     53. Gentry, p. 43.    54. Actemeier 2010, p. 48.    55.Haley 1992, pp. 372-373.    56. Haley 1992, pp. 72-75.     57. Achtemeier 2010, p. 54.     58.Geisler and Roach, p. 333.     59. Reported by Barnard Ramm 1954, p. 149 and noted in Archer 1982, p. 161.     60. Berkouwer 1975, p. 180.     61. Geisler and Roach, p. 333.     62. Gingerich, pp. 46-47.     63. Archer 1982, pp. 55-63.     64.Geisler and Roach, p. 335.     65. Ibid., p. 339.     66. Archer 1982, p. 362.     67. Carson, p. 200.     68. Ibid., p. 230.     69. Geisler and Roach, p. 337.     70. Ibid., p. 337.     71. Ibid., p. 339.    72. Actemeier 1999, p. 48.     73. Ibid., pp. 47-48.     74. Ibid., p. 39.     75. Ibid., pp. 61-62.     76. Ibid., p. 21.     77. Marshall 2005, pp. 57-58.     78. Achtemeier 1999, p. 62.     79. Marshall 2005, p. 72.     80. Zia, p. 51.     81. Abraham, p. 61; Zia, pp. 44-45.     82. Abraham, p. 61; Zia, p. 45.     83. Abraham, pp. 63-64; Zia, p. 47.     84. Abraham, p. 65; Zia, p. 48.     85. Abraham, pp. 68-70; cf. Zia, p. 49.     86. Zia, pp. 51-52.     87. Liddell and Scott 1940, p. 791.     88. Anon., “Artistic Inspiration,” Wikipedia, online p. 1.     89. Koop 2010, online pp. 1-2.     90. Pinnock 1984, p. 58     91. Ibid., p. 75.     92. Ibid., p. 103.     93. Ibid., p. 105.     94. Ibid., p. 225; Geisler and Roach, pp. 49-52.     95. Pinnock 2006, p. 259.     96. Ibid., pp. 255, 267.     97. Ibid., p. 264; Geisler and Roach, p. 46-48.     98. Geisler and Roach, pp. 47, 60.     99. Ibid., p. 56ff.     100. Anon., “Clark Pinnock,” Wikipedia.     101. Zia 2011, p. 53.     102. Trembath, Evangelical Theories 1987, pp. 114-115; Zia 2011, p. 55.     103. Zia 2011, p. 56.     104. Trembath, Divine Revelation 1991, p. 11; Zia 2011, p. 57.     105. Trembath, Evangelical Theories 1987, p. 81; Zia, p. 59.     106. Trembath, Evangelical Theories 1987, p. 10; Zia, pp. 60-61.     107. Zia, pp. 62-63.     108. Gerrish, p. 112.     109. Achtemeier 2010, p. 77.     110. Ibid., pp. 102, 104-105, 108.     111. Ibid., p. 110.     112. Ibid., pp. 111-113.     113. Achetemeier 1999, p. 114, 116, 119, 121.     114. Ibid., pp. 144-147.     115. Zia, pp. 71-72, 74.     116. Rogers, pp. 35-36.     117. Ibid., pp. 38-40.     118. Ibid., p. 54.     119. Ibid., pp. 54-65.     120. Marshall 2005, p.36-37.     121. Ibid., p. 44.     122. Ibid., p. 72.     123. Ibid., p. 76.     124. Ibid., pp. 87, 85.



Abraham, William J., The Divine Inspiration of Scripture, 1981.

Achtemeier, Paul J., Inspiration and Authority: Nature and Function of Christian Scripture, 1999, reprinted 2010.

Anonymous, “Clark Pinnock,” Wikipedia online,, accessed May 18, 2012.

Anonymous, “Artistic Inspiration,” Wikipedia online,, accessed May 15, 2012.

Archer, Gleason L., Jr., Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, 1982.

__________, Survey of Old Testament Introduction, (1964, 1974, 1994) 2007.   

Berkouwer, G. C., Holy Scripture, (German 1966 and 1967) English 1975.

Blum, Edwin A., “The Apostles’ View of Scripture,” in Norman Geisler, ed., Inerrancy, 1980, pp. 39-53.

Brown, Colin, “Miracle,” in Geoffrey Bromiley, ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 3 1986, pp. 371-381.   

Carpenter, E. E., “Pentateuch,” in Geoffrey Bromiley, ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 3 1986, pp. 740-753.       

Carson, D. A., “Matthew,” in Frank Gaebelein, ed., Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 8 1984, pp. 1-599. 

Cotter, Wendy, “Miracle,” in Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, ed., New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 4 2009, pp. 99-106.    

Crawford, Timothy, “Masoretes,” in Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, ed., New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 3 2008, p. 833.    

Daane, James, “Infalliblity,” in Geoffrey Bromiley, ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 2 1982, p. 820.   

Geisler, Norman L. and William C. Roach.   Defending Inerrancy: Affirming the Accuracy of Scripture for a New Generation, 2011.

Gentry, Bruce W., “Sakkuth and Kaiwan,” in Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, ed., New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 5 2009, p. 43.   

Gerig, Bruce L., “Is the Shroud of Turin Really Christ’s Burial Cloth?”   The Epistle online,, accessed May 14, 2012.

Gerrish, B. A., “Schleiermacher, Friedrich,” in Mircea Eliade, ed., The Encyclopedia of Religion, 13 1987, pp. 108-113. 

Gingerich, Owen, God’s Universe, 2006. 

Green, Gene L., Jude and 2 Peter, 2008.

Greenspoon, Leonard, “Septuagint,” in Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, ed., New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 5 2009, pp. 170-177. 

Haley, John, Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, 1874, 1977, reprinted 1992.

Koop, Doug, “Clark Pinnock Dies at 73,” Christianity Today, August, 2010, online,, accessed Sep 10, 2012.

Liddell, Henry George, and Robert Scott, comp., A Greek-English Lexicon, (1925) 1940.    

Longenecker, Richard N., “Acts,” in Frank Gaebelein, ed., Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 9 1981, pp. 205-573.  

Marshall, I. Howard, Biblical Inspiration, 1982, reprinted 2005.   

McGrath, Alister E., Christian Theology: An Introduction, 1994. 

Mounce, William, Pastoral Epistles, 2000.     

Perrin, Norman, and Dennis Duling, The New Testament: An Introduction, (1974) 1982.

Pinnock, Clark, The Scripture Principle, (1984) 2006.

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Rogers, Jeffrey S., “Books Referred to in the Bible,” in Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, ed., New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 1 2006, pp. 489-490. 

Rohl, David M., Pharaohs and Kings: A Biblical Quest, 1995.

Sailhamer, John H., “Genesis,” in Frank Gaebelein, ed., Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 2 1990, pp. 1-284.  

Schleiermacher, Frederich, The Christian Faith, (2nd ed. 1830) 1999.  

Strauss, David F., The Life of Jesus Critically Examined, (German 1874) English ed. 1972. 

Strobel, Lee, The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus, 1998. 

Strong, James, comp., The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, revised John R. Kohlenberger III and James A. Swanson, 2001.

Stulman, Louis, “Jeremiah, Book of,” in Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, ed., New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 4 2009, pp. 220-235.     

Trembath, Kern R., Divine Revelation: Our Moral Relation with God, 1991.

__________, Evangelical Theories of Biblical Inspiration: A Review and Proposal, 1987.   

Van der Pool, Charles, trans., Apostolic Bible: Polyglot, with the Greek and English of the Septuagint OT, and of the NT, (1996) 2006.    

Warfield, Benjamin B., “Inspiration.” in Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 2 1982, pp. 839-849.  

Wenham, John W., “Christ’s View of Scripture,” in Norman Geisler, ed., Inerrancy, 1980, pp. 1-36.  

Witherington, Ben, III, The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary, 1998.     

Wu, Chijen James, “Friedrich Daniel Schleiermacher (1768-1834),” Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia of Modern Western Theology online,, pp. 15-21, accessed May 16, 2012. 

Zia, Mark J., What Are They Saying about Biblical Inspiration?, 2011.


© 2012 Bruce L. Gerig

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