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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : INERRANCY

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Joined: 2006/9/16
Posts: 2400

 Re: Barth and Dodd on inspiration and inerrancy

"Therefore we have to resist and reject the 17th century doctrine of inspiration as false doctrine. . . . In it the Word of God could no longer be the Word of God and therefore it was no longer recognised as such. The Bible was now grounded upon itself apart from the mystery of Christ and the Holy Ghost. It became a "paper Pope," and unlike the living Pope in Rome it was wholly given up into the hands of its interpreters. It was no longer a free and spiritual force, but an instrument of human power. And in this form the Bible became so like the holy books of other religions, for which something similar had always been claimed, that the superiority of its claim could not be asserted in relation to them or to the many achievements of the human spirit generally. What product of human inventiveness does not ultimately rest on the same claim of infallibility? . . . In content the 17th century doctrine of inspiration asserted things which cannot be maintained in face of a serious reading and exposition of what the Bible itself says about itself, and in the face of an honest appreciation of the facts of its origin and tradition. Therefore the postulate on which 17th century man staked everything proved incapable of fulfillment. . . . that once the doctrine arose it was . . . a kind of theological bogeyman."

(Karl Barth (1886 1968) - From "Church Dogmatics" Volume 1.2 - "Doctrine of the Word of God")

A Question to Barth

"In this connection how does Dr. Barth harmonize his appeal to Scripture, as the objective Word of God, with his admission that Scripture is, indeed, sullied by errors, theological as well as historical or factual?"

Barth responds:

"The Bible has proved and will prove itself to be a true and fitting instrument to point man to God and his work and his words, to God who alone is infallible. Since the Bible is a human instrument and document, bound and conditioned by the temporal views of nature, of history, of ideas, of values, it to that extent is not sinless, like Jesus Christ himself, and thus not infallible, like God. No wonder that seen from the perspective of the worldviews and the concepts of other ages; the question may arise whether we have to conclude that the Bible is not solid. I should never say such a thing, but would admit rather the occurrence of certain, let us say, tensions, contradictions, and maybe if you prefer, “errors,” in its time-bound human statements." (END)

C.H. Dodd (1884-1973) critique of Plenary Verbal Inspiration in "The Authority of the Bible:"

"We have already used the term "inspiration". This concept has had so prominent a place in the traditional doctrine of the Scriptures that we must now examine it with some care. The authority of the Bible is in fact often treated as the simple correlate of its inspiration. The question "whether the Bible is inspired" figured largely in the controversies of the last generation. For us, it is difficult to give any precise meaning to the question, so vague and fluctuating is the usage of the word "inspiration" itself, and so uncertain its implications. The theory which is commonly described as that of "verbal inspiration" is fairly precise. It maintains that the entire corpus of Scripture consists of writings every word of which (presumably in the original autographs, for ever inaccessible to us) was directly "dictated" by the Deity, in a sense not applicable to any other known writings. They consequently convey absolute truth with no trace of error or relativity. What such a process of "dictation" might be, it is naturally impossible to say, since ex hypothesis no living man has experience of it, though some advocates of the theory have incautiously adduced as a parallel the phenomena of "control" in the practice of spiritualists. Any attempt to confront this theory of inspiration with the actual facts which meet us in the study of the biblical documents leads at once to such patent confusions and contradictions that it is unprofitable to discuss it."
(From C.H. Dodd's (1884-1973) critique of Plenary Verbal Inspiration in "The Authority of the Bible:")

doc: I never knew before that such game changing theological heavyweights maintained these type of views. There are more out there also. I'm not agreeing with them but just quoting them and wondering if their influence is still alive and well in the church. I suppose basically they are saying when God inspired the scriptures He really did not overcome the human limitations of the man he had chosen to pen the scriptures at the time.

Can such a view of inspiration and inerrancy be the cause of some of the major theological problems in the church today? It seems to be a subject worth examining again.

Thank you. Blessings.

David Winter

 2019/6/30 7:16Profile

Joined: 2005/6/6
Posts: 769
Campbell River, B.C.


"Can such a view of inspiration and inerrancy be the cause of some of the major theological problems in the church today?"

Absolutely. I feel sorry for people that attend most seminaries being taught this kind of theological rubbish. I wonder if men like Karl Barth have any experiential relationship with God or if it's all in their heads. (Some of his personal letters seem to suggest he was living in adultery.)

"The theory which is commonly described as that of "verbal inspiration" is fairly precise. It maintains that the entire corpus of Scripture consists of writings every word of which (presumably in the original autographs, for ever inaccessible to us) was directly "dictated" by the Deity, in a sense not applicable to any other known writings. They consequently convey absolute truth with no trace of error or relativity. What such a process of "dictation" might be, it is naturally impossible to say."

I have personally heard God's still, small voice in my heart (and I think this is normative for all christians) and He has told me things that have come to pass. I can't imagine what it would have been like when the Spirit of the Lord filled men like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Paul etc. and inspired them to write scripture.

"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." Proverbs 30:5,6

Nigel Holland

 2019/6/30 9:44Profile

Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5827


The dispute about verbal plenary inspiration does not apply to the original autographs (ie the piece of parchment that the authors originally wrote on).

I certainly believe these were error free.

The issue is whether the copies of these were always error free. Even conservative apologists like Matt Slick believe there are copying errors; however these are so few and pertain to such unimportant details (like Solomon’s horses and stalls) that for all practical purpose the copied manuscripts are inspired.


 2019/6/30 10:56Profile


There are differences in the Masoretic Old Testament Hebrew and the Septuagint Old Testament Greek, and this may account for the minor discrepancies in modern English translations, including the KJV (I am not including those translations that use the error-riddled Sinaiticus or Alexandrian text as its basis, such as the RSV, NIV, or NASB). In short, copyist errors, but Divine inspiration in the perfect original.

I believe it was Marvin who shared a link in another thread a month or two ago which discusses this in regards to the date of Noah's flood in relation to the age of Egypt's pyramids, etc. Interesting to check out.

 2019/6/30 16:32

Joined: 2006/9/16
Posts: 2400

 Re: The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978)

Under the leadership of R. C. Sproul and Geisler and others, the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy was formulated by more than 200 evangelical leaders at a conference convened by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy and held in Chicago in October 1978. The statement was designed to defend the position of biblical inerrancy against a trend toward liberal conceptions of Scripture. These notable men and brethren saw a growing trend toward rejection of the doctrine of inerrancy and it concerned them as they believed it had been one of the essential doctrines of the Church from its inception.

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy


The authority of Scripture is a key issue for the Christian Church in this and every age. Those who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are called to show the reality of their discipleship by humbly and faithfully obeying God's written Word. To stray from Scripture in faith or conduct is disloyalty to our Master. Recognition of the total truth and trustworthiness of Holy Scripture is essential to a full grasp and adequate confession of its authority.

The following Statement affirms this inerrancy of Scripture afresh, making clear our understanding of it and warning against its denial. We are persuaded that to deny it is to set aside the witness of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit and to refuse that submission to the claims of God's own Word which marks true Christian faith. We see it as our timely duty to make this affirmation in the face of current lapses from the truth of inerrancy among our fellow Christians and misunderstanding of this doctrine in the world at large.

This Statement consists of three parts: a Summary Statement, Articles of Affirmation and Denial, and an Exposition. It has been prepared in the course of a three-day consultation in Chicago. Those who have signed the Summary Statement and the Articles wish to affirm their own conviction as to the inerrancy of Scripture and to encourage and challenge one another and all Christians to growing appreciation and understanding of this doctrine. We acknowledge the limitations of a document prepared in a brief, intensive conference and do not propose that this Statement be given creedal weight. Yet we rejoice in the deepening of our own convictions through our discussions together, and we pray that the Statement we have signed may be used to the glory of our God toward a new reformation of the Church in its faith, life, and mission.

We offer this Statement in a spirit, not of contention, but of humility and love, which we purpose by God's grace to maintain in any future dialogue arising out of what we have said. We gladly acknowledge that many who deny the inerrancy of Scripture do not display the consequences of this denial in the rest of their belief and behavior, and we are conscious that we who confess this doctrine often deny it in life by failing to bring our thoughts and deeds, our traditions and habits, into true subjection to the divine Word.

We invite response to this statement from any who see reason to amend its affirmations about Scripture by the light of Scripture itself, under whose infallible authority we stand as we speak. We claim no personal infallibility for the witness we bear, and for any help which enables us to strengthen this testimony to God's Word we shall be grateful.

A Short Statement

1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God's witness to Himself.

2. Holy Scripture, being God's own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God's instruction, in all that it affirms; obeyed, as God's command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God's pledge, in all that it promises.

3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture's divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.

4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God's acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God's saving grace in individual lives.

5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible's own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.

Articles of Affirmation and Denial

Article I
We affirm that the Holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative Word of God.
We deny that the Scriptures receive their authority from the Church, tradition, or any other human source.

Article II
We affirm that the Scriptures are the supreme written norm by which God binds the conscience, and that the authority of the Church is subordinate to that of Scripture.
We deny that Church creeds, councils, or declarations have authority greater than or equal to the authority of the Bible.

Article III
We affirm that the written Word in its entirety is revelation given by God.
We deny that the Bible is merely a witness to revelation, or only becomes revelation in encounter, or depends on the responses of men for its validity.

Article IV
We affirm that God who made mankind in His image has used language as a means of revelation.
We deny that human language is so limited by our creatureliness that it is rendered inadequate as a vehicle for divine revelation. We further deny that the corruption of human culture and language through sin has thwarted God's work of inspiration.

Article V
We affirm that God's revelation in the Holy Scriptures was progressive.
We deny that later revelation, which may fulfill earlier revelation, ever corrects or contradicts it. We further deny that any normative revelation has been given since the completion of the New Testament writings.

Article VI
We affirm that the whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very words of the original, were given by divine inspiration.
We deny that the inspiration of Scripture can rightly be affirmed of the whole without the parts, or of some parts but not the whole.

Article VII
We affirm that inspiration was the work in which God by His Spirit, through human writers, gave us His Word. The origin of Scripture is divine. The mode of divine inspiration remains largely a mystery to us.
We deny that inspiration can be reduced to human insight, or to heightened states of consciousness of any kind.

Article VIII
We affirm that God in His Work of inspiration utilized the distinctive personalities and literary styles of the writers whom He had chosen and prepared.
We deny that God, in causing these writers to use the very words that He chose, overrode their personalities.

Article IX
We affirm that inspiration, though not conferring omniscience, guaranteed true and trustworthy utterance on all matters of which the Biblical authors were moved to speak and write.
We deny that the finitude or fallenness of these writers, by necessity or otherwise, introduced distortion or falsehood into God's Word.

Article X
We affirm that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original.
We deny that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the absence of the autographs. We further deny that this absence renders the assertion of Biblical inerrancy invalid or irrelevant.

Article XI
We affirm that Scripture, having been given by divine inspiration, is infallible, so that, far from misleading us, it is true and reliable in all the matters it addresses.
We deny that it is possible for the Bible to be at the same time infallible and errant in its assertions. Infallibility and inerrancy may be distinguished, but not separated.

Article XII
We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.
We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.

Article XIII
We affirm the propriety of using inerrancy as a theological term with reference to the complete truthfulness of Scripture.
We deny that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations.

Article XIV
We affirm the unity and internal consistency of Scripture.
We deny that alleged errors and discrepancies that have not yet been resolved vitiate the truth claims of the Bible.

Article XV
We affirm that the doctrine of inerrancy is grounded in the teaching of the Bible about inspiration.
We deny that Jesus' teaching about Scripture may be dismissed by appeals to accommodation or to any natural limitation of His humanity.

Article XVI
We affirm that the doctrine of inerrancy has been integral to the Church's faith throughout its history.
We deny that inerrancy is a doctrine invented by Scholastic Protestantism, or is a reactionary position postulated in response to negative higher criticism.

Article XVII
We affirm that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the Scriptures, assuring believers of the truthfulness of God's written Word.
We deny that this witness of the Holy Spirit operates in isolation from or against Scripture.

Article XVIII
We affirm that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatical-historical exegesis, taking account of its literary forms and devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture.
We deny the legitimacy of any treatment of the text or quest for sources lying behind it that leads to relativizing, dehistoricizing, or discounting its teaching, or rejecting its claims to authorship.

Article XIX
We affirm that a confession of the full authority, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture is vital to a sound understanding of the whole of the Christian faith. We further affirm that such confession should lead to increasing conformity to the image of Christ.
We deny that such confession is necessary for salvation. However, we further deny that inerrancy can be rejected without grave consequences, both to the individual and to the Church.

doc: Any comments, thoughts, quibbles on this? Did any Articles caught your attention more than others? Anything that might need rethinking in your opinion?

How important is this issue in your opinion? What is strenghtened if it is believed and acknowledged? What do you think the grave consequences can be if it is rejected?

David Winter

 2019/6/30 21:02Profile

Joined: 2016/6/15
Posts: 839

 Re: CalvaryCom


The original books of the Greek New Testament no longer exist.

The KJV(NT) was developed from the Greek text called the Textus Receptus (or Received Text). The Textus Receptus was produced by Erasmus in the 16th century who obtained his text from a handful of LATE MIDDLE AGES Greek manuscripts (12th Century or later) which were the only manuscripts available to him then.

What PROOF AND EVIDENCE (no opinion please) is there that these LATE MIDDLE AGES Greek manuscripts on which the Textus Receptus is based and on which the KJV(NT) is based are superior and reliable and not error-riddled?


 2019/7/1 3:17Profile


Scroll down to the "Defense" section of the article:

 2019/7/1 6:41

Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 3348


I bet God has been watching this thread, I wonder what he's thinking?


 2019/7/1 8:19Profile

Joined: 2012/6/10
Posts: 225
United States


The mustard seed is not the smallest of all the seeds.

The sun does not go down.



 2019/7/2 0:18Profile

Joined: 2016/6/15
Posts: 839

 Re: CalvaryCom


…………apostolic origins……

Every copy of the Greek New Testament had “apostolic origin”. It was only in copying and re-copying that errors and discrepancies stealthily crept in. The manuscripts Erasmus used were late Middle Ages copies and were certainly not immune from copying errors.

………he argued that the first editors of the printed Greek New Testament intentionally selected the texts they did because of their superiority and disregarded other texts, which represented other text-types because of their inferiority.

The selection criterion remains “of man” based on their own understanding and judgement and wisdom.

Regarding Erasmus, Nolan stated:
………With respect to Manuscripts, it is indisputable that he was acquainted with every variety which is known to us………


The manuscripts Erasmus used were late Middle Ages manuscripts. Before the 19th century, not many manuscripts were available. There was, however, existing at that time, an old 4th century manuscript known as the Codex Vaticanus, which has been kept in the Vatican Library since the 15th century. Erasmus was acquainted with it but the Vaticanus text differs significantly from the Textus Receptus.

In 1859, another old 4th century manuscript known as the Sinaiticus was found in a monastery at Mt Sinai.

The Vaticanus and the Sinaiticus are the earliest complete copies of the New Testament.

Thousands of ancient Greek manuscripts have since been found over the last 100 years.

In the 20th century, manuscripts written on papyrus dating well before the 4th century were found. These earlier papyrus manuscripts have contributed to establish that the text of the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are to a large extent reliable.

Hills argues that the principle that God provides truth through scriptural revelation, necessarily also implies that God must ensure a preserved transmission of the correct revealed text, continuing into the Reformation era of biblical translation and printing. For Hills, the task of biblical scholarship is to identify the particular line of preserved transmission through which God is acting; a line which he sees in the specific succession of manuscript copying, textual correction and printing, which culminated in the Textus Receptus and the King James Bible. Hills argues that the principle of providentially preserved transmission guarantees that the printed Textus Receptus must be the closest text to the Greek autographs; and consequently he rejects readings in the Byzantine Majority Text where these are not maintained in the Textus Receptus. He goes so far as to conclude that Erasmus must have been providentially guided when he introduced Latin Vulgate readings into his Greek text……Hence the true text is found not only in the text of the majority of the New Testament manuscripts but more especially in the Textus Receptus and in faithful translations of the Textus Receptus, such as the King James Version. In short, the Textus Receptus represents the God-guided revision of the majority text.



God has allowed copyist errors because only those led by the Holy Spirit, and not by the venerated KJV (or any other esteemed translation), will know the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth. And it is NOT the most accurate written translation produced by exalted Bible scholars BUT the supreme Living Word in the mighty power of God’s Holy Spirit that is the True Bread from Heaven.


The Bible has an internal self-checking capability. Scripture validates scripture. Truth is constantly being repeated within scripture. Truth lost in a particular passage may be recovered in another. The translation that is strongly supported by other scripture is a most reliable translation.

We should be seeking Jesus and NOT the most accurate translation. The Scribes had the best Hebrew text and still missed Jesus and were rejected.


 2019/7/2 3:56Profile

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