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A question was asked through the blog about the difference between the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture. To claim that Scripture is inerrant is to claim that it is without error, absolutely correct in its retelling of events and predictions, in the autographs, the original writings. To claim that Scripture is infallible is to claim that it is reliable and trustworthy concerning its moral instruction and God’s preservation of His text such that translations today are reliable representations of the autographs. Inerrancy and infallibility are related terms and the difference between the two is a subtle one
If we hold to the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture, we hold that it is accurate in its recounting of history, in its presentation of scientific data, and in its predictions. We also hold that the modern forms of the Bible represent the autographs accurately. If at any point the Bible can be show to contain an error, inerrancy is a false claim and we should approach the Bible’s claims with skepticism. In my own years as an agnostic and as I flirted with atheism, I questioned whether the Bible could really be without error. As I read the Bible, I put it to the test. I wasn’t willing to remain an agnostic because that meant I was okay with not knowing the truth of the matter. The good news is: the Bible, and every other worldview book, is filled with falsifiable information. Falsifiable is not synonymous with fallible or errant. If something is falsifiable, it can be checked against historical and scientific data. Historical data helps us to determine whether the Bible recounts history accurately and offers accurate predictions. Scientific data helps us determine whether the Bible is correct in its explanations of nature and the created order where it means to explain natural phenomena; In many places, though, it does not.
Where I found historical inaccuracies in the Quran, namely the false account about Jesus Christ which can be proved through secular Roman history (the works of Josephus and Tacitus) and in other religious texts like the Book of Mormon, which placed materials and technologies much too early on the developmental timeline (what we expect with bad historical fiction when an author places a car from the wrong decade on the street), I could not find those mistakes in the Bible. When I tried to confirm the Bible’s record to other historical accounts and discoveries, it corresponded to the actual events of history. Many of the Bible’s predictions have come true. Where I was able to compare the Bible to scientific fact, I have not been able to find any disparities. Though the Bible has many falsifiable propositions, I have not found any provably false propositions therein.
I love that there are people who have never questioned the Bible or approached it skeptically. I, very painstakingly, came to believe that the 66 books of the Biblical canon are inerrant and infallible.
To present the basic evidence supporting the claims of inerrancy and infallibility, I will include an excerpt from my book, Neat. In my book, I begged the question of Scripture’s authenticity and reliability. You can find this book by searching for it online.
Excerpt from Neat by Andrew Paul Cannon: