inerrancy of the New Testament

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by apologetic, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. apologetic

    apologetic Member

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    .....

    Here is my reasoning as to why the New Testament is not inerrant:

    My view is that the original text, now lost, was inspired by God. However...

    i. due to mistranslations from the Hebrew to the Greek, then to the Latin, and finally into English - the bible that we read is not inerrant. However, the essential message still remains.

    ii. I also believe that it is possible that certain parts of the New Testament were tampered with - but not to the extent that the essential and original message of the bible was lost.

    iii. Even if the bible is inerrant, our interpretations of the bible are not.
    ......

    I have never really heard any convincing arguments to compel me to believe that the bible is inerrant. I would love to hear some convincing arguments that the bible is inerrant.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
  2. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    My friend there are major and serious holes in your argument, as I will explain below.

    The simple fact is that we base our translations of Scripture from the Hebrew text itself. The Textus Receptus and the Vulgate (the latin and greek translations) have not been the bases for our understanding of Scripture since the 16th century, so people have already caught on and corrected the very objection you're having now, 400 years ago.

    I'm sorry but no evidence was provided, so we have to reject it as unfounded. It's also impious, in that God would let his revelation be tampered with in such a way as to alter his own message. He is God and in charge, after all.

    Of course not. But you are discussing the bible, not our interpretations. These are two different topics.
     
  3. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I prefer the word infallible. Scripture is god-breathed, and therefore true and trustworthy in all matters on which it authoritatively speaks. God's Holy Spirit, who has come to lead us to all truth has preserved it from falsehood for His saints. If you cannot accept the NT as true and free from error, how can you believe the things it says about Our Lord?
     
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  4. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    My Dear Apologetic,

    As an Australian Anglican one of the things that you need to allow is that no other Church has the Diocese of Sydney and all that that has meant. I suspect that much of what you rail against is the Doctrine of Propositional Revelation. This idea (and I probably really want to drop an H bomb on it) was proposed by Knox building on the work of Hammond and profusely driven by Jensen all of whom felt that the Reformation had not gone far enough. To briefly describe the Doctrine and it has a few variants but generally comes down to this:
    • God reveals himself in propositions
    • These propositions are contained in Holy Scripture
    • Therefore Scripture is the Inerrant word of God.
    I reject the doctrine outright on several grounds
    • The notion that God reveals himself in propositions is offensive and revolting, and intends a legal code rather than a loving joyful and even playful God, over all above all and passionately in love with us
    • God can not be constrained by a book, and much less contained in a book, or even a library. No, you cannot say to God you can't be here, you cant go there, you can't act in that way.
    • The argument for inerrant Scripture is not a satisfactory and sustainable proposition unless you accept a proposition that God wrote it, or that God controlled what was written to such an extent that the writers were me vassals and not mere mortals and frail children of dust responding to grace.
    The truth is, however I am pleased to say, that there is much more to be said.
    • Jesus came to set us free from the shackles of a legalistic religion.
    • The scriptures as we receive them are true, worthwhile and valuable for us as the primary record of the revelation of God in Christ Jesus and worthwhile for us all for our reflection, instruction, and inspiration. God is entirely consistent, he blows not in the breeze for he is the source of the breeze, and so if anything is against scripture we will need to be very careful how we understand it.
    • Scripture is true, though not all truth is history.
    • The Bible does not save you, however the Bible will show you that Jesus has saved you.
    • As Anglicans our great tradition of faith requires that we test things by Scripture, Tradition and Reason.
    God is more gracious than we can imagine.
     
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  5. apologetic

    apologetic Member

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    Hi Phillip,

    Thank you for that response, you summarised my view a lot more effectively and articulately than I did. You are correct, it is the Doctrine of Propositional Revelation that I find difficult to accept, for precisely the reasons you mentioned. The Word is living, not dead papyrus, that is the good news! This doctine of proposition revelation is more or less what was taught to me at Sunday school when I was younger.

    My view isn't that the bible isn't true or that it isn't historical, my view is that not every proposition in the bible is the word of God, that is legalistic as you say, which is exactly what Jesus preached against. Everything you said I agree wholeheartedly with.

    Hi Lowly Layman,

    Thank you for your response. I do accept the original Hebrew bible as true and free from error, however not every statement within the New Testament is the word of God, and in that sense the bible is not inerrant in my opinion. I believe that Jesus died for the transgressions of man and rose on the third day victorious over death -- I can believe that the bible is not inerrant but also be saved. The belief that the bible is inerrant or not inerrant, is not essential to salvation as Phillip pointed out. It is through Grace not theology that I am saved.


    .

    Hi Anligcan74,

    Thank you for your comment and for correcting me. You are quiet right in that many of the bibles we read are translated directly from the Hebrew. However it is also true that many bibles are translated from the Latin and Greek too.

    Perhaps 'tampering' was a poor choice of word, I apologise for that. However an example of what I am talking about that is accepted by the vast majority of biblical scholars is that the certain letters by 'Paul' were not written by him, but by someone with much less authority than Paul. An example being 3 Corinthians. The bible is a holy book inspired by God, but not every word in the bible is from the mouth of God.

    You're again right, thank you for correcting me. Our interpretation and the inerrancy of the bible are seperate issues. I guess the point I was trying to make was that even if the bible is inerrant, our interpretations are not, so there isn't much advantage from a spiritual point of view in the bible being inerrant.

    ...

    Thank you all for your considered responses. It isn't my intention to create controversy, it is simply that this topic is of a lot of interest to me and I like to hear other points of view.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
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  6. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    What is your evidence to support this claim?


    What is the logic behind believing the original Hebrew being innerrant without having ever read or even seen it but doubting the inerrancy of the surviving copies we do have? Also, which parts of the new testament are not the word of God? And, for that matter, which are? What is the test you have to parse out with great precision than the Apostles and church fathers what is and is not the word of God? Without more I must conclude that your test is based on nothing more than what "feels good" which a rather arbitrary and caprecious one. Remember your St. Paul: "ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (emphasis added).
     
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  7. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    If one doesn't believe in the inerrancy of the NT,can one truly call oneself a Christian? After all the NT contains the new covenant between God and man
     
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  8. apologetic

    apologetic Member

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    Lowly Layman, I believe we more or less agree and are just talking past each other. Phillip articulated my view perfectly, if there has been confusion over my use of language, ignore what I have said and refer to Phillip's argument.
     
  9. apologetic

    apologetic Member

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    the word ""inerrancy" or "inerrant" doesn't even appear in Scripture.

    I'm not saying the bible isn't true or isn't historical, you misunderstand my point entirely, Phillip made the point I was trying to make more eloquently than I did.

    Many Christians want to impose their theology on others and say that those whom don't accept their personal interpretation of scripture aren't christian and aren't saved. This sort of thinking is judgemental. In reality the grace of God is beyond what we know or comprehend. We are saved not through knowledge, belief, good deeds, or through theology, but through Grace and faith alone.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  10. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I see what you wanted to say in the first place. I think what you should've titled your thread as, is, "Inerrancy of our understanding of the New Testament"

    When put that way, nobody would argue that our understandings are inerrant. However this does not impugn the magnificent authority of Scripture which is written by God, and that's what you got stuck at here. It was also the favorite vehicle of liberals to undermine the authority/authorship of Scripture by God (misleading translations, lost manuscripts, all the things you wrongfully listed), in order to inject errors and heresies that today are tearing the Church apart.
     
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  11. apologetic

    apologetic Member

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    I should have reworded my original thread, my argument is the argument Phillip made - he understood what I was trying to say. I refer you to his comment.

    I believe of course that the bible is a great authority and is true and historical, otherwise I wouldn't be here. You're right in that it is the tendency of liberals to undermine the authority of the bible, which isn't my intention. My intention was to explain why I reject the doctrine of propositional revelation, because it argues that God revealed himself in true propositions (this belief isn't biblical and is derived from Philosophy). Whereas I believe that God revealed himself through Christ Jesus and it is through both His teachings and His actions that we come to know God. In other words I put more emphasis on Jesus than I do on the bible.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  12. apologetic

    apologetic Member

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    To put the same or more emphasise on the bible than the living Christ, is to repeat the mistakes of the Pharisees who put more emphasis on the Old Testament than they did the living Father. The bible is dead papyrus, Christ is the living Word and cannot be contained in a book or a passage. God is revealed through Christ not through paper. The bible is holy and true, it is how we learn that we are saved, but it is not how we are saved. The bible helps us understand God and to meditate, but it isn't equatable to God. Only God is infallible, only God is inerrant, these are titles that belong to God alone.




    That is essentially the point I am trying to make.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  13. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Dear brother you said "I put more emphasis on Jesus than I do on the Bible". Apart from what He reveals to us in personal revelation, it is via the Bible that we know what we know about Our Lord Jesus Christ
     
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  14. apologetic

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    Yes I agree entirely. But are we venerating scripture or Christ when we call the bible inerrant? That is a title that belongs to God alone, not to the bible. By calling the bible inerrant we are attributing an attribute of God to the bible, which is to idolise the bible.
     
  15. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    But the Bible is the word of God. The perceived wisdom is that the writers were divinely inspired, of course we don't idolise the Bible. We use it to inform us and assist us in worship of God.
     
  16. apologetic

    apologetic Member

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    If the bible is never wrong (which as you know is what inerrant means), please then explain this inconsistence to me so that I can understand:

    Matthew 28:1-8
    Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.

    Mark 16:1-8
    Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.

    Luke 24:1-10
    And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing;

    John 20:12
    She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying.
    ---------------------------

    Matthew and Mark describe the appearance of one angel at the scene of Christ's tomb, appearing to Mary. Whereas Luke and John describe two angels at the scene of Christ's tomb, appearing to Mary. Only one account can be true, there were either two angels or one angel. Therefore the bible isn't inerrant, or at least that limited inerrancy is true, but full inerrancy cannot be true.

    ............................


    Further still,

    Certain texts which are in the bible claiming to be written by St Paul, were written by someone else, not St Paul. Therefore the bible isn't inerrant since it is a mistake to attribute a work to St Paul when it wasn't written by him. See here

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Pauline_epistles
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
  17. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    There are differences. Why does that make them errors? Are they mutually exclusive? I don't see why they must be. Mark focuses on one angel but does not affirmatively declare that no other angel was present. That sounds more like a criticism of Mark's editorial choices in relating the Resurrection than proof positive of an error. Each gospel is distinctive. Each gospel focuses on some aspects of the life and earthly ministry of Our Lord and chooses to leave other aspects to their colleagues. Since the gospel writer's share authorship with God, I would be a very cautious literary critic.
     
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  18. apologetic

    apologetic Member

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    Thanks for your comment lowly, I have to disagree with you though on this one.

    They are two different accounts of the same event. There was either one angel or two angels, that is mutually exclusive. Mark says "an angel", it is fairly clear that he means one angel, and it is a stretch to say that he didn't declare that there wasn't any other angel - Mark pretty much did by saying that there was "an angel", the word 'an' here excludes multiple.

    You didn't address the false authorship of St Paul for certain letters .. which is a clear example of an error.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
  19. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The church fathers declared the letters genuine. They were more than a millenium and a half closer to the date of authorship than any modern "experts" on your wikipedia page. I have no reason to doubt them.
     
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  20. apologetic

    apologetic Member

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    That is a reasonable argument
     
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