Our Credible Bible (Lesson 3)
Inerrancy and Textual Variants
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Throughout church history, believers have considered the Scriptures to be accurate and reliable, both historically and theologically. Many words have been used to try to express this belief in concise, precise form. The two most common terms of late have been “infallible” and “inerrant”.
Infallible refers to the unfailing nature of Scripture. It will not let us down. If we are sad, it comforts us. When tempted, it strengthens us. When lost, it saves us. If doubting, it assures us. When we stray, it rebukes us. When discouraged, it encourages us. When worried, it brings us peace.
The Bible is a reliable, sufficient, trustworthy guide for us in our daily lives. It will never misdirect us. It will accomplish the purposes God meant for it to achieve; it won’t return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11).
“Inerrant” means without error, wholly true. The Bible verses being considered are deemed to be true, not false. We will never be led into error by anything it teaches. Baptist confessions have often conveyed this concept by saying the Bible has “truth for its matter, with no mixture of error.”
The word inerrant refers only to the original documents, never to copies. Since we do not, as best we know, have originals, some people do not like the term inerrant, but belief in iner