Propositional Revelation


Biblical Inerrancy

This is the belief that scripture contains no errors whatsoever - it is ineffable and carries no mistakes

  • If we take God from the traditional sense, then it is reasonable to suggest that through his omnipotence he can direct somebody to write down exactly what he wishes
  • If the Bible says its true, it must be
  • The Bible is historically accurate
  • There are no contradictions
  • Contains views held throughout history

A particulrar advocate of Biblical inerrancy is Jim Packer, a fundamentalist. He refers to the Bible as "the authorative word of God" and states that "the origin of scripture is divine"

Here Packer is arguing that God controls exactly what is said through either dictation or inspiration. Dictation is the belief highlighted above - the notion that God dictated what he wanted to say to humans. However, this view is perhaps closely linked to the Qu'ran more than the Bible, and as a belief is no longer popular

1 of 4


The Bible may also be inspired, Packer argues. This means that even if writers inject little bits of their own writing style or personality into scripture, its still the word of God - it is still inerrant. 

The argument from infalliability, as held by Marshall, is the belief that the Bible is reliable but still has mistakes. Marshall states that the Bible is inspired for the purpose that God made it, but accepts that the Bible is not a scientific or historical document. There are minor errors, but these are not errors that makes the Bible any less reliable or relevant

Marshall argues that there is too much emphasis on God, and thats that since humans are fallible, there are bound to be minor errors in the Bible. People write stories and get information from different sources, so not everything is going to turn out 100% accurate (non-propositional) 

However Marshall still agrees with Packer that the Bible is the word of God. 

2 of 4

Different interpretations

Some argue that the Bible is a witness to revelation - a written witness of the revelation of Jesus. Marshall rejects this view, arguing that the Bible is the revelation, not the witness to the revelation. 

Karl Barth differs slightly from Marshall, and argues that the Bible becomes revelation when you realise it for yourself - is it the means to revelation, not immediately revelation in itself. Marshall criticises this view, arguing that Barth is talking about the Bible as if it is illumination, when it is in fact inspiration 

Paul Achtemeier argues that the Holy Spirit brough the Bible together, the process is inspired, but the final copy isn't - a view that contradicts Marshall's argument 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge accepts that there are mistakes and errors in the Bible, stating that he would not "lie for God" 

3 of 4

Different interpretations

A popular criticism of inerrancy and infallibility is the redaction criticism, stating that writers included their own beliegs in the Bible, and that the stories merely reflect the views of writers. So when Jesus says "I am the bread of life." This is simply a case of someone taking the act of communion and mentioning in the Bible to give it more credibility and stress its importance. 

A.N Wilson holds a similar view, stating that Christianity was started by Paul, and that the Bible is simpy based on Paul's teachings 

Bornkamm argues that the New Testament is simply a faithful memory of Jesus - it is accurate, but not perfect 

Philo argued that we are simply instruments that God plays - a good name to mention when arguing inerrancy 

4 of 4


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Philosophy resources »