Satan’s accusatory conclusion in Genesis 3:4 has been levied countless times by the serpent of old and his minions, and is feasibly the most common belief about God’s word; especially these days. Satan’s indictment of God was a subtle, clever and ingenious two-prong attack; God’s word isn’t accurate, but not all of God’s word is inaccurate. It’s a popular indictment, because it gives God credit for some accuracy while denying the inerrancy of God’s word at the same time. It’s a clandestine way of having your cake and eating it at the same time. So, was the old, red dragon right, and is it really necessary for all of God’s word to be one hundred percent correct, or is there some wiggle room for inaccuracies? How do Christians defend against the accusation, “Are there any errors in the Bible?”
The unembellished definition of inerrancy is that every word of the Bible is true. The Bible isn’t inerrant, because it records every fact about any one subject, rather, it’s inerrant, because every fact that it records is true and accurate.
Moreover, the Bible can be inerrant and still use the common language, euphemisms, metaphors, etc. that were common to the people of the day. The Bible can speak, for example, of the sun rising and setting (Psalm 113:3), from the perspective of someone standing on the surface of the earth, even though we know that the sun neither rises nor sets. The Bible is absolutely truthful even though it often uses common language to describe natural phenomena or approximations, etc. Language can be true and still offer imprecise statements. “I live a little more than a mile from my office,” for example, is an imprecise statement that conveys the near proximity of my home to my office.
Additionally, Biblical inerrancy doesn’t necessary include exact quotations either. I might say, for example, “Bill said he would be home shortly.” This is an accurate statement even though Bill actually said, “I will be home in two minutes.” The latter quote is an indirect quotation, and is still an accurate conveyor of truth. The gospel writers didn’t preserve every word and deed of Jesus, even though they still conveyed the truth and overall representation of Jesus’ words and deeds (John 20:30-31; 21:25).
Non-Biblical advocates often present several challenges in response to the Biblical claim of inerrancy. Consider, for example, “The Bible is only accurate in salvational and doctrinal matters, but errors can be found in other areas.” First of all, the Biblical claim is a repetitive affirmation of its truthfulness. Its God breathed...