James Bishop vs. Sean Luke, “Is the Bible Inerrant?” (James’ Opening)


Sean Luke is a Bible Theology major and Philosophy Minor at Wheaton College. He’s extremely interested in systematic theology and apologetic defense of the Christian faith.

James Bishop is a graduate from Vega School of Brand Leadership specializing in Multimedia Design and Brand Communications. He is currently enrolled at Cornerstone Institute studying Theology and majoring in Psychology. His theological interests encompass comparative religion and the links between science and religion.”

See here for Sean’s opening remarks
First responses will be in two weeks time.

1. On the Nature of this Debate

This particular debate over inerrancy will be quite different from a recent debate I had in which I defended belief in God. In that debate I specifically used Jesus’ deity and resurrection as part of my case, and thus I would define it as a “positive” debate in the sense that it provided Christians believers, and readers in general, with positive reasons for belief in God, as well as Jesus’ deity and resurrection. However, this is quite different as it will take a critical stance against what Christians generally believe. This is because many Christians, whether they’re aware of it or not, accept classical inerrancy. However, I will be arguing specifically against the inerrantist’s position and of course I fully expect most Christian readers to disagree with me. But, for my purposes, all I need to do is to show that they Bible is not inerrant by pointing out some errors and discrepancies within it. If I succeed in showing just a single error then my opponent’s view is undermined and must be false. In this way, I am sure fellow believers would agree, I am not exactly instilling confidence in fellow Christians and I am fully aware of it. However, given this unfortunate facet, I think this is a much needed debate because I find that a Bible shrouded with inerrantist baggage will only hurt Christianity in the long run. But it is important for readers to remember that as Luke and I grapple over these points I, alongside Luke, am a convinced believer on the basis of Jesus’ deity and resurrection. I find the evidence, from a theological rationalist perspective, quite compelling and far more so than what non-Christian skeptics have produced against such a position. So, I am not same critic that looks to undermine religious belief, and specifically Christianity, wherever he can.

Also note that my opening statement has evidently far exceeded the 5000 word limit Luke and I have agreed on. Thus, I will both include additional biblical critiques against inerrancy in my 2nd rebuttal as well as responses to Luke’s own opening statement.

2. Theological Rationalism and its Relevance to this Debate

Being a theological rationalist means that I weigh evidence and decide whether or not evidence gives persuasive reasons for accepting theological truths and claims. For example, Jesus’ resurrection is a historical claim with theological significance. Either Jesus was resurrected or he wasn’t. So, what I feel obligated to do is to consider whether or not we have persuasive evidence for the resurrection. After all, if Jesus really was resurrected we would really want to know about it. And of course there are many other questions concerning pertinent to this approach such as comparative theology, miracles, Jesus’ deity and resurrection that show up on the theological rationalist’s radar.

In this way rationalism is key component to my faith. I have searched, and I believe I have found, rational reasons for accepting the truth of Christianity based on Jesus’ deity and resurrection, and God’s existence. Thus, my faith is not blind nor is it wishful, instead I believe in it because I think there are good reasons for doing so. If I did not think there were persuasive reasons for belief in Christianity’s truth then I wouldn’t believe as I do. I view Christianity as true and its relationship with rationalism as compatible and, in fact, mutually supportive of one another.

Traditionally, theological rationalists accept parts of the Bible as divinely inspired and use reason as their criterion for what to accept or reject. I fully agree with this position. In fact, as a non-inerrantist my goal is to develop a model of biblical inspiration or at least come to terms with models already in existence, and at the moment I find myself agreeing with much of Peter Enns’ model of Incarnational Theology. Either way, a theological rationalist will clearly see parts of the Bible as problematic in certain ways as I will flesh out below. So, for me personally, questions focusing solely on theology like the concepts of justification, biblical inspiration and so on are secondary in nature. I am not saying that these questions are unimportant, and far from it, but they are not what my faith rests on; rather, my faith rests on reason and evidence.

3. My Opponent’s Position

Luke is an inerrantist and in the past he has been quite critical of my non-inerrantist views, and specifically my arguments forwarded against inerrancy. I fully respect Luke for holding me accountable and I would encourage him, and others, to continue doing so in the future. But when I refer to “inerrancy” in its relation to Luke’s position what I really mean is classical inerrancy. This is an important distinction to make for Christians may hold to diverse beliefs relating to the concept so we’d really want to avoid constructing strawmen. I recently engaged a very informative book called Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy and, as the name suggests, there were some five Christian academics, all scholars in the highest echelons of their respective fields of expertise, smashing it out over the inerrant nature, or lack thereof, of the Bible. At the end I left agreeing with Peter Enns although I really appreciated the critiques and nuances presented by all those involved. So, it should come as no surprise that I will be referring to Enns as we progress. I am also quite certain that Luke will make his position relating to inerrancy known in his opener and as this debate progresses.

However, the classical inerrantist, as I understand it, believes that the Bible “is without error or fault in all its teaching” as defined by the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1). We will be taking a critical view of the CSBI statement as we progress. However, I find this patently false and undeniably mistaken on many fronts. These ways include history, science, as well as ethics. But, as the inerrantist believes, the Bible cannot err. So, if it does in just one way, then inerrancy must be false. Does that mean Christianity is false or that the Bible is not inspired? No, it does not.

4. Inerrantist Methodology.

I will argue that there are several ways in which the inerrantist’s methodology is constructed upon shaky grounds; we shall look at these in turn.

a. Does the Bible Support Full Blown Inerrancy?

There is always this “leap,” for the lack of a better word, on the part of the inerrantist in order to biblically support inerrancy (2). For instance, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 describes the Bible as “God-breathed,” and therefore as useful for instruction and rebuke. This is one of several verses (we will be looking at the others as Luke brings them up) that inerrantists use to support their view of scripture. The problem is, however, that Tim’s author does not provide any indication of what he means by “God-breathed.” For instance, could it be that God breathed out the words of scripture? Or is it that God breathes into the text of scripture, in the sense that the Spirit of God brings life into the dead letters. Even if the verse does mean that scripture is breathed out by God, in the sense that it is divinely uttered, that does not necessarily entail that it is without error. These are possible options that don’t meet inerrantist presuppositions. But I can’t help but question why the inerrantist uses Timothy to support full blown inerrancy that demands the Bible must get science and history, and any other field it touches on, wholly factually correct. This simply repeats itself with whatever text the inerrantist puts on the table; there is always this leap that has to be made which, I contend, is the inerrantist imposing his view on how the Bible is meant to be read. I do believe that a given biblical text (like this one from Tim) may affirm the inspiration of the Bible but that is not the same as affirming that it gets everything it touches on unmistakably correct, aka inerrancy. My contention thus is that inspiration and inerrancy are different things even though inerrantists claim that they are the same. I guess what I am really trying to get across here is that inerrancy is not as obvious biblically as proponents make it seem to be.

b. The Inerrantist’s Double Standard & Controlling Presuppositions

I will try avoid being too presumptuous in judging Luke’s own position but it is not secret that inerrantists commonly accuse those who disagree with them of having degenerate motives. I would like for Luke to make his point on this clear. For example, the late scholar James Barr explained that often inerrantists will claim that their “opponents, in arguing from empirical evidence, are in fact not motivated by a zeal for empirical evidence but by a theological hostility to the truth gospel” (4). In some affirmation of this claim Carl Henry, a late evangelical theologian, argued that if unbiblical “principles seep into men’s theologies at the presuppositional level, as today they frequently do, faithful interpretation of Holy Scripture becomes impossible” (5).

In other words, what is really happening here is that the inerrantist is accusing the non-inerrantist of operating under presuppositions that distort accurate readings of the Bible. So, for example, if a historian sees a conflict between Matthew and Luke’s theology or between Ecclesiastes and Daniel it is not because such a conflict actually exists but because the historian is imposing his own ideas on the text. The inerrantist believes that the scholar wants to see a conflict because it serves his own agenda. This is simply false. Consider me, for example. I am a Christian, and I would say an intellectually fulfilled one strong in the faith, but I acknowledge that there are obvious errors within the Bible. It would be nice if there weren’t any but there are and that is what, as Christians, we have to accept and work with. However, I’m hardly motivated by any zeal against the Gospel or Christianity, or God, or anything else. I’ve spent years arguing in favour of these things! I could surely extrapolate this view beyond myself.

Moreover, there is also a clear double standard here. Consider that in article 19 of the CSBI we find that “naturalism, evolutionism, scientism, secular humanism, and relativism” are defined as “alien pre understandings” that inevitably result in the misreading of the text (6). But, as is abundantly clear, it is the inerrantist who is guilty of allowing his controlling presuppositions to interfere with the proper processes of understanding the biblical texts. After all, before the interpretative process has even begun the inerrantist has already ruled out the possibility that the text can be wrong in any way. This is very definition of a controlling presupposition and renders the inerrantist’s position to that of a double standard. The inerrantist accuses those he disagrees with of having alien controlling presuppositions when he, himself, holds to one too. I look forward to Luke’s response.

And on a last note many scholars, if not the vast majority of critical scholars (who would testify to historical blunders and inaccuracies within the biblical texts), are hardly motivated by any hostility to the Christian faith when they point out obvious errors and discrepancies when attempting to make sense of the texts. Of course there are the exceptions to this but they still remain exceptions. In fact, scholars who hold to inerrancy are in the minority (7) and they are usually always Christians which goes a long way in explaining why they upheld inerrancy. However, a good number of Christian scholars do not adhere to inerrancy (we will be referring to several of them throughout). This is also not to deny that it is possible for a critical historian to ascribe an error to the text where there is none, however there is no reason why the critical scholar is required to ascribe an error to the text. For the inerrantist to claim that scholars are motivated by a nefarious agenda is simply no more than some contrived conspiracy theory.

c. Claiming Too Much

This is a general observation I’ve come to make in that inerrantists, and many Christians too, claim too much. What do I mean? For example, an inerrantist will argue that because scholarly investigations have established the reliability of the Bible in some cases, or at least in some areas, then we can expect they will continue to do so in every case. Consider a false claim made by a Jewish archaeologist Nelson Glueck, “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference” (8). This, in hindsight of the conquest narratives (as we shall see), is false and there, in fact, are archaeological problems in the biblical record. This is, of course, a no-no for inerrantists for there can never be a mistaken claim in the Bible. If a historical claim, say, of a city and its destruction made in the Bible is undermined by persuasive extra-biblical evidence then inerrancy would be rendered false.

d. Closed Mindedness

Another general critique is that inerrantists assume the inerrancy for portions of scripture where verification is still lacking. According to B.B. Warfield “Every unharmonised passage remains a question of difficult harmony and does not pass into the category of objections to plenary inspiration” (9). Or consider the words of inerrantist scholar Albert Mohler who writes, “I do not allow any line of evidence from outside the Bible to nullify to the slightest degree the truthfulness of any text in all that the text asserts and claims” (10).

This is the very definition of what I would consider to be closed mindedness. In other words, what Mohler is essentially saying is that no matter how convincing, how absolute, evidence is to the contrary of a biblical claim he will always opt for the biblical claim because, as he asserts, he will “not allow any line of evidence from outside the Bible to nullify [it] to the slightest degree…” This is not very open to following evidence where it may lead. However, my contention has always been that although the Bible is far from perfect, Christianity is not a blind faith and neither does it require the suspension of our cognitive faculties. But if one is an inerrantist he must suspend his critical faculties in dealing with clearly problematic portions of scripture and thus merely categorize them as “unharmonized,” to use Warfield’s terminology. Again, we want to prize open mindedness in following evidence where it leads and I fail to see this demonstrated in inerrantist thinkers when confronted with disagreeable content.

e. The Possibility of Spiritual Danger

My final issue concerning inerrantist methodologies is the very real possibility of spiritual danger. In my mind the inerrantist sets up a false dichotomy which demands one to either accept inerrancy or undermine, and thus reject, Christianity and the Bible. However, I can personally testify to the danger of this process of thought. When I first became a Christian I merely adopted inerrantist, specifically classical inerrantist, presuppositions simply because that is what the apologetic sites I had first engaged promoted and the assumptions made by pastors when preaching from the Bible in the way they saw was correct. However, my inerrantist stance soon ran into obvious problems when I found God allegedly commanded genocide, that the moral system of the Bible often seemed inconsistent, and that there were numerous contradictions within its pages. And since I was nurtured in this false dichotomy, either believe in inerrancy or undermine and thus reject the Bible, I underwent severe pressures and stressors in trying to maintain an intellectually robust faith. However, I was extremely lucky in the sense that I didn’t just throw in the towel particularly due to an obvious encounter that I had with the Holy Spirit which, in itself, authenticated the truth of Christianity for me. I would be lying if I did not mention that evidence has really kept me strong in my convictions too. However, many might not have been so lucky at a given moment in their own journey. And, as a result, many have fallen away simply because they’ve spotted blunders, moral atrocities, and whatever else, within the pages of the Bible. Christian scholar Michael Bird captures this well in explaining that “This is pastorally dangerous. It means that if some young Christian comes across a passage of Scripture that is historically or ethically challenging, then they are faced with the choice between belief and unbelief” (11).

However, I anticipate that Luke will charge me with the same conundrum, namely, that rejecting the inerrancy of the Bible can also be spiritually dangerous since it sows doubt in its teachings and message. Sure, we may concede that it could sow doubt for some who haven’t engaged nor understood the question, but at least it doesn’t force, as well as limit, believers into choosing between only options A and B when options C, D, and E also might exist. When the Christian soon enough figures out that option A (the inerrancy of the Bible) is false then, according to the inerrantist, he only has option B left from which to choose (to undermine and thus reject the Bible). Luke can correct me if I get him, or his fellow inerrantists, wrong on this front. My contention is, however, that when the Christian spots an obvious blunder within the Bible he can be quite confident that such a blunder does not nullify the actual truth of Christianity. In other words, he might be able to adopt position C that says although there are obvious archaeological and ethical problems within the Bible but that Christianity, based upon the deity and resurrection of Jesus, remains undoubtedly true and thus unaffected by such issues. Thus, he isn’t forced into this rigid false dichotomy set up by inerrantists.

5. The Biblical Case Against Inerrancy.

We must read this book of books with all human methods. But through the fragile and broken Bible, God meets us in the voice of the Risen One.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

There are several lines of evidence that I find undermine the inerrantist’s position. We shall look at each of them. For example, we have obvious contradictions in the Bible, moral atrocities (genocide, child sacrifice), false religious beliefs (polytheism), historical and archaeological inaccuracies (prophesies and the conquest narratives), as well as several pre-scientific myths (the Israelite concept of the universe), and so on. Thus, as I will be contending, the Bible is a problematic book if we use the inerrantist’s criteria as its judge.

We will begin with the pre-science of the Bible. Also note that I will continue these lines of argument in my 1st rebuttal since space is limited here.

a. Pre-Scientific Myths

One way to show that classical inerrancy cannot be true is to demonstrate the pre-science of the Bible. If the Bible makes a claim about the universe then it has made an objective truth claim that can be examined at a later point using contemporary scientific tools whether that be within the fields cosmology, biology, archaeology or whatever else. If, for example, the Bible, hypothetically speaking, made the claim that the Earth consisted of 20% water but that some 2000 years later we actually found that water makes up 70% of the Earth, then the Bible has made a mistaken claim. In other words, the Bible has “erred” in its claim about the universe, and thus cannot be inerrant. However, for non-inerrantist Christians like myself this is hardly a cause for concern because it is just mistaken to expect the Bible to speak to a scientifically sophisticated 21st century audience. The ancient authors of the Bible had absolutely no idea about hydrologic cycles, biological systems, chaos theory, gravity, and so on, all things we might take for granted. What would have been the “world” to the author of Genesis, for example, was almost certainly limited to a valley and a couple of rivers and tribes. So, although being moved and inspired by God to write, it is hardly a surprise that this would be present in their writing.

However, just to make a side note, a lot of the debate boils down to a war between fundamentalisms. On the hand we have skeptics compiling lists of scientific errors in the Bible, and on the other hand we have inerrantists writing tomes, and even dedicating entire websites (12), to answering these lists of alleged errors. I often just sit in the middle  wandering where everything went so wrong in that 21st century readers expect the Bible to be read in such a way, and that somehow both parties (skeptics and Christians) have fallen into this trap.

However, conflicts between fundamentalist extremes aside, Denis Lamoureux, a Christian scholar and specialist in science and religion, identifies several pre-scientific beliefs held by the biblical authors (13). Although he notes quite a few, we will only look at three of them.

a1. Firstly, the biblical authors believed the earth is flat. The word “Earth” appears over 2500 times in the Old Testament (Hebrew: ‘eres) and 250 times in the New Testament (Greek: ge), and never once is this word referred to as spherical or round. Instead, the universe in the Scripture is compared to a tent with the earth as its floor (Ps 19:4, Ps 104:2, Is 40:22). Obviously this is a false comprehension of the physical nature of this planet since we know Earth is not flat. For me this is hardly an issue but not so for the inerrantist.

a2. In the creation narrative of Genesis 1 we find that God created a “firmament” or “expanse” in the sky to hold back the waters above it (Genesis 1:6-8). However, the great Christian exegete and scholar, John Calvin, noted this issue, “it seems impossible and opposed to common sense that there are waters above the heavens” (14). Calvin thus conceded that this is really what the text says, that it is mistaken, and that it most probably reflected how ancient, primitive Israelites understood the structure of the universe.

a3. Thirdly, a solid domed structure, called a “firmament” by our biblical author, holds up a body of water over the Earth. Created on the second day of creation, the firmament separated the “waters above” from the “waters below” (Gen. 1:6-8). When Yuri Gagarin, the first human on a successful spaceflight in the Vostok 1, orbited the Earth he didn’t exactly hit a solid dome ceiling and come crashing back down to Earth. Again, the Bible errs in its claim about the physical nature of Earth.

b. Noah’s Flood

Although one might classify this as another pre-scientific myth we will want to keep it separate since it requires some additional explaining.

Noah’s flood is crucially important theologically in terms of sin, judgment, and God’s sovereignty; one needn’t deny that. However, the vast majority of biblical scholars hold that the Genesis flood story, although it might be based upon an actual flood in the Mesopotamia region, does not provide information on historical events (15). Additionally, many exegetes and scholars have argued that if the Genesis flood is based upon a historical event then it was most likely a local flood in the Mesopotamia region. I personally hold that it stretches credulity to believe that the Genesis flood story has no history behind it whatsoever given that it was so widely told and retold by tribes for centuries, if not thousands, of years. However, consider the informed words of Peter Enns, “Many biblical scholars relying on geological findings believe that a great deluge in Mesopotamia around 2900 BCE was the trigger for the many flood stories that circulated in the ancient world, some already two thousand years old by the time King David came on the scene” (16a). Most scholars will inform us that all the Ancient Near Eastern flood myths (such as Atrahasis, Gilgamesh and Genesis) probably have their origins in a devastating local Mesopotamian flood event. The flood story is also hardly unique to the Bible since it actually receives it from earlier myths (16b).

Furthermore, there is the obvious scientific component to this. Professor of the History of Science, Ted Davis explains that “Although some geologists once believed that geological evidence supported the historicity of a truly worldwide flood, by the 1830s that view was rapidly on the way out, as evidence grew for glacial activity that offered a much better explanation of “erratic boulders” and other things previously understood as detritus caused by the Flood” (17). This is supported by studies of ice cores in Greenland and Antarctica that provide evidence of never actually being inundated by water which would hardly be the case if there was ever a flood on a global scale. Further historical evidence also suggests that North America has been undisturbed in its occupation by humans for at least 12 000 years, a fact that seems very difficult to reconcile with a worldwide catastrophe in Noah’s time believed to be well within the 12000 year range. Thus, the vast and overwhelming consensus among professional scientists is that a global flood is contradicted by consensus in geology, stratigraphy, geophysics, physics, palaeontology, biology, anthropology, and archaeology (18). This explains why contemporary scientists overwhelmingly reject there ever being a global flood (19).

But how did the ancient biblical author come across the idea of a global flood? Scholars have persuasively argued that an entire generation of Israelites had been raised in a culture where the creation stories of their Mesopotamian neighbours involved cosmic battles between gods and demigods fighting for control of the elements. The oceans (the deep), the moon and sun were given major roles in these narratives. The point being that the Israelites were familiar with these tales and used them to construct their own creation story with Yahweh, Israel’s God, at the centre, as Enns explains that “the flood story, though rooted in history, is dressed up in mythic clothes from head to toe” (10). James Barr explained that scholars routinely acknowledge that “Such material [is not considered] to be historical or scientific: it belongs to legend… It belongs to mythology, or to the psychology of ancient peoples, or to literary symbolism, but it certainly is not historical or scientific chronology” (21). However, Enns points out that myth was an ancient category that God used to reveal himself to his people. He therefore argues that skeptics who use myth as an argument against biblical Christianity make the unwarranted assumption that God cannot use a category that we call “myth” to reveal truth to the ancient Israelites, “God lets his children tell the story – in ways they understand and that is packed with meaning for them. These are ancient stories. For ancient Israelites to talk about their God as the ultimate chaos tamer back at creation was a bold statement of faith – none of the gods of other nations could hold that spot” (22).

I am interested to see how Luke understands the Genesis flood story and how it might relate to inerrancy. He may, for instance, argue that it was a localized event limited to the Mesopotamia region or, alternatively, he may hold to the global version. However, if he identifies with the latter then I will contend that he is undermining an overwhelming amount of scientific, and historical, evidence in order to sustain his position. This would only demonstrate how far one would go to in order to defend his inerrantist presuppositions. Either way the Bible fails to bear the weight of inerrantist standards (23).

c. Historical Errors.

c1. A widely cited historical inaccuracy concerns the conquest narratives of Joshua and the invasion of the city of Jericho in particular. Christian Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann, who I had the opportunity to engage with via course material in my Old Testament Studies this semester, explains that the academy’s general view is that “The historical evidence for such a conquest is, in current judgment, quite problematic” (24). Enns would agree. He has noted that of the 31 towns listed in Joshua 12:9–24 only 20 have been identified, and of these 20 only Hazor and Bethel (and perhaps Lachish) fit biblical descriptions (25). The other towns were either unoccupied during the Late Bronze Period, show no evidence of sudden change, or were destroyed before or after the time of the biblical conquest. Even archaeologist Joseph Callaway, a conservative Christian himself, once explained that when it comes to Joshua “every reconstruction based on the biblical traditions has foundered on the evidence from archaeological remains” (26).

c2. There is also the often identified problem of the walls of Jericho. The Bible claims that Jericho city had walls that fell when the Israelite army, under the command of Joshua, invaded it (Josh. 6:20). This would seem to be a mistaken claim; according to Enns “the overwhelmingly dominant scholarly position is that the city of Jericho was at most a small settlement and without walls during the time of Joshua” (27). Similarly Douglas Knight and Amy-Jill Levine concede that “Archaeologists have long tested the evidence for the sweeping military campaign portrayed in the book of Joshua, and their results are not encouraging for a Late Bronze Age setting [thirteenth century BC]” (28). These views are certainly not baseless. In her respected and accepted work Digging Up Jericho Kathleen Kenyon found that not only did Jericho never have any walls when Israel was said to have invaded it but that it was also unoccupied during the Late Bronze Age during which the biblical story allegedly occurred (29), though subsequent excavations have shown evidence of minimal occupation at best. Thus Enns says “That Jericho in the Late Bronze Period was a small, unwalled settlement is not seriously contested by archaeologists as a whole” (30). Thom Starks agrees in that “the complete lack of evidence makes it [the biblical conquest of Jericho] highly unlikely” (31). Inerrantist Albert Mohler even concedes that “modern scholars dispute the biblical account” (32) though he chooses to reject the consensus of modern scholarship.

6. Summing Up This Opening Statement

As earlier stated there is far more we will be looking at as the debate progresses but I think that there is enough on the table for now to invite interesting dialogue between Luke and I. Bear in mind that Luke, in order to defend his inerrancy, is obligated to respond to these alleged errors in the Bible. I also look forward to see how he handles my challenges against inerrantist methodologies.


1. Geisler, N. & Roach, B. 1012. Defending Inerrancy: Affirming the Accuracy of Scripture for a New Generation.

2. Stark, T. The Human Faces of God. p. 48.

3. Barr, J. 1977. Fundamentalism. p. 74.

4. Barr, J. 1977. Ibid. p. 71

5. Henry, C. 1999. God who speaks and shows. p. 218.

6. Radmacher, E. & Preus, R. Hermeneutics, inerrancy, and the Bible. p. 886.

7. Grudem, W. 1994. Systematic Theology. p. 90-91; Evans, C. 1993. “Life-of-Jesus Research and the Eclipse of Mythology” in Theological Studies 54. p. 5; Talbert, C. 1997. What Is a Gospel? p. 42; Sanders, E. 1995. The Historical Figure of Jesus. p. 3.

8. Glueck, N. 1959. Rivers in the Desert: History of Negev. p. 176.

9. Warfield, B. 1980. Inspiration and Authority of the Bible. p. 220.

10. Albert Mohler in Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy. p. 51.

11. Michael Bird in Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy.

12. Defending Inerrancy. Available.

13. Lamoureux, D. 2009. The Ancient Science in the Bible. Available.

14. Calvin, J. 1847-1850. Commentaries on the First Book of Moses, called Genesis.

15. Enns, P. 2014. The Bible Tells Me So. p. 152 (Scribd ebook format); Young, D. 1995. History of the Collapse of “Flood Geology” and a Young Earth.

16a. Enns, P. 2014. The Bible Tells Me So. p. 152 (Scribd ebook format).

16b. Cline, E. 2007. From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible.

17. Davis, T. 2016. Flooding the World with Creationism. Available.

18. Senter, P. 2011. “The Defeat of Flood Geology by Flood Geology” in Reports of the National Center for Science Education 31:3.

19. Isaac, M. 2007. The Counter-Creationism Handbook. p. 173.

20. Enns, P. 2014. Ibid. p. 152.

21. Barr, J. 1987. Biblical Chronology, Fact or Fiction? Available.

22. Enns, P. 2014. Ibid. p. 156.

23. Enns, P. 2005. Inspiration and Incarnation. p. 27.

24. Brueggemann, W. 2003. An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination. p. 111.

25. Peter Enns in Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy. p. 129.

26. Callaway, J. 1985. “A New Perspective on the Hill Country Settlement of Canaan” in Iron Age 1. Palestine in the Bronze and Iron Ages. p. 31-49.

27. Peter Enns in Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy. p. 123.

28. Knight, D. & Levine, A. 2011. The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us. p. 20.

29. Kenyon, K. 1957. Digging Up Jericho: The Results of the Jericho Excavations 1952–1956. p. 256-265.

30. Peter Enns in Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy. p. 36.

31. Stark, T. 2011. The Human Faces of God. Location 4350 (Amazon ebook format).

32. Albert Mohler in Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy. p. 48.



  1. James,

    A couple of quick questions:

    (1) How would you distinguish (a) what the author of a biblical document believed from (b) what the author of a biblical document taught? (For example, belief in a particular cosmology vs. teaching a particular cosmology.)

    (2) You write,

    Another general critique is that inerrantists assume the inerrancy for portions of scripture where verification is still lacking. According to B.B. Warfield “Every unharmonised passage remains a question of difficult harmony and does not pass into the category of objections to plenary inspiration” (9).

    Can you explain what you mean by “where verification is still lacking”? Do you mean harmonisation instead of verification? It seems to me that, if there are good reasons to think the biblical documents are historically reliable (or, further, that the Bible is inerrant), we have some degree of presumptive evidence for particular biblical claims regardless of whether we have external verification or internal harmonisation or neither external verification nor internal harmonisation.

Let me know your thoughts!

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