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  • Copyright by Norman L. Geisler 2016
  • Abdruck mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Dr. Norman Geisler
    Monday, February 22, 2016 4:04 PM


The issue of inerrancy has once again surfaced among evangelicals, even with those who claim to hold the position. Indeed, there are many views in circulation on what inerrancy means. This has muddied the waters. Some hold only to an inerrancy of “purpose” (vs. the propositions). Others hold only to an inerrancy of “major” or “essential” teachings (vs. peripheral ones). Of the two broad categories of inerrantists, the dispute is over limited inerrancy vs. unlimited inerrancy. Stated this way, the issue is whether inerrancy covers all matters on which the Bible speaks or whether is it limited to only redemptive matters. In succinct form, is the Bible inerrant only what it teaches, or it is also inerrant on whatever subject it touches? How do we determine which view is correct of inerrancy?

By What Standard?

Early Creeds

Unlike other important doctrines such as the Virgin Birth, the Deity of Christ, and the Trinity, the historic Christian Church in general has never given an official statement on the doctrine of Scripture. However, inerrancy was assumed from the beginning, and doctrines are based on it even in the earliest Creeds. For example, even the early form of the Apostles’ Creed (3rd cent.) confesses with authority many essential doctrines based on it, such as the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the death, resurrection, ascension and return of Jesus Christ. The Creed of Ephesus (A.D. 431) called the Bible “the divine scripture” and “apostolic writings” of “the holy writers of Christ.” The Creed of Constantinople (A.D. 381) declares these to be “in accordance with the Scriptures.” The Chalcedonian Creed (A.D. 451) speaks of “prophets from the beginning” who declared Christ as “the Creed of the holy fathers has handed down to us.”

Jesus’ View of Scripture

While neither Judaism nor Christianity bequeath an official statement on the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, our Lord clearly affirmed His view. The British Scholar John Wenham wrote a definitive work on it titled, Christ and the Bible (1972).[1] Jesus’ view can be summarized under the following points:

(1) The Scripture is imperishable: “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Mt. 7:18).

(2) It is “Divinely authoritative: Jesus said “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’”.

(3) It is Spirit inspired: “How is it that David by the Spirit calls him Lord…”(Mt. 22:43 cf. 2 Sam. 23:2).

(4) It is unbreakable: “If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken. . . .” (Jn. 10:35).

(5) It is without error: “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Mt. 22:29). “Your Word is truth” (Jn. 17:17).

(6) It is historically reliable: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Mt. 12:40). “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark” (Mt. 24:37-38).

7) It is scientifically accurate: “’Heaven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’” (Mt. 19:4-5).

(8) It is supremely authoritative: “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition’” (Mt. 15:3, 5).

Church Fathers

The great Teachers (Fathers) of the Christian Church, whose teachings were at the basis of the creeds, spoke of the Scriptures as the “Word of God,” “above all falsehood,” “perfect,” and “the ground and pillar” of our Faith.

Clement of Rome (A.D. 30-100) speaks of “that which is written” as what “the Holy Spirit saith.”[2] Of Psalm 34:1 he wrote, “The Holy Ghost thus addresses us.”[3] Also, “Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit.”[4]

Justin Martyr (A.D. 100-165) wrote: “When you hear the utterances of the prophets spoken as it were personally, you must not suppose that they are spoken by the inspired men themselves but by the divine Word who moves them.”[5] For “We must not suppose that the language proceeds from the men who are inspired, but from the divine Word which moves them.”[6] “To him [Moses] did God communicate that divine prophetic gift . . . and then after him to the rest of the prophets…who use nothing from their own human conception, but from the gift vouchsafed to them by God alone.”[7] For “the energy of the Divine Spirit . . . descending from heaven and using righteous men as instruments like a harp or lyre, [does this so He] might reveal to us a knowledge of things divine and heavenly.”[8] In short, “the Holy Spirit of prophecy taught us this, telling us by Moses that God spoke thus.”[9]

Irenaeus (2nd century) declared: “the Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God [Christ] and His Spirit.”[10] He added, “The Scriptures [are the] ground and pillar of our faith.”[11] And “the writings of those apostles . . . being the disciples of truth, are above all falsehood.”[12]The Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God and His Spirit.”[13]

Tertullian (A.D. 160-225). He declares that “this just and good God . . . Himself gave the law, and the prophets, and the Gospels, being also the God of the apostles and of the Old and New Testaments.”[14] So, we believe “the holy Scriptures to be no human compositions, but to be written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”[15]

Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150-215). He concludes from the “Scriptures” that we can “rest in the infallible criterion of faith” and “have chosen life and believe God through His voice” in Scripture.”[16] He even calls the Bible the “divine Scripture.”[17]

Medieval Fathers

The two great “bookends” of the Middle Ages spoke widely and explicitly about the full verbal inspiration and complete inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures. It is composed by writers who were used as the hands of Godwithout admitting the slightest suspicion that in them any mistake or any statement intended to mislead could find a place.”[18]

St. Augustine (A.D. 354-430)

St. Augustine wrote, “. . . When those disciples have written matters which He declared and spake to them, it ought not by any means to be said that He has written nothing Himself; since the truth is, that His members have accomplished only what they became acquainted with by the repeated [i.e., dictated, Lt. dictis] statements of the Head. For all that He was minded to give for our perusal on the subject of His own doings and sayings, He commanded to be written by those disciples, whom He thus used as if they were His own hands.”[19] This included every word, for “we conceive of all that has been recorded by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost [who] has placed, so to speak, the seeds of saving truth in each letter as far as possible.”[20]

Further, “This Mediator [Christ], first through the Prophets, then by His own lips, afterwards through the Apostles, revealed whatever He considered necessary. He also inspired the Scripture,which is regarded as canonical and of supreme authority and to which we give credence concerning all those truths we ought to know and yet, of ourselves, are unable to learn.”[21] “At the same time, as I have said already, it is to the canonical Scriptures alone that I am bound to yield such implicit subjection as to follow their teaching, without admitting the slightest suspicion that in them any mistake or any statement intended to mislead could find a place.”[22]

Of course, “In the innumerable books that have been written latterly we may sometimes find the same truth as in Scripture, but there is not the same authority. Scripture has a sacredness peculiar to itself…. But in consequence of the sacred writing, we are bound to receive as true whatever the canon shows to have been said by even one prophet, or apostle, or evangelist.”[23] Further, he adds, “The expression, ‘City of God,’ which I have been using is justified by the Scripture whose divine authority puts it above the literature of all other people and brings under its sway every type of human genius—and that, not by some casual intellectual reaction, but by a disposition of Divine Providence.”[24] Thus, “there is a distinct boundary line separating all productions subsequent to apostolic times from the authoritative canonical books of the Old and New Testaments.”[25]

Thus, “the confirmation of the universal and unquestionable truth of the Divine Scriptures, which have been delivered to us for our edification in the faith…but by the apostles, and have on this account been received as the authoritative canonical standard.”[26] So, in consequence of the distinctive peculiarity of the sacred writings, we are bound to receive as true whatever the canon shows to have been said by even one prophet, or apostle, or evangelist. Otherwise, not a single page will be left for the guidance of human fallibility.”[27]

The result is an inerrant Scripture for let us understand that there is the most perfect agreement in them, let us not follow the conceits of certain vain ones, who in their error think that the two Testaments in the Old and New Books are contrary to each other; that so we should think that there is any contradiction here.”[28]No part of the Bible contradicts any other part. For the utterances of Scripture, harmonious as if from the mouth of one man…”[29] Indeed,“the Bible has no more difficulties than nature. Whoever has once received these Scriptures as inspired by the Creator of the world, must expect to find in them all the difficulties which meet those who investigate the system of the universe.”[30]

Augustine said, For it seems to me that most disastrous consequences must follow upon our believing that anything false is found in the sacred books.”[31]For I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honor only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error.”[32]

And “if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the manuscript is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it.”[33] “For if you once admit into such a high sanctuary of authority one false statement as made in the way of duty, there will not be left a single sentence of those books which, if appearing to any one difficult in practice or hard to believe, may not by the same fatal rule be explained away, as a statement in which, intentionally, and under a sense of duty, the author declared what was not true.”[34]

The Bible is inerrant no less in historical and scientific matters, as it is in redemptive matters. For “This first man, then, who was formed from the dust of the earth or from slime (since the dust was moistened dust), this ‘dust of the earth,’ to use the exact expression of Scripture, became a living body when he received a soul, according to the Apostle’s words: ‘And this man became a living soul.’”[35] Thus, “the first of all marriages was that between the man made out of dust and his mate who had issued from his side. After that, the continuance and increase of the human race demanded births from the union of males and females, even though there were no other human beings except those born of the first two parents. That is why the men took their sisters.”[36] Next, He took a bone from the man’s side and made of it a mate to collaborate in procreation.”[37] Further, “Let no man then tell me that the motions of the heavenly bodies are times, because, when at the prayer of one the sun stood still in order that he might achieve his victorious battle, the sun stood still, but time went on. For in such space of time as was sufficient was that battle fought and ended.”[38]

Likewise, said Augustine,I am much surprised that he reckoned what was done with Jonah to be incredible; unless, perchance, he thinks it easier for a dead man to be raised in life from his sepulcher, than for a living man to be kept in life in the spacious belly of a sea monster.”[39]

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

Down through the Middle Ages, from Augustine to Aquinas, there was no significant change in the orthodox evangelical view of unlimited inerrancy. The Bible was considered inerrant on whatever topic it addressed, whether redemptive, historical, or scientific.

As a member of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), Aquinas was required not only to study Scripture but to expound it between one and four times a week. Thomistic scholar Angelus Walz notes that “Thomas, during his professorship, lectured principally on the Scriptures, since the Bible was the foundation of all theological teaching.”[40] This extensive study of the biblical text bore permanent fruit in his commentaries, which include Jeremiah and the Lamentations, The Commentary on Psalms, The Commentary on the Book of Job, The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, The Commentary on Saint John, The Commentary on the Epistles of Saint Paul, and his famous Catena Aurea (Golden Chain) in which “he glossed the four gospels by means of a continuous exposition taken from the sayings of the saints.”[41] Twenty-two Latin fathers and fifty-seven Greek fathers appear. Even critical scholars of Erasmus’ caliber had nothing but praise for it.

God as the Author of Scripture

Aquinas insists that “the author of holy Scripture is God.”[42] Thus “revelation is the basis of sacred Scripture or doctrine.”[43] For “holy Scripture looks at things in that they are divinely revealed.”[44] So it is in Holy Scripture, through which the divine will is declared to us.”[45] Citing 2 Timothy 3:16 (“All Scripture is inspired of God”), Aquinas refers to the Bible as “Divinely inspired Scripture.”[46] Humankind needs an infallible “divine revelation”; otherwise the truth about God would be apparent to only a few, and only then after a long time and mixed with many mistakes.”[47]

The Relation of the Divine and Human in Scripture

Like the Fathers before him, Aquinas sometimes speaks of the human authors of Scripture as the “instruments of divine operation.”[48] For “in prophetic revelation the prophet’s mind is moved by the Holy Spirit as a defective instrument by its principal cause.” Aquinas cites 2 Samuel 23:2 in support of his view: David says, “The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me.”[49] When God moves a human writer, an imperfect instrument can utter a perfect message, even to the very “words.”[50]This is possible because the perfect Principal or Primary Cause (God) works on the imperfect secondary cause (human authors). In popular language, God can draw a straight line with a crooked stick.

Unlike some of his predecessors, however, Aquinas does not view the human authors as mere instruments of God’s causality. Rather, they are secondary causes under the direct providential action of God, the Primary Cause. . . God disposes people and events so that they will communicate his Word precisely.[51] In this way the human characteristics of the prophets in no way depreciate the message they convey.” Rather, the message proceeds in harmony with such dispositions.”[52]

Aquinas illustrates the divine-human relation in prophecy by the model of teacher-learner: “Prophecy is a type of knowledge impressed on the prophets intellect from a divine revelation. This happens after the manner of education. Now the truth of knowledge is the same in both the student and the teacher since the student’s knowledge is a likeness of the teacher’s knowledge.”[53]

Rejecting the mechanical illustrations used by many of his predecessors (such as, God playing on a musical instrument), Aquinas provides new insight into the process of inspiration. Just as a teacher activates the potential of students for knowledge, so God (the Primary Cause) activates the potential of people (secondary causes)to know what God desires to reveal. Thus, prophets are not puppets or even secretaries but human learners. And, as a good teacher, God activates in prophets only what they have the potentiality to receive in terms of their capacities, culture, language, and literary forms.

The Use of Human Literary Forms

The divine origin of Scripture in no way diminishes its true humanity. Every word was written by human beings in human language reflecting their human culture. All the human traits of Scripture remain intact, including the use of various literary styles. For “Scripture conveys divine things to man in a style that men are wont to use.”[54] For “whatever images [figures of speech; Latin: dicendumare used to express the prophesied reality is a matter of indifference to prophecy.”[55]

So in the final analysis the words of Scripture are both wholly divine and wholly human. They are, to coin a term for Aquinas, theanthropic (God-man) words in Scripture. It is a co-authored book.

The Inerrancy of Scripture

In his commentary on Job, Aquinas goes so far as to declare that “it is heretical to say that any falsehood whatsoever is contained either in the gospels or in any canonical Scripture.”[56] He insists that “a true prophet is always inspired by the spirit of truth in whom there is no trace of falsehood, and so he never utters untruths.”[57] Pointedly, he declares that “nothing false can underlie the literal sense of Scripture.”[58] Therefore, “the truth of prophetic proclamations must needs be the same as that of divine knowledge. And falsity . . . cannot creep into prophecy.”[59] Agreeing with Augustine, Aquinas confesses of the books of Scripture, “I firmly believe that none of their authors have erred in composing them.”[60] And it refers to Scripture as “unfailing truth.” The Bible, then, is the infallible and inerrant Word of God.

In his commentary on John, Aquinas claims that “those who wrote the Scriptural canon, such as the Evangelists, Apostles and others like them, so firmly asserted the truth that they left nothing to be doubted.”[61] This is contrary to Neo-Evangelical Jack Rogers, who believe that only what is essential to faith is without error.[62]

Thomas believed that the Bible is not only true in all that it teaches but also in all that it touches. For things “incidentally or secondarily related to the object of faith are all the contents of Scripture handed down by God.”[63] As examples of things in the Bible not essential to faith, but nevertheless without error, Aquinas cites such things as the fact that Abraham had two sons and that a dead man rose when Elijah’s bones touched him.”[64]

The Superiority of the Bible

In a real sense Aquinas agreed with the later Protestant principle of sola Scriptura, that the Bible alone is the Word of God the totally sufficient norm for our faith and life. He declared: “We believe the prophets and apostles because the Lord has been their witness by performing miracles. . . . And we believe the successors of the apostles and the prophets only in so far as they tell us those things which the apostles and prophets have left in their writings.[65]

After insisting that the biblical writers “so firmly asserted the truth that they left nothing to be doubted” and that anyone who rejects it should be anathema,” Aquinas adds that “The reason for this is that only the canonical Scriptures are normative for faith. Whereas others who write about the truth do so in such a way that they do not want to be believed unless what they affirm is true.”[66] Agreeing with Augustine, Aquinas affirms that “only to those books or writings which are called canonical have I learnt to pay such honour that I firmly believe that none of their authors have erred in composing them.”[67]

The Reformers Held to Unlimited Inerrancy

The Reformers inherited their view of Scripture from the Church Fathers, a view of total or unlimited inerrancy. This is understandable since the Reformers were preoccupied primarily with Soteriology and Ecclesiology, not Bibliology.

Martin Luther (A.D. 1483-1546)

For Luther the Bible was the written Word of God. He wrote, “This exactly as it is with God. His word is so much like himself, that the godhead is wholly in it.”[68] Speaking of the Book of Genesis, Luther declared, “It must be, observed, however, that another one is the author of this book, namely, the Holy Ghost.”[69] He adds elsewhere, “He is called a prophet who has received his understanding directly from God without further intervention, into whose mouth the Holy Ghost has given the words [emphasis in original]. For He (the Spirit) is the source, and they have no other authority than God.”[70]So, we refer all of Scripture to the Holy Ghost.”[71] “We must know what we believe, namely what God’s Word says… You must rely on the Word of God alone.”[72] So, “The Scriptures, although they too are written by men, are neither of men nor from men but from God.”[73]

Luther adds, “I have learned to ascribe this honor (namely infallibility) only to the books which are termed canonical, so that I confidently believe that not one of their authors erred.”[74] Thus, “When one blasphemously gives a lie to God is a single word, or says it is a minor matter if God is blasphemed or called a liar, one blasphemes the entire God and makes light of all blasphemy.”[75] And “whoever is so bold that he ventures to accuse God of fraud and deception in a single word and so willfully again and again after he has been warned and instructed one or twice will likewise certainly venture to accuse God of fraud and deception in all His words. Therefore it is true absolutely and without exception, that everything is believed or nothing is believed.[76]

Luther, of course, believed in the human nature of Scripture, speaking of it as the “simply and lowly,” “swaddling clothes” (not dirty and soiled clothes) of the manger in which Christ was laid.[77] However, he did not believe either Christ or the Bible was errant. Indeed, Luther went so far as to say “Moses spoke literally not allegorically or figuratively, that is, the world and all its creatures was created within six days as the words declare.”[78]

John Calvin (A.D. 1509-1564)

John Calvin also followed the historic orthodox view of Augustine and Aquinas on unlimited inerrancy, claiming the Bible was the inspired and inerrant Word of God on whatever topic it addressed. Indeed, he went so far as to say that “We owe to Scripture the same reverence which we owe to God; because it has proceeded from Him alone, and has nothing belonging to man mixed with it. . . . The Law and the prophets are not a doctrine delivered according to the will and pleasure of me, but by dictated by the Holy Spirit.”[79]

Calvin insisted that Our faith in doctrine is not established until we have a perfect conviction that God is its authorHence, the highest proof of Scripture is uniformly taken from the character of him whose word it is.”[80] Hence, “…the full authority which they ought to possess with the faithful is not recognized, unless they are believed to have come from heaven, as directly as if God had been heard giving utterance to them . . .”[81] For the Bible is “…the composition of prophets, but dictated by the Holy Spirit.[82] For the writers of Scripture “. . . were sure and authentic amanuenses of the Holy Spirit; and therefore, their writings are to be regarded as the oracles of God . . .”[83] Hence “our wisdom ought to consist in embracing with gentle docility, and without any exceptions, all that is delivered in the sacred Scripture.”[84] In view of the above citations, and particularly the use of the word “dictated,” one can understand how some could mistakenly believe that Calvin held to the verbal dictation view of Scripture, but one thing is certain, namely, he held firmly that every word of Scripture is God’s inspired and inerrant Word on whatever topic it addresses. And it is as verbally and fully inspired, as if it were verbally dictated, but it was not. Calvin, like Augustine, did believe that only the original text is inerrant for admittedly some errors have “crept” into copies.[85]

Post-Reformation Creeds and Confessions

Formula of Concord (Lutheran 1576; Eng. 1584)

“We believe, confess, and teach that the only rule and norm, according to which all dogmas and all doctors ought to be esteemed and judged, is no other whatever than the prophetic and apostolic writings both of the Old and New Testament…. But other writings, whether of the fathers or of the moderns, with whatever name they come, are in nowise to be equalled to the Holy Scripture…. (I and II) “Third: that the Word of God is not false or deceiving” (VI, Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, Baker, 1983, p. 139, emphasis added in all these citations).

“In this way a clear distinction is retained between the sacred Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and all other writings; and Holy Scripture alone is acknowledged as thee [only] judge, norm, and rule, according to which, as the touchstone, all doctrines are to be examine and judged, as to whether they be godly or ungodly, true or false” (III).

Chapter I, sect I: Bible is “…necessary unto salvation” (600) and “for the better preservation and propagation of truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing which maketh the holy ” (600).

Chapter I, sect IV: “The authority of the holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the Author thereof; and therefore is to be received, because it is the Word of God”(602).

Chapter I, sect V: It speaks of “the Word of God” has having “entire perfection” and being “infallible truth” and “divine authority” (603).

Chapter I, VI: “The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequences may be deduced from Scripture” (603).

The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England (1571; Eng; revised 1801)

The Post-Reformation view on Scripture from Turretin (The Doctrine of Scripture), to B. B. Warfield and Charles Hodge (Inspiration, 1881) stood firmly in the orthodox tradition.[86] This has been documented in a Harvard dissertation by H. D. McDonald, Theories of Revelation: An Historical Study, 1700-1960).

B.B. Warfield and Charles Hodge summarize this post-reformation period well:

The Bible is the Word of God

“The New Testament writers continually assert of the Scriptures of the Old testament…that they ARE THE WORD OF GOD. What their writers said God said.”[87]

The Bible is Infallible

“. . . the line of inspired or not inspired, or infallible or fallible) can never rationally be drawn between the thoughts and words of Scripture.”[88]

Every element of Scripture, whether doctrine or history, of which God has guaranteed the infallibility, must be infallible in its verbal expression.”[89]

The Bible was Conveyed through Humans

Holy Scripture was the result of the co-operation, in various ways, of the agency of men and the agency of God.”[90]

Each sacred writer was by God specially formed, endowed, educated, [and] providentially conditioned…so that he , and he alone, could, and freely would, produce his allotted part.”[91]

The Bible is Verbally Inspired

“Verbal inspiration…does not hold that what sacred writers do not affirm is infallibly true, but only what they do affirm is infallibly true.”[92]

The Bible is Inerrant

“And throughout the whole of his work the Hold Spirit was present . . . securing the errorless expression in language of the thought designed by God.”[93]

“We do not assert that the common text, but only that the original autographic text, was inspired.”[94]

The Post-Darwinian View of Scripture

Of course many modern “liberal” scholars, particularly after Darwin (c. 1859), deviated from this historic orthodox view and adopted various forms of limited inspiration where in the authority of Scripture was limited to redemptive matters, excluding science and history. This was manifested before the turn of the century (in late 1800s) in the works of Charles Briggs (The Authority of Holy Scripture, 1891) and rejected by B.B. Warfield. Later, the doctrine of limited inspiration erupted at Fuller Seminary in the writings of Jack Rogers and Donald McKim (The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible, 1979) and was responded to definitively by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI) in the late 1970 and 1980s and by (John Woodbridge, Biblical Authority: A Critique of the Rogers/McKim Proposal, 1982). Also, professor John Hannah (Inerrancy and the Church, 1984) demonstrated that the unlimited inerrancy view, held by Warfield and ICBI, was the standard view down through the centuries.


Because of the confusion created by Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy particularly its interjection into evangelicalism, the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy was born. But just why should the ICBI statements on Scripture be used to determine what is meant by the term inerrancy? There are many reasons.

First, the ICBI statement stands in historic continuity with those of the great teachers of the Christian Church from the beginning up to and through the Reformation into modern times (see John Hannah, ed., Inerrancy and the Church). And it was one of unlimited inerrancy, as the ICBI framers acknowledged, saying, “Holy Scripture, being God’s own Wordis infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches” (“A Short Statement, 2” in CSBI).

Second, even though the ICBI statements neither claim nor possess creedal status, nonetheless, it is the most extensive statement on the topic of Scripture in the history of the church. It was the result of a ten year study, including some 300 evangelical scholars from various denominations and countries that produced three major summits and official statements on the topic.

Summit I (October 26-28, 1978). The ICBI Statement known as “The Chicago Statement” on Biblical Inerrancy (CSBI) was later accepted as a guide to understanding inerrancy by the largest group of evangelical scholars in the world, the 3000 member Evangelical Theological Society (2004). The Chicago Summit not only produced the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy but also an official ICBI Commentary on it (CCSBI).

Summit II (November 10-13, 1982) yielded the Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics (CSBH) and the official Commentary on it (CSBH).

Summit III (December 10-13, 1988) produced the official Statement on the application of inerrancy (CSBA) to major issues in the church today and a book on the topic (Kenneth Kantzer, Applying Scriptures, 1987).

Third, the work of ICBI was examined and expounded on by numerous scholars and published in many books under the auspices of the ICBI during this period. These include Inerrancy (Zondervan, 1979), Biblical Errancy: An Examination of Its Philosophical Roots (Zondervan, 2004), Hermeneutics, Inerrancy, and the Bible (Academie Books, 1984), Applying Inerrancy (Academie Books, 1987) and Inerrancy and the Church (Moody, 2004).

ICBI supporting scholars produced notable books on the topic, some even before ICBI began. See J. I. Packer, “Fundamentalism” and the Word of God, 1959; James Boice, Does Inerrancy Matter?, 1977; Roger Nicole, Inerrancy and Common Sense, 1980; Rush Bush and Tom Nettles, Baptist and the Bible, 1980; John Woodbridge, Biblical Authority, 1982; H. D. McDonald, Theories of Revelation: An Historical Study, 1700-1900, 1979; Gleason Archer, An Encyclopedia of Biblical Difficulties, 1982; Gordon R. Lewis and Bruce Demarest, Challenges to Inerrancy: A Theological Response, 1984; G. K. Beale, The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism, 2008; Norman Geisler and William Roach, Defending Inerrancy, 2011; William Roach, Hermeneutics as Epistemology, 2015.

Major Misunderstandings of the ICBI Statements

However, despite the ten year all-out effort to define inerrancy by ICBI, some biblical writers (many of whom had not read the official commentaries and other ICBI books on inerrancy) have claimed ICBI support of their anti-ICBI views on inerrancy. For framers and eyewitnesses of the events, several misunderstandings about the ICBI view of inerrancy stand out. First, there is a misunderstanding of Article XIII of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978).

Misunderstanding of the Concept of Truth in Article XIII

Article XIII reads in part: “We deny that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage and Purpose” (CSBI, Article XIII).

This Article is sometimes used by limited inerrantists to deny the correspondence view of truth and defend an intentionalist view. According to a correspondence view an error is a mistake, something that does not correspond to the facts. But according to the intentionalist view of truth, an error is what misleads. Thus, a statement could be mistaken (factually incorrect) but not false, as long as it did not intentionally mislead anyone. Hence, the Bible could have factually incorrect statements but still be true, as long as it fulfills the intent of the author (say, to glorify God who ordained it). As Clark Pinnock illustrated it, “If it could be shown that the Chronicler inflates some of the numbers he uses for his didactic purpose, he would be completely within his rights and not at variance with inerrancy.”[95] So, the Bible will seem reliable enough in terms of its soteric [saving] purpose.”[96]

ICBI Response: However, in its official commentary on this Article (XIII), ICBI emphatically rejects this misinterpretation, declaring, “‘By biblical standards of truth and error’ is meant the view used both in the Bible and in everyday life, viz, a correspondence view of truth” (CCSBI, comments on Article 13). Further, “When we say that the truthfulness of Scripture ought to be evaluated according to its own standard, that means that…all the claims of the Bible must correspond with reality,whether the reality is historical, factual, or spiritual” (ibid., 41). So, contrary to the intentionlist view of truth, a mistake is an error, even if the intentions in saying it were good. So, “a statement is true if it represents matters as they actually are, but it is an error if it misrepresents the facts” (CCSBI, Article 6). Thus, one may reject a correspondence view of truth, but in so doing he is rejecting the view expressed by the ICBI framers of the “Chicago Statement” (CSBI).

Misunderstanding Genre to Allow for Contradiction

A second area of misunderstanding of the ICBI view is that Gospel genre allows for legends. Robert Gundry held that Jewish Midrash influences the Gospel of Matthew which allowed for events contrary to facts (e.g., the visit of the Magi—Matthew 2) in the Gospel of Matthew.[97]

Also, using Greco-Roman genre to interpret the Gospels, Mike Licona, allows for the possibility of both legend (See Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus[98]) and contradictions in the Gospels. Indeed, he admits that the Gospels are “a flexible genre [in which] it is often difficult to determine where history ends and legend begins.”[99] The legend category includes events like the existence of angels after the resurrection,[100] the resurrection of the saints after Jesus’ resurrection (Mt. 27:51-53), and the day on which Jesus was crucified. See his Debate with Bart Ehrman at Southern Evangelical Seminary (Spring 2009). On this later event he believes that Matthew represents Jesus as being crucified on Friday, but John claims that it was on Thursday.[101] Licona explains, “I think that John probably altered the day [of Jesus’s crucifixion] in order for a theological—to make a theological point there.”

A Response to the View that Genre Allows Legends

Robert Gundry was asked to resign from the Evangelical Theological Society for his Midrash view (1983) by an overwhelming 74% vote. Some who were not present have attempted to minimize this decision by distorting the proceedings and their result. But the entire process took two years, involving a vigorous scholarly debate at two annual conferences and eight articles in The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (1983).

Misuse of Statistics to Undermine Robert Gundry’s Dismissal from ETS

Professor Robert Gundry of Westmont College was asked to resign from the Evangelical Theological Society (in 1983) for his Midrash views on Matthew by an overwhelming 74% vote. He had denied the historicity of certain passages in Matthew, such as the visit of the Wise Men (Mt. 2). Currently, those of us who were present and active in the meeting find it strange that some who were not present have attempted to minimize this decision by distorting the proceedings and their result, claiming there were hundreds whose votes were excluded. However, this is wrongly based on using a misleading figure of all ETS members, even those who were not present which totaled some 1698. But this wrongly counts all ETS members, present and not present, those qualified to vote and those who were not. The fact is that the members who were present, and qualified to vote recorded a super-majority of 74% against Gundry’s view.

Further, the attempt to overturn the importance of the Gundry vote overlooks the fact that the entire process took two years, involving a vigorous scholarly debate at two annual conferences and eight articles in The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (1983). The official vote was taken after years of fully airing the issue. As reported by Christianity Today, the vote was “116 to 36.” As for due process, the meetings were properly announced in advance, and everyone was freely allowed to express their feelings on the issue. Hence, it is strange that some have mistakenly posited hundreds of abstainers in an attempt to defend Gundry by assuming they would have voted in defense of his view. However, the ETS minutes say there were only 310 persons registered for the meeting, and the total who voted was 152. But since a large portion of registrants were not qualified to vote (since they were not full members of ETS), this leaves only a small fraction who could have been abstainers—probably fifty or less. At any rate, the actual official vote was an overwhelming 74% to ask for Gundry’s resignation. Ironically, even Robert Gundry seemed to express his satisfaction with the process, saying in part, “I congratulate the society on its concern for doctrinal purity and its opposition to a tolerance that leads to syncretism. And I urge those who have supported me to stay in the society” (reported by the editor of Christianity Today).[102] Indeed, at an ICBI event, sometime before the ETS vote, Gundry had personally encouraged me not to be afraid to press the issue on the orthodoxy of his view, insisting that “I (Gundry) have thick skin.”

By comparison, Mike Licona (in The Resurrection of Jesus) holds a similar view to Gundry’s, only it is Greco-Roman genre, not Hebrew Midrash, that is used to cast doubt on the historicity of part of the Gospel text. Therefore, by extension, it would appear that the same ETS voters who opposed Gundry’s view would have excluded Licona from ETS as well.

ICBI View on Use of Extra-Biblical Genre

While the ICBI document spoke favorably of “taking account of its literary forms and devices” in interpreting the Bible (CSBI, Article XVIII), it made two important distinction: First, such genre should not be used to “dehistoricize” biblical narratives. Indeed, they declared at the end of their Summit: “We deny the legitimacy of any treatment of the text or quest behind it that leads to relativizing, dehistoricizing, or discounting its teaching, or rejecting its claim to authorship” (CSBI, article XVIII, emphasis added in these citations).

Second, the genre the ICBI framers spoke of was internal to the Bible (like, parables, poetry, and symbols), not external. Indeed, they insisted the “Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historical exegesis . . . and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture” (ibid.). Indeed, they said emphatically, “We deny that generic categories which negate historicity may rightly be imposed on biblical narratives which present themselves as factual” (ibid., Article XIII).

Also, the official ICBI commentary on this article declares that “The Denial is directed at an illegitimate us of genre criticism by some who deny the truth of passages which are presented as factual.” It adds, “Some, for instance, take Adam to be a myth, whereas in scripture he is presented as a real person. Others take Jonah to be an allegory when he is presented as a historical person and so referred to by Christ (Mt. 12:40-42). This denial is an appropriate and timely warning not to use genre criticism as a cloak for rejecting the truth of Scripture” (CCSBI, Article XIII).

A Response to the Neo-Evangelical View Allowing Gene to Accept Contradiction

ICBI did refer to the legitimate use of literary forms in understanding of genre in the interpretation of a text (CSBI Article XVIII). Nonetheless, it opposed the misuse of genre to deny the historicity of biblical narratives or in allowing contradictions. For example, following Aristotle, some limited inerrantists have misclassified historical narratives as poetry and applied Aristotle’s statement about allowing for contradictions to it.[103] However, in response, several crucial points should be made.

First, the application Aristotle’s statement to the Gospel is in serious doubt since (a) it assumes the Gospel genre narratives include poetry, and (b) even Aristotle said of poetry that “the description should be, if it can, entirely free from error.”[104] Nonetheless, Robert Gundry, allowed for contradictions in the Gospels. However, to the contrary, ICBI declared: “We affirm the unity and internal consistency of Scripture” (ibid., Article XIV).

Second, allowing contradictions in the Gospels is condemned by the Church Fathers. St. Augustine wrote, No part of the Bible contradicts any other part. For the utterances of Scripture, harmonious as if from the mouth of one man….[105]

Third, however, the ICBI statements also defended the non-contradictionary nature of Scripture. For example, they declare: “We affirm the unity an internal consistency of Scripture” (CSBI, Article XIV). Further, “We deny that later revelation…ever corrects of contradicts it [earlier revelation]” (CSBI, Article V). Again, “We affirm the unity, harmony, and consistency of Scripture…” (CSBH, Article XVII). Also, “We affirm that since God is the author of all truth, all truths, biblical and extra-biblical, are consistent and cohere…” (CSBH, Article XX).

Fourth, the Law if Non-Contradiction, which applies to all thought, is undeniable. For every attempt to deny it uses it in the very denial. For example, to claim all thought is not consistent and non-contradictory offers itself as a consistent and non-contradictory thought.

Fifth, those who allow contradiction in the Bible do so by rejecting the literal historical-grammatical interpretation of the narrative on the faulty assumption that it is poetry, not history. They misconstrue Aristotle to this end, but he never allowed for contradictions in any narratives and even discouraged it in poetry (see discussion above).

Sixth, whatever else may be said of the view that allows contradictions and legends in Scripture, it is beyond all reasonable doubt that every living framer of the ICBI statements (of which are three) has declared Mike Licona’s view contrary to the ICBI statements:

J. I. Packer wrote:“As a framer of the ICBI statement on biblical inerrancy and once studied Greco-Roman literature at advanced level, I judge Mike Licona’s view that, because the Gospels are semi-biographical, details of their narratives may be regarded as legendary and factually erroneous, to be both academically and theologically unsound” (Letter May 8, 2014).

R. C. Sproul wrote: “As the former and only president of ICBI during its tenure and as the original framer of the Affirmations and Denials of the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy, I can say categorically that Mr. Michael Licona’s views are not even remotely compatible with the unified Statement of ICBI” (LetterMay 22, 2012).

Norman L. Geisler: As general editor of the ICBI books and a framer of its doctrinal statements, I can say unequivocally that Mike Licona’s Greco-Roman Genre views, like Robert Gundry’s Hebrew Midrash views (for which he was asked to resign from ETS) are clearly incompatible with ICBI statements on inerrancy (January 2, 2016).

Responding to Other Limited Inerrancy Beliefs

As we have seen unlimited inerrancy has been the standard view down through the centuries of orthodox Christianity. Alternative views, such as Liberalism, Neo-Orthodoxy, and Neo-Evangelicalism which deny the traditional view on inerrancy, in one way or another, have been rejected as an unorthodox view of Scripture.

The Peripheral View

A limited inerrancy view that is popular among some evangelicals is the Peripheral View. It argues that inerrancy is just a peripheral issue, and not all peripheral issue are without error. For example, that Jesus died is an important matter, but the day on which he died is not. Or, that Jesus rose is important (and, so, inerrant), but the record that claims there were angels at the empty tomb announcing the resurrection is not without error.

Response: There are some serious flaws in this “Peripheral View.” First, there is no clear, objective way to determine what is a peripheral issue in the Gospels and what is not. Even Licona admitted that the Gospels are “a flexible genre [in which] it is often difficult to determine where history ends end legends begins.”[106]

Second, the Peripheral view does not provide and objective criteria for determining what is essential and what is peripheral.

Third, admitting error in allegedly “non-essentials” tends to undermine confidence in essential issues. Even Jesus said, “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things” (Jn. 3:12). In brief, if we can’t trust the Bible on empirical affirmations which can be tested, then how can we trust it on spiritual matters that cannot be empirically verified?

Fourth, since the whole Bible claims to be the Word of God, then nothing is really peripheral—every word of every passage in God-inspired (2 Tim. 3:16). All Scripture is “God-Breathed” Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16), and God cannot breathe anything false out of his mouth (Mt. 4:4). In short, the God of absolute truth cannot error on any topic he addresses. So, to deny any part of God’s word is a serious matter. Remember, Luther said, “So, we refer all of Scripture to the Holy Ghost.”[107] “We must know what we believe, namely what God’s Word says. . . . You must rely on the Word of God alone.”[108] Thus, “When one blasphemously gives a lie to God ina single word, or says it is a minor matter if God is blasphemed or called a liar, one blasphemes the entire God and makes light of all blasphemy.”[109]

As Aquinas stated, the Bible is not only true in all that it teaches but also in all that it touches. For things “incidentally or secondarily related to the object of faith are all the contents of Scripture handed down by God.”[110]

Further, in his commentary on Job, Aquinas declared that “it is heretical to say that any falsehood whatsoever is contained either in the gospels or in any canonical Scripture.”[112]

The “Poetical History” View

Some contemporary evangelicals have adopted a so-called “poetical history” view to interpret passages like early Genesis, Job, and Jonah. In this way they wish to allow for the historicity of the biblical characters but not all the descriptions of them in the biblical text.

Response: First of all, the poetic history view is contrary to historical-grammatical hermeneutic of the ICBI (see CSBI, XVIII). The sensus literalis demands a literal sense of biblical narratives. The poetic sense given to these crucial biblical narratives, like Adam and Eve, is contrary to the historical-grammatical interpretation of these biblical texts (cf. Gen. 5:12-14). The same literal hermeneutic supports both a literal Adam and Eve and Devil (cf. 2 Cor. 11:3).

Second, with the exception of a few unorthodox theologians (like Origen), down through the centuries, there has been no allegorizing of the literal meaning of these passages. On the contrary, the history of interpretation of the Christian Church overwhelmingly supports the traditional literal view.

Third, in many places there is no objective hermeneutical way to determine from the biblical text itself where the literal ends and the non-literal begins. Was Satan real but not in the literal serpent? Was he literally consigned to crawl on his belly? Did Adam eat literal fruit from a literal tree? Judging by the inspired New Testament interpretation of Old Testament events, it would appear that there was a literal serpent who literally tempted Eve (cf. 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:13-14).

Fourth, the concept of “poetical history” is really an oxymoron. It is a contradiction in terms. Poetry is not history and history is not poetry. The events in Eden can’t be both literal and a non-literal. For example, either a great fish literally swallowed a literal person named Jonah or else he did not (Jon. 1:17). Either a literal Adam ate a literal piece of fruit from a literal tree or else he did not. Either there was a literal Serpent in the Garden of Eden or there was not.

Fifth, of course, the historical-grammatical interpretation allows for figures of speech about literal persons without denying their literalness). For example, a literal Devil is not denied by using figures of speech about him, such as, being in locks and chains (Rev. 20:1-4). And no contradiction is involved by the Devil speaking through a literal serpent (Gen 3). After all, God spoke through a donkey to Balaam (Num. 22).

The Inerrancy of Intent or Purpose View

As noted above some have rejected the correspondence view of truth for an intentionalist view. They insist that only the intention (or purpose) of the biblical author is without error, not actually what he said. For example, Kevin Vanhoozer claims that what Joshua said to the sun (viz., “stand still”) is not without error, but why he said it is (viz., namely to confirm God’s covenant relation to Israel).[113] So, the true meaning of Scripture is found in the purpose or intention of the author.

Response: First, we must distinguish between unexpressed intention and expressed intention. There is no way in a given text to know unexpressed intention (since the author has not expressed it), and expressed intention is found in the text (not behind it or beyond it).

Second, there is a difference between what is meant (the meaning) and the purpose of the statement. The meaning (what) of an invitation to lunch (e.g., “Be my guest for lunch today”) is the same, whether the purpose (why) is to fire you or give you a raise. The significance is different, but the meaning of the sentence giving the invitation is the same.

Third, the meaning is not determined by the purpose of the text. For instance, the meaning of “You shall not boil a young goat in its mothers milk” (Ex. 23:19 ESV) is clear, even if one does not know the purpose of the statement. Indeed, commentators differ widely on its purpose, but they agree almost universally on its meaning.

Fourth, most of the time we know the meaning of a sentence without knowing the author’s purpose. But if purpose determined meaning, then most of the time we would not know the meaning of a statement (whether inside or outside of the Bible). So, the intentionalist view of meaning leaves us guessing much of the time. Whereas, if we just took the normal historical-grammatical meaning of the terms we could know what is meant without needing to know the purpose for which it was said.

Fifth, when being left for a search for the purpose behind the text, rather than the meaning in the text (understood in its context), it is hermeneutically fatal to seek some meaning or genre (whether Midrash, Greco-Roman, or whatever) to be hermeneutically determinative of the meaning of the text. For example, one should not use what the Greeks did with alleged contradictions in a text to determine what a Bible expositor should do with it. Just because the Greeks or non-Greeks allowed for a contradiction in their bios genre, does not mean that this is legitimate for a Bible interpreter to do so. In fact, since the Bible is without error, one should seek a reconciliation for the alleged contradiction.

Sixth, in his address to the ICBI framers and signers, Dr. Carl F. H. Henry spoke against the abuse of the “authorial intention” view. He warned that “Some now even introduce authorial intention orthe cultural context of language as specious rationalizations for their crime against the Bible, much as some rapist might assure me that he is assaulting my wife for my own good. They misuse Scripture in order to champion as biblically true what in fact does violence to Scripture.”[114]

Summary and Conclusion

Despite minor differences, there has been an essentially unified view by evangelicals on inerrancy down through the centuries and into modern times. It is the view that the Bible is wholly true on whatever topic it addresses, whether redemptive, historical, or scientific which is called unlimited inerrancy. It is neither misleading nor mistaken since truth is what corresponds to the facts, and error is what does not correspond to the facts.

The most extensive statements on biblical inerrancy was made by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI) between 1978 and 1988. These three summits and numerous books produced stand in continuity with the historic view of orthodox Christianity and represents the most widely accepted view of inerrancy in contemporary Christianity.

While other views on inerrancy, such as limited inerrancy, are possible and are even held by some evangelical scholars, they are not in continuity with the historic view of unlimited inerrancy nor with that of the ICBI

In all honesty these other views should distinguish themselves from the ICBI view and not use it as a vehicle of conveying a view that is contrary to the one framed by the ICBI founders.

The largest group of evangelical scholars who embrace the ICBI view is The Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) which has some 3,000 members. They voted in 2004 with 80% in favor that: “For the purposes of advising members regarding the intent and meaning of the reference to biblical inerrancy in the ETS Doctrinal Basis, the Society refers members to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978).”

The largest internet representative of an ICBI type view is found at www.defendinginerrancy.com which has collected nearly 50,000 signatures supporting an unlimited inerrancy statement, including Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, Ravi Zacharias, and numerous other Christian leaders, teachers, and presidents of many seminaries. While ICBI as an organization dissolved after fulfilling its ten year plan, www.defendinginerrancy.com, this and many other organizations, and even whole large denominations (like the Southern Baptist Convention) carry the ICBI banner.

  1. John Wenham, Christ and the Bible (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press), 1972.
  2. First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, 13, emphasis added in these quotations.
  3. Ibid., 22.
  4. Ibid., 45.
  5. First Apology 36, emphasis added in these quotations.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Justin’s Hortatory Oration to the Greeks, 8.
  8. Ibid., 8.
  9. Ibid., 44.
  10. Against Heresies 2.28.2.
  11. ibid. 3.1.1.
  12. Ibid., 3.5.1.
  13. Ibid. 2.28.2.
  14. De Principiis preface, 4.
  15. Ibid., 4.1.9.
  16. Stromata 2.4.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Letters 82.1.3.
  19. Harmony of the Gospels 1.35.54.
  20. Commentary on Psalms 1.4.
  21. City of God 11.3.
  22. Letters 82.1.3.
  23. Reply to Faustus the Manichaean 11.5.
  24. City of God 11.1.
  25. Reply to Faustus the Manichaean 11.5.
  26. Letters 82.2.
  27. Reply to Faustus the Manichaean 11.5.
  28. Sermons on New Testament Lessons 32.8.
  29. Reply to Faustus the Manichaean 11.6
  30. Commentary on Psalms 1.4.
  31. Letters 23.3.3.
  32. Ibid., 82.1.3.
  33. Ibid.,82.3.
  34. Ibid., 23.3.3.
  35. City of God 13.24.
  36. Ibid.,15.16.
  37. Ibid.,12.24.
  38. Confessions 11.23.
  39. Letters 102.31.
  40. Angelus Walz, Saint Thomas Aquinas (Westminster: Newman, 1951), 73, emphasis added.
  41. M. D. Chenu, Toward Understanding Saint Thomas (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1964), 248.
  42. Summa Theologica 1a.1, 10, emphasis added in these quotations.
  43. Ibid., 1a.1, 2 ad 2.
  44. Ibid., 1a.1, 3.
  45. Ibid. 3a1, 3.
  46. Ibid. 1a.1, 1.
  47. Ibid.
  48. Summa Theologica 2adae.174, 4 ad 1.
  49. Ibid., 2a2ae. 173, 4.
  50. Ibid.
  51. Summa Theologica 2a2ae, 172, 3.
  52. De veritate 12, 4, ad 1; Summa Theologica 2a2ae, 172, 3.
  53. Suma theologica 2a2ae. 171, 6.
  54. Commentary on Hebrews, I, lect. 4.
  55. Summa theologica 2a2ae. 172, 3, ad 1.
  56. Commentary on the Book of Job 13, lect. 1.
  57. Summa Theologica 2a2ae. 172, 6, ad 2.
  58. Ibid., 1a. 1, 10, ad 3.
  59. Ibid. 1a. 14.3.
  60. Ibid., 1a 1, 8.
  61. Commentary on John 21, lect. 6.
  62. Jack B. Rogers and Donald K. McKim, The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible(New York: Harper & Row, 1979).
  63. Summa theologica, 2a2ae. 2, 5.
  64. Ibid. 2a2ae 1, 6, ad 1.
  65. De veritate XIV, 10, ad 11.
  66. Commentary on John 21, lect. 3.
  67. Summa Theologica 1a. 1, 8.
  68. J. Pelikan and H. T. Lehman, eds., Luther’s Works (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg and Fortress, 1960), 52:46.
  69. M. Rue, Luther and the Scriptures (Columbus: Wartburg, 1944), 35.
  70. Ibid.
  71. Ibid., 36-37.
  72. Luther’s Works, 30:105.
  73. Ibid., 35:153.
  74. Reu, The Scriptures, 17.
  75. Ibid.,37:26.
  76. Reu, The Scriptures, 33, emphasis in original.
  77. Luther’s Works, 35:236.
  78. Reu, The Scriptures, 51.
  79. John Urquhart, Inspiration and Accuracy of the Holy Scriptures (London: Marshall, 1895), 129-130.
  80. Calvin, Institutes, 1.7.4.
  81. Ibid., 1.7.1.
  82. Ibid.,
  83. Ibid.,
  84. Ibid., 1.18.9.
  85. Calvin, Commentaries Matt. 27:9.
  86. Ed. Philip Schaff , The Creeds of Christendom, sixth ed. (Baker Book House, 1983).
  87. B. B. Warfield, Inspiration (1881 reprint ed., Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979), 29.
  88. Ibid., 22-23.
  89. Ibid, 36.
  90. Ibid., 12.
  91. Ibid., 14-15.
  92. Ibid., 80, emphasis in original.
  93. Warfield, Inspiration, 17.
  94. Ibid., 42.
  95. Clark Pinnock, The Scripture Principle (Harper & Row, 1984), 78.
  96. Ibid., 104-105.
  97. See Robert H. Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art (Eerdmands, 1982), 27, 31.
  98. Michael R. Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus (Downers Grove, InterVaristy Press, 2010), 552-553, 34.
  99. Ibid., 34, n 24.
  100. Ibid. 185-186.
  101. Critic Bart Ehrman wrote: “Maybe when Mark says that Jesus was crucified the day after the Passover was eaten (Mark 14:12; 15:25) and John says he died the day before it was eaten (John 19:14)—maybe that is a genuine difference,” that is, a real contradiction (Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus, 9). In a debate with Ehrman at Southern Evangelical Seminary (Spring 2009), Licona said, “I think that John probably altered the day [of Jesus’s crucifixion] in order for a theological—to make a theological point there.”
  102. See “Evangelical scholars Remove Robert Gundry for His Views on Matthew” by Leslie R. Keylock, reprinted in Christianity Today, November 1, 2003).
  103. Aristotle, Poetics, chap. 25, 1483-1484.
  104. Ibid., 1484.
  105. Reply to Faustus the Manichaean 11.6.
  106. Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus, 34, n 24.
  107. M. Rue, Luther and the Scriptures, 36-37.
  108. Luther’s Works, 30:105.
  109. Ibid., 37:26.
  110. Summa Theologica, 2a2ae. 2, 5.
  111. Commentary on the Book of Job, 13, lect. 1.
  112. Ibid.
  113. Kevin Vanhoozer, “Lost In Interpretation? Truth, Scripture, and Hermeneutics,”Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 48/1 (March 2005): 106.
  114. Carl Henry, Appendix D: “The Bible and the Conscience of our Age” in Earl Radmacher, Hermeneutics, Inerrancy and the Bible(Zondervan, 1984), 917, emphasis added.