Is the Bible inerrant?
Quick Answer: Is the Bible inerrant? The Bible is inerrant in the original manuscripts. Still, something is always lost as the original languages are translated into new target languages. This is unavoidable. Despite minor variations in expressing things among translations and Bible versions, the most important thing is that the Gospel message itself remains crystal clear.
Diving Deeper: The Bible is inerrant in its original language, yet we cannot make this same claim about modern translations for two reasons. First, we do not have the original manuscripts. These were written on fragile materials that likely did not stand the test of time. Second, whenever a document is translated from the source (original) language into a new receptor (target) language, there is always something lost in translation.
This is why we have so many Bible translations. Scholars get together, usually funded by publishers or universities, and discuss how to best translate words or phrases within the early Hebrew and Greek manuscripts we possess today. So, the Bible is inerrant in its original form, but it would be a mistake to call a modern translation inerrant.
You may be thinking, “Okay, if this is the case, then how do we know we can trust the Bible?” This is a great question, and there are solid answers. In addition to providing robust translations of the Bible, scholars can trace the development of Scripture with surprising detail. For example, almost the entirety of the Bible is quoted, in one form or another, throughout church history even before the 5th century A.D. Therefore, we can look at quotations from ancient history and compare them to our manuscripts and translations. What we discover is that there’s a high degree of commonality between these older writings and what we have today. This is not the same as possessing the original manuscripts, but it does reveal that very little has been lost over time and through translation.
Let’s Make It a Conversation!
1. What does it mean to say the Bible is inerrant?
2. Do you believe the Bible is without error in the original manuscripts? Why or why not?
3. What are some inherent problems with translating the Bible into new languages?
4. Should these issues impact the confidence we have in the Bible?