As we look at this topic, there are many people who write on the internet, their thoughts about inerrancy and infallibility. One statement in those ‘articles’ caught our eye. It is repeated in different forms on different web sites so we will provide two links for the words we are about to quote:
It should be noted that the doctrine of infallibility concerns only the original documents. (source 1 & source 2)
This opens up a slippery slope that is filled with questions. The number one question would be who gave that information to the scholars and other researchers? Or what legitimate authority provides this information?
These questions need to be answered for if they are the results of someone’s personal, educated opinion, then a lot of problems rise out of this debate. We have known this answer for many years but we have doubts about it because of the effect it would have on the church and believers today if this statement or belief is true.
One of the first problems that arise is which parts of the Bible are infallible and which are not? Which are inerrant and which are not? Immediately after asking those questions comes the next important one that needs to be answered- who gets to choose which parts are infallible and inerrant and which ones are not?
If you look at the Bible, you will find that no man, past or present, was given authority over the Bible or its content. Neither God nor Jesus abdicated their ownership of their words. Science and scientists do not have the authority because that field of research, all of its parts, are run by deceived and blind people.
Whatever science says has to be discarded as their words do not come from God. Unfortunately, many Christian scientists are not really Christian or have accepted too much of the secular science’s theories and ideology that they are disqualified from being an authority over God’s word.
They do not believe God anymore so what they say comes from evil and not from God either. There really is no one who is holy enough to be an authority and if they were, they would not sin nor have the audacity to make such claims, partitions, and exclusions.
That is because they would be walking with God and know the truth. All of the Bible is inerrant and infallible. Then we need to look at what God promised to do:
Jesus also said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33).
Jesus was not the only person in the Bible that has related this promise to use:
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
Why would God preserve errant and fallible material? That would reflect badly on him for a number of reasons. Yes, throughout history we have had men and organizations put their own twists to the Bible, Marcion and Thomas Jefferson are two of the more famous ones.
The Jehovah Witnesses and other cults are the organizations that have done the same thing. These efforts do not mean that God did not keep his word and that we do not have the infallible and inerrant word of God today.
We just have to follow the Holy Spirit to find those versions to make sure all Christians and the entire world have the words of God. Those originals were around a lot longer than some people suspect.
In his class called The Reliability of New Testament Manuscripts, Dr. Craig Evans has this to say:
Well, in a recent study published in 2009, there was an analysis of 53 libraries from antiquity that have been recovered intact. And what I mean by that is, the entire library: the actual literature itself—the various books—as well as supporting documentation, private letters, and things like that. The entire collection was dumped at the same time. So when scholars were sifting through the dry sands of Egypt, or whatever the location is, all of these books were found together.
Of course, this is wonderful, because the books then can be studied together. We not only have copies of literature, but we have letters that have dates on them. We have correspondence talking about the books—requests that a new one be copied, or a request that one that had been loaned out be returned, and so forth. And so this kind of information has enabled scholars to reconstruct the history of the library, as it were.
Now, I’m talking about 53 libraries—not archives, business papers, and that sort of thing, but libraries, [consisting] of literature. The smallest library that’s been analyzed had 12 books in it, and some of the largest have close to 1,000 books. Many of these libraries that were found intact were recovered from the dry sands of Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, where about a half million texts were recovered from 1896 on into the 20th century, when the digging finally came to an end.
The Answer for the Longevity Question
What we’ve learned is that these libraries contained books that were in use, before being retired or discarded—were in use anywhere from 150 years to 500 years. It was noticed that most of these books fell in the 200- to 300-year range before being retired or discarded or thrown out. This has enormous implications for our understanding of the NT manuscripts and [for] our question: How long were they used? What was their longevity before they were retired or thrown out?
Implications for the New Testament Manuscripts
This would mean that the original Matthew—written in 75, let us suppose—could possibly still have been in circulation as late as AD 225. This is extraordinary. In other words, when P45, which I mentioned briefly in the previous lecture—when Papyrus 45, which contains chunks, about half or so of the four NT Gospels—when that scribe put pen to paper and composed that, sometime around AD 210 or 220, the original Matthew and the original Mark and Luke and John could still have been in circulation, being copied, influencing the text of the NT.
Evans, C. A. (2014). NT308 The Reliability of New Testament Manuscripts. Lexham Press.
Dr. Evans is leaning to the conservative side of things and the possibility that the original manuscripts lasting for 500 years are very real. In other words, we do not have copies of copies of copies and copies as Bart Ehrman has stated many times over.
We will link to Dr. Ehrman’s blog which we have known about for many years as well. He posts a longish article on this topic and has said the same thing in his books. His article and biblical stance are not based on reality. It is based on the idea that God did not keep his promise.
Yet we know that God kept his promise because the so-called errors etc., found in the Bible do not change one thing in the text. Dr. Ehrman places the number of those errors in the NT alone at 400,000 but there are only 130,000 words in the NT (source)
It is said that there are 4 types of errors found in the Bible and you can read about them at this link. There are many reasons for those errors but not one of them denies the fact that God kept his promise. People make mistakes and if you go to that last website, you will see the explanations as well as more information to shore up your faith in God’s word.
Textual criticism and its failings is a topic for another day. What people call errors are not really errors but more of an attempt to justify their decision to reject Christ and the Bible. If they can destroy peoples’ faith in the Bible, then they can destroy the faith of the believer and keep them from winning souls.
That is one reason why the ‘Battle for the Bible’ is still going on even 40+ years after the book was first published. If you listen to people who were once believers, then turned away from the faith, you will end up in trouble and possibly lose your faith.
That is one reason God said to not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. They just do not have the truth and they are being used by evil to kill the faith in those who still believe in God and Jesus and believe the Bible.
God would not leave us without his infallible and inerrant words. The best English versions to find those words would be the original NASB, the original NIV, the KJV, and the NKJV. We are not fans of the many translations and versions that have come after those 4 versions.
We have God’s word today and you can trust it no matter what unbelievers and secular science claim.
There are people who lie about us and refuse to acknowledge the truth. Not only have we known about Dr. Bart Ehrman’s website we have also read his books. This link is just one in which we have written about his books’ content.
We also have many of his lectures that he did for the Biblical Archaeology Society, as well as listening and watching one or two of his debates with Dr. Craig. Dr. Ehrman seems to have been a Christian in his youth, and then like many former believers, started to listen to the wrong people.
To make a long story short, he lost his faith and has become what he is today, someone who attacks the truth and spreads lies about the Bible, Jesus, and God. He did not obey God over man and his life is a waste now.
Dr. Ehrman does not have the truth and if you read the book Scholars on Record by the late Hershel Shanks, you will find one little statement made by him or Dr. Dever, which was that they wished they could believe again. We say they because one or the other agreed with the statement after it was said.
Part one of this series is found at this link.