Evangelical beliefs in the inerrancy of the Bible:
In 1977, the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI) was established to "clarify and defend the doctrine of biblical inerrancy." Under its auspices, during 1978, over 300 evangelical scholars met and signed the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. The Dallas Theological Seminary describes the statement as "... probably the first systematically comprehensive, broadly based, scholarly, creed–like statement on the inspiration and authority of Scripture in the history of the church." 1
It states in part:
We affirm that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm
that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the
We deny that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the absence of the autographs. We
further deny that this absence renders the assertion of Biblical inerrancy invalid or irrelevant." 2
An "autograph copy" of a document refers to the original wording as written by the author. No autograph copies of any book in the Bible exist today.
Belief of biblical inerrancy in the U.S.:
On 2007-MAY-25, Gallup reported the results of a national poll on Biblical inerrancy. Those polled were asked which of three statements comes closest to describing their personal views about the Bible. The average of polls taken during MAY of 2005, 2006 and 2007 were:
31% believe that "The Bible is the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word." This would imply acceptance of biblical inerrancy.
47% believe that "The Bible is the inspired word of God, but not everything in it should be taken literally."
19% believe that "The Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by man."
An identical poll taken during 2011-MAY showed little change:
30% believe that "The Bible is the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word."
49% believe that "The Bible is the inspired word of God, but not everything in it should be taken literally."
17% believe that "The Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by man."
4% were uncertain or didn't answer. 4
Formal education can have a devastating effect on a person's belief in inerrancy. 46% of persons with high school education or less believe that the Bible should be interpreted literally. This dropped to 22% for persons with some college education, and to 15% among college graduates.
Claim of "Scientific Absurdities & Historical Inaccuracies" in the Bible:
The bibvis.com web site contains a beautiful graphical portrayal of what the author, Andy Marlow, believes are Bible contradictions in the Bible. Hovering over one of the arcs shows the topic of the "contradiction." Clicking on an arcs at the top of the page displays a list of the verses involved in the "conractiction," and their text.
A problem with inerrancy:
An anonymous person posted a question on Quora, asking:
"Can someone help me evaluate the logic here: “As a Christian, one must take the whole Bible to be literally true, because if even a part of it is untrue then the whole thing is discredited”?
to which the webmaster of this web site posted:
"People who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible usually state that this belief only refers to the autograph copy of each book. That is, the book as originally written by the author. But no such copies exist. Changes have occurred due to copyist errors (intentional or accidental). Further, errors have crept in due to translations from Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek into English or another modern language.
But if we believe that the Bible is true, then we would need to make a lot of changes to state and federal laws. We would need to make slavery legal again. We would need to test each woman getting married for the first time to check her virginity, and execute her if she has engaged in sexual activity. There are a whole bunch of “crimes” that call for the death penalty — like working on a Saturday — that would require new laws." 5