Not an infallible Bible, but an infallible interpretation

Deutsch: Lutherbibel von 1534 English: Luther ...

Deutsch: Lutherbibel von 1534 English: Luther Bible, 1534 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jim Jones. David Koresh. More recently, a crazy couple in South Korea. Not to mention my own experiences growing up in fundamentalist Baptists schools and neo-Pentecostal churches.

Jones, Koresh, and the rest studied and applied the Scriptures — their unique interpretations of Scriptures.

In some minds, the uses and abuses of the Bible in our time strains its very credibility.

The Protestant Reformed view is that the Bible is infallible and inerrant.

But is the Protestant Reformed view of the Bible infallible and inerrant?

If the Protestant Reformed view of the Bible is infallible and inerrant, then something other than the Bible is infallible and inerrant — the point of view humans bring to the Bible can be infallible and inerrant, too.

Can the text be separated from its reader?

Who claims to have a perfect interpretation of the Scriptures?

If the Protestant Reformed view of the Bible is not infallible and inerrant, then the Protestant Reformed view of the Bible’s infallibility and inerrancy could be wrong, too.

If the Protestant Reformed view is infallible and inerrant to the extent that it corresponds to the Bible, then the position is circular: the interpretive tool is used to affirm itself.

Related articles perhaps from cooler heads:


3 responses to “Not an infallible Bible, but an infallible interpretation

  1. What you are saying is exactly what Catholic apologists use to justify being Catholic. I see where you are coming from. But its not circular to affirm what the bible says about itself is it? Of course, we must refrain from saying we have the only true understanding, but that doesn’t mean the text is errant. It just means that we are influenced by our life and culture.


  2. On the Catholics, exactly: more or less, the Church interprets, not the individual. That could be a comfort as well as a chain.

    I’m trying to sort out two issues.

    One, how the text can prove useless or even poisonous in the minds of the redeemed.

    Two, the issue of factual discrepencies within both Testaments, something that I’m not sure I can dismiss merely based on my life and times and culture. I have great respect for, and I highly value, the “sociology of knowledge” and the influence of culture on perception and interpretation, but I’m not sure that gets me past most of the factual discrepencies of Scripture. I wrestle with that issue here:

    What I don’t have a problem with is Scripture testifying to Jesus. What I do have a problem with is the way various U.S. Christians look at the Bible for study — and I trained to lead Bible studies in IVCF, and I’ve twice stayed at L’Abri in the U.K., so I’m familiar with the inductive-style and grammatical-historical style of Bible study.

    I struggle with the problems with inductive and grammatical-historical approaches here:

    I’m certainly on a learning curve, and I’m no New Testament expert. What I am suspicious of, in a broad sense, is the way some people will offer “mystical science” (i.e., cultic self-sealing systems) to explain away biblical contradictions. My quest is to figure out whether or not, ultimately, the evangelical/Reformed tradition essentially makes the same move.


  3. The first and most basic key of understanding how the bible was put together or how the bible was written and came to be is that we must accept and understand the Bible is the Revealed Word & Will of God.
    Holy Orthodox Catholic Archdiocese

    His Eminence The Patriarch
    Sir. Archbishop Michael