“All Scripture is inspired by God…”
Over the centuries, the Christian Church has developed a number of important doctrines related to creation, the Incarnation, Justification and so forth. What the Church has never been able to do is develop a universal doctrine of Inspiration to set forth what we mean when we call the Bible the inspired Word of God. All Christians will acknowledge that the Bible is inspired. At the same time Christians will differ, often forcefully, over this question. For example, some in the Christian family believe that if we acknowledge one mistake or error in the Bible, the entire edifice collapses like a house of cards. Nothing it says can be trusted. Defense is their emphasis when it comes to the Bible and the faith.
If there is one mistake or error in the Bible, must I call into question the trustworthiness of everything the Bible contains? Let’s suppose that Linda and a girlfriend have gone away on a trip. While she is away I call their hotel room but Linda is out and I get her friend on the phone. We chat momentarily then she relates to me a message from Linda: she misses me and loves me and looks forward to being home. As we close the conversation, Linda’s friend goes on to tell me that early one morning they were awakened by the song of a Bluebird.
Now, suppose I know for a fact that there are no Bluebirds within 500 miles of where they are staying. Should I assume that because she is mistaken about the bird I should doubt her when she tells me Linda loves and misses me?
It seems to me that the fact the Church can approach the Bible with some freedom in the matter of its inspiration allows us to emphasize the declaration of its powerful message over the defense of one form of literalism or another. After all, the Truth carries itself. We do not carry the Truth. For me, the declaration or proclamation of the message of the Bible is the proper emphasis.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”