Originally posted on ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ (in Christ Jesus):
A Brief Treatise on Inspiration, Infallability, and Inerrancy
At the outset it’s necessary to define some terms that are are thrown around rather loosely in Christian circles, such as “inspiration,” “inerrancy,” and “infallability,” and zero in more precisely what they mean. As is well known, 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “all Scripture is inspired by God [literally, "God-breathed"].” The term “inspired” more precisely connotes expiration rather than inspiration, since the source of Scripture is God and he “breathed out,” as it were, the content of Scripture. The mode by which he chose to communicate was, of course, human agency, but without displacing the writer’s peculiar style, background, personality, et al. In so far as copies were faithfully reproduced from the original manuscripts, truthfulness and accuracy was preserved in the text. Of those small number of passages where words, phrases, and syntactical concerns are in question, none have to do with the essential message or meaning as originally intended. Most often when Christians disagree on meaning, it is due to a a theological grid not shared or simply a blatant misunderstanding. Put differently, the disagreement is not in the text, but in us.
Infallibility states that the Bible cannot err, while inerrancy simply means that the Bible does not err. These two doctrines are logically dependent upon one another. That is if the Bible cannot err, then it does not err. If A is true, and B is logically dependent upon A, then when A obtains, B follows as a necessary entailment.