Is the Bible the Inerrant Word of God?
Most Christians in this world will agree that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Meaning, God chose those who wrote it, inspired them to write what He wanted written and nothing in the Bible is wrong. If you believe this, I ask you for one favor. Just read this entire article rather than clicking it off when I say that is wrong.
Did God choose who He wanted to write His Word? Absolutely!
Did God inspire them to write what He wanted written? 100% yes!
If I let you pick the version of the Bible you want on the desk in front of me, will I say there is nothing wrong in it? Not a chance!
The original manuscripts of the books in the Bible were divinely inspired by God. Those manuscripts are the inerrant Word of God and there is nothing wrong in them. The problem is we have very few original manuscripts if we have any at all.
The manuscripts we have are extremely old. They were written closer to the actual events than any other religions manuscripts. But they are copies! Back in the first century and previous for the Old Testament, the people who copied manuscripts were extremely meticulous, but they were not perfect. And God has not chosen and inspired every copier and every translator.
When reading the New American Standard Bible on my phone, the verses are filled with little marks that look like this "...". When I touch on one of those marks, a message will pop up and my estimate would be that 99% of them will read something like this... "Two early mss read -----". Mss stands for "manuscripts". You see, they have many duplicate manuscripts of the books in the Bible, all copied at different times by different people. The earliest manuscripts are considered to hold more authority on what is correct (usually) because the belief is that the closer to the original you get, the less chances of it being corrupted in any way. For the most part, they have the Bible correct. What we read in the Bible is right. But there are small cases of some manuscripts using one word and other manuscripts using another word in its place. They have to compare all of the manuscripts we have with each other and make a judgment call. If several use the word "lord" and one uses the word "Christ", then likely the word Lord was correct and one was copied wrong. If the split leans more towards the middle but they find one word is used far more in the oldest ones, then that word may be the correct word.
What this all means however is that it is absolute proof that not every word in the Bible we read today is correct.
On top of that, there are plenty of translation problems. There are too many words used in Greek and Hebrew that had multiple meanings and we no longer know what they all are. We do not know all of the rules to the ancient languages. The ancient languages could also have plenty of cliches that made sense in those days but we do not understand today. Like if someone asked me a question I did not know the answer to, I could reply, "It beats me." A thousand years from now people could read this and wonder who was beating who and why were we so violent?
A large portion of so called "contradictions" or "mistakes" in the Bible that atheists like to point out as proof the Bible is false are due to them not studying the Bible and learning what is actually meant or what the Greek or Hebrew words could mean.
If you look at the list of Bible contradictions I have addressed you will find some that are translation errors.
This is why we shouldn't just listen to what others say the Bible says. Why we shouldn't just read the Bible now and then and think that is enough. We should study the Bible. When you read something that doesn't make sense, dig in and learn what it means. Any question you have, there is likely someone else who has already asked it and articles written on it. Read articles that explain it and if there is a debate over it, read the evidence from both sides before choosing which one to believe. Because the Bible we read today does contain errors.
Some like to say the King James Version is the only trustworthy version. Its not true. In fact I argued with someone on when the rapture would take place, before or during the tribulation for weeks through emails because I found a verse I believed proved it could not happen before the tribulation.
2 Thessalonians 2:2
1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
Paul wrote this letter to the church of Thesalonia because they were afraid they had missed the rapture because they had heard the "Day of the Lord" was upon them.
The first verse is obviously speaking of the rapture. The day Jesus comes and our gathering to Him can mean nothing else. So I was certain this verse was saying that the rapture could not happen until after the Man of Lawlessness (antichrist) is revealed, which will be the mid-point of the rapture. Now notice that near the end of verse two it says "to the effect that the day of the Lord has come." In the King James version and the Youngs Literal version, they use the word "Christ" in place of "Lord". Big difference right? Actually it is monumental. You see, "Day of the Lord" means the great tribulation. If you go to BibleGateway.com and type in "day of the lord" using the quotations to keep it literal, every verse that uses that phrase is speaking of God's anger or God's wrath or the Great Tribulation in the end times. Then when you do the same thing with "day of Christ", every verse that comes up is about the rapture.
Christ and Lord seem to mean the same thing to us, but the Bible is very specific as to when it uses specific words and interchanging them can completely change the meaning of the verse. After learning that the KJV Bible had the wrong word used in it, and this was speaking of the Great Tribulation, I had to admit the rapture could indeed happen before the tribulation. If Paul was saying the Day of Christ would not happen until after the antichrist was revealed, it would mean that the rapture could not happen until after the mid-point of the tribulation. But since it was Day of the Lord and the KJV Bible had it wrong, Paul is saying the Great Tribulation (second half of the tribulation) would not happen until the antichrist was revealed, and since He has not been revealed, the Great Tribulation was not upon them and they have not missed the rapture.
These seemingly minuscule changes in one word here or there can make a huge difference. The fact we have these translation errors is absolute proof that the Bible we read today is not the inerrant Word of God, but simply very good copies of the inerrant Word of God.
This does not mean the Bible is any less real. The stories and meanings are all still accurate. It is still the Living Word of God and there is still power in the Bible. We should still read it every day. It just also means that we should not read it and accept everything as perfect. We need to study it and learn the truth. It simply means that to know the full truth of God's Word, one needs to dig a little deeper.