INERRANCY OF HOLY SCRIPTURE

 

Meaning of Inerrancy

Since the Principal Author of the Holy Scripture is God, the Church teaches that the Holy Scripture is free from all real error and contradictions on matters that are profitable for the sake of our salvation. This is known as the doctrine of Inerrancy of Holy Scripture. Note that this doctrine does not say that no "errors and internal contradictions" can be noticed in the Bible. What it is saying is that any error or contradiction that may be noticed in Holy Scripture is either not profitable for our salvation or is only apparent and not real. Also, note that inerrancy applies to everything in Holy Scripture, even on matters outside of faith and morals, provided it is profitable for our salvation.

This doctrine has been taught by the Church Fathers, by the Popes, and by Vatican II. It is not necessary to overload this website with too many quotations, so only one will be given from each:

St. Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430), Letter 82 (to St. Jerome), Ch.1, #3: "For I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the manuscript is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it."

Pope Leo XIII (A.D. 1810-1903), Providentissimus Deus, # 20: "But it is absolutely wrong and forbidden, either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the sacred writer has erred. For the system of those who, in order to rid themselves of these difficulties, do not hesitate to concede that divine inspiration regards the things of faith and morals, and nothing beyond, because (as they wrongly think) in a question of the truth or falsehood of a passage, we should consider not so much what God has said as the reason and purpose which He had in mind in saying it — this system cannot be tolerated. For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true."

Vatican IIDei Verbum, Ch. III, #11:"Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation."   (Italics added for emphasis.)

There are plenty of "errors and contradictions" that critics have noticed in Holy Scripture. It is the purpose of this webpage to discuss some of them and show these so-called "errors and contradictions" are more apparent than real, and how the discrepancies may be resolved.

 

 

The Alleged Errors and Contradictions in the Bible 

 

The list below is not claimed to be complete. More will be added in future editions of this website. Click each button below to read the discussions.

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