Men wrote the Bible, so it must have mistakes?

bible.jpgA common objection to the assertion that God inspired the writings of the Bible is that men wrote it, so it must have mistakes.  Sadly, I have often heard this from committed Christians.

The argument usually goes like this:

Premise 1: Men wrote the Bible.

Premise 2: Men make mistakes.

Conclusion: God didn’t write the Bible.

But note that premise 1 is just another way of stating the conclusion.  If you are trying to determine who ultimately authored the Bible, your first premise can’t be that men were the sole authors.  So this “argument” doesn’t prove that God didn’t write the Bible, it assumes it. 

Here is another syllogism you may have heard:

Premise 1: Men wrote the Bible.

Premise 2: Men make mistakes.

Conclusion: The Bible has mistakes.

This one has a major problem as well.  It assumes that just because people can make mistakes that they will always make mistakes.  But lots of things get done without mistakes – perfect scores on tests, 300 games in bowling, diseases cured, etc.  If God was the author then an error-free Bible would be expected. 

Of course, this doesn’t prove that God did inspire the Biblical writings, just that these are bad arguments to use against the inspiration of the Bible.  We have separate, robust reasoning for why we can trust that it is God’s Word.  More on that another day, or just peruse the Apologetics links to the right.

P.S. Keep in mind that claims of inerrancy relate to the original writings, not to copies or translations.  If making a copy error invalidated the inerrancy claim, then any atheist could make a deliberate “mistake” and claim that it disproved the Bible. 

Hat tip: Stand to Reason

8 thoughts on “Men wrote the Bible, so it must have mistakes?”

  1. I have commented on here once before. I am still a fairly young Christian and I find your writing always gives me something to think about and I discuss with my husband, he is another fairly new Christian. The link I put above is my testimony.

    God is good and full of so much grace that He did not care what I thought, He just called me, and I who was so lost, am now found.

    God bless you.

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  2. Hi Aukelet,

    Thank you for visiting and commenting. I really enjoyed reading your testimony. I never get tired of reading about how God works so powerfully to change lives now and for eternity.

    I prayed for continued blessings for you and your husband and that you would continue to grow in the knowledge and love of Christ.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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  3. You did a pretty good job with the first argument. I’m not so sure on your reasoning on the second part.

    Though it’s true that men don’t _always_ make mistakes, it is true that they sometimes do, so, following that strain of logic, one could argue that it’s impossible to say the Bible definitely doesn’t have mistakes.
    The fact that God is ‘part of the equation’ doesn’t convince me much, either- God is always part of the equation. God is part of the equation when scientists work to cure Cancer or when men work to establish a more perfect society- that doesn’t mean their objectives are always met.

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  4. Good point, Romablog. I didn’t mean to imply that the 2nd part proved that God wrote it, just that it was a bad argument to say the Bible had to have mistakes.

    I originally had the “Of course, this doesn’t prove . . .” paragraph in the middle, so I moved it to the end. Hopefully that makes more sense now.

    Thanks for letting me clarify it!

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  5. Yeah I remember hearing once:

    The bible is God’s word. The human authors were just like a pen. They didn’t come up with anything, they just put in onto paper.

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  6. When I was an agnostic, one of the main things that helped me turn toward God and eventually put my faith in Christ as my Saviour was the undeniable fulfilled prophecies of Scripture. Man is incapable of such. God’s hand had to be on the writer’s hands to see so many prophecies fulfilled – and none of them incorrect.
    Jesus Himself fulfilled over 300 prophecies in His lifetime. The book of Daniel has over 100 prophecies that were fulfilled. The list goes on and on.

    No other book can make that claim

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