Biblical inerrancy

Biblical inerrancy is the belief that the Bible "is without error or fault in all its teaching";[1] or, at least, that "Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact".[2] Some equate inerrancy with biblical infallibility; others do not.[3][4] The belief is of particular significance within parts of evangelicalism, where it is formulated in the "Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy".

A formal statement in favor of biblical inerrancy was published in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society in 1978.[5] The signatories to the "Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy" admit that, "Inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture". However, even though there may be no extant original manuscripts of the Bible, those that exist can be considered inerrant, because, as the statement reads: "The autographic text of Scripture, ... in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy."[6]

The "doctrine of the inerrancy of scripture"[7] held by the Catholic Church, as expressed by the Second Vatican Council, is 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."[8]

Inerrancy has been much more of an issue in American evangelicalism than in British evangelicalism.[9] According to Stephen R. Holmes, it "plays almost no role in British evangelical life".[10]

A minority of biblical inerrantists go further than the Chicago Statement, arguing that the original text has been perfectly preserved and passed down through time. "Textus Receptus onlyism" holds that the Greek text of this name (Latin for received text) is a perfect and inspired copy of the original and supersedes earlier manuscript copies. The King James Only movement ascribes inerrancy only to the King James English translation made from the Textus Receptus.