What is meant by a "perfect" Bible?

Luke and Mark were not eyewitnesses. This isn’t arguable.

I should probably add that there is no clear indication that the Gospels were divinely inspired, even though it is church tradition to accept.

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Because of the dozens of similar divergences between Ezra and Nehemia.

Help me understand your position. You seem to be saying that the very fact that the texts are in disagreement actually indicates that they are valid witnesses—and thereby “perfect”?

And do you have a position on textual criticism? Are all Biblical manuscripts “perfect”?

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That’s one of the debates I recall! Should one extrapolate statements in the Psalms about the Torah and what God has declared through OT prophets to New Testament books?

I’ve attended a number of churches with “proof-texts” listed in the inerrancy section of the Statement of Faith which had virtually nothing to do with the claims being made. They just get copied out of a systematic theology book or some other group’s Statement of Faith. Most people don’t really think about the rigor of such statements.

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And this statement of unbelief on your part is precisely the defining point of what makes you and me so very, very different in spiritual awareness and faith.

I realize this isn’t really your MO, but you could try to show me where my statement was wrong instead of just calling my faith into question.


Have you seen the original texts? You sound like you have previewed them. Perhaps you are privy to inside knowledge that we need to hear.

They are perfectly inspired in the original autographs. And it probably would surprise us that even in those originals, God has seen fit to keep slight variations from different testimonies in tact. By this, he will show Himself to be the supremely inspiring Source and establish every word as true.

To mathematicians, the empty set is the most perfect set.

Perhaps an empty sheet of paper would be the perfect Bible. Anything written would have imperfections, and that’s why you need an empty sheet of paper.

But that’s not quite right. To make it perfect, you would have to do away with the paper.


That’s a new one that I hadn’t considered!


So…if you think they might not have been inspired, if you are a Christian, how do you know you are worshiping Jesus and not an idol?

I’m sorry I cannot show where your statement is wrong, I only know that it is. I don’t know really much beyond the truth regarding this issue. If I actually engaged you at your level, it would be insincere and unauthentic. Sorry I can’t help you.

I think this one is normal human speech. Sometimes we round off a number when we talk about how many people there are, without actually mentioning that we’re doing so.

I was surprised at some of the mistakes in the bible when I looked into it once. But none of them are very big, mostly numbers copied incorrectly, and none have doctrinal bearing. After learning that the Quran is supposed to be the direct word of God and many Muslims believe it’s perfectly preserved, I believe the errors in the Bible actually are providential:

  • It reminds us that these are human authors and people who copied the writings, so that we consider that in the interpretation. Otherwise perhaps we could argue that these are books that fell directly from heaven, or some such nonsense. That’s not how God wanted us to view them.

  • He gets more glory by human hands writing his Word because it appears foolish to others. But when you can see how all the books fit together in a cohesive library, then you can glorify Him even more as such a thing should not be able to happen unless they came from God.

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I believe they were inspired. I do not believe they were dictated. My belief in their inspiration does rest mostly on church tradition, though. Textually, there is extremely little support for inspiration.


I’m not aware of how the Old Testament canon was decided on by Jewish scholars. For the New Testament, it seems to directly relate to apostolic authors. Was textual support a thing for any books? So I don’t understand bringing it up, or actually what it even means.

Probably a bit odd of me, as a Protestant, to say this, but doesn’t the fact that church tradition accepts it as divinely inspired factor pretty heavily into the determination of whether particular text in fact is divinely inspired?

In other words, from what I understand, the Christian community of the first couple centuries AD considered the OT to be divinely inspired, as the writings of God’s prophets, and it saw the apostles as inheritors of a sort of that prophetic ministry. The NT canon was selected as those writings most closely associated with the apostles (written by them or by close associates, such as Luke or Mark), and were considered divinely inspired for that reason.


I see that @cwhenderson has already answered this question—and with an answer which many would share. However, I also suspect that many would interpret the question as potentially suggesting the Slippery Slope fallacy. Indeed, a lot of discussions of Bible inerrancy tend to head in that direction.

I find it fascinating how the Fundamentalism battles of the twentieth century led to a focus on fine details of Bible inerrancy (and endless debates and doctrinal statements) which would have perplexed so many of our Christ-following brethren of past centuries, especially in the early Church. In the first century, many would have answered the question with “Because Jesus is the risen Son of God and his Holy Spirit has changed me from within!”

Just as @swamidass likes to remind us that for Christ-followers Jesus is greater than a one-and-only “right” position on Adam & Eve and Genesis 1, Jesus is also greater than a carefully sliced-and-diced set of scripture inerrancy postulates which all too often gets used to determine who are Biblical Christians versus “liberal” Christians.


Yes - for me, it does exactly that. There is very little written in the Bible itself that claims divine inspiration, though. 2 Timothy 3 does contain the well-known verses indicating that “all scripture is God-breathed”, but it doesn’t really explain what that means and certainly doesn’t define what writings should be considered scripture, and which should not.

Additionally, Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 7 and 2 Corinthians 11 that in specific comments that he is writing, and not the Lord. Of course, this implies that at least some (and likely most) of what Paul is writing are the words of the Lord, but it does open the possibility of Paul writing his own words in other places and other Biblical authors doing the same. It is all very interesting.


I’m not a Biblical scholar, so I’m sort of picking my own words out of a hat without knowledge of how these terms are used in Biblical scholarship. But what I mean is this - there is very little in the Bible itself that claims divine inspiration (see my last post).

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You addressed my question with another question—which I answered. So here’s your chance to reciprocate by answering my question: