Program Title: Scripture In Context

"Be meticulous in study, for a careless misinterpretation is considered tantamount to wilful transgression." Rabbi Yahudah


LO1: Have an awareness of the arguments concerning the authority and inspiration of scripture

LO2: Understand the principles of hermeneutics and the interpretation of scripture

LO3: Have a comprehensive understanding of the key ministries as seen in the New Testament.


Assessment Task AC1: Evaluate the scriptural basis for the authority and inspiration of scripture

Assessment Task AC2: Interpret selected passages of OT scripture using key principles of hermeneutics

Assessment Task AC3: Interpret selected passages of NT scripture using key principles of hermeneutics

Pre-course Reading

  • 1978 Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy
  • Community Chapel and Bible Training Centre





  1. Introduction
    1. Objectives
    2. Exercise 1
    3. Workshop 1
    4. Principles of Biblical Interpretation



  1. Hermeneutics

2.1. Objectives

            2.2 Hermeneutics

            2.3 Eisegesis

            2.4 Biblical Interpretation and Conflict

            2.5 Critical Biblical Interpretation

            2.6 Believers‘ Dubious Interpretations

            2.7 Conflicts Between Critical and Believers’ Dubious Interpretations

            2.8 Atomistic Exegesis

            2.9 Historical Critical Exegesis

            2.10 Need for Understanding Biblical Interpretation

            2.11 Audience Oriented Interpretation and Reader-Response Criticism

            2.12 Author-Centred Interpretation

            2.13 Workshop 2




  1. Inspiration of Scripture/Inerrancy/Infallibility

3.1 Objectives

3.2 Activity

3.3 Inspiration

3.4 Scriptures on Inspiration

3.5 Examples of Scholarly Definitions of Inspiration

3.6 Infallibility, Inerrancy and Authority

3.7 Workshop 3



  1. Biblical Interpretations and exegetical techniques

4.1 Objectives

4.2 Biblical Interpretations and Exegetical Techniques

4.3 Workshop 4





      1. Introduction


      • Objectives


At the end of this unit, you will be able to:


      • Explain the importance of hermeneutics to congregational life.
      • Know some exegetical questions that help you to interpret the Bible.
      • Identify the difference between good and bad exegetical practices.


This Unit introduces the student to biblical hermeneutics. The practical exercises are aimed at highlighting the need to learn how to interpret the Bible. Students who teach or preach in their churches will benefit from the constructive feedback that the tutor will provide to the class.


      • Exercise 1


Review of Pre-course Reading Article: Community Chapel and Bible Training Centre


      1. What are the lessons that you have learnt from the article?
      2. In your opinion, why is it important to correctly interpret the Bible?


You probably have noticed that the Chapel had some doctrinal problems. This is the result of wrong interpretation of the Bible. We all love our congregations and also desire a very strong and thriving church. What we preach and teach can determine the strength of the church and also the maintenance of purity in every area of congregational life.


We can guard against the kind of problems that we read about in the article if we learn how to interpret the Bible. You have made a very good decision by taking this Module and we pray for your success. 


1.3 Workshop 1


The tutor will select two passages from the Bible and the students will answer the following questions:



      1. Who wrote the book?
      2. Who was the immediate audience?
      3. Why did the author write the book?
      4. What lessons have you learnt?


Write down your mistakes and why you think you made mistakes.



      • Principles of Biblical Interpretation


We need to go back to the first century to understand some principles of biblical interpretation that were operative at the time. Scholars have identified some of the principles in the New Testament. As you are aware, there were two prominent rabbis: Hillel and Shammai. Both rabbinic schools debated among themselves and also debated with our Lord Jesus Christ. For example, the question on divorce was based on the debate at the time. Hillel’s School taught that a woman could be divorced for any cause. However, the school of Shammai taught that this kind of divorce was invalid and that it could only be done in the case of indecency.


Hillel had seven principles of Biblical interpretation. Principle 1 was used by our Lord Jesus Christ in Jn.10:34-35 when He responded to His critics. It is good to be familiar with the historical contexts of biblical texts because it will help us to interpret the Bible correctly.


The Hillels Seven Principles of Biblical Interpretation

Principle 1

Kal vechamer (light and heavy): The argument from a minor premise to a major one

Principle 2

Gezerah Shavah (cut equally): The teaching based upon an analogy or inference from one verse to another

Principle 3

Binyan av mikatuv echad (building a teaching principle based upon one verse): The main proposition is derived from one verse

Principle 4

Binyan av mishnai katuvim (building a teaching principle based upon two verses): The main proposition is derived from two verses

Principle 5

Kelal uferat-perat vekelal (general and specific – specific and general): Teaching from a general principle to a specific one, or from a specific principle to a general one

Principle 6

Keyotza bo bamakom acher (as comes from it in another place): A teaching based upon what is similar in another passage

Principle 7

Devar halamed meinyano (a word that is learned from its own issue): A matter that is learned from its own subject



The principles to be applied today when interpreting the Bible are considered below:


      1. Author and Authorial Intent Principle

The author is very important. Our first attempt is to recover the authorial intention from the passage. For example, John made his intention clear in John 20:31 ‘but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.’ It is sometimes difficult to recover the intent of the author. This is why we need to pray to God before any attempt is made to understand the Bible. Apostle Peter admitted that Paul’s letters were difficult to comprehend and some people made mistakes. The mistakes were made even though they were in close proximity to Paul. This is why we must pray and also study in order to bridge the hermeneutical gap between us and the biblical authors.


Luke also made his intention clear in Luke 1:1-3. Where it is possible to recovery this author’s intention, we should do so.


      1. Faith Principle

The Bible is not an ordinary book; we must approach it believing that it is God’s word. Genesis 1:1 declares that the Bible is God’s word. The content must be believed and God means what He has written in His book.


      1. Contextual Principle

We must not lift a passage out of its context. In our attempt to interpret any book, we must make every effort to discover the historical context. The historical context of a book or passage will help to elucidate the passage that we are trying to interpret. For example, we may ask why some Jews chose to stone the woman caught in the act of adultery when the death penalty was abolished after AD 30 or 40 years before the destruction of the Temple. We are told that some sects still used the death penalty at the time.


We also need to consider the literary context. We consider the passages before and after the passage that we are trying to interpret. This also helps to elucidate a passage. For example, Joel 3:10 says ‘Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, “I am strong”’. It is possible to interpret it out of context. Please read 3:1 to understand the context.


      1. Genre

Each book belongs to a particular genre and the method of interpretation may differ. The methods used when interpreting Jewish poetry is different from the methods used when interpreting a narrative. According to Lemke, ‘Some of the most common types of genre in the Bible are law, narratives, prophecy, poetry, wisdom literature, gospel, epistle, and apocalyptic literature. Not all of a Bible book may be in the same genre. Bible books that are primarily narrative may have sections that utilize poetic or prophetic genre.’ Lemke’s advice will help you when interpreting a text.  


Workshop 1.2

      1. Read Joel 3:10.
      2. Try to interpret the verse.
      3. Why did He say ‘let the weak say, “I am strong”’?
      4. How can you apply the verse? 


      1. Hermeneutics
      • Objectives

At the end of this Unit, you will be able to:

      • Explain the meaning of hermeneutics
      • Explain the meaning of Exegesis
      • Explain the meaning of Eisegesis
      • Hermeneutics

There are several books you can purchase if you are really interested in Biblical hermeneutics. It is important to start by introducing two kinds of hermeneutics: general hermeneutics, which is the study of meaning across a range of discourses and another kind of hermeneutics, labeled ‘special’ hermeneutics. The interpretation of the Bible falls under special hermeneutics because of the sacred nature of the text. Biblical text is different from other texts and should be treated differently. 

Biblical hermeneutics involves exegesis and interpretation. According to Tate (2006, p.163),

Biblical hermeneutics has been defined as bipolar, involving exegesis and interpretation, where the former is the process of examining a text to ascertain what its first readers would have understood it to mean and the latter is the task of explaining or drawing out the implications of the understanding for contemporary readers and hearers.

The term hermeneutics was derived from Hermes the Greek god who was the one who transmitted the thoughts and intentions of the gods to mortals. We are engaged in a process which enables us to understand the word of God and to transmit His thoughts and intentions to those who hear us when we teach or preach.

      • Eisegesis

Whilst it is possible to do exegesis, it is also possible to read meanings into a text. The technical term for this kind of interpretation is eisegesis. It is the opposite of exegesis. Readers generally invest texts with meanings which are not in the text. They could be ideas from another text or something completely different. Those who ignore authorial intention can read meanings into a text.

This kind of interpretation can result if we invest a text with an ideology. Feminism is an ideology. We can read this ideology into biblical text and miss the point that the biblical author is trying to convey. We can read the Bible and claim that it is biased towards women.

Liberation theology can also influence how we interpret biblical text. It can make us to seek oppression anytime we read the Bible and invest biblical passages that say nothing about oppression with ideas that are foreign to the text.

We must make every effort to avoid eisegesis.

      • Biblical Interpretation and Conflict

Biblical interpretation has historically been a source of conflict among those who use the sacred text for teaching, preaching and determining congregational or denominational life. Some believers engage in bibliomancy or the practice of opening the Bible at random and reading the first verse they see. They go on to claim that it is a divine message if it sounds good. They reject it if it is a curse. This is not how to interpret the Bible. The course aims to equip the student with tools to help him or her interpret the Bible correctly. There are generally two groups of interpreters considered in this unit. They are the critical biblical interpreters and those that have been described as dubious interpreters. The distinguishing characteristic is the level of concern for the ethical responsibility they demonstrate towards their audience.

      • Critical Biblical Interpretation

The search for and need to provide a trustworthy and authoritative interpretation of biblical texts placed a great responsibility on exegetes to demonstrate that they followed the principles and norms of morality on knowledge to arrive at their interpretation of the Bible. This is what it means to be 'critical'. They follow standards or rules when interpreting the Bible. There are three main trajectories guiding how attempts have been made to correctly interpret the Bible. The first trajectory was influenced by Kant's ethical theory or deontology. A guild of biblical scholars established, constantly revised and enforced interpretive norms. The Society of Biblical Literature, founded in 1880, defines itself as the 'oldest and largest learned society devoted to the critical investigation of the Bible from a variety of academic disciplines.' (See the Society’s website) 

This approach was dominant until the mid-twentieth century. The demise of the historical critical method which began in the last quarter of the twentieth century demanded that the interpreter interprets the texts based on what we know about their historical settings began in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The dominant method of interpretation was the Historical Critical method which was dislodged from its position of dominance in the mid-1900s by literary and cultural criticisms. 

The second trajectory demands that interpreters take the horizons of the author and that of the interpreter into consideration. Choices have to be made that reflect a ‘fusion of horizons’. This is arguably about choosing a ‘mean’ between the two horizons. This follows Aristotle’s ethical theory. This approach emerged in the west as a result of the influence of hermeneutical philosophers on theologians.

The third trajectory is ‘consequentialist’ approach which demands that interpreters assume responsibility for the ways that their interpretations directly or indirectly affect their audience. The approach takes context seriously, for example, the feminist, liberation and others. This trajectory follows Mill’s utilitarianism.  

This concern for accurate interpretation should not be taken lightly.

      • Believers' Dubious Interpretations

This refers to the confessional-based and absolute interpretations of believers. This involves projecting and reading into biblical texts ones dogmatic, confessional, convictional pre-understandings and claiming authority for their interpretation. Bringing presuppositions to the Bible is dangerous and can lead to erroneous interpretations.

      • Conflicts Between Critical and Believers' Dubious Interpretations

The word 'critical' connotes an ethical interpretation, which is based on the principles and norms of a morality of knowledge. The norms of interpreting texts are determined and constantly revised by a guild of scholars. The critical exegete aims to produce an authoritative interpretation which may challenge the non-critical interpretations of believers.

There is a challenge for critical exegetes to confront dubious interpretations, that is, to reject dubious interpretations in favour of interpretations that are based on the principles and norms of a morality of knowledge. It is difficult to remain loyal to both approaches and a decision needs to be made by the exegete or interpreter to either remain 'critical' or 'dubious'. 

There are different kinds of exegesis and they are relevant to our study of biblical interpretation.

      • Atomistic Exegesis

This is the practice of interpreting isolated biblical passages with no attention to their contexts. Have you identified this kind of method at any time? The general advice is that we read an entire book of the Bible in one sitting. Some students will read the book several times before attempting to interpret it.

Interactive Session

      1. How many times have you read the entire Bible?
      2. How many times have you read an entire book before attempting to interpret it?
      3. Share some of the benefits of reading the books of the Bible with the class before attempting their interpretation.
      • Historical Critical Exegesis

This method of interpretation was developed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to address the practice of bringing presuppositions and pre-understanding to biblical texts. This was the common practice among some believers and theologians who interpreted the Bible. The meaning of biblical texts constructed by these interpreters was influenced by their presuppositions. This practice of bringing personal presuppositions to the Bible still persists today. Preachers can perpetuate this practice if they do not understand that they have ethical responsibilities for their interpretations. Their audiences are more likely to believe that dubious interpretations are the actual meanings of the text and that they demand appropriate obedience. A quest for a more reliable method of interpreting the Bible began and the result of this quest was the development of Historical Critical Exegesis. The purpose for developing this method of interpretation was ethically sound but it had its limitations.


      • Need for Understanding Biblical Interpretation


      • There are different methods of interpreting the Bible which will be introduced to students in this Module. Some of these methods were used in the first century AD. Most students read the Bible but confine themselves to commentaries written several decades ago. They are unaware of major shifts in the field, which had great impact on our understanding of biblical texts. The course will explore some reasons why the shifts were necessary.


      • There are assumptions that western missionaries brought the gospel to Africa. Consequently, some ordinary readers attempt to interpret the Bible based on the colonial capital mediated to them through some historic churches. The students will be encouraged to challenge some of these assumptions through supervised workshops. These assumptions are debatable because of the questionable agenda harbored by some of the missionaries who were sent to Africa in the nineteenth century.


      • Scholars sometimes generalise their claims and stretch their findings. For example, some scholars make general claims about ‘Africa’ instead of focusing on specific regions or countries. This kind of generalisation can be problematic because the contexts are not homogenous. There are diverse customs, religions, etc. The students will be encouraged not to allow diasporic consciousness to affect negatively the interpretation of the Bible.


      • Some students assume that everyone who preaches has formal theological education, but they ignore the fact that some preachers shun formal theological education. Some of these preachers are not aware of critical approaches, why they were introduced, their strengths and weaknesses. Most ordinary readers of the Bible see some spiritual leaders as representatives of God; however, some of these leaders are yet to acquire formal theological qualifications. Further research into how ordinary readers of the Bible will respond to sound Eurocentric approaches seem limited and current research seems biased.


      • Some churches are about forty years behind some churches in biblical interpretation because they are still using historical critical approaches that were abandoned in the mid 1970s. Students will be introduced to other criticisms that dislodged the historical critical approaches, for example, cultural criticism.


      • Scholars have tried to discredit western biblical interpretation. Discrediting hermeneutics of its western ‘attire’ and clothing it with an ‘African’ attire does not resolve the problems that have caused the need to understand the Bible in an African context. This method decentres hermeneutics and even creates a plurality of hermeneutical ‘centres’ in Africa. There are many contexts and arriving at a consensus may be difficult. This assumption is based on the reading of F.F. Segova’s ‘And They Began to Speak in Other Tongues’.


      • Most churches (as we understand it) are unapologetically sympathetic towards evangelicalism. However, their understanding of the ‘conversion’ experience raises questions about the persuasions of these evangelical Christians (David Bebbington, 1989). There should be a passion and commitment to study the word of God. Christ the Redeemer College is demonstrating the kind of passion and commitment that evangelical Christians and organisations should have.


      • Students will be introduced to author-centred interpretation (Read Paula Fredriksen’s ‘Judaizing the Nations: The Ritual Demands of Paul’s Gospel, 2010’). Some situations we experience today are not new. A familiarity with first century societies will help the student to understand why an author-centred interpretation can be helpful.


      • A number of prooftexts are due to the failure on the part of ordinary readers to read and interpret the narrative. Students will be introduced to how to identify and avoid prooftexting.


Meaning of Texts

 There are at least two main ways of discovering the meaning of a text. These will be explained below, but the goal is to encourage students to adopt an author-centred approach.


      • Audience-Oriented Interpretation and Reader-Response Criticism


This kind of interpretation is interested in the role that a particular reading audience plays in the formulation of meaning. The meaning of a biblical passage is located in the reading audience. This approach ignores the author and the circumstances that existed at the time the text was written. What a text means to the reader is accepted as the valid meaning of the text. Reader-response method of interpretation is very dangerous and should be avoided. This method locates the meaning of a text in the reader. The meaning could be very subjective.


      • Author-Centred Interpretation


This approach considers the social, political, cultural and religious conditions of the author in order to discover the meaning of a text. This approach is generally preferred to the audience-oriented approach because it enables the interpreter to discover what the text meant to the first recipients. The interpreter sees things from the perspective of the author. 


      • Workshop 2


The tutor will select two passages from the Bible and the students will answer the following questions:


      2. Who wrote the book?
      3. Who was the immediate audience?
      4. Why did the author write the book?
      5. What lessons have you learnt?

Write down the mistakes that you made and begin to think about how to avoid them.



      1. Inspiration of the Scripture, Inerrancy and Infallibility


      • Objectives

At the end of this Unit, you will be able to:

      • Explain the meaning of Inspiration
      • Explain the meaning of Inerrancy
      • Explain the meaning of Infallibility


      • Activity


Refer to your copy of the 1978 Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy for this Unit.


      • Inspiration

This is a Christian doctrine. Doctrine is a communally accepted teaching, that is, it is the teaching of the Christian faith because the Bible makes the claim about its origin.  Inspiration is used in theology as a technical term and should not be equated with the creativity that we see in music or sports. We may say that we are inspired by a particular work of art or inspired by a motivational speaker. Inspiration means something completely different in the Bible.

Before explaining what the term means, it is important to mention that American Christians did not always have a strong, well-delineated doctrine of Biblical inspiration before the rise of Biblical criticism (Martin, 2006). They simply believed that the Bible is God’s word. This was generally the conservative view of Scripture. They also believed that it was true and reliable. However, the Bible came under numerous attacks. Some of the attacks are external and some are internal. Examples of internal attacks are those from the priests who lost confidence in the reality of heaven and hell because of their exposure to new biblical studies. These priests were influenced by German Biblical Criticism and began to preach Social Gospel which the evangelicals associated with the decline of the conservative view of Scripture.  The implication was that their emphasis shifted from matters concerning eternity to those concerning this present world. The supernatural origin of the Bible was challenged and it was treated like other ancient books. This is the interest of ‘higher criticism’. Darwin’s theory of evolution is an example of an external attack on the Biblical account of creation.

There was a need to respond to these attacks on the Bible. Princeton Theological Seminary played a crucial role in the formulation of a position on inspiration. According to Martin (2006, p.7), ‘The heart of “Princeton Theology” is that God could not and would not convey truth through an errant document; therefore, any doubting of scripture is heresy, a sign of un-Christian attitude.’


      • Scriptures on Inspiration

There are two common passages that reveal the divine origin of the Bible. These are 2 Peter 1:19-21 and 2 Timothy 3:16.

2 Peter 1:19-21

19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 

21 For no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

2 Timothy 3:16

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

The Greek word for ‘inspired’ is theopneustos. The term is better understood as ‘breathed out’. It refers to how God influenced the human authors of the Bible to produce its content. Various scholars have attempted to define the term but each definition contributes to our understanding of the term.

      • Examples of Scholarly Definitions of Inspiration

According to Erickson, it is

that supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit upon the Scripture writers which rendered their writings an accurate record of the revelation or which resulted in what they wrote actually being the Word of God

Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd Edition (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2007), 225.


The term has also been described as ‘that work of the Holy Spirit in influencing the authors of Scripture to produce writings which adequately reflect what God desired to communicate to us.’ (Grenz, 1998, p.166), Created for Community: Connecting Christian Belief with Christian Living, Grand Rapids: Baker.

We will consider other definitions of the term below.

      1. Dalmatian Inspiration


This kind of inspiration is espoused by those who believe that only some parts of the Bible are inspired. They claim that the Bible is inspired in spots. The picture of a Dalmatian dog below explains what its adherents claim.

This theory or position is very dangerous and must be rejected.


      1. Dictation or Mechanical Dictation Theory

This view claims that the Holy Spirit completely dictated every word of the Bible. The human authors did not exercise their freedom in the process. They were mere stenographers. There are examples in scripture to support this view. The authors sometimes claim that God told them to write. John the Beloved made this claim in the book of Revelation. However, we cannot make the same claim about every part of the Bible.


      1. Verbal and Dynamic Inspirations


Verbal inspiration is the view that the Holy Spirit so influenced the authors of the Bible that every word needed was supplied without any dictation. Dynamic inspiration is the view that the human authors were influenced by their circumstances and experiences to prepare them for the Holy Spirit’s use. Their thoughts were inspired to write the Bible. According to Steve Lemke (2002, p.180), there are two weaknesses of this view: that the human authors were inspired but the words were not necessarily inspired, which means that the exegete must learn to distinguish between words that were inspired and those that were not, and the ‘slippery slope’ argument, which asserts that ‘if we cannot have confidence in all sections of Scripture, how can we have confidence in any area of Scripture?’  Corley, et al., (2002) Biblical Hermeneutics: A Comprehensive Introduction to Interpreting Scriptures.


      1. Illumination


This view holds that the Holy Spirit raised the consciousness level of the authors and their natural abilities to be able to use their discernment to know the truth, which they wrote in the Bible. According to Lemke (2002, p.177), it is the ‘experience in which spiritual discernment of Scripture is provided by the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit opens human minds to perceive and understand the truth already made known through revelation and recorded in Scripture through inspiration’. Theologically, it is the act of the Holy Spirit in granting to individuals the knowledge and grace of God through the proclamation of the Gospel. Some evangelicals stretch its meaning to include the work of the Holy Spirit in elucidating the scripture to a person while studying. However, we need to be very careful about making claims that are incorrect and attributing erroneous interpretation to the Holy Spirit.


      1. Plenary Verbal Inspiration


The word ‘plenary’ means ‘full’ or ‘complete’. Plenary verbal inspiration asserts that God inspired the entire Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, including both historical and doctrinal details. The word ‘verbal’ is an affirmation of the idea that inspiration extends to the very words the authors used when they wrote the Bible (See Acts 1:16;  2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21). He allowed them to use their own personalities and freedom to produce the Bible. The Bible is a product of a divine-human cooperative.



      • Infallibility, Inerrancy and Authority


‘Infallibility refers to the quality of neither misleading nor being misled and so safeguards in categorical terms the truth that Holy Scripture is a sure, safe and reliable guide in all matters.’

You must have read the 1978 Chicago of Statement of Biblical Inerrancy. If the Bible is infallible then we can rely on it. This is the reason why we must understand its content.


‘Inerrancy refers to the quality of being free from all falsehood or mistakes and so safeguards the truth the Holy Scripture is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions.’


The following five points on inerrancy gives the Bible its divine authority.


      1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God’s witness to Himself.


      1.    Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches. It is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises.


      1. The Holy Spirit, Scripture’s divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.


      1. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives.


      1. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible’s own. Such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.


The Bible is authoritative in every area of the Christian life. Those who have responded to criticisms about inerrancy have done so by using the following – God’s character, scriptural affirmations, patterns in church history, authority of the Bible and logic. For example, the argument from logic states:


      • Major Premise: God does not err.
      • Minor Premise: The Bible is God’s Word
      • Conclusion: The Bible does not err.



Discuss the implications of the definitions of infallibility and inerrancy for biblical hermeneutics.


      1. Workshop 3

The tutor will select two passages from the Bible and the students will answer the following questions:



      1. Who wrote the book?
      2. Who was the immediate audience?
      3. Why did the author write the book?
      4. What lessons have you learnt?


Write down the mistakes you made and begin to think about how to avoid them.


      1. Biblical Interpretation and Exegetical Techniques


      1. Objectives


At the end of this Unit, you will be able to:


      • Understand some exegetical techniques.
      • Explain the reason for discovering the meanings of biblical texts.
      • Explain some pitfalls that must be avoided when interpreting the Bible. 
      1. Biblical Interpretation and Exegetical Techniques


Every Christian must be careful about how the Bible is interpreted. Misinterpretations have caused many problems inside and outside the church. You will use the Bible in your particular ministry, but God’s word must be used correctly. Always remember that God listens to you every time you preach or teach from the Bible.


Exegetical Techniques


It is important to be familiar with some exegetical techniques. This helps the student to avoid the mistakes made by those who try to read and interpret the Bible as a secular book. We must remember that the Bible is a sacred book deserves special treatment and reverence.


      • Pray Before you Read the Text


The Bible is a sacred book and the product of a divine-human cooperative. Some scholars have claimed that the death of the human author means that the biblical text becomes autonomous and can be interpreted without the need to discover what the author intended to communicate. They forget that the Bible was inspired by God, that is, God is the main author of the Bible. Even though the human author is dead, God is always alive and we can seek His guidance when interpreting the Bible. He can speak to us or guide us to good books and commentaries to help us interpret His word correctly. Biblical texts are didactic and the concept of didacticism also applies when reading or studying the Bible, that is, we come to the Bible with the idea that biblical authors intended that their books should communicate divine truths to their readers.   


      • Study the Books of the Bible


Studying the books of the Bible is one way to help us to sharpen our exegetical skills. Some prefer to interpret isolated biblical passages without considering their contexts. The technical term for this kind of exegesis is ‘atomistic exegesis’. Contexts are very important and we need to interpret the biblical texts in their original contexts. Those who use allegorical interpretation must exercise caution when using this method of interpretation because of the possibility of ignoring the original context of a biblical passage. We can do synchronic reading of the book if we study each one in its entirety. We do synchronic reading when we focus on the text and its structure. Structure refer to the how the author arranged his words, phrases, etc., in a sentence in order to communicate his or her message to the reader. It is useful to know how a book is structured because it helps the reader to know where we are at any point of the book. We know when the author switches from one theme to another.


      • Read in context (Sitz im leben or setting in life)


We must attempt to reconstruct the world of the text before us. Sitz im leben is a German term meaning ‘setting in life’. There are many resources that can help us to reconstruct the world of the text. The horizon of the author is arguably different from the horizon of the reader. The reader sees a different horizon because he or she is far removed from the days of the author; therefore, we need to ask questions about the world of the author. We may not be able to reconstruct fully the world of the author but attempts should be made to do so. The danger of avoiding this kind of exercise is that the reader makes anachronistic projections into the world of the author. For example, a reader can make the mistake of claiming that an event occurred in the days of the author when in reality it happened after the author’s death.


      • Sharpen your Observational Skills


We must sharpen our observational skills when reading the Bible. This enables us to see significant words that will help us to understand the message of the Bible. For example, the phrase ‘Here I am’ occurs in Gen. 22:1,7,11; 27:1,18; 31:11, 46:2; Ex. 3:4; 1 Sam. 3:4; Isa. 6:8. It is ‘hineni’ in Hebrew. You will observe that a major instruction follows each occurrence. The respondent is instructed to perform a difficult task. Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac after he said hineni. One occurrence leads to the discovery of more occurrences in the Bible. This makes the study of the Bible very exciting. 

      • Do Word Studies


We need to do word studies. There are several books that can help you to do word studies. You may not need to purchase a book if you can download a Bible with Strong’s Concordance. One of the benefits of doing word studies is that we come to understand the difference between words that we use when preaching or teaching the Bible. For example, there is a difference between ‘faith’ and ‘trust’ in Biblical Hebrew. Faith is emunah and trust is batach. You can find passages on faith in the Bible. In rabbinic literature, a person can have faith but lack trust. It is assumed that a person who has trust also has faith. You can also study the word ‘love’ in the New Testament and find out the meaning of the different Greek words used in the Bible.


      • The Dictionary Meaning of a Word is not Always its Connotative Value


Readers of the Bible sometimes use the dictionary when they try to interpret the Bible. The dictionary meaning may not always be the connotative value of that word. Read Phil. 3:2. Whilst we may know what the word means, its connotative value in the passage goes beyond the dictionary meaning. We need to remember this because of the mistakes that some interpreters make when they avoid the context of a biblical passage. Subdue in Genesis 1: 28 meant ‘cultivate’ in 1535 when Coverdale introduced the word in his translation. This is close to its Hebraic meaning.


      • How Does the Text Relate to the Whole Counsel of God?

This is very important. We must always ask how a passage relates to the whole counsel of God. This approach helps the interpreter to stay on the right path. The Bible reveals the whole counsel of God and we are always encouraged to take this into consideration when preaching or teaching. We do not want to mislead ourselves or our audience. We are ethically responsible for what we teach or preach. Several lives, homes and marriages have been destroyed because of wrong interpretations of the Bible.


      • Use a Simpler Text to Understand a Difficult Passage


It is not impossible to come across difficult passages. The question is ‘How should we interpret difficult passages?’ It is recommended that we should use simpler text to interpret difficult passages. We must admit that some passages are very difficult and we may need experts to help us to unlock the text. We do not all understand the original languages of the text and we rely on various translations to help us to understand. It can also be very difficult to know which translation to use when interpreting a text. For example, read Isa. 45:11. Some translations rendered it as a command but some as a question. It is an ironic command.


King James Version (KJV)

Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.


New Living Translation (NLT)

This is what the LORD says – the Holy One of Israel and your Creator: “Do you question what I do for my children? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands?”


You will observe that the NLT renders it as a question but KJV renders it as a command. The KJV rendering is an ironic command and this becomes clear when you read from verse 1. This reminds us about discovering the context of a passage.

 Check Commentaries Only for Advice


Commentaries should be used only for advice. Commentators can make mistakes because of the quality of the evidence available to them when they wrote the commentaries. The discoveries of new data generally force new editions. Commentators rewrite their commentaries if they discover new evidence. It is good to find out if a new edition of the commentary that you are trying to purchase exists. It may be expensive but it is good to have good reference materials in your library.


      • Outlining a Passage of Scripture


An important piece of advice is to try to outline the passage of Scripture that you are trying to study. This will help your audience to see the major points you are communicating if you intend to teach or preach from that passage. Show how your sub points relate to your main points. You will begin to understand how the author intended to convey his message to his immediate audience if you try to outline the passage. 


      • Apply the Passage to the Lives of People.


Hermeneutics is incomplete without application. After interpreting a biblical passage, we turn to the application principle. We apply the text to ourselves before applying it to others. It transforms us before it transforms our audience. Preaching or teaching to others is good but the gospel must also transform us to who God expects us to be. Reception of the text by our audience is important. We should also remember that hermeneutics is also interested in discovering the meaning of texts. When we claim that we have interpreted a text, we are claiming that we have found the meaning; therefore, we should be interested in the effects that it will have on our audience.


      1. Reception of Text and Meaning as Effect


The focus until now has been on texts or written texts. We must not ignore the effects of our interpretation on our audience, that is, the effects that the text might have on the intended audience because of how we have interpreted a text. Texts have social, political, cognitive, moral and material consequences. The meaning of a text can either be expressed in cognitive or affective terms. At the level of the receivers or readers of texts, consideration must be given to the different elements mentioned above. We should be concerned about how our interpretation is received by our audience.


      1. Mark Allan Powell distinguishes between two conceptions of meaning: meaning as message and meaning as effect.

Simply to be illustrative (not exhaustive), here are two different conceptions of meaning:

Meaning as message. The meaning of a text may be described in essentially cognitive terms. Understanding the meaning of the text entails identification of the points that are made therein.

Meaning as effect. The meaning of a text may be described in emotive or affective terms. Understanding the meaning of a text involves recognition of its impact on those who receive it.


We should not only be concerned about comprehension but also about the effect that the Bible has on the audience. We need divine anointing to deliver the message that God wishes to convey through our understanding of the text to our audience. The interpreter must spend time in prayer after interpreting the text.


4.2. Avoid

      • Forced Interpretations


Every effort must be made to avoid forcing the Bible to say what we intend to say, that is, manipulating the text to say what we want to communicate. God will not approve of that kind of interpretation. It is evidence of unfaithfulness on the part of the interpreter if he or she manipulates people.


      • Interpreting Biblical Passages Out of Context


Every effort must also be made not to interpret passages out of context. We need to understand the context of a passage and try to interpret texts within the contexts that the Bible gives to us.


      • Using the Commentaries as Authoritative Documents


Commentaries are good but they are not to be given the same level of authority as the Bible.


      • Laziness


A major enemy of anyone trying to interpret the Bible is ‘laziness’. Biblical interpretation is a very demanding exercise. It does not encourage laziness and those who make good effort to study the Bible are always rewarded. You decided to enrol on this course because you are not lazy. You will soon begin to reap the rewards of your investments.


      1. How do you plan to sustain the changes that you have made? 

Class Exercise 4


Who was Satan’s target in Lk. 22:31-32 and who did Jesus pray for? Give reasons for your answers?


‘The translators took further care in their rendering of the Word of God into English. The Hebrew and the Greek use different pronouns to distinguish between ‘you’ singular and ‘you’ plural. ‘Thee’ and ‘thou’ were not in common usage in the seventeenth century, but found a place in the Authorised Version in order that the English reader of Scripture could know, as the Greek reader did, that Jesus in His conversation with Peter had said that Satan had demanded to sift the disciples (‘you’) like wheat, but that Jesus had prayed specifically for Peter (‘thee’), so that he could strengthen his brethren (Lk. 22:31-32)’.[1]   


The above information will help you to have an understanding of what our Lord Jesus Christ said to Peter. 



1 Read Psalm15: 4 in its various renderings.


‘who keeps his oath even when it hurts’ NIV

‘Who keeps his word whatever the cost’ Holman Christian Standard Bible

‘who stands by his oath even to his hurt’ JSB


Post-biblical notions have been applied to this Psalm and we need to be careful not to allow any of these to hinder our fellowship with God. Did David say that wrong interpretations should not be corrected?


      1. Word Study on ‘doctrine’.


Its Origin: John Wycliffe (doctrine is a loan word from the Latin of Jerome’s New Testament) Matt. 15:9[2].

This is why it is important to check for the words used by the biblical authors to find out what they mean.


New Testament


Didache: Teaching (the act). See Youngs Concordance

Didaskalia: Teaching (the substance)

Logos: Word (Heb. 6: 1)


Old Testament


Leqach: The receiving, what is (to be) received

Musar: Chastisement, instruction

Shemuah: What is heard


Doctrine Church History

Alister McGrath[3] writes:Communally authoritative teachings regarded as essential to the identity of the Christian community’. From this understanding, do you think that one church claim absolute ownership of a doctrine or set of doctrines?


J.D.N. Kelly[4]  We must begin to examine the history of Christian doctrines from the apostolic fathers (placing it outside the NT). We cannot ignore the patristic period and the debates and controversies that took place in what has been described as the ‘church’s first doctrinally creative period’. We need to be aware of various controversies, e.g. Arian controversy in order not to repeat some of the mistakes that they made during that period.


      1. Corresponding Words

Read Ps37: 3


What is the difference between ‘trust’ and faith?

‘One who is motivated by the attribute of trust, however, is certainly inculcated with faith, too, for trust is like the fruit of the tree and faith is like the tree itself. Just as the fruit signifies (the existence of) the tree although the tree is no proof of the existence of the fruit, so does trust signify the presence of faith although faith is no proof of the existence of trust’[5].


When reading the NT or OT, it is important to know corresponding words because it helps us to understand the message of the author (batach and emunah).


Home Work

      1. Summarise your understanding of today’s lecture
      2. What have you gained from this Unit?
      3. What changes have you made to your life as a result of this Unit?


Exercise 1


Was the Authorised Version based on the Received Text (Textus Receptus) or Critical Text?[6]


Exercise 2


How can you preach or teach from a disputed text?[7]


Exercise 3

What is meant by the ‘Tripartite Canonization’ theory and how does it explain the exclusion of the Book of Prophet Daniel from the Jewish prophetic books (Nevi’im)?


Reading List


Trinitarian Bible Society Publications


      • Bible Translation and the Apocrypha
      • Why 1 Jn. 5:7-8 is in the Bible
      • The Greek New testament
      • A Textual Key to the New Testament
      • The Scriptural Doctrine of the Trinity
      • The Authenticity of the Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel According to Mark
      • Ecumenism and the United Bible Societies
      • The Lord Gave the Word
      • The Divine Original
      • Plain Reasons for Keeping to the Authorised Version
      • The English Bible, Its Origin, Preservation and Blessing
      • The New King James Version
      • The Living Bible
      • The Authorised Version
      • The Translator to the Reader
      • What Today’s Christian Needs to Know About the NIV
      • The Learned Men
      • Christ’s Substitutionary Sacrifice
      • Romans 9:5 The Deity of Christ, Article No.1
      • The Wonder of the Book, Article No.9
      • The Excellency of the Authorised Version, Article No.24
      • The Amplified New Testament, Article No. 26
      • The Power and The Glory, Article No.31
      • Private Interpretation, Article No. 39
      • Of the Resurrection of Christ, Article No.48
      • And As Many as Were Ordained to Eternal Life Believed, Article No.50
      • The Pool of Bethesda, Article No.112
      • And The Lord Added to the Church Daily Such as Should be Saved Act2:47, Article No.117


Corley, Bruce, Steve Lemke, and Grant Lovejoy, eds. Biblical Hermeneutics: A Comprehensive Introduction to Interpreting Scripture. Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1996.

Charry, E.T. (1997) By The Renewing of Your Minds, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Hodge, C. (1988) Systematic Theology, Baker Book House Company

            Lightfoot, N, R. (1986) How We Got The Bible, Abilene: A.C.U Press.




P.O. Box 8500,


Statement: DC 



For several years now we have received requests to comment  on the teachings and practices of Community Chapel and Bible Training Center in Seattle (hereafter CCBTC), pastored by Donald Lee Barnett.   Based on our research, there is more than sufficient evidence to show that CCBTC is, in the theological sense of the term, a cult.  That is, it is a religious  organization  which professes to be Christian  but which teaches heretical doctrine on the fundamentals of the Christian faith (see CRI's statement on the meaning of the term "cult" for more details).


Specifically,  CCBTC  denies  the  biblical,  orthodox  doctrine  of  the  Trinity,  teaching instead  a variation  of the doctrine of God known as "Oneness."   Barnett’s doctrine, though not identical to the usual Oneness view as taught, for example, in the United Pentecostal Church (on which see "Oneness Pentecostalism and the Trinity," available from CRI), is sufficiently similar that it may be broadly classified as Oneness.   In any case, Barnett  and  his  church  and  school  explicitly  deny  the doctrine  of the Trinity, claiming  along  with other antitrinitarian  cults that  the Trinity  was a fourth-century paganization  of  Christian  doctrine.     In so teaching, CCBTC has separated itself (compare 1 John 2:19) from the fellowship of Christian churches.  The fact that it seeks recognition as an evangelical church and that its members consider themselves to be born again does not make its rejection of the Trinity any less heretical.


Also of concern are the destructive efforts of CCBTC's teaching that Christians can be demonized or demon-possessed (a view which CRI considers erroneous; see our statement on exorcism and deliverance for further details).  Though this teaching can be found in many orthodox charismatic and Pentecostal churches, the extreme form in which it is found in the CCBTC makes it not merely erroneous, but heretical.



Finally,  the teaching  and  practice  of  "spiritual  connections,"  which  was  reported  in newspapers nationwide in 1986, and which involves church members developing extremely intimate relationships  with the spouses of other church members, is both unbiblical and socially deviant. The destructive effects of this teaching, as well as their teaching on demons are described in the article attached below. 

The foregoing should not be construed to mean that we regard every member of the

CCBTC as necessarily lost.  Many persons who were Christians before encountering the

cult joined it without recognizing it as such, and many such believers have left the cult and joined sound Christian churches.   However, the organization and its teaching are definitely heretical, and Christians should not seek to have fellowship with those involved.


(This article taken from the 1986 Spring/Summer issue of FORWARD)



A Seattle-based church has lost over 300 members, including many leaders, and become widely  regarded  by concerned  Christians  as a cult, following  numerous  divorces,  a suicide,  a  murder,  and  several  allegations  of  rape  and  other  charges  of  sexual misconduct.



The teachings of Donald Lee Barnett are blamed for the recent crises among members of Community Chapel and Bible Training Center. Barnett, 57, began the Chapel in 1967 as a small home Bible study; it has since grown to roughly 3,000 members and several satellite churches, including a few in Canada and the Philippines.



Although Barnett says his church welcomes all “born-again Christians,” he holds to a variant form of the “Oneness” doctrine of God (see FORWARD, Fall 1985) and denounces the doctrine of the Trinity.



Most   controversial    among   Barnett’s   teachings   is   a   practice   called   “spiritual connections.” In 1983 Barnett had taught his congregation to “dance before the Lord,” which involved solo dancing in the aisles of the church sanctuary. Then, in spring 1985, he  began  teaching  that  “dancing  before  the  Lord”  could  involve  couples  dancing together. Eventually, members were encouraged to dance with other persons’ spouses and develop intimate relationships with them (“spiritual connections”) in order to enhance  their  spiritual  union  with  God  and  perfect  the  unity  of  the  church.  Such couples spent hours dancing, staring into each other’s eyes, hugging, kissing, and so forth — though Barnett has said that such relationships are to remain “spiritual” rather than “carnal,” and adultery is forbidden.

Another controversial teaching of Barnett is  the  demonization  of  Christians.  This doctrine, found in some charismatic and Pentecostal churches (though usually not in the extreme form taught by Barnett), warns Christians about demons of lust, anger, jealousy,  and  other  such  sins,  and  recommends  that  such  problems  be resolved  by casting out the demons, What is unusual about Barnett’s teaching on this matter is that everyone is considered demonized, and almost any problem is blamed on demons.



The combination of these two teachings apparently led to several tragedies. The first of these involved Kelly Scott, 25, who shot herself in the head on December 14, 1985. Kelly’s husband had developed a “spiritual connection” with a woman who was so close to him that when he contracted pneumonia she stayed in their home to care for him. When Kelly became depressed over this situation, she was told by fellow “Chapelites” that she had a demon of jealousy. Unable to rid herself of the “demon,” Kelly committed suicide. Since then, one other member of the Chapel has committed suicide for similar reasons.



National attention was focused on Community Chapel in April 1986, when Janet Cole,

37, was found guilty of having murdered her five-year-old daughter Brittany. Cole, a member of the Chapel for 18 years, had reportedly fallen in love with her “spiritual connection” and her resulting emotional breakdown was diagnosed by her husband and other Chapelites as demonic. Cole also feared that her daughter was demon- possessed by a “demon of hyperactivity.”  Believing Barnett’s teaching that a young child who dies automatically goes to heaven, Cole decided to take Brittany’s life to ensure her salvation. She drove to Portland on March 20, 1986, and drowned her child in a motel bathtub. She then attempted suicide by drug overdose, but was unsuccessful. The court sent her to a mental hospital in Maryland.



Barnett denies that these incidents had anything to do with his teachings. Faithful members of the Chapel agree. But critics, such as Harry Stegman, a former Chapel teacher who now helps people leaving the church, argue that Barnett’s teachings are directly to blame.



Troubles have rocked the church before. In 1981 roughly 100 members left, charging Barnett with teaching elitism and exercising undue control over the personal lives of the members. Those who left were ostracized and warned that their salvation was in jeopardy.  Defending  the church,  Barnett  said at the time,  “We are in no danger of becoming a cult.”



Articles of Affirmation and Denial

Article I. WE AFFIRM that the Holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative Word of God. WE DENY that the Scriptures receive their authority from the Church, tradition, or any other human source.

Article II. WE AFFIRM that the Scriptures are the supreme written norm by which God binds the conscience, and that the authority of the Church is subordinate to that of Scripture. WE DENY that Church creeds, councils, or declarations have authority greater than or equal to the authority of the Bible.

Article III. WE AFFIRM that the written Word in its entirety is revelation given by God. WE DENY that the Bible is merely a witness to revelation, or only becomes revelation in encounter, or depends on the responses of men for its validity.

Article IV. WE AFFIRM that God who made mankind in His image has used language as a means of revelation. WE DENY that human language is so limited by our creatureliness that it is rendered inadequate as a vehicle for divine revelation. We further deny that the corruption of human culture and language through sin has thwarted God’s work of inspiration.

Article V. WE AFFIRM that God’s revelation within the Holy Scriptures was progressive. WE DENY that later revelation, which may fulfill earlier revelation, ever corrects or contradicts it. We further deny that any normative revelation has been given since the completion of the New Testament writings.

Article VI. WE AFFIRM that the whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very words of the original, were given by divine inspiration. WE DENY that the inspiration of Scripture can rightly be affirmed of the whole without the parts, or of some parts but not the whole.

Article VII. WE AFFIRM that inspiration was the work in which God by His Spirit, through human writers, gave us His Word. The origin of Scripture is divine. The mode of divine inspiration remains largely a mystery to us. WE DENY that inspiration can be reduced to human insight, or to heightened states of consciousness of any kind.

Article VIII. WE AFFIRM that God in His work of inspiration utilized the distinctive personalities and literary styles of the writers whom He had chosen and prepared. WE DENY that God, in causing these writers to use the very words that He chose, overrode their personalities.

Article IX. WE AFFIRM that inspiration, though not conferring omniscience, guaranteed true and trustworthy utterance on all matters of which the Biblical authors were moved to speak and write. WE DENY that the finitude or fallenness of these writers, by necessity or otherwise, introduced distortion or falsehood into God’s Word.

Article X. WE AFFIRM that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original. WE DENY that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the absence of the autographs. We further deny that this absence renders the assertion of Biblical inerrancy invalid or irrelevant.

Article XI. WE AFFIRM that Scripture, having been given by divine inspiration, is infallible, so that, far from misleading us, it is true and reliable in all the matters it addresses. WE DENY that it is possible for the Bible to be at the same time infallible and errant in its assertions. Infallibility and inerrancy may be distinguished, but not separated.

Article XII. WE AFFIRM that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit. WE DENY that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.

Article XIII. WE AFFIRM the propriety of using inerrancy as a theological term with reference to the complete truthfulness of Scripture. WE DENY that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations.

Article XIV. WE AFFIRM the unity and internal consistency of Scripture. WE DENY that alleged errors and discrepancies that have not yet been resolved vitiate the truth claims of the Bible.

Article XV. WE AFFIRM that the doctrine of inerrancy is grounded in the teaching of the Bible about inspiration. WE DENY that Jesus’ teaching about Scripture may be dismissed by appeals to accommodation or to any natural limitation of His humanity.

Article XVI. WE AFFIRM that the doctrine of inerrancy has been integral to the Church’s faith throughout its history. WE DENY that inerrancy is a doctrine invented by scholastic Protestantism, or is a reactionary position postulated in response to negative higher criticism.

Article XVII. WE AFFIRM that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the Scriptures, assuring believers of the truthfulness of God’s written Word. WE DENY that this witness of the Holy Spirit operates in isolation from or against Scripture.

Article XVIII. WE AFFIRM that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historical exegesis, taking account of its literary forms and devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture. WE DENY the legitimacy of any treatment of the text or quest for sources lying behind it that leads to relativizing, dehistoricizing, or discounting its teaching, or rejecting its claims to authorship.

Article XIX. WE AFFIRM that a confession of the full authority, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture is vital to a sound understanding of the whole of the Christian faith. We further affirm that such confession should lead to increasing conformity to the image of Christ. WE DENY that such confession is necessary for salvation. However, we further deny that inerrancy can be rejected without grave consequences, both to the individual and to the Church.


[1] See TBS Article No.75 ‘The Authorised Version, p.3.

[2] See coined by God, Stanley Malles and Jeffrey McQuain: 2003:49

[3] See Genesis of Doctrines:

[4] See Early Christian Doctrine.

[5] See Encylopedia of Torah Thoughts p.86

[6] See TBS Article No.104 for the answer.

[7] See TBS Article ‘Why 1 Jn5: 7-8 is in the Bible