Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 123:492 (Oct 1966)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“Clues To Understanding Biblical Accuracy,” Robert H. Mounce, Eternity, June, 1966, pp. 16-18.

This article could more accurately be entitled “Clues to Understanding Biblical Inaccuracy,” because the final conclusion of the author is that the Bible is not, strictly speaking, accurate. This is true in spite of the fact that at the end of the article the author asks, “Are there errors in the Bible?” and promptly answers, “Certainly not,” because he continues to say, “so long as we are talking in terms of the purpose of its authors and the acceptable standards of precision of that day,” a statement which summarizes the article’s arguments and evidence to show that the Bible is not strictly accurate.

In all fairness to the author—and to the periodical, which obviously endorses this position by publishing the article—he manifests a high view of the ultimate divine origin of Scripture, its inspiration, and its authority. But the fact remains that he does not accept the inerrancy of the Bible in the historic Christian sense of the word. He claims he does accept it in an elastic sense which allows for discrepancies, contradictions, and “error” which he cannot explain.

The author seeks to discredit the historic position of Biblical inerrancy as being deductive, whereas his view is scientific and inductive. When the Lord Jesus bases an argument on a single word (John 10:34–36), Paul bases an argument on the use of the singular instead of the plural (Gal 3:16), and the writer of Hebrews bases an argument on the silence of Scripture (Heb 7:1–3), the conclusion that the Bible supports its own inerrancy through verbal-plenary inspiration can hardly be dismissed as deductive.

The real crux of the author’s argument for his elastic, or errant, view of inerrancy is that the first-century culture (since he seems to be concerned primarily with the New Testament) had a different standard of accuracy than we do today. As a result we cannot apply, “our 20th century standards,” but “we must judge the accuracy of Scripture according to the prevailing standards of the time.” This is nothing but a watered-down version of the liberal argument that the ancient cultures of Biblical times had different standards of truth than we do, a view patently and demonstrably false.

After making the point that his position is the result of the inductive approach to the Bible, the author presents only four brief illustrations of his view from Scripture, devoting approximately one-seventh of the article to his “for instances.” Of these, two are mere sm...

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