Inerrancy of the Bible

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The Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy

The doctrine that the original manuscripts of the Holy Bible are completely free from any error is known as biblical inerrancy. Some who assert the inerrancy of the Bible believe that although there are no remaining original manuscripts of the Bible, the existing manuscripts are faithful copies of the originals. Others who believe in biblical inerrancy declare that the original text of the Bible has been completely preserved and passed down.[1]

The LDS View of Biblical Inerrancy

Mormon Bible

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints revere the Bible. They study it, teach from it, and believe it to be the word of God. However, they do not believe it is without error.

Joseph Smith, first president of the Church, said, “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers.”[2] His view continues to be expressed in one of Church’s articles of faith, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.”[3]

Many errors entered the Bible text during the process of compiling, translating, and transcribing. These errors are apparent through the many contradictions, omissions, and references to missing scriptural passages.

Despite these errors, Latter-day Saints believe in the general accuracy of the Bible and continue to apply the scriptural teachings in their lives.

Church leaders honor and respect the devoted people who were prompted to protect and preserve the Bible and make it available in many languages.

My brothers and sisters, the Holy Bible is a miracle! It is a miracle that the Bible’s 4,000 years of sacred and secular history were recorded and preserved by the prophets, apostles, and inspired churchmen.
It is a miracle that we have the Bible’s powerful doctrine, principles, poetry, and stories. But most of all, it is a wonderful miracle that we have the account of the life, ministry, and words of Jesus, which was protected through the Dark Ages and through the conflicts of countless generations so that we may have it today.”[1] [2]

Latter-day Saints believe that the canon of scripture is open and that further revelation comes through modern prophets and apostles that expands our understanding of the Bible. Members of the Church believe that other LDS scripture—such as the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible—support, clarify, and enrich Bible teachings.

References

  1. See “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (December 1978), 289–296.
  2. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (1976), 327.
  3. Article of Faith 8.