Many think that if inerrancy is abandoned, then it is a slippery slope leading to the abandonment of the Bible altogether. The painful lack of training in logic is evident in our culture because there is a logical fallacy named “the slippery slope fallacy.” The logical conclusion, if there are errors in the Bible, would be to doubt just those texts or verses that are in question, not all of the Bible. And we would doubt to the extent of the magnitude of questionableness of the errors. For instance, John’s name in Greek in the NT is ἰωαννην, but some manuscripts make the so-called error of spelling it this way: ἰωανην. So there is only one “n” rather than two (a “v” in Greek is an “n” in English); this of course changes the meaning in no way.

Further, our understanding of “perfection” should be vetted in light of what we see in Jesus Himself. God made man, Jesus, took on the limitations of being a creature as Scripture teaches: “Therefore, He had to be made like His brothers in every respect . . .” (Hebrews 2:17; also cf. Phil 2:6 ff., Jn. 1:14). Being human means to be limited although in Jesus’ case it was only for a limited time and during those times that He was not led by the Spirit to use His divine capacities. To be human, however, means to be open to the travels of that limited capacity: Jesus got hungry, thirsty, and ultimately killed — God in heaven cannot die but God made man can. God is perfect, which means to be whole and self-sufficient, but God made man, Jesus, was dependent on food for a time: He “was made . . . a little lower than the angels” (Heb. 2:9). It would be blasphemy to say that Jesus was sinful or lacking His divinity in any way during His incarnation in this world, so I want to be clear that I do not mean this. His divinity is seen through His temporary limitation as a human, not in spite of Jesus’ humanity. The transfiguration (Mt. 17:2 ff.) is a case of the divinity shining through Jesus’ humanity while the rest of the time we have to see through His humanity to His divinity. Scripture itself teaches that “he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Heb. 2:10). And again, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him . . .” (Heb. 5:8 – 9). We can be sure that it was the humanity of Jesus that was made perfect through His divinity working in and through it; the divinity has no need of perfection as it is the standard of all perfection itself. Some might be perplexed why I have spent this time on Jesus; I have done so because Jesus is a case of the divine and human united as is the case, more or less, with Scripture: God working through humanity to produce it. If Jesus, while human, had needs, being made lower than angels, and perfecting the humanity His divinity was united to, then what type of “perfection” should we attribute to Scripture that is the outcome of God using sinful men, unlike the sinless man, Christ? I am not prepared to offer a statement on this; indeed, this seems to be a lifelong goal in answering such a question, and better theologians them me have forged more than one path towards answering this complex issue. We nevertheless must consider how we should or should not understand the word “perfection.” This deserves arduous attention.

Dr. Scalise