Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy is a document that helps the Christian gain some understanding when they hear people speaking about "Biblical Inerrancy." Apart from this Short Statement below, the document contains 19 articles each with an affirmation and denial as well as an Exposition section elaborating on a few key doctrines, which include: Inerrancy and Authority, Infallibility Inerrancy and Interpretation and a few others. Take some time to chew on this and see where it leaves you in regards to your personal held views on the Word of God. It may just impact the way you view and study scripture!

I have pasted the "Short (Summary) Statement" below and the full article of the statement can be seen at

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.

2. 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.

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

4. 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.

5. 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; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.


  1. I've read the Chicago Statement... there are some gaps as well as some problems.

    The Statement does not deal with how we got the Bible, which I think would be the natural starting point. It only states a denial that the authority of scripture does not derive from the Church or tradition. But how did we get the Bible to begin with? They don't deal with this question at all.

    In the short statement above it says that the Bible was "verbally God-given". What do they mean by this? That scripture was dictated? Or simply that it was given in words? I don't really know what this refers to. It seems many fundamentalists actually think the Bible was dictated. If this is what "verbally God-given" means then I'm afraid there are serious problems with the statement. And if dictation occurred then this seems to contradict Article VIII where the personalities and writing styles of the authors is affirmed. In what sense could a document be dictacted without sidelining the writer's personality?

    Article XVI stating that inerrancy has been important integral to the Church throughout its history is debatable. And the denial that inerrancy is a product of Protestant Scholasticism would be laughable if it wasn't so sad. Of course the Chicago Statement was a product of Protestant Scholasticism and a reaction against higher criticism.

    There are other problems, particularly with trying to make the Bible assert inerrancy in scientific and historical facts. This is hugely problematic. Article XVII confines the operation of the Holy Spirit to the Bible and the Bible only. What ever happened to the Spirit blowing where it wills?

    This is a statement for a very narrow stream of Christianity - fundamentalist evangelicalism. The majority of Christians around the world would never subscribe to the doctrine of inerrancy as described in this Statement. I think the Chicago statement is basically idolatrous. It deifies a book. This is the very definition of an idol. Christians should reject such a statement in my view.

    1. Simon,
      Thanks for the thoughtful response. I too have my reservations about the weight a view like this puts on scripture. It can lead to a sort of Bibliolatry as you aptly stated and I pointed out in two short blogs I wrote about this very topic. ( and

      I believe we can affirm that the Bible is authoritative on all it affirms and teaches, however we mustn't raise it to the level of say a science textbook, as it was not intended to answer such questions in depth. The Scriptures though apparently exhaustive in some areas are on the other hand silent in others. We must use our God given cognitive faculties operating correctly to discern the best approach to matters Scripture is tacit on.

      Again thanks for the feedback and thoughtful response!