Albert Mohler just highlighted an important article by Greg Beale on inerrancy. The article appears in The Westminster Theological Journal and is titled “Can the Bible Be Completely Inspired by God and Yet Still Contain Errors? A Response to Some Recent ‘Evangelical’ Proposals.” Here’s the problem Beale seeks to address in this article:
Recent writers have especially questioned the traditional understanding of inerrancy. In particular, a central idea underlying inerrancy has been that since God is true and without error and, therefore, his oral word is true and without error, consequently, his word in Scripture is true and without error. This implication or theological inference that reasons from God’s flawless character to flawless Scripture has been challenged, and it has been argued that it is a logical deduction that is never made in the Bible. Accordingly, it is argued that though God, of course, is true and without error, he can, and indeed has, inspired all of Scripture in such a way that, nevertheless, the marks of human fallibility are woven into it. Thus, there are what we would consider to be “errors” in the biblical text, but God has inspired even those “errors” to form a part of his message to his people.
Beale interacts at length with A. T. B. McGowan’s book, The Divine Authenticity of Scripture and shows that the inerrancy of scripture is not merely a logical deduction from the inerrancy of God. The scripture itself makes the connection between God’s truthfulness and the truthfulness of His word. You can read the article here.
Greg Beale’s work on the doctrine of scripture has been a great service to the church. If you have not read his book The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism (Crossway, 2008), you should really check it out. This doctrine is up for grabs right now among many who call themselves evangelicals. Beale’s work will prepare you to think carefully through all the issues.
For a recent, general introduction to the doctrine of scripture, I would recommend to you Timothy Ward’s book Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God (InterVarsity, 2010).