Reliability of Scripture

My 30 page outline from a Deeper Life class I taught at FBC Suffolk in the Fall of 2010.  I think you will find it to be an adequate overview of the issues affecting the reliability of Scripture.  Please use as you see fit.

It briefly covers the topics of:
  • Inerrancy
    • What it is.
    • What it isn't
  • Do we have the words the NT writers wrote?
    • Christian Literacy
    • Textual Culture
    • Manuscript Evidence
    • Textual Variants
  • Inspiration
    • Expectation Evidence
    • Exegesis Evidence
    • External Evidence
    • Chain of Evidence
  • NT Writers' and Jesus' view of Scripture
    • Was OT relevant to NT culture?
    • Use of OT in NT
    • How OT informed NT writers and Jesus' views

An important quote from the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy:

We affirm that canonical Scripture should always be interpreted on the basis that it is infallible and inerrant. However, in determining what the God-taught writer is asserting in each passage, we must pay the most careful attention to its claims and character as a human production. In inspiration, God utilized the culture and conventions of his penman’s milieu, a milieu that God controls in His sovereign providence; it is misinterpretation to imagine otherwise.
So history must be treated as history, poetry as poetry, hyperbole and metaphor as hyperbole and metaphor, generalization and approximation as what they are, and so forth. Differences between literary conventions in Bible times and in ours must also be observed: Since, for instance, nonchronological narration and imprecise citation were conventional and acceptable and violated no expectations in those days, we must not regard these things as faults when we find them in Bible writers. When total precision of a particular kind was not expected nor aimed at, it is no error not to have achieved it. Scripture is inerrant, not in the sense of being absolutely precise by modern standards, but in the sense of making good its claims and achieving that measure of focused truth at which its authors aimed. 
The truthfulness of Scripture is not negated by the appearance in it of irregularities of grammar or
spelling, phenomenal descriptions of nature, reports of false statements (for example, the lies of Satan), or seeming discrepancies between one passage and another. It is not right to set the so-called “phenomena” of Scripture against the teaching of Scripture about itself. Apparent inconsistencies should not be ignored. Solution of them, where this can be convincingly achieved, will encourage our faith, and where for the present no convincing solution is at hand we shall significantly honor God by trusting His assurance that His Word is true, despite these appearances, and by maintaining our confidence that one day they will be seen to have been illusions.

Links to relevant documents and mp3's:
Gospel Harmonization 101
A 15 page document that deals with the relationship of inerrancy and harmonization. It gives 8 principals to aid in harmonization which are rooted in the nature of the oral transmission process of oral cultures. The paper summarizes Richard Bauckham's view of the role of the eyewitnesses in this transmission process.

Are we to take the Bible literally? Read Here for an answer to this misleading question.

Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy
An excellent 13 page document written in 1978 outlining a conservative stance on the Inerrancy of Scripture.  This is something that every evangelical Christian should have.

How Far Beyond Chicago? Assessing Recent Attempts to Reframe the Inerrancy Debate
An insightful article by James Sexton that puts the CSBI in historical perspective.  It also addresses if the 21st century necessitates a change in the evangelical's view of Inerrancy. 

James White and Bart Ehrman Debate Transcript
This was a fantastic debate between scholars James White and Bart Ehrman on the topic of Ehrman's book Misquoting Jesus.

Unbelievable Radio Debate - Bart Ehrman & Peter Williams
A great debate on the topic of do we have the words that the NT writers wrote - the autographs.  I love this debate because Ehrman actually takes a difficult passage and argues that we can actually know what the original said.  I think this even surprised Peter Williams.

Andreas Kostenberger on the Janet Mefferd Show
Kostenberger's book, The Heresy of Orthodoxy, refutes Bart Ehrman's claims that doctrinal orthodoxy did not exist until the formal canonization of Scripture - known as The Bauer Thesis.  In this interview, Kostenberger talks about his book.  His book, by the way, is a must read.

Larry Hurtado's Research on Manuscript Meta-Data
A fascinating paper on topics such as the Codex, the Nomina Sacra and more.  The evidence for the reliability of Scripture seems to keep growing and growing.

D.A. Carson provides a quick overview on what Biblical Inerrancy is and isn't

G.K. Beale gives a realistic approach to Harmonization and an excellent example of a problem solved:

I will add more links as time permits.