Many Protestant and Roman Catholic believers (of the fundamentalist/conservative variety) adhere to the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy. What IS inerrancy, and what does Biblical inerrancy mean for us today?
Succinctly explained, Biblical inerrancy means that the whole of the Bible is considered to be accurate and free of error. Now, what does that entail? First, it should be noted that, while the Bible is seen as God’s infallible word, “infallible” does not come without some poetic license. As with all pieces of literature, we must realize that some poetic/colloquial terms may creep into the text. A splendid example is Joshua’s 24 hours of sunshine. The Bible describes the event by saying that the sun “stood still.” We don’t literally have to believe that the sun actually stood still in it’s position in the sky. If that were the case, everything on earth would have been hurled right off the planet by the sudden stop of momentum. While I realize that God COULD allow us all to stay on without flying off, I don’t have a problem with the Bible using some poetic license here to simply say that “there continued to be daylight somehow.” Perhaps God momentarily spun the earth so that Israel was located, for just a day, above 66 degrees latitude. The important thing to take from this is this: you don’t have to throw out Biblical inerrancy on the basis of language. The Bible was not meant to walk on all fours. It’s not a wooden book. Realize that yes, it is God’s word to us, but it is also God’s story for us as well.