Biblical inerrancy is the doctrine that the Bible in its original manuscripts, is accurate and totally free from error. "Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact". Some equate inerrancy with infallibility; others do not.
In 1978, 300 scholars and Protestant leaders met in Chicago and produced an agreed statement. It states the Bible is ' of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches...'. Most Evangelical Christians agree with this view, but Liberal Christians do not.
There are over 5,600 Greek manuscripts containing all or part of the New Testament, as well as over 10,000 Latin manuscripts, and perhaps 500 other manuscripts in various other languages. Additionally, there are the Patristic writings which contain copious quotes, across the early centuries, of the scriptures. Inerrancy is only applied to the original autographs (the manuscripts written by the original authors), rather than the copies. For instance, the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy says, "We affirm that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture."
- Grudem, Wayne A. (1994). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-85110-652-6. OCLC 29952151.
- McKim D.K. 1996. Westminster dictionary of theological terms, Westminster John Knox Press.
- Geisler N.L. (ed) 1980. Inerrancy, Zondervan, p22: "The trouble is that such a distinction is nowhere to be found in Jesus' own teaching. and seems to be precluded by His testimony both to the unqualified historical accuracy and the inspiration of the Old Testament. .. The attempt to discriminate ... seems to be a product of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries".
- "Chicago Statement on Biblical Innerancy" (PDF).