The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
5 Points

If the Bible were to Be God's word; then it needs to be clear, authoritative, and inerrant.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/6/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,964 times Debate No: 18199
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (19)
Votes (1)




Thank you, Daley, for agreeing to this debate. I am excited to be debating with you again.

This debate is not if the Bible contains errors (as my opponent already concedes it does); we are discussing if Bible inerrancy is important to the truth of god's word.

I will be arguing that an inerrant revelation, both internal and external [1] is important in determining its truth. If the bible is errant in any way, then it isn't God's word.

My opponent will be arguing that the Bible does not need to be inerrant.

Good luck!

[1] By external contradictions, I refer to science, history, and archealogy.


I will be arguing that the Bible does not need to be without mistakes to be the word of God. Good luck to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1


Welcome to the opening argument round. I wish to once again thank my opponent for this challenge.


(P1) If the God of evangelical Christianity were to exist, then the Bible would be God's only written revelation.

(P2) Thus, if that deity were to exist, then he would probably see to it that the Bible is perfectly clear and authoritative, and lack the appearance of merely human authorship.

(P3) Some facts about the Bible are the following:

1 It contradicts itself or is very unclear in many places.
2 It contains factual errors, including unfulfilled prophecies.

(C1) Therefore [from C], the Bible is not perfectly clear and authoritative, and has the appearance of merely human authorship.

(C2) Hence [from B & D], probably the God of evangelical Christianity does not exist [1]

Premise 1 is unproblematic. This does not, by any means, mean there will be false revelations; rather it means there is only one true and authoritative word of God.

Premise 2 is also unproblematic. I believe if God were to exist that he would make sure of a perfect and clear revelation. Imagine that you have a 2 year old daughter and tell her not to play with matches, but you tell her in such a way that she doesn't understand it. If she were to burn down the house, the fault would be upon you.

Imagine this way with god. You are the two year old trying to find god, and yet You end up burning in hell because of an unclear revelation. It would need to be inerrant because if you tell person X to do Y and then not do Y, it can get confusing.

By Hearing the Gospel & Belief in God: John 5:24: "He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life."

By Baptism: John 3:5: "Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.'"

By Grace & Faith, not Works: Ephesians 2:8,9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith ... not of works."

By Faith & Works: James 2:17: "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."

By Keeping the Law: Matthew 19:17: "... if thou wilt enter unto life, keep the commandments."

By Belief in Christ: John 3:16: "... whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

By Belief and Baptism: Mark 16:16: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

By Words: Matthew 12:37: "For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."

By Calling on the Lord: Acts 2:21: "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Not Works but by Grace & Baptism: Titus 3:5: "Not by works ... but according to his mercy ... by the washing of regeneration." (Note: some denominations will say the washing refers to Christ's blood and sacrifice.)

According to Proverbs 16:4: God made the "wicked" for "the day of evil" (i.e. judgment & damnation). Of course, this makes no sense in light of passages that confirm or suggest that Jesus died for a small number of the elect; or that suggest all will be saved: John 1:29, 4:42, 1 Corinthians 15:29, Hebrews 2:9, 1 John 4:14.

Salvation Available to the Chosen Few: Matthew 7:14, 22:14, Luke 12:32, 13:24, John 6:37,65,15:16,19, Romans 8:29, 9:11-23, Ephesians 1:4.

Salvation Available to Those Who Desire it: Matthew 7:7-8, 11:28, John 3:16, 5:40, 7:37, Acts 2:21, Revelation 3:20.

In fact, Christians cannot agree on how to be saved!

Southern Baptist: Baptism (by immersion) seen as a public testimony to the commitment to Christ (infant or preconversion baptisms not practiced); some require baptism, some do not. Belief in God, eternal covenant between the Father and the Son about the redemption of the elect, repentance of sin. Communion is seen as symbolic.

Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod: Grace alone through faith, belief in Christ's sacrifice; baptism is "generally" required. Lutherans believe that Christ's body and blood are present "during" communion (i.e., consubstantiation).

There is also confusion about the role of women. Can women preach or can they not? There are churches that disagree. We can conclude that the Bible is very unclear and/or contradictory.

Another issue the Bible can't seem to get straight is how Judas died.

"And he cast down the pieces of silver into the temple and departed, and went out and hanged himself." (MAT 27:5)

"And falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all of his bowels gushed out." (ACT 1:18)

Which one was it? Did he die by falling head long or did he die by hanging himself?

These are serious issues. Not only do Christians disagree on the role of women, and salvation method, but they also disagree on the afterlife! Is hell eternal or is it not? Is it a literal barbecue or a state of mind?

In addition, the mother of all errors are failed prophecies. By my opponent's own admittance, a failed prophecy would make God to be a liar.


For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people. He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field: and he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee. And he shall set engines of war against thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers. By reason of the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover thee: thy walls shall shake at the noise of the horsemen, and of the wheels, and of the chariots, when he shall enter into thy gates, as men enter into a city wherein is made a breach. With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets: he shall slay thy people by the sword, and thy strong garrisons shall go down to the ground. And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise: and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses: and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water. And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard. And I will make thee like the top of a rock: thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the LORD have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 26

God states in this text that Nebuchadnezzar would destroy Tyre. Hwoever, these events never happened. After 13 years, nebuchadnezzar withdrew his army. Tyre survived for another 240 until Alexander the Great destroyed it [2] and the city was rebuilt.


(P1) The Bible is inspired by God.
(P2) God cannot lie.
(C) Therefore there cannot be errors in the Bible.

Premise 1 is a direct quote from 1 Timothy 3:16
Premise 2 is also a direct quote.

Conclusion: A contradiction is two or more opposing statements in which all cannot be true. Therefore, if there are contradictions then God is either:
1) A liar; or
2) Did not inspire the Bible.

I turn it over to con.



I find Pro's premise 2 problematic because the Bible is not unclear because of how its written, but rather, because of the background beliefs of its readers. For God to make it more clear, would require men to have the same religious viewpoints and methods of approaching Scripture, which would call for his tampering with our freewill – the great gift he has given us which distinguishes us from animals. Gen 2:7 and 3:19 are very clear man was made from dust and returns to dust, which is confirmed whenever we see carcass rotting and returning to dust. Yet, the Christian Scientist don't believe people really die, and say this is merely an illusion. Why? Because the verses aren't clear? No, because their own religious background causes them to approach the text with their own preconceived notions. It is the biases men bring to the texts in question which causes much of the confusion, not the text itself. This happens also in other areas of life. Many conspiracy theorists and UFO groups don't believe man ever landed on the moon. Was it that NASA wasn't clear about the moon landing of Apollo 11? Heck, it was broadcasted live to millions of people, how much more clear can you get than that? But no matter how clear an event or a written record is, there will always be people who refuse to believe for one reason or another. So I don't think it's the Bible that is at fault, but the problem is with those interpreting it. God did make the texts he inspired sufficiently clear for us to grasp the meaning if we approach it with an open mind, and not with the intent of forcing our biased views into the texts.

Pro illustrates his point with a 2-old-child not understanding the order not to play with matches because the parent wasn't clear, but what if the parent is clear and the child still burns the house down anyway? Being clear is no guarantee that people will obey just because they understand. We see this daily. Criminals know that murder, stealing, and selling illegal drugs is clearly against the law, yet they do it. So there is no need to compare us to kids. I have shown big adults what the Bible says, and they agree that it says such and such, and can see why I understand it in the way I do, but they choose not to take it literally for their own biased, irrational reasons. The problem isn't with the Bible, but the hearts and minds of those doing the interpreting are simply looking for texts to support their own beliefs instead of looking to see what the Bible says and conform their views to agree with that.

Pro then mentions people ending up in hell because God told them in the Bible to do Y then not to do Y, so it gets confusing. I've never seen any case where the Bible touches on a matter that affects our salvation and is so unclear as to say ‘yes, Y,' and ‘no, not Y,' so I challenge Pro to show me where it does that. In fact, none of the verses Pro gave us contain, or appear to contain contradictions. Eph 2:8-9 agree with John 5:24 that it's by faith alone we are saved, not works. This is the undeserved kindness (grace) of God that we have such a privilege. John 3:5 doesn't say anything about "baptism," Pro assumed that "water" must mean baptism without contextual evidence, just another example of what I mean when I talk about people trying to force their own beliefs into the text to make them say what they aren't saying. The revelation of God is clear; it's the people that look for every opportunity to distort the message to make it say what they want it to say. James 2:17 doesn't contradict the previous verses cause it doesn't say we are saved by works, rather, that the type of faith which saves will be accompanied by works which prove such faith is genuine. At Matt 19:16-24 Jesus isn't teaching salvation by works, but was testing the man's motives. Notice in verses 20-21 keeping the commandments alone cannot get him to heaven. Jesus is saying, ‘keep the commandments to show your desire to enter life,' not that this will guarantee eternal life. Again, no contraction. John 3:16, belief, same as above. Mark 16:16 is an interpolation; it was not in the original as recorded by Mark. Matt 12:37 wasn't discussing salvation; Acts 2:21 is a quote from Joel 2:32 which talks about physical salvation from harm, not eternal salvation of the soul. It is obvious if you have faith in God you will have to hear about him and will call on him, nothing here contradicts that. Titus 3:5 agrees that it was by grace that God offered us a means of salvation, he didn't have to. No contradiction here either.

None of the verses provided by Pro say that salvation is only open to a chosen few, but rather, that of the world of men called to salvation, only a few would choose it and hence be chosen by God to enter the kingdom of heaven. If Pro disagrees he can present his analysis of individual texts, but I have no space to do it here. Prov 16:4 says "The LORD works out everything for his own ends--even the wicked for a day of disaster." (NIV) This does not say God created men wicked in order to punish them. But even if a person believes that based on his interpretation of the verse, or his translation of it, this would not affect his salvation. The Bible doesn't have to be explicitly clear on matters not affecting salvation, for once we are saved, that's the most important thing.

"Christians cannot agree on how to be saved!"

The current geological and archeological evidence, as well as evidence obtained from examination of mitochondrial DNA shows clearly man has been on earth very long, and that the earth is very old, yet, people interpret the evidence differently, some arguing for a young earth and others holding to an old earth. Disagreements don't prove the evidence isn't clear, just that the folks in question are very skeptical even of good evidence, or very biased. This disagreement among Christians doesn't prove the Bible to be unclear.

"There is also confusion about the role of women."

There is disagreement in churches about homosexuality, yet, the Bible is explicitly clear that this practice is sinful and unnatural. (Rom 1:26-27; Lev 19:22) Just because people reject clear evidence doesn't mean the evidence isn't clear. Since Pro is an atheist, I'd like him to tell us: does the fact that Christians remain Christians despite the evidence showing them that their God doesn't exist, and that their Bible is filled with errors, contradictions, and failed prophecies, prove that the evidence against Christianity and in favor of atheism is unclear? Or does it just mean we Christians are hard-headed? If the evidence isn't clear one way or the other (atheism vs Christianity) you can't argue that we shouldn't believe in our God. But the evidence for atheism is as good as you claim, yet we aren't convinced, it just goes to prove my point that difference of belief doesn't prove the evidence isn't clear, hence, the Bible isn't necessarily unclear anymore than the evidence for atheism is. I understand your evidence, I simply choose to reject it; just as I understand the Jehovah's Witness and SDA interpretation of Scripture but choose to reject it. The Bible ain't the problem, its us.

Acts 1:18-19 could be an interpolation by Theophilus (Acts 1:1) which occurred at such an early date it appeared in all manuscripts, or, Judas could have hanged himself, but the branch of the tree hanging over the cliff where he hanged broke, so that his body bounced off lower limbs or rocks and plunged head first into the ground. In either case, we don't need to know how Judas died to be saved. The Bible is explicitly clear on hell being a literal place, but again, none of this affects salvation, or other important matters like how to treat our neighbors. God's original manuscript of the Bible could not have errors in it, but that doesn't mean errors couldn't creep in through years of transmission. I'm out of space, I'll finish my reply in the next round.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for your quick reply and careful response. Remember, all I need to prove is that the Bible is necessarily clear, authoritative and inerrant for it to be God's word. I do not need to show anything that is not clear, not authoritative, nor errant in order to win this debate.

Good luck.

I find Pro's premise 2 problematic because the Bible is not unclear because of how its written, but rather, because of the background beliefs of its readers. For God to make it more clear, would require men to have the same religious viewpoints and methods of approaching Scripture, which would call for his tampering with our freewill – the great gift he has given us which distinguishes us from animals.

I do not think that this is a violation of free will. Jesus allegedly performed many miracles and people still did not believe. It was clear that Jesus was the Son of God if he really did do all those things, yet many people refused to believe.

Remember that I said that it should be clear, authoritative, and inerrant as far as the centeral doctrines--which, of course, are not so.

Gen 2:7 and 3:19 are very clear man was made from dust and returns to dust, which is confirmed whenever we see carcass rotting and returning to dust.

I honestly do not think that this is a scientific fact. Rather, these passages explain why it appears we return to a dust-like state. Animals also rot and "return" to dust yet they certainly were not created from dust.

Yet, the Christian Scientist don't believe people really die, and say this is merely an illusion. Why? Because the verses aren't clear?... So I don't think it's the Bible that is at fault, but the problem is with those interpreting it. God did make the texts he inspired sufficiently clear for us to grasp the meaning if we approach it with an open mind, and not with the intent of forcing our biased views into the texts.

So which interpretation is correct and which one isn't?

My opponent asks a good question. What if the parent was clear and the child still burns down the house? Then the fault will return on the child because the parent (i.e. God) did everything he could to "prevent" and to "tell" the child the correct way.

Pro asks me to give a place in the Bible where the Bible touches a matter that affects our salvation. The Bible can't even make up its mind on the salvation method! However, keep in mind that it is NOT my job to give you errors in the Bible, rather to prove that If the Bible is the word of God; then it is necessary for it to be clear, authoritative and inerrant. That is my task, not provding contradictions.

(P1) The Bible is inspired by God.
(P2) God cannot lie.
(C) Therefore there cannot be errors in the Bible.

None of this has been responded to. In the words of my opponent:

Unlike John, who saw in vision from God the things he put in the book of revelation, the 4 gospels do not claim to be inspired by God, hence, they simply put the things they saw, or received from the eyewitness to Jesus' life in their own words. this creates certain contradictions like which colour Jesus cloak was, red or purple? how many people did he cast demons out of? (one gospel says 2, another says 1, which might not be a contradiction but appears so because it is being written from different perspectives.) the bible contains scrible errors and interpolations. The last 12 verses of mark in the kjv are interpolations, as well as the story of the woman caught in adultery and the 3 in 1 passage at 1 john 5:7-8...paul says there were 12 apostles to whom Jesus appeared after being raised when there were only 11 cause Judas was dead.

So was Jesus' cloack red or purple? how many people did he cast demonst out of? How can Paul say that there were 12 apostles to whom Jesus appeared after being raise since Judas was dead?

My opponent has yet to respond to my accusation about the failed prophecy.

I respectfully urge a PRO vote because:
  1. My opponent has not yet proved why the Bible does not need to be clear, authoritative, nor inerrant; and
  2. My opponent has not yet provided reason behind the failed prophecy.


The original manuscripts of the Bible, the ones and the specific parts that are inspired by God, did not contain any errors. The fact that minor errors may have crept in over the centuries of transmission does not prove the original wasn't God's word, nor does it prove the current Bible isn't God's word. To illustrate; if you wrote a 100 page book; and during the copying at the printery the editor took out one single page and replaced it with something else, does it now prove that this is no longer your book? No, heck, %99 of it is the same as it was originally, and it still bears your name. So I don't see how people making minor changes to their own renderings of God's word makes it not his word. I agree that God can't lie, but remember that God only inspired the originals, he didn't oversee the translation and transmission; that was a wholly human endeavour. So Pro needs to understand the claim here; the claim is not that God inspired the translating of the Bible into different version, hence, we don't need inerrent TRANSLATIONS, we only need inerrent ORIGINALS, and since Pro doesn't have access to the originals, he can't critique them as containing errors.

Further, I think the Bible we do have is very clear in terms of its core doctrines especially as it relates to salvation. Like He says its not clear on the salvation method, well, "to him," maybe because of his own ideas he brings to the text. But examining each of the verses he gave in context in see no contradiction between them as far as salvation goes, and they are pretty clear to me. So the problem isn't that the Bible isn't clear, but that we have worldviews which cause us to look at clear statements in very different ways. Now, as for being authoritative, what does that mean? No book in itself is authoritative except to those who choose to adhere to it. I believe it, so I let it be an authority in my life, he doesn't. That's no fault of the Bible or God, but its up to him to choose whom he will serve and what sources of authority he will submit to.

Onto the prohecy: Eze 26:3 NIV "therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the sea casting up its waves." The term Adonai, Soverign Lord, places God in charge of this move against Tyre. He is the one who cause "many nations" to come up.

Vs 4: "They will destroy the walls of Tyre and pull down her towers; I will scrape away her rubble and make her a bare rock." We see again the same pairing of God and the nations: "they" and "I." The nations will scrape Tyre off, destroy the walls, and break down the towers. ANY nations are eligible for this action.

Vs 5: "Out in the sea she will become a place to spread fishnets, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD. She will become plunder for the nations." Once again, the I/nations pair is still in view here.

Vss 6-7 "and her settlements on the mainland will be ravaged by the sword. Then they will know that I am the LORD.
For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: From the north I am going to bring against Tyre Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, with horsemen and a great army." Adonai now brings on a specific attacker - Nebuchadnezzar. This brings on the first of "the nations" against Tyre. Nebuchadnezzar comes WITH all these things, and now note how the pairing changes:

Vs 8: "He will ravage your settlements on the mainland with the sword; he will set up siege works against you, build a ramp up to your walls and raise his shields against you." Notice how the pairing I/they is not used, but it is now "he" -Nebuchadnezzar who is "in charge" of the scene. And of course "he" personifies his own army here, and those things with him (horses, etc) This language continues in verses 9-11, personifying his troops and horses under him: the horsemen, chariots and wagons are all "his." "His" horses will trample, "he" will kill; but note the change in verse 12.

Vs 12: "They will plunder your wealth and loot your merchandise; they will break down your walls and demolish your fine houses and throw your stones, timber and rubble into the sea." We return to "they" for the first time since v. 4. And:

Vs 13: "I will put an end to your noisy songs, and the music of your harps will be heard no more."

We also now return to "I": Adonai, the Soverign Lord. Then it continues:

Vs 14: "I will make you a bare rock, and you will become a place to spread fishnets. You will never be rebuilt, for I the LORD have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD."

Ezekiel gives us two pairings: the I/they of Adonai the sovereign, leading the nations; and the he/personified-possession army of Nebuchadnezzar. Ezekiel therefore indicates that Nebuchadnezzar will do specific actions, and that "nations" will perform certain actions. Nebuchadnezzar brings one of those nations on the scene, but the language tells us that the actions of 3-5 and 12-14 may be performed by any nations God brings against Tyre and need not be actions of Nebuchadnezzar. Verses 3-5 and 12-14 are "I/they" verses -- and form a minor chiastic structure around the central core of verses describing Nebuchadnezzar's actions alone. The linguistic pattern of this passage indicates that the "they" of v. 12 are the nations of v. 4. Not only is the pronoun ("they") the same, but in addition, only in these verses is Adonai the sole leader, and two unique actions -- net spreading, scraping -- are the same as those ascribed to the nations in 3-5. So "they" in v. 12 does not refer to Nebuchadnezzar and his army; they, as one of the "nations" brought by Adonai, would have qualified to fulfill those passages, but so could any other nation brought against Tyre in its history following. Therfore, I contend that this passage does not teach that Nebuchadnezzar would be the one to destroy the city; that was the job of any of "the nations," and it was Alexander the Great and his army which qualify to be among them who would conquer it.

Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon was the first of the nations to come against Tyre. Alexander's forces were put together from a coalition of Greek city-states. Each of these was an independant nation unto itself. Alexander's father, Philip II, unified through war these city-states,as well as the regions of Thrace, Macedonia, and Greece proper under his rule - giving his son the unified force he needed to complete his conquest. This was a coalition composed of many nations - and thus fulfills the prophecy that "many nations" would come upon Tyre to seige her. Alexander also got help from his friends in Macedon and from the Phoenician city-states Aradus, Byblos, and Sidon; ships also came from Enylos, Soli, Mallos, Rhodes, Lycia, and Cyprus to help Alexander overcome Tyre. (Wallace B. Fleming, The History of Tyre. New York: Columbia U. Press, 1915, p.58) With the exception of Macedon, each of these was an entirely separate nation from those in Alexander's land forces.

What about the claim the city would never be rebuilt? Compare this to an inscription by the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses III: "I slew the Denyon in their islands, while the Tjekker and Philistines were made ashes. The Sherden and the Washesh of the sea were made non-existent, captured all together and brought on captivity to Egypt like the sands of the shore." (Moshe and Trude Dothan, Peoples of the Sea, p.27) Cleary when Ramsses tells us his enemies were "made non-existent," he was not meaning this literally, since he goes on to indicate they were captured. In the Victory Stele of Merneptah, we have more trash talk like, "Ashkelon is conquered, Gezer seized, Yanoam made nonexistent..." Literal descriptions (conquered, seized) are mixed with clearly metaphorical ones (made non-existent), and that is what we have here. "Never be rebuilt" is trash talk like that of Ramesses speaking of his non-existent, captured people, so common in the ANE.
Debate Round No. 3


Thank you, Daley, for your reply.

(P1) The Bible is inspired by God.
(P2) God cannot lie.
(C) Therefore there cannot be errors in the Bible.

This has not been refuted at all.

My opponent claims that the original manuscripts of the Bible contained no errors. I would like to ask how he knows that because we do not have the original copies. This is a case of circular reasoning:

1. The Bible is the word of God;
2. Therefore, it cannot contain errors.
3. If it contains errors, it must have crept in later.

There is, sadly, no way to verify this. In fact, there is good evidence to the contarary. Let's take a look at how careful the scrolls were:

1. Before Moses' death, Moses wrote 13 Torah scrolls which were distributed to each of the 12 tribes. The 13th was placed within the Ark of the Covenant. If anyone would come and attempt to rewrite or falsify the Torah, the one in the Ark would "testify" against him. (Likewise, if he had access to the scroll in the Ark and tried to falsify it, the distributed copies would "testify" against him.) [1]

    • A Torah Scroll is disqualified if even a single letter is added.

    • A Torah Scroll is disqualified if even a single letter is deleted.

    • The scribe must be a learned, pious Jew, who has undergone special training and certification.

    • All materials (parchment, ink, quill) must conform to strict specifications, and be prepared specifically for the purpose of writing a Torah Scroll.

    • The scribe may not write even one letter into a Torah Scroll by heart. Rather, he must have a second, kosher scroll opened before him at all times.

    • The scribe must pronounce every word out loud before copying it from the correct text.

    • Every letter must have sufficient white space surrounding it. If one letter touched another in any spot, it invalidates the entire scroll.

    • If a single letter was so marred that it cannot be read at all, or resembles another letter (whether the defect is in the writing, or is due to a hole, tear or smudge), this invalidates the entire scroll. Each letter must be sufficiently legible so that even an ordinary schoolchild could distinguish it from other, similar letters.

    • The scribe must put precise space between words, so that one word will not look like two words, or two words look like one word.

    • The scribe must not alter the design of the sections, and must conform to particular line-lengths and paragraph configurations.

    • A Torah Scroll in which any mistake has been found cannot be used, and a decision regarding its restoration must be made within 30 days, or it must be buried. [2]

We now see that it is very unlikely given the great care that the scribes took for their scrolls.

My opponent responds to my failed prophecy contention. Keep in mind that it is NOT my burden to prove that there are contradictions, failed prophecies, etc. Rather, it is my burden to prove that If the Bible were to Be God's word; then it needs to be clear, authoritative, and inerrant.

My opponent claims that it is just "trash talk" to say that the city will never be rebuilt. However, I find this to be highly unlikely considering that it was God that said that through Ezekiel and that there were many instances where God said that a particular city was not going to be rebuilt and it was not rebuilt (i.e. Soddom).

I urge a vote for PRO as my opponent has not yet (forgive me if I'm wrong) provided evidence that the Bible does not have to be clear, authoritative, and inerrant.


[1] Midrash (Devarim Rabba 9:4)

[2] Unknown. "Accuracy of the Torah Text." Accessed on September 9, 2011. Simple To Remember. <;


"(P1) The Bible is inspired by God."

Only the originals, not the copies in our possession. Copies, translations, are not inspired by God, only the originals were.

"(P2) God cannot lie. (C) Therefore there cannot be errors in the Bible."

Let's say I can't lie and I write a newspaper article with no lies in it. The newspaper prints my article everyday to two weeks. But, on the last day of the final week they print my article with a lie in it, inserted by the editor of the paper. Whose article is it now? Just because it now contains an error doesn't mean its no longer my article, its still my article, just not in its original form; similarly, just because God's word has been altered doesn't change the fact that it is God's God. Con seems to be arguing that for the copies of the Bible we have today to be God's word, then every single word and letter in them must be from God. This is an extremely ridiculous position.

God can't lie, true, but he isn't the one who wrote all the copies/translations of the Bible we have today. So if errors are found in them this in no way contradicts the fact that God can't lie, because God isn't the one who put the errors in there. And putting on error or even a few errors into someone's work, doesn't stop it from being that person's work. The copyrights to the work don't suddenly become yours just because you put an error in it without authorization; so I'm saying that just because men have inserted errors into the Bible doesn't make take away God's ownership of the book. Its like if I change a piece of furniture in your house, does that mean the house is no longer yours? No, it doesn't.

The Bible containing some errors doesn't mean God is a liar, but rather, that men have tampered with his work. And unless my opponent can prove to us that there is a contradiction between God's inability to lie, and man's free will to make minor changes to his word, he cannot win this debate.

As for the Bible needing to be clear to be God's word, well, I believe it is. It's being clear is, and Pro's only argument to show that its not clear is that many people interpret it differently. But I've refuted that by showing that no matter how clear evidence is in terms of pointing in one direction, people will always find reasons to interpret the evidence to fit their bogus beliefs because they want to go the other direction. So difference of opinion is not proof of unclear evidence; its proof of different approaches to evidence, and egotistical, fanatical attitudes. Pro assumes without proof that evidence can be clear enough to convince everyone to agree, but even if God were to come down from heaven visibly before the world, pick up some atheists with a giant hand and say "Here I am, I am God," there are some that still won't believe. They will call themselves crazy, and brush off the eyewitnesses tangible evidence as part of his own delusion. Many of those who do recognize him as God still won't serve him anyway. How do I know? Look at the world today. Many people agree that certain actions are wrong, yet they do them anyway, why? They are plain and simple wicker or selfish. Men agree that rape is wrong, but they do it anyway. They know stealing is wrong but do it anyway. I don't think that God showing himself to these ones is going to make a difference in how they live their lives. So evidence alone can't make people agree. People will do what they want regardless of the evidence, and seek ways to justify it as if they don't even believe the evidence.

He says the Bible should be authoritative. It is. It has authority over all those who adhere to its teaching; and those who do not will be judged by the word of God in the end. But like most things in life, be it law, government, police, philosophy, morals, etc, it is up to the individual to let it be an authority in his life; the same is true of religious texts. So disagree that in order for the Bible to be the word of God it has to be accepted as an authority by all people. The number of people who believe it is God's word doesn't prove rather its from God or not.

There were no scrolls put in the ark by Moses; I challenge Pro to tell us what proof his source has for that. Just because his source claims this doesn't make it true. The Bible says that the Ten Commandments on stone were put in the ark, not scrolls. The OT, which predates the 2011 source Pro cited, says that the only thing in the ark was the Ten Commandments. (1 Kings 8:9, 21; Exo 34:27-28)

As for the great care that went into preserving the original reading, the fact is that while there were good rules to help safeguard against corruption, these rule were often broken by those in charge of following them. In 134 places the Jewish Sopherim altered the original Hebrew text from YHWH to 'Adho•nai′, The Massorah, by C. D. Ginsburg, Ktav Publishing House, New York, 1975 reprint Vol. IV, p. 28, � 115, says: "We have seen that in many of these one hundred and thirty-four instances in which the present received text reads Adonaī in accordance with this Massorah, some of the best MSS. and early editions read the Tetragrammaton, and the question arises how did this variation obtain? The explanation is not far to seek. From time immemorial the Jewish canons decreed that the incommunicable name is to be pronounced Adonaī as if it were written אדני ['Adho•nai′] instead of יהוה [YHWH]. Nothing was, therefore, more natural for the copyists than to substitute the expression which exhibited the pronunciation for the Tetragrammaton which they were forbiden to pronounce." So much for preserving every last letter in original form, huh?

The fact is that we do have enough MSS to compare to delineate quite closely what the originals said, but it would be an exaggeration to say we have it exactly the way it was in its original form. I know that God can't lie because it is not in his nature, and this God doesn't have to rely on the Bible to vindicate that truth because he has been communication with man even before there was a Bible. Also, where I'm sure that God did reveal prophecy to his servants, they are accurate and always come true, just like the one in Ezekiel Pro mentioned. It was fulfilled to the letter. Nebuchadnezzar was the first of the nations to come against Tyre, then the other nations conquered her.

Pro argues that "trash talk" wouldn't come from God because when God says a city would never be rebuilt it would never be rebuilt. This is a groundless objection, but God himself does use trash talk elsewhere in the Bible regarding people who still existed as if they no longer did. (1 Sam 15:8) What's more, the prophets always wrote using the idiomatic expression and hyperbole common in their language, so its no surprise that since "trash talk" was also popular in the ANE that this too was used.

In summary, Pro has not shown that for the Bible to be God's word it cannot contain errors. I have shown that errors creeping in over time does not stop it from being God's word. Pro has not proven the Bible is not clear, nor authoritative, therefore, vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4


Thank you, Daley, for this awesome debate. This has truly been a good debate. This round is for closing statements and closing arguments. I request that no new information be brought up.

(P1) The Bible is inspired by God.

My opponent is still maintaining a "fact" that the original were inerrant. However, he has no basis to make this claim as we do not have the original manuscripts!

The current editions of the Bible are based upon the best scholarly attempt to get the oldest possible manuscripts and still there are contradictions that exist. Thus, far from proving that the Bible is without error, modern attempts have proved the exact opposite [1].

Secondly, if one assumes that it is a copyist error, one can with equal validity, assume that the error arose at the very first writing down of Chronicles. Since we know that the writer of Chronicles use much of II Kings as his source, it is equally likely the the Chronicler himself got the numbers wrong! So here is a case where “copyist” error does not exclude the Bible from being inerrant.

(P2) God cannot lie

My opponent blames the translators and scribes, but again, we do not have the original work and thus his reasoning are circular.

If you were to be unable to lie and write a news paper article with a lie in it that wasn't your fault, then you should have protected it a little better.

Remember that god is supposedly all-powerful so he should be able to protect his word from bible difficulties and lies.

I have given my opponent how transcribal errors are highly unlikely and he has not attacked that premise.

| Conclusion |

I have answered my opponent's objections and have affirmed the resolution that If the Bible were to be the word of God; then it is necessary for it to be clear, authoritative, and inerrant. My opponent has not proved otherwise.

Voters, all up to you.


[1] McKinsey, Biblical Errancy, p490



I thank Pro for this wonderful debate. Let me say in closing, that if the original manuscripts of the Bible were corrupted from the start by the original authors including a few statements that God did not instruct them to include, this would in no way prove that the Bible in its entirety is not God's word. All it would mean, is that some erroneous statements were included withing God's word, but that doesn't negate the rest of it, the book as a whole, being the word of God. But we have no good reason to think it included errors from the start.

Errors have universally been rooted out by scholars who have traced the origin of those interpolations or scribal mistakes, showing exactly when such errors crept into the text. We have thousands of manuscripts to compare, too many for any scribe to change all, so we can dilenate with %99 accuracy what the originals said. Because it is difficult to find appropriate English words that fuly capture the thoughts carried by the ancient Hebrew and Greek words, we won't get it exactly as it originally was. This in no way refutes that it is the word of God.

We don't have the originals, but we can say that they contained no errors because we have traced out the errors through careful study of textual transmission. In fact, my opponent has at no time in this debate been able to show me a single cear contradiction in the Bible. While admitted the possibility of some texts being interpolations, ie, how did Judas die?, I have shown explanation which reconcile the so-called contradictions. Pro did not show me any contradiction which appears in ALL manuscripts, which is IRRECONCILABLE; hence, he has not proved the originals contained contradictions. I know they ocntained none simply because once we root out those which we know are scribal changes and additions, no real contradictions are apparent.

Pro has not proven that for God to be the author of the origina manuscripts that he would be obligated to prserve all te copies in the original form without the sligtest change or error. I don't see God as being under such necessity, for as I argued from the beginning, salvation is the most important thing, and nothing in the Bible has been changed to the effect it affects the salvation of people. We don't need to know how Judas died in order to be saved. He also tried to show that the Bible isn't consitent in its doctrine of how to be saved, but I have showed this to be his own misinterpretation of the texts. He has also argued from the position that differences in interpretation among Christians proves the Bible is unclear. I have argued that no matter how clear evidence is, there will still be difference of opinion, hence, we can't use differing opinion as proof the evidence isn't clear. So that argument fell to the ground as well. Lastly, he argued the Bible isn't authoritative, and I have responded that it is authoritative to those who allow it to be an authority in their lives, just like other things in life can only be our authority if we let them be so.

I thank Pro for a very stimulating debate...
Debate Round No. 5
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Raisor 6 years ago
Neither side debated the Resolution.

Pro makes it clear that the debate is not about whether or not the Bible IS inerrant, but just whether it needs to be.

Then both sides proceed to argue about whether or not the Bible is clear and inerrant, explicitly what the debate was not supposed to be about.
Posted by Man-is-good 6 years ago
Conduct: Tied
Spelling and Grammar: Tied. Kohai had better presentation of his argument, which was more clear, though Pro's was also well-organized.
Arguments: Both side did not provide evidence for their claims...Daley argued that the Bible was inerrant before, but corrupted then after--and noted possible intrepolations for the story of Judah or that of the failed prophecy, among others....while Kohai, who repeatedly noted his burden of proof, did not show the link between contradictions/errors=lies in his syllogism...
Sources: I found Kohai's source on the ark troublesome and hard to be justified, so another point to Daley.
Posted by Man-is-good 6 years ago
Continued: "I gave Daley a point for sources since one of Kohai's sources was questionable (the Ark)...
Posted by daley 6 years ago
Yes I have, but since you aren't satisfied I'll make it even more clear in the next round.
Posted by kohai 6 years ago
It is a fun debate. Remember, my intentions are not to prove that there are errors, rather that it needs to be free from errors.

You haven't proved that it doesn't need to be error-free.
Posted by daley 6 years ago
THIS is what I call a fun debate. you're giving me a run for my money...thanks. that was a good one. I look fwd to your response
Posted by daley 6 years ago
thank you; i'm really anxious to get into that part about prophecy, but i wanted to deal with things in the order in which they were given. this one will call for some research though.
Posted by Davididit 6 years ago
Excellent response, Daley. I like how you cleared away the superficial reading of scripture, and really gave a good response.
Posted by daley 6 years ago
how did u like my response? didn't want to keep u waiting. please don't bring up too many new arguments cause i want room to deal with the prophecy part in the next round throughly...
Posted by kohai 6 years ago
Thanks David!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: See comments for full reason.