There is great emphasis on calling the Bible “God’s Word” and esteeming it with inerrancy. The reason for this emphasis is that it gives that book great authority if true. The problem is not so much that there are some obvious errors in the Old Testament, which counts against inerrancy, but that the Bible never makes any reasonable claim that it is God’s Word (but even if it did, it would be circular reasoning).
Here’s the story that’s told. In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul says, “All scripture is God-breathed.” That’s typically the only reason why people believe that the Bible is the Word of God, but that’s shortsighted. First, the word “God-breathed” is highly vague. No Biblical scholar can say with certainty what that word really means because we have very few ancient manuscripts that use that term. Thus, we have never been able to get a good definition of it, making it really hard to interpret it as saying the whole Bible was somehow written “by God” and without any error. It could mean “pertaining to God” or “from the mouths of believers.” But to say that it must specifically mean that every sentence in the Bible must be true because God specifically put it there is overreaching at best. It is just that no one really knows what “God-breathed” means. That’s the first problem.
Second, for the sake of argument, let’s just say that “God-breathed” means what every Evangelical wants it to mean. Ok, but when Paul says, “scripture,” he is only referring to the Old Testament because when Paul was writing, that was the only scripture. So he technically leaves out everything in the New Testament. Thus, if you use 2 Timothy 3:16, you cannot say that the “whole” Bible is God’s Word (again neverminding the first point).
Third, at this point, someone will bring up 2 Peter 3:15-16 to show that the New Testament is also considered scripture. In those verses, Peter says, “and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” Here people say that Peter equates Paul’s writings with scripture. That is a stretch because the passage is ambiguous. Actually, it is much easier to understand the passage simply as Peter saying that Paul’s writings are hard to understand as some of the OT books are hard to understand. There’s no equating going on there, but so be it. The point I want to make is that even if we allow for the stretch of Peter equating Paul’s writings with scripture, that still leaves out these New Testament books: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Hebrews, James, the epistles of Peter (that’s a big oops if one wants to use the verse above as inerrant!), the epistles of John, Jude, and Revelation. That’s a lot of New Testament books that have absolutely no reason to be called “scripture” or “God-breathed” according to the Bible’s own standards. That’s the third problem.
But for the big fourth problem, one could never use the Bible as justification for its own purported divine status. That’s the epitome of circular reasoning. I have never understood why so many pastors use that reasoning. They are teaching irrationality.