Bible Interpretation Class – Hiawatha Bible Chapel

Dealing With Discrepancies/Analogy of Scripture

Lesson 4 – March 25th  2017


Dealing with Discrepancies

Following are some suggested principles to apply when confronted by an apparent error in the Scriptures:

  1. Be Fully Persuaded in Your Own Mind that an Adequate Explanation Exists

  1. Recognize That Certain “Errors” are Not Errors

Not every “error” that is thrown in our faces, or that we come across in the Bible is an actual error. Following are some examples:

  1. Abbreviated or paraphrased quotations are not an error

  1. Sometimes authors do not intend to report things in chronological order.

  1. Certain Alleged Errors are just Applying Overly Strict or Artificial Standards of Inerrancy

  1. Rounding numbers is not an error

  1. Grammatical Irregularities are Not Errors

  1. Certain Language That Seems to Contradict Scientific Fact is Not an Error

  1. Figures of Speech Are Not Errors

  1. Scribal Errors in Copies of Manuscripts do not Contradict Inerrancy

        Is Inerrancy of Scripture important? If so, why?

The question may be asked, since we only presume inerrancy in the original autographs, and since none of them still exist, is the inerrancy of the Bible still an important doctrine? A suggested answer from Professor Joe Sprinkle of Crossroads College follows:

Those who deny inerrancy have a different methodology in interpreting the Scripture and in finding the truth of God’s Word.  Consider the following table which show steps in the interpretation process:

Evangelicals Who Affirm Inerrancy

Liberals Who Deny Inerrancy

Do Textual Criticism

Do Textual Criticism

Do Exegesis

Do Exegesis

Accept the Teaching as Truth from God

Ask if the Teaching is Really True

Accept What Subjectively seems True as Truth

  1. Recognize That Many Alleged Errors Can Be Harmonized

  1. Put Problems That Cannot be Immediately Solved on the “Back Burner” for Future Consideration

The Analogy of Scripture

Since we believe that the Bible is inspired by God and 100% true and inerrant, it makes sense that when we are interpreting parts of the Scripture, we will use other parts of Scripture to help us do the interpretation. This is not “rocket surgery,” but is called:

Analogy of Scripture – This is the principle that the clear teaching of Scripture outside of a passage that we are studying should be used by us to inform our interpretation of the passage that we are studying.

This is also called a Dogmatic Approach, although the word “dogma” has gotten a bad rap in recent years.

dogma - a principle or set of principles laid down (by an authority) as incontrovertibly true.


Does Romans 3:23-24 Teach Universalism?

Romans 3:23-24 (NASB) "23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;"

Does James 2:21 Teach That We are Saved By Our Works?

James 2:21 (NASB) "21Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?"

I think it is fairly clear what the basic strength  of such an approach is, i.e., having truth to help us interpret ever more difficult Scriptures (given that we believe that there are no contradictions in Scripture).

Some drawbacks of the Analogy of Scripture (or the Dogmatic Approach):

  1. Analogy of Scripture (our Dogma) Can Sometimes so Drive Our Exegesis That the Plain Sense of a Scripture can be Ignored


  1. Determining the “Clear Texts” From Which to Begin Can be Difficult (and can be affected by our Dogma)


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