On inerrancy of the scriptures
If those to whom the narratives of the Bible are so sacred that they are not to be handled freely as other narratives are handled, could for just one moment stand aside from their own point of view, and could realize that criticism, if it is honest criticism, must begin by looking upon the Bible just as they themselves look upon other sacred books, as something to be tested just as other books are tested, at least some of the bitterness of controversy would be done away.
There is the more need to speak plainly and sharply in this matter, because many of our religious leaders are disposed to admit the principle, while they are not willing to apply it. The Bible, they say, may contain errors. But that any particular statement is an error, they will not admit so long as there is any way, probable or improbable, in which it may be explained. Now this is not consistent, and it is not quite honest; it is pretending to treat the Bible in an impartial way, without treating it in a way that is actually impartial. When we are dealing with any other book we do not assume that its statements are true so long as there is any conceivable way in which they might be true; we balance the evidence, and then we decide for the more probable view. And we must insist that the statements of the Bible are to be accepted or rejected on just the same degree of probability or improbability which would govern us anywhere else.