You know right now the concern about the gender of pronouns used to address the sexes. The controversy revolves around calling a biological male, "him," or a biological female, "her." People change the meaning of the words and expect us to play along. You know it's a man, but you call him, a her. You call he, a she.
Let's say we're talking about the words of scripture. Inspiration applies to words. God inspired words. And then someone says, I believe in the inerrancy of scripture in the context of words. We think he means, no errors in the words. I think he even knows that we think he means words. However, he doesn't mean words. He's not saying that there are no errors in the words.
Someone holds up a Bible and calls it the inerrant Word of God. He doesn't mean words. He means something different. It's hard to say what he means, but it's probably the following. Inerrancy means that you can trust that the teachings of the Bible are without error. He doesn't bring up inerrancy in the context of the teachings of the Bible. He brings it up in the context of words. He's playing a shell game, moving those shells around very quickly. You thought he meant words, but he didn't.
You think the bead is under the shell. That's what someone wants you to think. The bead is words, but you see a shell. Words aren't under the shell. It's teachings, and even that is ambiguous, because even with that, he doesn't mean teachings.
When someone says the teachings of scripture are inerrant, if that's even what he means, because that can become very ambiguous, he doesn't mean that you can't find errors in the Bible. You can. However, all things considered, if you take all the combined passages of the Bible to come up with those teachings, all the right teachings are available in the Bible.
Men don't even agree on what the Bible teaches, let alone on what's right that it does teach. Two different men can say they believe in inerrancy and then disagree on ten different doctrines of scripture. It's a hypothetical inerrancy. Let's just say it. It isn't inerrancy. I can agree to an ambiguous, hypothetical inerrancy, and then agree that the Bible is inerrant. I can hold up the Bible and say, this is the inerrant Word of God.
When I say the Bible is without error, I mean that it is without error. Every Word that God inspired has been preserved in the language in which it is written. Since inerrancy relates to what God inspired, if there are missing words, then it isn't inerrant any more. I believe that and not in a hypothetical way. I'm not going to say that we both agree the Bible is inerrant, fully realizing that when you say "inerrant" you don't even mean "inerrant." You mean something that allows you to believe the Bible is inerrant without believing that it is inerrant. This is like calling him, her.
If the Bible is perfect, then it can't be given extra perfection. There are those who do not believe it is perfect. They also don't believe that scripture says that scripture is perfect. They believe that it is inerrant, but it isn't perfect.
I would say, don't call the Bible perfect if you don't believe it. Also, don't call it inerrant, if you don't believe it is inerrant. Don't make perfect and inerrant mean something different than what they obviously mean in light of what the Bible says about itself.
I can go through my Bible and show you a doctrine of its inerrancy and perfection. Then I ask, "Does the Bible teach that it is inerrant and perfect?" You say, "Yes." So then I ask, "Okay, so which Bible is the inerrant and perfect one?" You say, "None are." So is the teaching of the Bible inerrant and perfect?
I believe the Bible is perfect and inerrant because the Bible says so. Then you start peppering me with individual words, phrases, verses, and even larger passages. I explain every one of those texts based on the presupposition that I have. I can do it. Now let me get into your presuppositions, how you came to having them, or whether they are reverse engineered.
You say, I can see that there isn't a perfect Bible. So now when you look at the passages that teach the Bible is perfect, they've got to mean something else. Where do those presuppositions come from? How did you get those presuppositions? How is that conservative?
I'm not playing a shell game when I say the Bible is inerrant and perfect. Many others are.