The story about Jesus forgiving an adulterous women is not in the original copy, but that's the version we most commonly have. So how does that make the Bible inerrant, given that many important parts were added or removed?

Further reading

  • 1
    Are there two versions of the end of Mark in most Bibles?
    – Peter Turner
    Nov 21, 2011 at 14:38
  • 1
    The issue is if we don't even know whether a verse should be there. It should show that the bible is not perfectly preserved.
    – user4951
    Nov 22, 2011 at 3:04
  • See The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament by Bart D. Ehrman. Oct 20, 2021 at 23:19

1 Answer 1


The belief in biblical inerrancy does not require that the copies or translations of the Bible be completely inerrant. It is generally accepted that:

(1) Copies are subject to human error

(2) Translations are subject to human interpretation

Biblical inerrancy is the belief that the original manuscripts are inerrant. Unfortunately, we do not have many original manuscripts (if we have any), so we study the copies that we have, compare them, and try to determine the text of the original manuscripts. We may not be able to do so perfectly, and areas of ambiguity are often noted in modern Bibles (John 8, Mark 16).

However, it stands to reason that we have a reasonably accurate representation of the original manuscripts, with the essentials preserved.

  • 6
    Excellent answer. It might also be worth noting that in none of the textual discrepancies like the one noted ones in John 8 or Mark 16 do any theological points depend on one version of the copy or another. No understanding of God or salvation or Christian life hinges on a possibly disputed bit of the text.
    – Caleb
    Nov 21, 2011 at 16:09
  • Well many of the passages that change are the important ones. Just look at thedivinecouncil.com/DT32BibSac.pdf we even have a polytheism there. I do not even know if YHWH is the same with El Elyon (most high) or whether El Elyon is YHWH's boss.
    – user4951
    Nov 22, 2011 at 2:49
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    @JimThio: If you have a question about polytheism in the Jewish/Chrsitian Bible, that would probably be best as a separate question, not a comment on this unrelated one.
    – Flimzy
    Nov 22, 2011 at 18:38
  • Yea. I get it. It's good answer nevertheless +1. I am just trying to point out how verses that are added or removed are important. In fact, that's how our religious life is so much different from ancient christians or ancient jews.
    – user4951
    Nov 25, 2011 at 11:28
  • However, it's only half of the doctrine of ineracy. Inerrant people believe that 1 the original is perfect, 2. it's preserved perfectly till now. As the most official bible translations itself change all the time, they can't all be the same with the original. Also in many important cases, we don't know what the original said.
    – user4951
    Nov 25, 2011 at 11:30

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