A. The Bible is the Word of God.
(means, all the words we read are the Words of God)

B. The Bible contains the Word of God.
(means, not all the words we read are the Words of God)

C. other than A and B.

Example :

I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified

The speaker is human, the Apostle.
The question is : are those words above the words of God ?

To me, the answer is no. Those words are the words of human not the words of God.

If I say that those words are the words of God, --->

then (X) the "I" in those words means God himself ---->

Then (Y) it become : through the mouth of the Apostle, God tell the hearers/readers that He (capital H) decided while He was with them, He would forget everything except His Second Person of His Trinity, the one who was crucified.

Because X and Y to me feel awkward, I conclude [not all the words we read in the Bible are the Words of God]. Then it's B. But this is only my own logic.

That's why I would like to know :
according to the ELCA is it A ? B ? or C?
If C, what is it ?

Thank you.

  • 1
    It would be better if you could find an official Lutheran document saying this rather than an anonymous devotional blog from some random Lutheran site. If you want to know what lutherantools.org think then ask them directly.
    – curiousdannii
    Oct 2, 2017 at 3:07
  • 2
    @curiousdannii, I am sorry as after you suggest me to "find an official Lutheran document saying this", I try it - but I can not find it or maybe it's difficult to find an official Lutheran document saying that. So I reworded my question. Thank you.
    – karma
    Oct 2, 2017 at 4:00
  • 1
    And P.S. what you are looking for here is what theologians refer to as plenary and verbal inspiration (some adopt both or only one or the other, or neither).
    – Dan
    Oct 9, 2017 at 15:58
  • 1
    Following @Dan, I would suggest opening a new question. You can largely copy and paste this one with the new denomination choice.
    – bradimus
    Oct 10, 2017 at 4:11
  • 1
    To avoid the confusion, as Dan and bradimus suggest me - I change this question to ELCA and I will post another question to LCMS. Thank you Dan and bradimus for your suggestion.
    – karma
    Oct 10, 2017 at 4:27

2 Answers 2


The Evangeical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) teaches that the Bible contains the word of God, but not necessarily that it is inerrant. They represent the overwhelming majority of Lutherans in the United States. This would fall under option B as presented in your question. Here is an excerpt from their Statement of Faith in their Constitution:

2.02. This church confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.

a. Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate, through whom everything was made and through whose life, death, and resurrection God fashions a new creation.

b. The proclamation of God’s message to us as both Law and Gospel is the Word of God, revealing judgment and mercy through word and deed, beginning with the Word in creation, continuing in the history of Israel, and centering in all its fullness in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

c. The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God. Inspired by God’s Spirit speaking through their authors, they record and announce God’s revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them God’s Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world.

2.03. This church accepts the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith, and life.

Source: http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Constitutions_Bylaws_and_Continuing_Resolutions_of_the_ELCA.pdf?_ga=2.229267033.455568450.1507004619-1273167286.1507004619

  • 1
    I choose your answer to be accepted. Thank you, Zenon.
    – karma
    Oct 3, 2017 at 8:24
  • Any time, @karma. It's nice to see so much curiosity about what different denominations think, even if some of your questions could use polishing up from time to time.
    – Zenon
    Oct 3, 2017 at 22:14

What is the word of God to the ELCA? Considering the following video:


This video was taken at one of their town hall meetings way back in 2009. Bishop Hanson was asked a question about homosexuality in the video (and subsequently didn't answer the question given to him). But he did answer the question of how the ELCA views the word of God. They view the word of God as:

  • Living address to humankind
  • Word recorded in scripture

One notices that these two items in the list are antithetical to each other. And he shows this later on in the video when he asks the question, "How do we read the scriptures?" His answer is:

Let us bring our understanding of sexual orientation that has been opened up to humankind over the years to this conversation.

So, in a very real way, whatever they resolve to do, even if it vitiates against what the Bible clearly says (e.g. homosexuality), they can then conclude that the "living voice" of the Holy Spirit not only allows them to do, but urges them to do.

  • While this technically answers the question, it seems more intent on criticizing the ELCA view of the Word of God than simply answering the question of how the ELCA views the Word of God, which is what was asked. Oct 27, 2022 at 9:41
  • My goal in my post was to be clear and concise. In asking the question, "what does the ELCA believe about the word of God", it's impossible to answer the question because the ELCA keeps changing their own view. I have about 15 years of quotations from their own website about this topic. But they keep removing their own definitions and descriptions from their site. My goal was not to criticize. For if I wanted to go down that road, Hanson's video is not where I would have started. Hanson's video in the clearest, in that it shows the willing shift within the ELCA to avoid the question.
    – Epimanes
    Oct 28, 2022 at 11:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .