Playing Peek a Boo with Inerrancy

When my kids were very young we used to play a game called “peek a boo”. You’ve probably heard of it or played it yourself. If you haven’t, the rules are pretty simple. You take the baby’s hands and cover their eyes. Then you pretend that you can’t see the baby and say something like, “Wheeeeeere’s Freddie?” You then pull the babies hands away from their eyes and pretend to be surprised as you say, “There he is!” If the child laughs then you repeat the process until it looks like the baby’s stomach is getting unsettled and then you stop. Trust me, you need to stop. Or else things will get ugly. Great fun for all parties involved.

When I was a KJOnlyist I played a similar game whenever there were people that said there were “mistakes” or “errors” in the KJV. Like this for example:

Hebrews 10:23 (KJV) Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

The word ‘faith’ in this verse is a mistake by the translators. The Greek word for faith is pistis (faith). The Greek word found here in all existing manuscripts is elpis (hope). The translators of the KJV translated elpis as hope everywhere else (over 50 times) except here in Hebrews. That this is an error in translation is an undeniable fact.

In the past I would cover my eyes to the facts and say “Wheeeere’s the inerrant word of God?”, and then look another direction, pull my hands away from my eyes, and pretend to be confident when I yelled, “there it is, in the King James!”

So what was my problem? I was looking for inerrancy in the wrong place. I was looking for God’s word to be without error in a translation: something God never promised. God promised to inspire the originals. Copies of the originals and translations are inspired (and thus inerrant) only as they faithfully represent what the originals contained.

Here is a statement on inerrancy that is worth reading that explains things way better than I can.

I simply want to encourage you to look for inerrancy where God promised it. If you look for inerrancy in a translation, then in order to find it you are going to have to pretend.

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