Notes from Al Mohler’s Session at Shepherds’ Conference

I just finished livestreaming Al Mohler’s session from Shepherds’ Conference 2015: The Inerrancy Summit. He spoke on inerrancy and hermeneutics (the study of interpretation), and while he didn’t get into the fine details of grammatical hermeneutics in the original languages, he made 12 points that I think are helpful to remember for any student or teacher of Scripture. From his outline, here are “12 Hermeneutical Principles for Inerrantists”:

  1. When the Bible speaks, God speaks
    • hermeneutic of submission vs. hermeneutic of suspicion: we believe what the Bible says without needing to verify it
  2. The biblical text determines the limits of its own interpretation
  3. Scripture is to be interpreted by Scripture
    • there is no contradiction in Scripture
  4. The biblical text presents itself to us in words, grammar, syntax, and propositions
    • we are made to communicate in propositions
    • Carl Henry: God’s Word is more than propositions, but never less
    • God’s Word is true apart from propositions, but only communicable through propositions
  5. The canon establishes the limits of God’s revelation
  6. The forms of biblical literature are essential to the texts as the authors intended
  7. No external authority can correct Scripture in any respect
    • the Old Testament doesn’t need to be verified or corrected by archaeology
    • two fronts of assault: creation and sexuality
    • Luther: Scripture is the norm of norms that can’t be normed (Latin: “norma normans non normata”)
  8. Scriptural claims about history in the space-time continuum are to be defended
    • what the Bible says happened happened
    • our salvation depends on things that happened in the space-time continuum
  9. Holy Scripture is to be read as a story that contains stories
  10. Our confidence in Scripture is unbroken: all that it claims is true and all that it promises will come to be
  11. Our understanding of Scripture is dependent on the Holy Spirit
    • not just for past inspiration, but also current interpretation
  12. Our study and interpretation of the Bible is not an end unto itself
    • 2 Tim. 3:16: the end of hermeneutics is the knowledge of God
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