A couple of days ago, I was reading an article whose author first committed to the Bible being "the Word of God" and then a page later said that the Bible is not infallible in any way. I found this very puzzling. It seems:
- If an assertion of p is the word of x, then either: (a) p is true, or (b) x is mistaken about p, or (c) x is lying about p.
Now, granted, there may be a bit of a gap between saying that every assertion in the Bible is true and saying that the Bible is infallible. One might note that there are speech acts other than assertions in the Bible, and infallibility for these speech acts comes to something else. For instance, there are commands in the Bible. I don't know what infallibility would come to in the case of a command, but it is plausible that whatever exactly infallibility would come to in the case of a command, a command from God would have that feature.
I fear that when people deny the infallibility or inerrance of Scripture and yet say it's "the Word of God", they are using "the Word of God" in a sense different from the one that historically and lexically attaches to the phrase. And that's misleading unless they are addressing a community that attaches that new sense to the phrase.