I think it’s the same as the principles of this forum. If any claim is made, evidence and logical arguments should be presented to back it up. Then we can decide for ourselves what is the truth. If statements are made in the Bible, then we should dig deeper and think about it and not just take it at face value.
We carry our own assumptions and perspective when we read the Bible. But it could be our viewpoints are wrong. For example, we assume God needs to have created a “perfect” book, but what if that assumption is wrong? Or we assume God needs to prove his existence. What if that assumption is wrong? We read the Bible with our modern scientific perspective that everything should be precise. But, this perspective did not exist when the Bible was written. We often read the Bible with a Greek (western) mentality, but the Old Testament was written with a completely different mentality, a Jewish (eastern) mentality.
We need to dig deeper to really know the Bible. Prov 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” To me, studying the Bible is like digging for gold in a mine. It takes work to chip away and dig. But, when you hit a gold nugget, it’s worth the effort. And I think this is the way God intended it to be. 2 Tim 2:15 says, “Diligently study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of the truth;”
One thing I’ve been doing is learning Greek and Hebrew to understand the Bible more. That has really been helpful to unlock the meanings of the text.
Studying the history of the origin of the Bible has also been enlightening and given greater understanding of the context of the books.
But with all this study, I feel like I’m just scratching the surface.
I might be splitting hairs over what you mean by “authority.”
There are a few groups to address. The first are Christians. By faith, Christians should accept the Bible is authoritative. The second are skeptics. They do not need to accept the Bible as authoritative. The third are seekers. These accept God exists, but have a problem with accepting the Bible as something they can trust. I’ll address this third group in future posts.
The qualification about the autographs just seems like a dodge to me that turns inerrancy into a meaningless theological abstraction. It strikes me as the Calvinist “perseverance of the saints,” in which no “truly regenerate” Christian may ever fall away, but it may appear that someone was saved and lost if they were never “really Christian.” I get the theological reasoning behind perseverance of the saints and the necessity of somehow reconciling that with the reality of Christians that have fallen away, but does that have any practical meaning?
If the inspiration’s literal, it says exactly what God wants it to say without error. If it’s figurative, then it’s no more authoritative than a love song.
I think it’s more complex than a simple binary of either literal or figurative. It could also be both. Or it could even be neither.
As I said before, a lack of biblical authority doesn’t remove the possibility of Christian revelation or even that the Bible’s predominantly true, but it’s no more or less an authority than Pilgrim’s Progress, a copy of The Watchtower, or The Book of Mormon.
I’ll get into arguments later why the Bible should be considered authoritative compared to other religious texts.