Did Early Christians Believe the Bible was Inspired, Inerrant, and Authoritative?

by Alisa Childers

Confession: I read a lot.

I read books I agree with…. books I don’t agree with….books that are a bit over my head….books on subjects I’m interested in….books on subjects I’m not particularly interested in….and books that are just mindlessly entertaining. I read books about philosophy, science (remember those books that are a bit over my head?) and history. I devour theology like it’s the latest teen fiction craze to take over Barnes and Noble.

​But one of my favorite things to do just before I go to bed is read the Church Fathers. Oh, how I love the Fathers. Whenever I read something a bit “heady” or confusing, I head over to consult with  Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Justin, Irenaeus, and Augustine. These guys were dead serious about Jesus and were not messing around when it came to their faith. They were flawed like the rest of us and were certainly fallible—but they help us understand Christianity as it was expressed in their times and cultures.

In fact, hop on over to Amazon and pick up The Complete Ante-Nicene & Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers Collection and read them for yourself. It’s only $2.99 on Kindle, which is an amazing value. Where else can you get 1,000 books containing sixteen million words for less than three bucks? (Seriously…click the link and buy it and then come back and read the rest of this article.)

Ok, you’re back now. Hi.

One thing I regularly encounter on social media is the idea that the early Church Fathers didn’t see the Bible as inerrant, authoritative, and inspired by God—that somehow these concepts are modern inventions of the evangelical world. As an avid reader of the Fathers, I find this notion perplexing. What did the Fathers think about the Bible? There isn’t enough space in one blog post to contain it all, so I’ll just let some of them speak for themselves…

Did Early Christians Believe the Bible was Inspired, Inerrant, and Authoritative?