Question: "Do I have to believe the Bible is inerrant to be saved?"
Answer: We are not saved by believing in the inspiration or inerrancy of the Bible. We are saved by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior from sin (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 10:9-10). At the same time, though, it is only through the Bible that we learn about Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:8). We do not have to believe everything in the Bible in order to be saved – but we do have to believe in Jesus Christ, who is proclaimed by the Bible. We should definitely hold to the Bible as the Word of God and we should absolutely believe everything that the Bible teaches. However, we do not have to believe every single thing the Bible teaches in order to be saved. In fact, when people are first saved, they generally know very little about the Bible.
Salvation is a process that begins with an understanding of our sinful state, not an understanding of the inerrancy of the Bible. Our consciences tell us that we are not able to stand before a holy God on our own merits and be confident that He will accept us. We know that we are not righteous enough to do that, so we turn to Him and accept the sacrifice of His Son on the cross in payment of our sin. We place our full trust in Him. From that point on, we have a completely new nature, pure and undefiled by sin. God’s Holy Spirit lives within our hearts, sealing us for eternity. We go forward from that point, loving and obeying God more and more each day. Part of this “going forward” is feeding daily on His Word to grow and strengthen our walk with Him. The Bible alone has the power to perform this miracle in our lives.
If we believe and trust in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, as taught in the Bible, we are saved. When we trust in Jesus Christ, though, the Holy Spirit will work on our hearts and minds – and will convince us that the Bible is true and is to be believed (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If there are doubts in our minds about the inerrancy of Scripture, the best way to handle that is to ask God to give us the assurance about His Word. He is more than willing to answer those who seek Him honestly and with their whole hearts (Matthew 7:7-8).