A recent article at USA Today asks a questions in an article called "Fightin' Words
"Is the Bible the literal word of God, or a historical compilation written by different people in different situations over a period of years? This question has provoked some soul-searching about the very foundation upon which the Christian faith is based."
This is a rather ill-informed question that completely misunderstands the traditional Evangelical understanding of what it means that the Bible is inspired. The Bible is both the word of God and a historical compilation written by differ en people in different situations over a period of years. This false dichotomy is completely misleading.
Erhman's critique does not even touch the Evangelical understanding of inspiration or inerrancy. In his book, Jesus Interrupted, he attacks the Bible by bringing up supposed contradictions in the Scripture. I continue to be baffled by the way Erhman misrepresents how Evangelicals understand the Bible. No one supposes to interpret the Scripture in the way that he proposes outside of a very fundamentalist King James Only type.
There are two way which one can look at the Scripture:
1. Ipsissima Verba: Literally "the very words." This is believing that the writers of the Scripture had to record events in a strict literal way. Therefore, every word is exactly the way it was said, word for word, letter for letter.
2. Ipsissima Vox: Literally "the very voice." This is believing that the writers of the Scripture recorded the events in a way that captured the essence of what was said without having to follow a word for word account. In this sense, the writers of Scripture could summaries, paraphrase, and choose what to include for their own purposes. This does not undermine the participation of God, but establishes that of man.
The Bible was written by God and man. The participation of one need not minimize the characteristics of the other.
Bart's arguments are, as usual, an emotional appeal to the ignorance of people. Sadly, there are plenty of people who fit this description and most in the church are not discipled enough to recognize this.