What differentiates mainstream* scholars from fundamentalist and many conservative scholars is that [mainstream scholars] do not begin with the presumption that the Bible is unlike other books in that it has a divine guarantee to be inerrant and infallible. Rather, mainstream scholars see the Bible as a historical product that can be studied as other historical documents are, without specifically Christian theological convictions shaping the outcome.
To me, the Bible has become so much more meaningful, profound, and rewarding now that I’ve shed my earlier belief that the Bible is infallible and inerrant. I was raised for many years to believe that you had to believe literally in the entire Bible, or else none of it can be true…it was always “all or nothing.” I really struggled with my faith for the fact that so much of the Bible seemed contradictory and just plain not-applicable in society today…specifically some of the writings of the “Law” in the Hebrew Bible, and some of what St. Paul wrote in his epistles of the New Testament. Now that I’ve learned that truth can be found in the Bible even when not read through a lens of infallibility, my faith and trust in God as revealed through Christ is so much more deep and meaningful. Thanks be to God!
*(“Mainstream scholars” [also knows as “mainline”] include scholars from those Christian denominations that are considered “mainline”, namely Methodists, northern Baptists, most Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Congregationalists [modern-day United Church of Christ], and a few other denominations.)
–Excerpt from The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church’s Most Conservative Icon, by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan; p. 13