Summarizing Verbal-Plenary Inspiration

The classical (and ecumenical) Christian view of verbal-plenary inspiration means that Scripture is inspired in its form as well as its content—in its words as well as its meaning, Scripture is the Word of God written. There are several misconceptions of this account of inspiration that need to be corrected.

  1. Verbal-plenary inspiration does not mean that everything the prophets and apostles personally believed, said, or did is inspired, but only their canonical writings.
  2. The biblical authors were not merely passive in the process of inspiration but active in and with the Spirit according to his purposes.
  3. Inspiration does not pertain simply to the intentions of the authors, who prophesied more than they themselves knew.
  4. This view of inspiration does not attempt to collapse the character of all inspiration into the prophetic mold.

While the original words of Scripture were given by God’s direct or indirect action in inspiration, the compiling, editing, and preserving of the text was superintended by his providence as well.

HT: Summary taken from chapter four in Dr. Michael Horton’s The Christian Faith.


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