Understanding The Bible
Part III - Inspiration


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Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible


  1. Verbal
    The emphasis here given is that inspiration penetrates to the very words of Scripture. Verbal inspiration maintains that the Bible in its original words from first to last is the exact record of the mind and will of God as He intended it to be.
  2. Plenary
    The emphasis here stressed is that the entire text in all of its parts is equally from God. Plenary means full. History, science, genealogy, etc., are all the subjects of inspiration.

    Notes concerning Verbal and Plenary Inspiration
  1. Inspiration extends directly only to the original documents. Verbal inspiration does not contend that any version is inspired.
  2. Inspiration bears on the writing rather than on the writer.
  3. Men have been prepared by God for their special job. God used the writer's personality, background, vocabulary, training, etc., in the writing of the Word. Hodge writes, "He first created man and endowed him constitutionally with all his rational, emotional, aesthetic, moral, and volitional powers. He then brought certain individual men into existence with the specific qualifications necessary for writing certain parts of Scripture and placed them under their specific historical conditions and in their specific positions in the successions of sacred writers, and gave them the precise degree and quality of religious experience, of natural providential guidance, of supernatural revelation and inspiration necessary to stimulate their free activity and to determine the results as He would have it."
  4. Inspiration is more than providence (guidance) for this can bring a man only so far as his own power can carry him. Inspiration is more than help from God to keep the record free from error. It is positive and active as well as negative and passive.
  5. Although all Scripture is inspired, all is not of equal importance. God, however, intended every word to be there.
  6. Although all Scripture is inspired, simply because a statement is in it does not necessarily make that statement true. It may be a statement of Satan or an uninformed man. It is, however, stated with accuracy and for a purpose.
  7. Compare the twofold nature of Christ (the Living Word) with the Scriptures (the Written Word).
        a. Both begotten of the union between the Holy Spirit and human.
        b. The human element in each case was only human.
        c. The human parent in both cases brought forth other children.
        d. In each case it is impossible to separate the two natures.
  8. L. S. Chafer's definition: "Inspiration contends that God so directed the human authors that, without destroying their own individuality, literary style, or personal interests. His complete and connected thought toward man was recorded. "


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