verbal inspiration


verbal inspiration
The theory that God so inspired the authors of the biblical texts that they had to be written precisely in those words and no others. It has been held in most eras of Jewish and Christian interpretation of the scriptures. It is therefore to be distinguished from modern theories of inspiration which place the intervention of God in the events of history (Heilsgeschichte) rather than in the narratives. Verbal inspiration is also different from theories which locate the work of the Spirit in the creative imaginations of the individual authors. Verbal inspiration emphasizes the uniqueness of scripture (‘the oracles of God’, Rom. 3:2), divinely given (2 Pet. 1:21) and accepted as such by Jesus (John 10:35) and by the rabbis. Traditional Jewish interpretation regards the text as dictated by God and therefore without error, inconsistency, or obsolescence.
Christian interpretation in the Fathers and the Middle Ages held that beyond the literal meaning of the text there were others, especially the allegorical [[➝ allegory]], but the literal sense was fundamental, and was interpreted in a conservative way. The Reformers rejected allegorical interpretation but put great stress on the authority of the Bible in their controversies with Rome. But the doctrinal clash with Rome, and serious discrepancies amongst the Reformers themselves, led to rival interpretations of the biblical text, and to a new freedom in exploring its meaning.
In 17th-cent. England Moses' authorship of the Pentateuch was being questioned. In Germany there were soon systematic examinations of language, history, and authorship of the biblical books. Biblical criticism had arrived. Against it, those who upheld a doctrine of verbal inspiration conceded that individual writers had their own styles, and the books of the Bible represented different genres. But conservative Evangelicals maintain that, essentially, inspiration must entail the total accuracy of the historical records and the truth of its doctrines. The First Vatican Council (1870) took a similar view that inspiration ‘is incompatible with error ... It is impossible that God himself can err’, a view reinforced when the authorities crushed Roman Catholic Modernism [[➝ modernism, Roman Catholic]] in 1907. However, the papal encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu of September 1943 allowed a new and more open approach into Roman Catholic biblical scholarship, strongly encouraged by the Pontifical Biblical Commission in a document called The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (1995).
Most modern scholars accept that the biblical documents must be rigorously examined with all the available resources of linguistics, archaeology, and historical enquiry. For them, any theory of verbal inspiration, however eroded or redefined, is incompatible with scholarly freedom. It is on such a basis that allegiance to Jesus must be either offered or withdrawn.

Dictionary of the Bible.

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  • Verbal inspiration — Verbal Ver bal, a. [F., fr. L. verbalis. See {Verb}.] 1. Expressed in words, whether spoken or written, but commonly in spoken words; hence, spoken; oral; not written; as, a verbal contract; verbal testimony. [1913 Webster] Made she no verbal… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Verbal inspiration — Inspiration In spi*ra tion, n. [F. inspiration, L. inspiratio. See {Inspire}.] [1913 Webster] 1. The act of inspiring or breathing in; breath; specif. (Physiol.), the drawing of air into the lungs, accomplished in mammals by elevation of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • verbal inspiration — noun : the theological doctrine that a divine inspiration extends to every word of a particular text those who defend the verbal inspiration of the Bible * * * verbal inspiration noun Dictation of every word of a book (usu the Bible) by God • • • …   Useful english dictionary

  • verbal inspiration —  Словесное вдохновение …   Вестминстерский словарь теологических терминов

  • Inspiration of the Bible — • Covered in four sections, I. Belief in Inspired books; II. Nature of Inspiration; III. Extent of Inspiration; IV. Protestant Views on the Inspiration of the Bible Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Inspiration of the Bible      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Verbal — Ver bal, a. [F., fr. L. verbalis. See {Verb}.] 1. Expressed in words, whether spoken or written, but commonly in spoken words; hence, spoken; oral; not written; as, a verbal contract; verbal testimony. [1913 Webster] Made she no verbal question?… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Verbal noun — Verbal Ver bal, a. [F., fr. L. verbalis. See {Verb}.] 1. Expressed in words, whether spoken or written, but commonly in spoken words; hence, spoken; oral; not written; as, a verbal contract; verbal testimony. [1913 Webster] Made she no verbal… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Verbal dictation — describes a theory about how the Holy Spirit was involved with the people who first physically indited the Bible. According to this theory, the human role was a purely mechanical one: their individuality was by passed whilst they wrote, and… …   Wikipedia

  • Inspiration — In spi*ra tion, n. [F. inspiration, L. inspiratio. See {Inspire}.] [1913 Webster] 1. The act of inspiring or breathing in; breath; specif. (Physiol.), the drawing of air into the lungs, accomplished in mammals by elevation of the chest walls and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Inspiration of Ellen White — Seventh day Adventists believe church co founder Ellen G. White was inspired by God as a prophet , understood today as a manifestation of the New Testament [Spiritual gift| [spiritual] gift] of prophecy . Her inspiration (compare: Biblical… …   Wikipedia


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