INSPIRATION, in scripture and the ology, an extraordinary influence exerted by the Holy Spirit on certain teachers and writers so as to illuminate their un derstandings, raise and purify their moral natures, and impart a certain di vine element to their utterances, whether oral or written. The chief New Testa ment passages on which the doctrine rests are two. The first is thus rendered in the Authorized Version: " All Scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine," etc.; in the text of the Revised Version this is, " Every Scripture inspired of God [is] also profitable for teaching," etc., and in the margin, " Every Scripture [is] in spired of God and profitable," etc. The second is II Pet. i: 21, " For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake [as they wei e] moved by the Holy Ghost " (Authorized Version). " For no proph ecy ever came (margin, was brought) by the will of man; but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Ghost " (Revised Version). The " Scriptures "
were, of course, the Old Testament. The great majority of Christians hold what is termed " plenary inspiration "— viz., that the influence of the Holy Ghost on the sacred speakers and writers was such as absolutely to pervade their mind and heart, making their utterances as divine as if they had come from God without human creation. A minority be lieve that the Scripture writers were preserved from all error only when they uttered moral and spiritual teaching, while in numbers, unimportant points of history, etc., they might err. A few re duce the inspiration of the sacred writ ers to that possessed by Shakespeare, Milton, Cowper, etc., in other words, iden tify it with what is termed genius. See BIBLE.