What is the "verbal plenary" view of the inspiration of Scripture and to what texts is it considered to apply? What hermeneutical approaches hold this view and how does it affect the way they prioritize different manuscripts in their pursuit of the meaning of a given passage?
Verbal Plenary Inspiration means that the very words of the original manuscripts were directly inspired by God, although he did not change the author's intelligence or understanding while doing so. Meaning, that God choose, inspired and sovereignly guided the biblical authors who were equipped by Him to write the very words of scripture. This is the foundation of the evangelical view of the inerrancy of scripture.
This should only apply to the canonical books within the tradition in which the doctrine is accepted. As a Protestant I believe this applies only to the canonical books of the Protestant Bible.
This is a view mainly held by Protestants, so I would offer this as a general statement: if you hear someone espouse this view then they are probably referring to the Protestant Bible. If I am incorrect I would gladly take correction, but I do not think my Catholic and Eastern Orthodox brothers would agree with this doctrine or apply it to their canon.
From Wikipedia as an outside source:
Note: Although I think there is some evident bias against this doctrine in the Wikipedia entry it does represent a valid, secular look at the idea.
I do believe that this correspondence has merit. But, I also see what I describe as typical overintellectualization. This that I call "overintellectualization" that tends to permeate so much of what comments and discusses the Bible, really describes the concept of thinking too hard about these subjects. Also, while I would never dream of demeaning the great importance or vast significance of God's word, I also think that a certain degree of carnal piousness tends to eek into the process of understanding and explaining God's simple Spiritual nature. These processes, a sort of charismatic intellectual gyration, seems to in some way indicate the idea of how intelligent the one who is commenting on the Bible is to be able to come up with such an astute observation, versus actually providing plain statements of acute substantive observation on the subject matter. Really, in the case of the Bible the reality is that the Bible and the Spiritual truth that it holds is structurally simple to the extent that we humans in our great intellectualism have a hard time dumbing ourselves up to its level! The Bible is every word and every concept God intended and God approved period. God conferred it at the miraculous level that only He has at His disposal. He formatted and particularized every facet of its makeup, and within that context He achieved this without trampling on the native language, thoughts and style for which each individual that He determined would ultimately speak and/or document it. When looking at the NT for instance, what we have in documentation is only a small sliver of what was actually spoken and conveyed on the known earth of that day in respect to the building up of the early first century church. But, God through the person of the HS and the textual writers extrapolated exactly what was best and most effective to take the church, it's Head and His teachings, which is Jesus Christ and His church into the Christian age as such that it would serve the "cause of Christ" in the most sublime manner possible. It is just that simple. It's not hard. It's not complicated. It's the quintessential power of God in action!!!!! When it was done, who could more profoundly say, "How do you like me now!!" For the Bible, by quantum leaps and bounds and multiple mathematical exponents, is unequivocally the greatest literary work to have ever been accomplished in all time!!!!!