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WCF 1:2 The Complete, Inspired and Sufficient Standard of Belief and Conduct

Westminster Confession

Chapter 1, Article 2

The complete and inspired and sufficient standard of belief and conduct

"Under the name of the Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these: (39 of the Old, and 27 of the New are listed) All which are given by inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life."


1) The word of God written is limited to these 66 books.

There have been several attempts to add to the word of God. During the Reformation that Catholic Church added the apocryphal books. In the 1800’s, the Mormons canonized the book of Mormon and the Christian Scientists in effect raised the writings of Mary Baker Eddy to the level of Scripture (Science and


2) These books are given by inspiration of God.

Though the writers of Scripture were often gripped and moved by God and the product of their writing is inspiring, this is not what we mean by inspiration. Inspiration is "that divine combination of prompting and control that secures precise communication of God's mind by God's messenger." (JI Packer in "Inerrency", p. 199; edited by Norman L. Geisler) In 2 Timothy 3:16 we read that the scripture are "theopneustos", or breathed out by God. More literally, the Scriptures were expired by God himself.

3) These books are the only rule or standard of faith.

God, speaking in the Scripture, tells us what we are to believe. (Deut 5:32-33) We are not to follow the way of the world around us. (Deut 6:13-14; Isa 8:16-22) God has given us the touchstone, the standard. We are to weigh all things by the standard of the God’s revelation.

4) These books are the only rule or standard for living before God.

God, speaking in the Scripture, tells us what we are to do. (Matthew 4:4; Psalm 119:105) Unwritten rules that govern the life of a church preside over its demise. Extra-biblical rules and legalism have plagued the church from the beginning. God tells us what is pleasing to him in his word and we should not add our good

ideas to the list. Our conscience is held captive to the Word of God alone. Therefore, we are free from the rules and regulations of men.


1) Rev 22:18-19

2) 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21

3) Deut 5:32-33; Deut 6:13-14; Isa 8:16-22 (esp. v 20)

4) 2 Peter 1:3-4


1) Love is the only standard and compassion the only virtue.

Undefined love and limitless compassion as guides for our moral behavior are not biblical concepts. Love is defined by God in his word, not by man and his experience in a world of sin. Compassion is an emotion that must be directed and regulated by the word of God. Conscience, uninformed by the Word of God, is not our guide.

2) The Bible is the product of a highly developed Jewish evolutionary concept of God.

The Romans gave us political law, the Greeks philosophical wisdom, and the Jews religious monotheism. This is a sociological view of religion. The Bible is revelation, given by God. Christianity is a revealed faith, not a well-honed Jewish idea.

3) The popular idea that says, "I can develop my own code of ethics, and standards of life to live by. I am by own independent moral agent, deciding right and wrong for myself."

Our day drowns in subjectivism and is buried beneath the lie of relativism. ”There is no truth, therefore I can make carve my own path and make my own rules” neatly captures both philosophies. Truth is objective. It is real, and it centers in God and his revelation. He is the standard of truth. When an individual or a culture rejects God, they also reject truth. The basis of ethics is the self-

revelation of God, not the experiential wisdom of man.

4) The reasoning that the different teachings of many churches prove that the Bible is unclear or at least very difficult to interpret. It cannot be therefore the only standard that we live by.

The Bible is clear on the gospel; that forgiveness and salvation is to be found by faith in Christ alone. What is clear helps to interpret what is difficult. The Scriptures are clear in what they intend to teach. Our differing understanding is a testament to our ignorance and a confusing word from God. It is true, though, that to self-consciously live a life that conforms to biblical teaching will require humble and diligent search into the teaching and principles of the Word.


1) The Bible does have answers for questions and guidance for our decisions if we prayerfully, patiently seek for them. The Bible, rightly understood, is the manual for human life.

2) We are not the mindless slaves of the majority opinion or the current cultural consensus on any issue. We have been liberated by God to think his timeless, trans-cultural thoughts after him. We have something to measure ideas by and to discern the truth content of any new cultural fad.

3) Through the Bible we have access to a consistent God-honoring world-view. The Bible is the lens through which we see, evaluate and enjoy all of life.

4) God has spoken to us. He has spoken love, truth and hope to us. We are not wandering waifs with no purpose or direction in life. Gilbert Keith Chesterton wrote, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”

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