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WCF 1:5 The primary and secondary assurances that the Bible is the Word of God.

March 30, 2017

 

 

Westminster Confession

Chapter 1 Article 5

The primary and secondary assurances that the Bible is the Word of God.

 

"We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to a high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture.  And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts."

 

WHAT THIS ARTICLE TEACHES

 

1) We ought to receive the testimony of the Church concerning the Word of God so as to highly value it.

 

2) The Bible itself gives us many reasons to believe its divine origin and authorship:

Its spiritual content

Its powerful truth

Its literary skill

Its remarkable unity

Its God-glorifying aim

Its clear  and complete message of salvation

Its perfect completeness

Therefore the Bible is the self-attesting word of God.

 

3) Only the Holy Spirit can convince and assure a man of the truth and authority of the Bible.

This is the primary and necessary assurance, the sine quo non for having confidence in the Word of God.

 

WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL BASIS FOR THIS ARTICLE?

 

1) 1 Timothy 3:15; Romans 3:1-2

 

3) 1 Cor 2:10; Isa 59:21; John 16:13-14

 

WHAT ERRORS DOES THIS ARTICLE CORRECT?

 

1) The authority of the Bible rests on the authority of the church.

 

2) Many books claim to be a word from God, and the Bible is no different.

 

3) One can reason with a man and thereby convince him of the truth of the divine Scriptures.

 

4) The Spirit is not tied to the Word, but can work above and beyond and without it.

The Bible is the self-revelation of God; it reveals his character.  The Holy Spirit is God.  The Holy Spirit bears the character of the Word.  Therefore the Holy Spirit does not contract the word, for it is his very nature.  The Spirit works by the Word and with the Word in our hearts.  It is that testimony that convinces us of the truth of the Word of God.

 

WHAT PRACTICAL BENEFIT DOES THIS ARTICLE GIVE?

 

1) We can know from the Spirit dwelling within us that the Bible is the Word of God.

 

2) We can be encouraged in our Spirit-given confidence by the glories of the Bible itself and the testimony of the church.

The evidences support faith, they do not produce faith.  Faith is a gift from God, not the fruit of logical deduction.

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