"The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one) it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly."
"The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined; and in whose sentence we are to rest; can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture."
WHAT DO THESE ARTICLES TEACH?
1) Scripture is her own interpreter.
You cannot cut diamonds except with diamonds. To use a lower standard, (personal opinion, literary criticism, tradition) to interpret the Word is to lower the Word to that standard and to make that standard more important than the Bible.
2) Scripture must be interpreted from the indisputable to the opaque.
We are to use the clear truths of the Bible to understand the more unclear; not the unclear to obscure the clear. We are to ask the questions in the right order.
3) Scripture passages have one discernable meaning.
There are not many meanings to one passage, the literal, the figurative, the spiritual. There may be more than one use or application to the passage, but not more than one meaning. Much confusion has surrounded the plain teaching of the Bible because many spiritualize passages and force them into a preconceived interpretation.
4) The Holy Spirit speaking through the Word is the canon of true religion.
Canon is a rule, or the standard. All disputes in the church are to be decided by the light of Scripture. The Gospel of Matthew ought to carry more weight than Robert's Rules of Order. We are not to blindly follow revered men or denominational structures or honored theologians or personal opinion or experience (the laughing revival, the Toronto blessing); but all these things must be judged by the Holy Spirit speaking in the Word.
WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL BASIS FOR THESE ARTICLES?
1) 2 Peter 1:20
2) 2 Peter 3:14-18
3) Matthew 22:29, 31
4) Ephesians 2:20; Isaiah 8:20
WHAT ERRORS DO THESE ARTICLES CORRECT?
1) We are to evaluate religion movements, doctrines, and experience by its success and not the Word.
We are to listen to the arguments in defense of religious movements and see if they are Scriptural.
2) We fight against the movement of the Spirit if we Scripturally evaluate religion movements and teachings.
We are to discern the wolves in sheep's clothing and the false prophets by the standard of the Word. What we believe really does matter. Doctrine is in order to application.
3) We look for warm devotional thoughts when we read Scripture and if it speaks to us, it is true.
We are to seek to understand what the Bible actually says before apply it to our lives and use it as spiritual food.
WHAT PRACTICAL BENEFIT CAN WE FIND?
1) The teaching of the Bible can be understand.
2) Yet, diligent study of the Bible is still both necessary and profitable for all.
3) The controversies of religion do have a solution. God speaking in the Word, understood by men who are following the moral strictures of that Word. When men speak the truth in love, and speak only what is edifying and will administer grace to the hearers, and when godly men are slow to speak and quick to listen and refuse to descend a war of personal offence, and will readily admit when they are wrong; then the truth will be known and honored.