Of the Holy Scripture — Westminster 1:1

This is the first in what will end up being a long series of posts about the West­min­ster Con­fes­sion of Faith. In order to make these posts as infor­ma­tive as they need to be, I’m going to divide them up into three sec­tions, “From the Con­fes­sion,” “Scrip­tur­al ref­er­ences,” and “Com­men­tary.” Due to the large num­ber of scrip­tur­al ref­er­ences giv­en in the copy of the con­fes­sion I have, that sec­tion will like­ly be the longest. How­ev­er, I encour­age you to read the vers­es in full when­ev­er they are giv­en. It is the Word of God which “is liv­ing and active, sharp­er than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12, ESV). Under­stand­ing and believ­ing the con­fes­sion will require under­stand­ing and believ­ing the Word upon which it claims to be based.

From the Confession

Although the light of nature and the works of cre­ation and prov­i­dence do so far man­i­fest the good­ness, wis­dom, and pow­er of God, as to leave men unex­cus­able (Part 1); yet they are not suf­fi­cient to give that knowl­edge of God and of His will, which is nec­es­sary unto sal­va­tion (Part 2). There­fore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in diverse man­ners, to reveal Him­self, and to declare that His will unto His Church (Part 3); and after­wards, for the bet­ter pre­serv­ing and prop­a­gat­ing of the truth, and for the more sure estab­lish­ment and com­fort of the Church against the cor­rup­tion of the flesh, and the mal­ice of Satan and of the world, to com­mit the same whol­ly unto writ­ing (Part 4); which maketh the Holy Scrip­ture to be most nec­es­sary (Part 5); those for­mer ways of God’s reveal­ing His will unto His peo­ple being now ceased (Part 6). 

Scriptural references

From the New King James Version

Part 1

  • The heav­ens declare the glo­ry of God; And the fir­ma­ment shows His hand­i­work. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowl­edge. There is no speech nor lan­guage Where their voice is not heard. Psalm 19:3
  • Because what may be known of God is man­i­fest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the cre­ation of the world His invis­i­ble attrib­ut­es are clear­ly seen, being under­stood by the things that are made, even His eter­nal pow­er and God­head, so that they are with­out excuse. Romans 1:19,20
  • Who, know­ing the right­eous judg­ment of God, that those who prac­tice such things are deserv­ing of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who prac­tice them. There­fore you are inex­cus­able, O man, who­ev­er you are who judge, for in what­ev­er you judge anoth­er you con­demn your­self; for you who judge prac­tice the same things. Romans 1:32,2:1
  • For when Gen­tiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not hav­ing the law, are a law to them­selves, who show the work of the law writ­ten in their hearts, their con­science also bear­ing wit­ness, and between them­selves their thoughts accus­ing or else excus­ing them. Romans 2:14,15

Part 2

  • For since, in the wis­dom of God, the world through wis­dom did not know God, it pleased God through the fool­ish­ness of the mes­sage preached to save those who believe. 1 Corinthi­ans 1:21
  • These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wis­dom teach­es but which the Holy Spir­it teach­es, com­par­ing spir­i­tu­al things with spir­i­tu­al. But the nat­ur­al man does not receive the things of the Spir­it of God, for they are fool­ish­ness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spir­i­tu­al­ly dis­cerned. 1 Corinthi­ans 2:13,14

Part 3

God, who at var­i­ous times and in var­i­ous ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets. Hebrews 1:1

Part 4

  • So that your trust may be in the Lord; I have instruct­ed you today, even you. Have I not writ­ten to you excel­lent things Of coun­sels and knowl­edge, That I may make you know the cer­tain­ty of the words of truth, That you may answer words of truth To those who send to you? Proverbs 22:19–21
  • And when they say to you, “Seek those who are medi­ums and wiz­ards, who whis­per and mut­ter,” should not a peo­ple seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the liv­ing? To the law and to the tes­ti­mo­ny! If they do not speak accord­ing to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isa­iah 8:19,20
  • But He answered and said, “It is writ­ten, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that pro­ceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” … Jesus said to him, “It is writ­ten again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” … Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is writ­ten, ‘You shall wor­ship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Matthew 4:4,7,10
  • It seemed good to me also, hav­ing had per­fect under­stand­ing of all things from the very first, to write to you an order­ly account, most excel­lent Theophilus, that you may know the cer­tain­ty of those things in which you were instruct­ed. Luke 1:3,4
  • For what­ev­er things were writ­ten before were writ­ten for our learn­ing, that we through the patience and com­fort of the Scrip­tures might have hope. Romans 15:4

Part 5

  • And that from child­hood you have known the Holy Scrip­tures, which are able to make you wise for sal­va­tion through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Tim­o­thy 3:15
  • And so we have the prophet­ic word con­firmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morn­ing star ris­es in your hearts. 2 Peter 1:19

Part 6

God, who at var­i­ous times and in var­i­ous ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spo­ken to us by His Son, whom He has appoint­ed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds. Hebrews 1:1,2

Commentary

In its open­ing para­graph, the con­fes­sion estab­lish­es the neces­si­ty of the Holy Scrip­tures. What is often called gen­er­al, or nat­ur­al, rev­e­la­tion is able to tell us that there is a God and that He is good. I have seen evi­dence of this in the lives of cer­tain peo­ple. God has giv­en them such a delight­ful life here on earth that they can­not deny that He exists and that He is good, but when it comes down to the details about Him, they are will­ful­ly ignorant.

It is the Word of God, the Holy Scrip­tures, which are able to make a per­son wise not only unto sal­va­tion, but unto all that is nec­es­sary to live a life pleas­ing to God, fur­nished unto all good works. It is the Word of God which tes­ti­fies page after page about the mighty God, Jesus Christ.

All that we need and ought to know about God has been signed, sealed, and deliv­ered to us in writ­ten for­mat so that it may be wide­ly pub­lished, shared, taught, and believed. If gen­er­al rev­e­la­tion leaves men with­out excuse, how much more so does a writ­ten tes­ti­mo­ny, with all the details filled in for us!

That is the glo­ry of the Holy Scrip­tures, that they tes­ti­fy of our Ever­last­ing Father and Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. The world can only tell us so much, hav­ing been taint­ed by sin. But oh the won­ders of that book!

As Isa­iah bold­ly pro­claimed let us always trust in the Scrip­tures, run­ning “To the law and to the tes­ti­mo­ny!” In it we find Jesus Christ pro­claimed, sal­va­tion made pos­si­ble, and con­sum­ma­tion promised.

1 thought on “Of the Holy Scripture — Westminster 1:1”

  1. Yes, that Holy Writ which does guide us through our storms. Where would we be with­out it?

    Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

    Rick, thanks for post­ing the Scrip­ture references.

    ~~~

    Has any­one read, “Dis­pu­ta­tions on the Holy Scrip­ture” by William Whitak­er? I want to so much, but I haven’t been able to get my hands on a copy.

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Rick Beckman