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


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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