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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Use your Gravatar-enabled email address while commenting to automatically enhance your comment with some of Gravatar's open profile data.

Comments must be made in accordance with the comment policy. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam; learn how your comment data is processed.

You may use Markdown to format your comments; additionally, these HTML tags and attributes may be used: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Rick Beckman