Of the Holy Scripture – Westminster 1:4

Today, Alicia & I attended the first class in a ten-week long class for prospective new members at Christ Presbyterian Church. Pastor Tom Stein gives the courses, which take place during the Sunday school hour, so that when people join the church, there won’t be any surprises in doctrine or practice. I’m glad that both my journey through the Westminster Confession of the Faith and the new members class at a Presbyterian church will be occurring concurrently.

Without further ado, I give you the fourth entry in the Westminster Confession of Faith series.

From the Confession

The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.

Scriptural references

From the New King James Version

  • For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believes. 1 Thessalonians 2:13
  • All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16
  • 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; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:19-21
  • If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. 1 John 5:9


In this point of the Confession is contained a very important point. Please, do not miss it. In short, Scripture is authoritative because it is the Word of God.

Heed the words of the apostles Paul, Peter, and John in the verses cited above, and note carefully where the authority of Scripture is coming from.

They make no appeal to the character or appeal of the writer — Moses might have been a great leader, but the Scriptures he penned are authoritative only because as he penned them he was moved along by the Holy Spirit.

David may have been a highly respected ruler and stalwart of the faith (just ask Goliath!), but dare we ascribe spiritual authoritativeness to a murderous adulterer? Yet the Psalms he penned are to be regarded as authoritative not because of David but because of the God who inspired the writings.

No church is ever appealed to by the biblical writers. No institution can claim that the buck stops with them. Rather, we are to remember the fundamental author of the Scriptures: He who — far beyond simply being unable to tell a lie — is Truth itself, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Because of who He is we can trust and obey His Word.

Contrariwise, because the Scriptures do have as their author God Himself, it can be properly regarded that anything which speaks contrary to the Scriptures is not of God. A cursory look at the various philosophies and religions of the world yields the unsettling conclusion that the spirit of ungodliness is pervasive.

But to the Law and to the Testimony, let us be faithful.

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