Of the Holy Scripture – Westminster 1:5

The fifth entry in the Westminster Confession of Faith series.

From the Confession

We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to a high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture (Part 1). And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts (Part 2).

Scriptural references

From the New King James Version

Part 1

But if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Timothy 3:15

Part 2

  • “As for Me,” says the Lord, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the Lord, “from this time and forevermore.” Isaiah 59:21
  • However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. John 16:13,14
  • But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:10-12
  • But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. … But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. 1 John 2:20,27


Within this portion of the Confession we have the answer to a very important question: Why is it I, along with my fellow believers in Christ, can so easily accept the Holy Scriptures as God’s Holy Word when others, having no more or less evidence than I have, reject the divine authorship and resultant infallibility of the Scriptures?

Certainly, the text itself provides many evidences. The prophesies of Scripture — especially of those concerning Christ — are not only very specific, but they were fulfilled to the letter. The worldview presented in the Scriptures is timeless because it is accurate; man and the world around us are portrayed accurately and so the “remedies” of the Scriptures are relevant and have shown themselves efficacious time and again. The Scriptures are also remarkably singular; though written over thousands of years by dozens of men from various walks of life, the Scriptures present a central theme — Jesus Christ — from start to finish, detailing the course of human history without flaw.

None of those things alone (or indeed, all of them together) are not enough to sway the heart of man to the Scriptures, however. Man hates that which reproves his darkness. Nothing more thoroughly does that than the Word of Christ.

The answer to the question I presented above? The Holy Spirit. His testimony and His testimony alone is capable of instilling us with faith in and understanding of the word of God. In it we find the thoughts of God which He deemed appropriate and necessary to reveal to us. And just as man cannot present his word to an ant with expectations of understanding, so man cannot understand God’s Word without miraculous intervention.

Praise be to God, who sends His Holy Spirit to teach us the things concerning Christ. Without His Spirit, we would remain in blindness to the spiritual things of God. But with it, we are made wise unto salvation and are enabled to study the Scriptures for the thorough furnishing of ourselves unto all good works.

May all credit for our knowledge of God, His Word, His Christ, and His purpose go to His Holy Spirit. I cannot claim any of it. He is the Enabler of my studies, the Teacher of mysteries, and the Enlightening One.

And may we all remember to pray the Spirit for wisdom regularly so that we can continually grow in the knowledge of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

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