Of the Holy Scripture – Westminster 1:6

The sixth entry in the Westminster Confession of Faith series.

My apologies to Justin for not being more regular with this series.

However, I am now the happy owner of a print version of the Westminster Confession of Faith, which was given to Alicia & myself by Pastor Tom at the membership class of church on Sunday. The booklet includes a parallel reading of the Modern English Study Version of the Confession, though for consistency I’ll continue to use the older version. I am thankful that I don’t have to rely on e-Sword for reading from the Confession anymore.

I have noticed that the scriptural references I’ve been getting from e-Sword vary slightly from those included in the print version. I’m not for certain where e-Sword’s version of the Westminster Confession of Faith gets its proof text lists, but those included in the print version include those proof texts adopted by the Twenty-third General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in 1956. I will from now on use those listed in the print version.

Enough of a preface; on with the series…

From the Confession

The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men (Part 1). Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word (Part 2): and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed (Part 3).

Scriptural references

From the New King James Version

Part 1

  • All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16,17
  • But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:8,9
  • Not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 2 Thessalonians 2:2

Part 2

  • “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” John 6:45
  • 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. … 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. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 1 Corinthians 2:12,14,15
  • The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. Ephesians 1:18
  • For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

Part 3

  • Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 1 Corinthians 11:13,14
  • How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. … Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:26,40


Here again we are reminded of the excellent importance of the Holy Scriptures: in them we find “the whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary” for a variety of things. That is important to remember: If the Bible contains everything that is necessary for my salvation, then the Koran can tell me nothing that will benefit me in that regard. If the Bible contains everything that is necessary for God’s own glory, then the Apocrypha or other Pseudopigraphical books are wholly unnecessary in order for man to properly glorify God.

The works of men regarding every other religion in this world can add nothing to the counsel revealed by God in the Holy Scriptures. In in His words is found life, for they testify of Jesus Christ: He who Himself is Life.

However, to so many in this world, the words of the Bible profit nothing. To them, the Good Book is but a book of fairy tales, a book to be kept alongside the works of the Brothers Grimm or Tolkien rather than to be regarded in our hearts and minds as the perfect words of the Living God. To a natural man, that is the only possible response for the Scriptures require spiritual discernment in order to be understood, and a spirit dead in sins and trespasses is incapable of such an act.

The Holy Spirit must illumine the hearts and minds of men. We see this illustrated as Paul was speaking to a group of women by a river outside of Philippi. We are told of one woman — Lydia, a dealer in purple (dye or fabrics) — who though she was one in the audience of women being spoken to, didn’t pay attention or apply herself to what Paul was saying until the Lord opened her heart Acts 16:4.

You see, the preaching of the cross — the message of the Holy Scriptures — is foolishness to those who are perishing. There is simply no desire in their stony hearts to incline themselves unto God’s Word; there is no thirst or hunger for the meat of the Word for they do not even know their need for it. Their love for darkness overwhelms any possibility of a desire for light.

But to those who are being saved, the preaching is the power of God. As Paul was talking, Lydia was transformed from one who was perishing to one who was being saved, and when that happened, the preaching changed from foolishness to the power of God — something to be hungered after and even lived for.

Oftentimes we Christians allow our lives to be lived more for the old man — who was crucified with Christ Romans 6:6. We allow the old man’s desires to wax strong in our lives, overshadowing the new man we have become. Ephesians 4 gives great insight into the differences between these two natures, as well as how we can avoid relapses.

But when that old man rears his ugly head, the Scriptures again become dull to us. Just like every other aspect of our lives when we are living as the old man — that lying, thieving, idol worshiping, hating, antichristian man — we read the Scriptures in that old mindset, giving little credence to the words thereof. In this we see the importance of daily renewing our minds Ephesians 4:23; Romans 12:2.

Friend, how are you living your life today? Is the old man reading my words, or is your life characterized by the new man, that new creature created by God for His glory?

Which nature dominates your mind as you read the Scriptures? Do you notice a difference in how you apply the Word to your life when you know you have read with an unrenewed mindset? I know I do.

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