1689 London Baptist Confession – Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures

Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures

1._____ The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, 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 inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterward 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; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.( 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Isaiah 8:20; Luke 16:29, 31; Ephesians 2:20; Romans 1:19-21; Romans 2:14,15; Psalms 19:1-3; Hebrews 1:1; Proverbs 22:19-21; Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19,20 )

2._____Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these:

OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomen, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations,Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, To Titus, To Philemon, The Epistle to the Hebrews, Epistle of James, The first and second Epistles of Peter, The first, second, and third Epistles of John, The Epistle of Jude, The Revelation

All of which are given by the inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life. ( 2 Timothy 3:16)

3._____ The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon or rule of the Scripture, and, therefore, are of no authority to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writings.( Luke 24:27, 44; Romans 3:2 )

4._____ The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.( 2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 John 5:9 )

5._____We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and 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, and many other incomparable excellencies, and entire perfections 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. ( John 16:13,14; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12; 1 John 2:20, 27)

6._____The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men. 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, 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.( 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Galatians 1:8,9; John 6:45; 1 Corinthians 2:9-12; 1 Corinthians 11:13, 14; 1 Corinthians 14:26,40)

7._____All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.( 2 Peter 3:16; Psalms 19:7; Psalms 119:130)

8._____The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal to them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.( Romans 3:2; Isaiah 8:20; Acts 15:15; John 5:39; 1 Corinthians 14:6, 9, 11, 12, 24, 28; Colossians 3:16 )

9._____The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.( 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Acts 15:15, 16)

10.____The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.( Matthew 22:29, 31, 32; Ephesians 2:20; Acts 28:23)

QUESTIONS:

1. How do we know there is a God?

2. What is the word of God?

3. How do we know that the Bible is the Word of God?

4. What do the Scriptures mainly teach?

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About John
A follower of Christ and sinner who needs his grace everyday.

7 Responses to 1689 London Baptist Confession – Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures

  1. John says:

    Via Desiring God.

    1. The light of nature in man, and the works of God, plainly declares that there is a God; but his word and Spirit only, do effectually reveal him unto us for our salvation.

    Scripture: Romans 1:18-20; Psalm 19:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:15; 1 Corinthians 1:21-24; 2:9, 10; Matthew 11:27.

    Comment: The question distinguishes two kinds of knowledge: one is natural and comes from conscience (“the light of nature in man”) and from the works of God in nature; the other is spiritual or saving, and comes from the recognition of the true value of God and the beauty of his character. Natural knowledge is possessed by all people and thus makes all people accountable to honor and thank God. Spiritual knowledge is possessed only by those whose natural blindness has been overcome by the Spirit of God. (1 Cor. 2:14-16). Our children must come to see the difference between these lest they think they are saved by much natural knowledge about God—which the devils also have James 2:19).

    2. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, being given by divine inspiration, are the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

    Scripture: 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Isaiah 8:20; Matthew 5:17- 18; 1 Corinthians 2:13; Psalm 19:7-8.

    Comment: “Scriptures” is a special word for the “writings” of the OT and NT. Perhaps you will want to explain that the OT deals with God’s word that came before Jesus was born; and the NT is the word of God that came after Jesus was born. “Infallible” means it will never lead us astray in what it teaches. It is true and does not err. It can be trusted. “Faith” refers to right thinking and feeling; and “practice” refers to right doing. We measure our thoughts and emotions and actions by the rule of the Bible. “Inspiration” means that it is God-breathed: by his Spirit he guided his spokesmen to speak his word in their language.

    3. The Bible evidences itself to be God’s Word by the heavenliness of its doctrine, the unity of its parts, and its power to convert sinners and to edify saints. But only the Spirit of God can make us willing to agree and submit to the Bible as the Word of God.

    Scripture: 1 Corinthians 2:6-7,13-16; Psalm 19:7-9; 119:18,129; Acts 10:43; 26:22; 18:28; Hebrews 4:12; Romans 15:4; John 16:13,14; 1 John 2:20-27; 2 Corinthians 3:14-17; 4:4, 6.

    Comment: “Heavenliness” refers to the fact [that] the teachings of Scripture are of such a nature that they cannot be explained by mere human resources. They bear the marks of the supernatural. “No man ever spoke like this man” (John 7:46). The “unity of its parts” has to do especially with the way all Scripture points to Christ. “To him all the prophets bear witness” (Acts 10:43). There are detailed and scholarly historical arguments for the reliability of the Bible, but these are generally beyond the acquaintance of ordinary Christians, and so do not serve as widespread support for Scripture. They are needed, however, in the scholarly arena. [See “Is the Bible a Reliable Guide to Lasting Joy” in Desiring God by John Piper (Multnomah Press, 1986).]

    4. The Scriptures mainly teach what man is to believe about God and what duty God requires of man.

    Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; John 20:31; Acts 24:14; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Ecclesiastes 12:13.

  2. marc mullins says:

    1) Heavens declare the Glory of God. We cannot view His creation revealed by general revelation and not know. He has also graced us with His word, through this special revelation of himself and his power, and our fallen state we would have no hope.

    2 & 3) All Scripture being God breathed ( 2 Tim 3:16 ) alludes to the term verbal plenary inerrancy. This simply means the very words of Scripture are inerrant and profitable as they were breathed out by God who is perfect [30] This God—his way is perfect;
    the word of the LORD proves true;he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
    (Psalm 18:30 ESV) and authored by men under the authority of His spirit. 2 Peter 1:20-21(ESV)
    20knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21For(A) no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God(B) as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

    4) Scripture as laid out above for the purposes of confirming the identity of God and His authority. Romans 1 also teaches us that God’s word has been given to us to warn us of God’s wrath upon the unrighteous, and convicts all of mankind of unrighteousness (fallen man). Scripture has been given to teach man of God’s redemptive plan for His creation (entire Canon) and Scripture commands fallen man to repent and believe in Christ alone through faith by grace and to grow in sanctification.

  3. Brian says:

    What a good study!
    1. How do we know there is a God?
    God has made himself plain to us, through his invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature and has done so since the beginning of creation. But we refuse to recognize and thank him for who he really is and thus became fools.

  4. Excellent Commentary Guys! Thanks for sharing

  5. marc mullins says:

    oh I almost forgot to mention one last note—-Scripture is sufficient as well! Sola Scriptura.but then I just saw John’s post on Psalm 19…and that about covers it

  6. marc mullins says:

    http://www.gracechurch.org/distinctives/scripture/

  7. Siew-Leng Willis says:

    1. I know that there is a God because of His amazing grace. When I accepted the Saviour into my life, I received the gift of the Holy Spirit, and it is Him Who bears witness the reality of living God Although one may think that there must be a mighty being who created the universe, there is no conviction that God is the Creator. Born-again believers accepts this truth.

    2. The Word of God is the Holy Bible.

    3. All scripture is inspired by God ….. (2 Tim 3 v 16). The prophecies in the Old Testament have come to pass, i.e. the coming of our Saviour in the New Testament. Also, archaeological findings confirm the true historical accounts in the Bible. Other documents like the Jewish Talmud records the death of Jesus on the eve of Passover The Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, adverse to Jesus and His message, mentioned John the Baptist, James’ (the brother of Jesus) death by a high priest and Jesus as a ‘wise man’ viewed by the people as the Christ, and His appearing to His disciples 3 days after His death.

    4. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceeds from the mouth of God (Matt. 4 v 4) Just as the physical body needs food to survive, we need spiritual food, i.e. God’s Word, to live fully. Jesus Himself said, ‘I have come that you may have life and life in all its abundance’. Joshua 1 v 8. Psalm 119 v 105. Basically, the Bible is man’s guide to a fulfilled life in Christ Jesus.

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