Archive for the ‘authority of Scripture’ Category

The original text, not an English translation, is the authority

November 24, 2012

The NIV provides a very felicitous translation in terms of its public reading, but we do need to recognise that it has introduced certain verbs into verse 3. ‘Produced’, ‘prompted’ and ‘inspired’ are not there in the original…

…For reasons best known to themselves, the NIV translators have omitted the very significant link-word, kathos – ‘just as’, ‘even as’ – which makes the link back with what (Paul) has just said…

…Now again, the NIV omits a rather important link-word at the beginning of verse 8, the word ‘for’. ‘For the Lord’s message rang out from you’, which shows us that verse 8 is the evidence for verse 7.

David Jackman, The Authentic Church, Christian Focus, 1998, p.32, 38-39, 41

(commenting on 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 5, 8)

It also highlights the need to avoid consulting and using only one English translation in sermon and study preparation.

Scripture interprets Scripture

December 30, 2011

When controversy then happens, for the right understanding of any place or sentence of scripture, or for the reformation of any abuse within the kirk of God, we ought not so much to look what men before us have said or done, as unto that which the Holy Ghost uniformly speaks within the body of the scriptures, and unto that which Christ Jesus himself did, and commanded to be done.[16] For this is a thing universally granted, that the Spirit of God (which is the Spirit of unity) is in nothing contrary unto himself.[17] If then the interpretation, determination, or sentence of any doctor, kirk, or council, repugn to the plain word of God written in any other place of scripture, it is a thing most certain, that there is not the true understanding and meaning of the Holy Ghost, supposing that councils, realms, and nations have approved and received the same. For we dare not receive and admit any interpretation which directly repugns to any principal point of our faith, or to any other plain text of scripture, or yet unto the rule of charity.

Scots Confession, 1560

Abelard on the authority of Scripture

November 15, 2011

In order that the way be not blocked and posterity deprived of the healthy labor of treating and debating difficult questions of language and style, a distinction must be drawn between the work of later authors and the supreme canonical authority of the Old and New Testaments. If, in Scripture, anything seems absurd you are not permitted to say, “The author of this book did not hold to the truth”–but rather that the codex is defective or that the interpreter erred or that you do not understand. But if anything seems contrary to truth in the works of later authors, which are contained in innumerable books, the reader or auditor is free to judge, so that he may approve what is pleasing and reject what gives offense, unless the matter is established by certain reason or by canonical authority (of the Scriptures )

Abelard, Preface to Sic et Non

Witsius on the authority of Scripture

May 19, 2011

Let the Theologian ascend from the lower school of natural study, to the higher department of Scripture, and, sitting at the feet of God as his teacher, learn from his mouth the hidden mysteries of salvation, which ‘eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; which none of the princes of this world knew;’ which the most accurate reason cannot search out; which the heavenly chorus of angels, though always beholding the face of God, ‘desire to look into.’ In the hidden book of Scripture, and no where else, are opened the secrets of the more sacred wisdom. Whatever is not drawn from them–whatever is not built upon them–whatever does not most exactly accord with them–however it may recommend itself by the appearance of the most sublime wisdom, or rest upon ancient tradition, consent of learned men, or the weight of plausible argument–is vain, futile, and, in short, a very lie. ‘To the law and to the testimony. If any one speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’ Let the Theologian delight in these sacred oracles: let him exercise himself in them day and night; let him meditate on them; let him live in them; let him derive all his wisdom from them; let him compare all his thoughts with them; let him embrace nothing in religion which he does not find here. Let him not bind his faith to a man–not to a Prophet–not to an Apostle–not even to an Angel himself, as if the dictum of either man or angel were to be the rule of faith. Let his whole ground of faith be in God alone. For it is a Divine, not a human faith, which we learn and teach; so pure that it can rest upon no ground but the authority of God, who is never false, and never can deceive. The attentive study of the Scriptures has a sort of constraining power. It fills the mind with the most splendid form of heavenly truth, which it teaches with purity, solidity, certainty, and without the least mixture of error. It soothes the mind with an inexpressible sweetness; it satisfies the sacred hunger and thirst for knowledge with flowing rivers of honey and butter; it penetrates into the innermost heart with irresistible influence; it imprints its own testimony so firmly upon the mind, that the believing soul rests upon it with the same security, as if it had been carried up into the third heaven, and heard it from God’s own mouth; it touches all the affections, and breathes the sweetest fragrance of holiness upon the pious reader, even though he may not perhaps comprehend the full extent of his reading. We can scarcely say, how strongly we are opposed to that preposterous method of study, which, alas! too much prevails among us–of forming our views of Divine things from human writings, and afterwards supporting them by Scripture authorities, the result either of our own inquiry, or adduced by others too rashly, and without further examination or bearing upon the subject; when we ought to draw our views of Divine truths immediately from the Scriptures themselves, and to make no other use of human writings, than as indices marking those places in the chief points of Theology, from which we may be instructed in the mind of the Lord.

Witsius, quoted by Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry

If anything is contrary to Scripture, it is wrong. If anything is the same as Scripture, it is not needed. If anything goes beyond Scripture, it has no authority.

September 10, 2010


If anything is contrary to Scripture, it is wrong. If anything is the same as Scripture, it is not needed. If anything goes beyond Scripture, it has no authority.

Curtis Crenshaw, Word-faith critic

Marian Dogmas believed on authority of the church not scripture

May 11, 2010

Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces because of her intercession for us in heaven. What this means is that no grace accrues to us without her intercession. We are not to suppose that we are obliged to ask for all graces through her or that her intercession is intrinsically necessary for the application of graces. Instead, through God’s will, grace is not conferred on anyone without Mary’s cooperation. True, scriptural proofs for this are lacking. Theologians refer to a mystical interpretation of John 19:26 (“Woman behold thy son, son behold thy mother”), an interpretation that sees John as the representative of the human race, Mary thus becoming the spiritual mother. They note the doctrine is reasonable because it is fitting. This is little consolation to fundamentalists, of course, who see little fitting about it and who put little stock in speculative theology and even less in mystical theology. As a practical matter, this kind of doctrine is one of the last accepted by someone approaching the Church, particularly someone coming to the Church from fundamentalism, and it is accepted, ultimately, on the authority of the Church rather than on the authority of clear scriptural references.

Karl Keating (Catholic apologist), Catholicism and Fundamentalism, p 279

The last sentence should read: “on the authority of ANY scriptural references” but that would be an even more damning admission.

Sola Sciptura in the early fathers

April 25, 2010

No doctrine concerning the divine and saving mysteries of the faith, however trivial, may be taught without the backing of the holy Scriptures. We must not let ourselves be drawn aside by mere persuasion and cleverness of speech. Do not even give absolute belief to me, the one who tells you these things, unless you receive proof from the divine Scriptures of what I teach. For the faith that brings us salvation acquires its force, not from fallible reasonings, but from what can be proved out of the holy Scriptures.

Cyril of Jerusalem (310-386 AD)

What is the real source of error in the Church?

February 6, 2010

If a mariner, having to traverse an unknown sea, does not put implicit confidence in his charts, and therefore does not consult them for guidance in steering the ship, he is, as anyone can see, every moment exposed to dangers of various kinds. Now, the Word of God–the Book written by holy men as they were moved by the Spirit of God–is the Christian’s chart; and though, in a ship’s company, some of the men may have little critical knowledge of navigation, the captain is supposed to be well instructed therein, and to be able, by consulting the charts, to steer the ship aright; so in reference to ministers of Christ’s gospel, and pastors of Christ’s church, which he hath purchased with his blood. The first step astray is a want of adequate faith in the divine inspiration of the sacred Scriptures. All the while a man bows to the authority of God’s Word, he will not entertain any sentiment contrary to its teaching. “To the law and to the testimony,” is his appeal concerning every doctrine. He esteems that holy Book, concerning all things, to be right, and therefore he hates every false way. But let a man question, or entertain low views of the inspiration and authority of the Bible, and he is without chart to guide him, and without anchor to hold him.


Truth…could not be stated in propositional terms, but was whispered in the heart by the Spirit of Christ, source of that inward light dwelling in every man

December 3, 2009

(George Fox, founder of the Quakers, had unorthodox views)

Truth…could not be stated in propositional terms, but was whispered in the heart by the Spirit of Christ, source of that inward light dwelling in every man. Fox denied that the Scriptures were the final and revealed truth of God – his own message was a direct revelation from God.

Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press 2008, p.126

He sounds like an emergent.

The Scripture sufficiency must be maintained, and nothing beyond it imposed on others; and if papists, or others, call to us for the standard and rule of our religion, it is the Bible that we must show them, rather than any confessions of churches, or writings of men

November 14, 2009

The Scripture sufficiency must be maintained, and nothing beyond it imposed on others; and if papists, or others, call to us for the standard and rule of our religion, it is the Bible that we must show them, rather than any confessions of churches, or writings of men.

Richard Baxter, Reformed Pastor, p.123