The Spirit bears witness

I’ve recently been reading the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith and the first part deals with our understanding of the Holy Scriptures. It says,

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;

This argument says that style, content, coherence and scope are all evidence that the Bible is indeed the Word of God. Now compare that with this argument for the Qur’an:

One of the reasons that the Qur’an is described as miraculous stems from the fact that, as emphasized in the verses above, nothing like it can ever be written by human endeavour: The greater the scale of that impossibility, the greater the size of the miracle which we see before our very eyes. Therefore, the fact that the style of the Qur’an has been incapable of imitation by even one out of the billions of people down the centuries is one of the proofs of its miraculous nature.

One of the main arguments Islamic scholars make is that the style of Arabic in the Qur’an is unmatched and unmatchable and thereby proof of the divine origin of the book.

Both arguments are, of course, highly subjective and only likely to be persuasive to those already persuaded.

Yet the Baptist Confession of Faith (which at this point is exactly the same as the Westminster Confession) makes one further and very interesting point.

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.

In other words if you weren’t persuaded of the divine nature of the Bible and become persuaded, then that is due to the Holy Spirit. Not only that it is only by the living Word dwelling in our hearts (again by the work of the Spirit) that we know the Bible to be true.

Photo by Waiting For The Word

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