An Exposition of the Articles of Faith
Article 1 – The Holy Scriptures
1-1 The Holy Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are the inspired,1 infallible Word of God,2 a divine revelation, the original writings of which were verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit.3 They are the supreme and final authority of faith and conduct.4
1-2 Inspiration is a special act of the Holy Spirit3 by which He guided the writers of the Scriptures so that their words would convey the thoughts He wished conveyed, would bear a proper relationship to the thoughts of the other inspired books, and would be kept free from error of fact, doctrine, and judgment.5
1-3 The Holy Scriptures, the written Word of God, are composed of all books of the Old Testament and New Testament, namely:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah,Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, MalachiNew Testament
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, I Peter, II Peter, I John, II John, III John, Jude, Revelation
2 (Psa. 119:89), (John 10:35), (Isa. 40:8)
3 (2Pe. 1:21), (1Pe. 1:10,11), (1Cor. 2:12,13)
4 (John 17:17), (Luke 24:27,44), (Rev. 22:18,19)
5 (Mat. 5:17,18)
We begin with the Bible because that is our source of information about God, man, sin and salvation. So, if we have a wrong view of the Bible, the rest of our theology will be skewed.
The article reminds us that these Scriptures are holy, as in free from sin, because they come from God Himself who is holy. They contain both the Old and the New Testaments. Some of us have a tendency to emphasize one over the other, whereas both are God’s revelation to man and both are vitally important for our study.
These Scriptures are inspired, meaning they are breathed out by God. They are the very real words of God communicated through His servants. They are therefore infallible, or that they are reliable and accurate and without error. They are a divine revelation in that they come directly from the mouth of God. And the original writings, in the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, are inspired (breathed out by God) in their very words, not just in their concepts (verbally). This inspiration occurs by the power of the Holy Spirit as He comes upon men. Since they are from God Himself, that makes them the final arbiter (not men, but the Word of God alone) of what is true and right in matters of faith (what we believe) and conduct (how we live).
The article goes on to describe how inspiration occurred. By the work of the Holy Spirit, He directed men to write down Scripture with a particular purpose. If we consider that men are both fallible and make error, how could they write infallible, inerrant words? The Holy Spirit directed them to do this so that only what God wanted communicated would be written down, would be done in a way that all 66 books of the Bible forms a coherent whole, and would be kept free from error of any kind. This means that the Bible, translated and preserved for us in English, is the very Word of God, free from error in its original (translators can make mistakes) and therefore the Words of God for men to live by and to know the Living One, Jesus Christ.
The final aspect of the article emphasizes that it is the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments that are in the Bible. Not the apocrypha as is found in Roman Catholic Bibles (like Bel and the Dragon, 1 Maccabees, etc.) nor are the pseudepigrapha (false writings) that were written much later (like the Gospel of Thomas). Only the 66 books, as attested to by the early church, are the actual Word of God written down for mankind. Anything else is not part of the Bible.
Therefore, the Word of God, that we have translated and we hold in our hands is the very Word of God. It is living and breathing and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. It is both life-giving, and condemnatory, as it reveals to us both our sin and our need and provision for a Savior. As Alistair Begg has said, “if you want to hear from God, open your Bible.” Indeed. Open the Word of God and read it today!