Tag Archives: Sola Scriptura

“Nothing may be put on a level with Scripture” by Herman Bavinck

“Church and confession must yield to Scripture. Not the church but Scripture is self-authenticating (αὐτοπιστος), the judge of controversies (iudex controversiarum), and its own interpreter (sui ipsius interpres).

Nothing may be put on a level with Scripture. Church, confession, tradition—all must be ordered and adjusted by it and submit themselves to it…

Scripture alone is the norm and rule of faith and life (norma et regula fidei et vitae). The confession deserves credence only because and insofar as it agrees with Scripture and, as the fallible work of human hands, remains open to revision and examination by the standard of Scripture…

All Christian churches are united in the confession that Holy Scripture is the foundation of theology, and the Reformation unanimously recognized it as the only foundation (principium unicum).”

–Herman Bavinck, Eds. John Bolt and John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 86-87.

 

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“Calvin in his commentaries” by Marilynne Robinson

“I have a collection of Calvin’s writings, nowhere near complete but daunting all the same, dozens of volumes of disciplined and elegant explication from the hand of a man whose health was never good, who shouldered for decades the practical and diplomatic problems of Geneva, a city under siege, and whose writings inspired and also endangered the individuals and populations across Europe who read them, whether or not they were persuaded by them. To say these things are humbling would be to understate the matter wildly.

I do happen to know what goes into the writing of a book– granted, not a book that requires a mastery of ancient languages, or that addresses the endless difficulties of translation– nor one that sets out to make literary use of a disparaged language or that attempts to render or to interpret a sacred text. I have no idea what it would be like to write in prison or in hiding or in a city full of refugees. I have no idea what it would be like to live with the threat of death while trying to write something good enough to justify the mortal peril others accepted in simply reading it.

I have just enough relevant experience to inform my awe. I find these achievements unimaginable. When I see Calvin in his commentaries pausing once again over the nuances and ambiguities of a Hebrew word as if his time and his patience and his strength were all inexhaustible, I am touched by how respectful he is, phrase by phrase and verse and by verse, of the text of Scripture, and therefore how respectful he is of any pastor and of all those to whom that pastor will preach.”

–Marilynne Robinson, “Reformation,” in The Givenness of Things (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2015), 25-26.

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“The ever-living, eternally youthful Word” by Herman Bavinck

“Holy Scripture is not an arid story or ancient chronicle but the ever-living, eternally youthful Word, which God, now and always, issues to His people. It is the eternally ongoing speech of God to us.

It does not just serve to give us historical information; it does not even have the intent to furnish us a historical story by the standard of reliability demanded in other realms of knowledge.

Holy Scripture is tendentious: whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope [Rom. 15:4].

Scripture was written by the Holy Spirit that it might serve Him in guiding the church, in the perfecting of the saints, in building up the body of Christ.

In it God daily comes to His people.

In it He speaks to His people, not from afar but from nearby.

In it He reveals himself, from day to day, to believers in the fullness of His truth and grace.

Through it He works His miracles of compassion and faithfulness. Scripture is the ongoing rapport between heaven and earth, between Christ and His church, between God and His children.

It does not just tie us to the past; it binds us to the living Lord in the heavens.

It is the living voice of God, the letter of the omnipotent God to His creature.

God once created the world by the word, and by that word He also upholds it [Heb. 1:2, 3].

But He also re-creates it by the word and prepares it to be His dwelling. Divine inspiration, accordingly, is a permanent attribute of Holy Scripture.

It was not only ‘God-breathed’ at the time it was written; it is ‘God-breathing.’

‘It was divinely inspired, not merely while it was written, God breathing through the writers; but also, whilst it is being read, God breathing through the Scripture, and the Scripture breathing Him [He being their very breath].’ (Bengel)

Having come forth from revelation, it is kept alive by divine inspiration and made efficacious.

It is the Holy Spirit who maintains both prophecy and miracle, Scripture and church, joining them together, thus preparing the parousia.

Some day when being and consciousness are completely renewed, revelation will end and Scripture will no longer be necessary.

Divine inspiration (θεοπνευστια) will then be the portion of all God’s children. They will all be taught by the Lord and serve Him in His temple. Prophecy and miracle have then become ‘nature,’ for God dwells among His people.”

–Herman Bavinck, Ed. John Bolt and trans. John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena, Vol. 1  (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 384-385.

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“Good, merry, glad and joyful tidings” by William Tyndale

“The New Testament is a book, wherein are contained the promises of God and the deeds of them which believe them, or believe them not.

Evangelion (that we call the gospel) is a Greek word and signifieth good, merry, glad and joyful tidings, that maketh a man’s heart glad, and maketh him sing, dance, and leap for joy.

Just as when David had killed Goliath the giant glad tidings came unto the Jews, that their fearful and cruel enemy was slain and that they were delivered out of all danger.

In like manner is the Evangelion of God (which we call gospel; and the New Testament) joyful tidings. The gospel is published by the apostles throughout all the world, of Christ, the right David, who hath fought with sin, with death, and the devil, and overcome them.

Whereby all men that were in bondage to sin, wounded with death, overcome of the devil, are, without their own merits or deservings, loosed, justified, restored to life and saved, brought to liberty and reconciled unto the favor of God, and set at one with Him again, which tidings as many as believe laud, praise, and thank God and are glad, sing and dance for joy.

This Evangelion or gospel (that is to say, such joyful tidings) is called the New Testament because man, when he shall die, appointeth his goods to be dealt with by testament and distributed after his death among them which he nameth to be his heirs.

Even so Christ before His death commanded and appointed that such Evangelion, gospel, or tidings should be declared throughout all the world, and therewith to give all His goods unto all that repent and believe.

What goods? That is to say, His life, wherewith He swallowed and devoured up death; His righteousness, wherewith He banished sin; His salvation, wherewith He overcame eternal damnation.

Now the wretched man (that knoweth himself to be wrapped in sin, and in danger to death and hell) can hear no more joyous a thing, than such glad and comfortable tidings of Christ so that he cannot but be glad, and laugh from the low bottom of his heart, if he believe that these tidings are true.”

–William Tyndale, “A Pathway Into the Holy Scripture,” in Doctrinal Treatises, Ed. Henry Walter, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1531/1848), 8-9.

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Lord’s Day Hymn – “Unveil Thy beauties to my sight”

“Thou Lovely Source of True Delight”
By Anne Steele, 1760

Thou lovely Source of true delight,
Whom I unseen adore;
Unveil Thy beauties to my sight,
That I may love Thee more.

Thy glory o’er creation shines;
But in Thy sacred Word,
I read in fairer, brighter lines,
My bleeding, dying Lord.

’Tis here, whene’er my comforts droop,
And sins and sorrows rise,
Thy love with cheerful beams of hope,
My fainting heart supplies.

Jesus, my Lord, my Life, my Light,
O come with blissful ray;
Break radiant through the shades of night,
And chase my fears away.

Then shall my soul with rapture trace
The wonders of Thy love;
But the full glories of Thy face
Are only known above.

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