Ch. 1 Para. 1. The Necessity of Scripture


The insufficiency of general revelation
The necessity of special revelation
The consequent necessity of inscripturated revelation


Why do we need a Bible? At the time of the Reformation not everyone believed that we needed a Bible. On the one hand you had the Anabaptists who believed in the ongoing gift of prophecy and saw themselves not needing a Bible. On the other hand was the Roman Catholic Church which was happy to keep the Bible in Latin even killing those who would dare translate it and put it into the hands of the common people. This sentiment is captured well from the familiar story of William Tyndale who had a run in with a Roman Clergyman. ‘Around 1520, Tyndale became a tutor in the family of Sir John Walsh, at Little Sodbury in Gloucestershire. He devoted himself more to the study of the Scriptures and embraced the doctrines of the Reformation. His opinions involved him in controversy with his fellow clergymen, and around 1522 he was summoned before the Chancellor of the Diocese of Worcester on a charge of heresy. This led to his removal to London (about October, 1523), where he began to preach. He made many friends among the ordinary people but none among church leaders. A “learned” Roman Catholic clergyman is said to have taunted Tyndale by saying, “We are better to be without God’s laws than the Pope’s”. Tyndale’s famous reply was, “I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the Scriptures than you!”1

The opening paragraph of the opening chapter of the 1689 addresses this very issue. It begins with a statement that is not found in the WCF or SDFO. ‘The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience.’ Here is why we need a bible, it is the only sufficient, certain and infallible rule for saving knowledge. What you need to see as we being the confession is the centrality of the need of our salvation and how the Bible is the only certain and infallible source of God’s knowledge for such salvation. There is no other place where God has given His complete and perfect revelation for salvation. No systematic theology, no confession, no creed, no poem, no book, no other document is given by God that is sufficient and free from error like the Bible. It alone is the reliable source of information from God about how to get saved, and how to love and please Him. Scripture proofs are provided to make this argument.

Is. 8:20 is listed because in the context of Is. 8 the sources of necromancy and mediums are condemned compared to God’s truth.
Luke 16:29, from the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is listed, ‘But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ Here Christ is saying how the Scriptures are sufficient for people to know the truth. We do not need people to resurrect from the dead to have a believable source of truth from God.
Eph. 2:20 is listed because it mentions the church being built upon the foundation of the revelatory ministries of the apostles and prophets.
2 Tim. 3:15-17 is listed because it essentially says all that they have claimed for the Bible so far, ‘and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.’

Now we want to open up this first paragraph and we will do this under three headings. The insufficiency of general revelation; The necessity of special revelation; The consequent necessity of inscripturated revelation.