Teaching: 1689 Chapter 1 The Revelation & Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures

Teaching notes for Reforming Truth Church's Conference "1689 On Holy Scriptures", March 23, 2024. These notes will be covering:

Livestream & Recording: Reforming Truth Church

Table of Contents

The Text

Matthew 4:1-4 (CSB) Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. Then the tempter approached him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”


The Intro

  • In an CNN Red Chair Interview, Richard Dawkins was asked what would he say if he met God after his death:

What's going to happen when I die, if I met god in the unlikely event after I died, I think the first thing I would say is well, which one are you? Are you Zeus? Are you Thor? Are you Baal? Are you Mithras? Are you Yahweh? Which god are you?

  • I think that answer is a bit peculiar, to say the least. Joking aside, I suspect what he really wants to say when he stands before the Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth is this question:

And why did you take such great pains to conceal yourself and to hide away from us?

Richard Dawkins. CNN Red Chair Interview. September 5, 2012. CNN

  • To you and me, that is the peculiar thing.

  • Mr. Dawkins is self-proclaimed militant atheist who, as Romans 1 describes it so well, has taken active steps to suppress the knowledge of God.

  • In one sense, Mr. Dawkins is correct. God is infinitely far from us.

  • It would seem that God has concealed himself or hidden himself from man.

  • But you and I know he did not.

  • Where we, as created mortal finite beings, cannot travel infinitely to God

  • God came to us

  • God revealed himself to us. How? By his only begotten Son, who put on flesh.

  • We know him, love him, adore him, and worship him as Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is God.

  • Christ came into our world as almost a nobody, this is true. He wasn't born in a palace of any sort. His parents were just ordinary working class folk.

  • But his life--particularly his ministry, his perfect work, his death on the cross, his resurrection from actual death to actual life, and his ascension to the right hand of the Almighty God the Father--was far, far from ordinary and quiet.

  • His appearance--his existence with his creation changed all of history for all time.

  • It pleased the Father by the power of the Spirit to change the course of human history in such a way as this: to reveal God in the flesh--his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, Son of God who is God:

John 1:14 (CSB) The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.


  • Jesus Christ is the greatest individual in all of history.
  • All of humankind--you, me, and Mr. Dawkins included, are without excuse to believe and trust in the one whom God sent for us.
  • All of us--in our natural sin state were born trying to suppress the knowledge that God exists.
  • Everything we know and see all around us--even if we never heard of God--testify that there is a God
  • So God, fully perfect, fully good, fully holy, and fully merciful and love, did this one blessed and wonderful thing: in his great love for the world, he revealed himself by sending his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, Savior, and King.

John 1:18 (CSB) No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is himself God and is at the Father’s side—he has revealed him.

  • God did reveal himself.

  • We are all without excuse.

  • And how do we know this to be sure?

  • Furthermore, how do we know this and believe in him and trust in him so that we may not perish in our sins but have everlasting life?

  • Because, we have the Holy Scriptures.

  • We have the message about the Christ.

  • We have the Bible.

  • This is why the first chapter of the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession starts off the only source of our saving knowledge, faith, and obedience to the Christ who loved us and gave himself up for us. (Galatians 2:20)

Today, in our first session of RTC's inaugural mini conference, we are going to answer some basic questions about the Bible:

  • Where does the Bible come from? In other words, what is the source of the words in this book?
  • Second, what does the Bible contain?
  • Next, what is the Bible about and what is it for? What is the purpose of the Bible?
  • Lastly and certainly not least, so what?

"So what?" I don't want to use my time today to give us a bunch of trivia facts that you could have easily look up on the Internet.

  • I want to encourage you: if you don't have that still small voice that so many people don't have, guess what, you still hear from God because you have the Christ because the Holy Spirit dwells in you and because of that, you understand the Holy Scriptures
  • I want you to be strengthen: when we sin and when our faith is at a breaking point, it is not that we hold on to God but the Father and Son doubly infinitely hold on to us and that infinite grip is sealed by the Spirit. God will not lose us.
  • I want you to be loved: we don't always feel it but in his word alone, we get to hear that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases for us and his mercies for us will never come to an end.

Where does the Bible come from? What is the source?

1689.1.8 On the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures

The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by His singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal to them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read, and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (CSB) All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Matthew 4:4 (CSB) He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

  • The words contained in this Bible, in the order that they were put together, constructed to form complete and coherent thoughts, ideas, statements, instructions, and proclamations come directly from and inspired by the Almighty God himself.
  • That it please the Father in different times, through the power of the Spirit, to inspire authors to write about his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
  • And to that end, it is the original manuscripts that the confession declares to be infallible and inerrant--that is, without mistakes nor errors.
  • have you ever thought about that? The Confession is saying "every copy of the original manuscripts and every translation is not considered to be inerrant and infallible--just the original."
  • The copies that were made from the original manuscripts will have slight differences between the copies of the Scriptures but none of them disagree with each other and rightfully support one another when it comes to doctrine, theology, law and the gospel.
  • So to that end, the translations, by and large can be trusted. Your NIV contains the law and the gospel. Your KJV masterfully recites the Psalms. Your NASB tries its best to translate from the original languages word for word. Your ESV takes that word for word and makes that a bit more readable. The CSB takes its one step further and takes away the odd word pacing of the ESV and strives for even a greater readability.
  • Faithful translations in and of themselves are not infallible and inerrant. They do contain miniscule differences and minor errors
  • Food for thought: on the subject of infallibility and inerrancy of the word of God, I often think of the British theologian, Lesslie Newbigin (1908-1998) said this about it: "Are the Scriptures inerrant and infallible? Those kind of questions come from the modern mind which is asking if this supernatural text is without mistakes or errors. To which the Bible has no answer to wrong questions. But I can look to the Bible and see that the Bible is perfect, trustworthy, right, radiant, pure, reliable, more desirable than gold, sweeter than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb." (Psalm 19)
  • That a freebie. You're welcome.
  • So to that end, all the copies and all the faithful translations can be trusted because all points of the Christian doctrine and theology, law, gospel of Christ--are all in sync with one another
  • in other words, there isn't a copy of the Scriptures or reliable translation. out there, ever in existence that allows a sin not to be a sin. Or worst still, we somehow got the gospel wrong.
    • Neither, "Oopsies, homosexuality is permissable by the Holy God" -or-
    • "Oh, I am sorry, I was so mistaken--we actually have to break our backs to earn the love and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Silly me."
  • Do sinful men and women, who are steeped and filled with wickedness, arrogance and hubris, still try to twist Scriptures and come out with translations that are unfaithful to the original texts? Yes. Look up the Slave Bible. Look up the New World Translation. Look up the Book of Mormon. All of that work was completely blasphemous, demonic and wholly antichrist. And they, like all the wickedness in this world, will pass away. Why? Because we have the words of Christ, who is the head of church, and the speaker of this word, is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

What is the Bible?

What does the Bible contain?

1689.1.2 The Old & New Testament of the Holy Scriptures

Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these:

OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomen, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations,Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Paul's Epistle to the Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, To Titus, To Philemon, The Epistle to the Hebrews, Epistle of James, The first and second Epistles of Peter, The first, second, and third Epistles of John, The Epistle of Jude, The Revelation

All of which are given by the inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.

  • From the Old to the New Testament, from Genesis to Revelation, never forget, all of the Scriptures are about the Lord Jesus Christ. For it is Christ, the Son of God who is God said:

John 5:39 (CSB) You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and yet they testify about me.

Luke 24:26-27 (CSB) Wasn’t it necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and enter into his glory? ” Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures.

  • It has been said, rightfully so, that the Old Testament is Christ concealed and the New Testament is Christ revealed.
  • Why is that a true saying?
  • Go and do a word search in the Old Testament: look up "Jesus" or "Christ". What are you going to find? Zero items found. Why? Because the Old Testament simply prophesies, foreshadows, mentions, alludes to a Messiah who will destroy the works of Satan and will save sinful men like me.
  • The Old Testament is where God will call upon ordinary people and give them grace to extraordinary things. And as spectacular as the stories of Noah, Abraham, Ruth or King David, they were not the Christ.
  • You see bits and parts.
  • You hear the promises and covenants, building up on top of the other
  • but what was the end goal?
  • so that when the people of God had God in the flesh in their existence, they would not deny the truth but believe that Jesus is the Holy One of God.
  • Listen, in order for them to believe, they will need the work of the Holy Spirit--but that is for another teaching coming up later today.

To sum up the books of the Bible, let me give you a pro tip: If you are digging in the Bible hoping for eternal life, then pay attention to what the Bible is actually saying, "Look to the Christ!":

John 3:14–15 (CSB) “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

1689.1.3 On The Apocrypha of the Holy Scriptures

The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon or rule of the Scripture, and, therefore, are of no authority to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writings.

  • Quote from Sproul's "Truths We Confess" - "It's worth the read like any good piece of literature. But divinely inspired, it is not."

William Perkins in his wonderful book, "The Art of Prophesying and the Calling of the Ministry," (while not explicitly linked to the Confession, it is a great little read that pairs well in teaching parts of the Confession) puts it succinctly on the Apocrypha:

  • They were not written by the prophets
  • They were not written in Hebrew
  • In the New Testament, neither Christ nor the apostles appeal to the testimony of those books
  • They include false teaching which is contrary to the Scriptures1

We know where the Bible comes from--God. We know what the Bible contains--66 divinely inspired books that point to the Christ.

What is in the Bible?

What is the Bible about?

1689.1.1 On the Holy Scriptures

The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet they are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and His will which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in diversified manners to reveal Himself, and to declare (that) His will unto His church; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which makes the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God's revealing His will unto His people being now completed.

  • Well-known Evangelical author Gary Thomas in his book Sacred Pathways. Made notice of the personality types of the worshippers of God. Some in music. Some in art. Some in nature. Some in the study.

  • Of course, in whatever we do, we must do so to to glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)

  • there are so many things given to all of mankind by the hand of God that certain reveals that there is a creator and he is sovereign over all of his creation

  • but no matter how many sunsets, trees, rivers, or Grand Canyons; infinite data and all the books in the world; endless music and creation of art--will not get you one inch closer into the saving arms of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • all of these good things come from a great God but they are pale in comparison to the loveliness of our only, only Lord Jesus Christ.

  • how are we are saved by God--that is the saving knowledge, faith, and obedience--can only be found in the Scriptures. No exception.

  • Modern mindset tends to do two things when confronted with that truth:

    • the reduction of the Bible as yet-another-piece-of-literature akin to The Lord of the Rings, Autobiography of Malcolm X or even the Quran--"How can you say that the Bible is so much different that any of religious text or fictional myths and fables and tall tales?"
      • Books like the Lord of Rings come from the creativity of man
      • Biographies like Malcolm X tell about the life of a person who lived
      • Religious texts like Quran are demonic inspired and are not from the God of the Bible (Deuteronomy 32:16–17; 1 Corinthians 10:20; 1 Timothy 4:1)
    • "How can you be so sure? What if a person cannot read?" You mean like 99% of the people mentioned in the pages of the Bible? The printing press was invented over 500 years ago. How did people come upon the saving knowledge, faith, and obedience to God when they could not read and were not wealthy enough to own written materials?
    • Ordinary means of grace--the preaching of the word of God. Preaching is not an new thing. It is an ancient thing going all the way back to God preaching the law in Genesis 2 and proclaiming the gospel in Genesis 3
  • yet, in all of that, from the mouth of God to the opened ears of believers, it pleased the Lord at various times to reveal himself in his word, the Holy Scriptures, through 40 plus authors that making up the 66 books of the Bible.

Now we have some of the facts about the Bible, that just leaves one question to be answered:

So what?

So what? That's all well and good. If I trust and believe in Jesus Christ, what does that mean for me?

1. Confidence despite the urge to downgrade or eliminate laws -- we are at a place in time where the world and even some Christians are so desperate to get the law of God to mean something it does not mean.

  • Just to give an stunning example:
  • You have heard it said, "Jesus never talked about marriage."
  • I remember the first time I heard that.
  • I remember the 100th time I heard that.
  • I was dumbfounded.
  • I awestruck.
  • What do you say to someone who has little or no knowledge of the word of God.

Matthew 19:4-6 (CSB) “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that he who created them in the beginning made them male and female, and he also said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

It's right there. Clear as a bell. You and I see this as, "that's the answer!" Here's one response I got: "Well, Jesus didn't say it is not not between man and man or woman and woman."

Come now, Lord Jesus.

  • The same infallible, same perfect Scriptures that Christ himself equates as "the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4) contains the same laws of God that demands our perfection in order for us to be with God.

  • So, my question to those who want the Bible to not to mean what it says: why do you want to change the Scriptures?

  • Do you want to be with God?

  • All of our changing the Bible--thru twisting or coming up with our own unfaithful translations will not save us.

  • You are trying to change the law of God which wasn't going to save us in the first place.

  • Eternal life is not found in the Scriptures but the One whom the Scriptures once concealed now revealed to be the Savior of the world--that is Jesus Christ.

  • To save ourselves from death and damnation, we need to fulfill the law.

  • What did James said, "Break one law and we break them all." (James 2:10)

  • We have broken one law.

  • Therefore, we have broken all of the law.

  • And God demands that you have never broken any of his laws in order to be with him.

  • Who is going to save us?

  • It is the same infallible, same perfect Scriptures that contain the law of God that also gives us a plan of salvation. Trust in one who both gives us the law but perfectly obeyed the law and fulfilled the law. His name is Jesus Christ. Call upon his name and you will be saved.

It is the exact same Bible that tells us how infinitely far we are in our depravity and what the Infinite God did to save us from our sins.

2. Try to remove the Bible, the Bible lives forever

Isaiah 55:10-11 (CSB) For just as rain and snow fall from heaven
and do not return there
without saturating the earth
and making it germinate and sprout,
and providing seed to sow
and food to eat,
so my word that comes from my mouth
will not return to me empty,
but it will accomplish what I please
and will prosper in what I send it to do.”

  • Wicked people will twist Scripture just like their father Satan and come out with antichrist translations. Yet his word lives forever because God is forever.
  • Burn all Bibles? His promises are steadfast because Christ is the yes and amen to all the promises of God. Satan, demons, and mankind tried to kill him but he rose again from the dead.
  • Delete the entire Bible from the internet. Guess what? You can't eradicate it. The Bible does not come from man but from the Infinite God.

Romans 10:17 (CSB) So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

  • The Holy Scriptures are about the Christ. We will always have the Scriptures because his people are saved by hearing the message of Christ preached.
  • The Bible will never die because God is the God of the everlasting.

Here's the last point and I will be done:

3. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience unto God

  • What does the Holy Scriptures say?
  • There is no other name other than the name of Jesus Christ by which we are saved
  • The Holy Scriptures is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience because it is the only thing that contains the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What is the gospel?

Genesis 3:15
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.

And here is some good news:

Ezekiel 36:22-28 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

And here is some good news:

Matthew 1:21 (CSB) She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

And here is some good news:

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

And here is the love of God for you and me:

1 John 4:10 (ESV) In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

  • If faith comes from hearing and hearing from the message of Christ, then it would stand to reason we should hear the message of Christ from the Christ.
  • Would you agree?

Luke 18:9-14 (CSB) He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee was standing and praying like this about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like other people — greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner! ’

  • Look at what Christ declares

I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other, because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

  • This the gospel message of Christ
  • Call upon his name and you will be saved
  • Why?

Lamentations 3:22-24 (CSB)
Because of the LORD’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for his mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness!
I say, “The LORD is my portion,
therefore I will put my hope in him.”

  • If you call upon the name of the Lord, you will be saved. No delays. No waiting. No conditions other than the sin we bring to him.
  • We know this because we have the Holy Scriptures.
  • And all of these things are written in the Holy Scriptures so that your joy and my joy may be complete. (1 John 1:4)



William Perkins. The Art of Prophesying and the Calling of the Ministry. 24.