“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List.
Reasons are Good; The Holy Spirit is Better
Those who have been killed for the faith also give us confidence to believe the Scriptures. Once they had embraced the faith found in the Scriptures, they did not hesitate to be killed because of it. Since the faith has been passed down with such sincerity and zeal, how can we not embrace it with a firm and unshaken conviction? The authority of the Scripture is sealed by the blood of the martyrs. Especially when you consider their faith and demeanor. They did not go to death with a frantic fanaticism (as some crazy people do). Rather, they faced with sober-mindedness.
Many others reasons exists which can give us confidence in the authority of the Scriptures. They can also help us refute spurious arguments against the Bible. These reasons, however, cannot produce true faith in the Scriptures. Only God can do that. He must manifest His presence in it and then provide people with a reverence for the Scriptures. Only when the Holy Spirit works in someone’s heart to persuade them of the truth of Scripture do the Scriptures give a saving knowledge of God. Still, rational arguments are useful—and may even be used to help someone along the journey of faith—if they don’t become ultimate. They must be seen as secondary to the work of the Spirit. It is foolish, however, to prove to pagans that Scripture is the Word of God. This cannot be known except by faith. St. Augustine rightly reminds us that every person who understands the Holy Scriptures must first posses true faith and mental peace.