The Inspiration & Authority of the Bible

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

2 Pet. 1:21

“Thus saith the Lord…”

Jer. 2:5

“…the serpent… said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said?”

Gen. 3:1




The Canon of the Bible

The Inerrency of the Bible



Order of Contents

.     Articles  15+
.     Books  18+
.     The History of  6+

.     Where to Start?
.     Articles 18+
.     Books  12+
.            Latin  1
.     History of  6
.     Autopistos

Quotes  5
On the Inner Testimony of the Holy Spirit






ed. Schmid, Heinrich – ‘Of the Sacred Scriptures’  53 pp. being ch. 4 of Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church

This work is a standard anthology of quotations from the main orthodox Lutheran theologians of the late-1500’s and 1600’s.



Fuller, Andrew – Letter 6, ‘On the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures’   in The Complete Works of the Rev. Andrew Fuller (London, 1846), pp. 746-748

Cunningham, William – Chapters 27-32 on Inspiration  1878  68 pp.  of Theological Lectures, p. 343-411

Cunningham was one of the great lights of the Free Churhc of Scotland.

Girardeau, John – ‘The Ultimate Source, Rule and Judge of Theology: The Inspiration of the Scriptures’ & ‘The Authority of the Scriptures’  †1898  12 & 8 pp.  being two chapters in Discussions of Theological Questions   Buy  534 pages, see the Buy link for the table of contents.

Girardeau was a lesser known, though important, Southern presbyterian.

Haldane, Robert – ‘The Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures’ & ‘Extracts on the Verbal Inspiration of the Scriptures from the Works of Eminent Christian Writers’  1830  78 & 9 pp. being ch. 3 and the Appendix of The Books of the Old and New Testaments Proved to be Canonical, and their Verbal Inspiration Maintained and Established; with an Account of the Introduction and Character of the Apocrypha

“Haldane reacts to German rationalism with verbal inspiration;” – Joel Beeke, Reader’s Guide

Hodge, Charles

‘The Scriptures are the Word of God’  in The Way of Life (Philadelphia: American Sunday School Union, 1841), pp. 9-40

‘Ground of Faith in the Scriptures’, a review of an essay by James H. Thornwell entitled, “Review of the Arguments of Romanists from the Infallibility of the Church and Testimony of the Fathers in behalf of the Apocrypha, discussed and refuted.” It was first published in the Princeton Review, 1845, and subsequently in Essays & Reviews, 1857, p. 185-200

Hodge was a northern presbyterian and professor at Old Princeton.

Hodge, A.A. – Lecture 4, ‘The Holy Scriptures–The Canon & Inspiration’  in Popular Lectures  (Philadelphia: 1887), pp. 68-93

A.A. Hodge was the son of Charles Hodge and followed his father as a professor of systematic theology at Princeton.

Martin, Hugh 

The Westminster Doctrine of the Inspiration of Scripture (with a Prefatory Note on the Free Church College Committee’s Report, and with Remarks on Dr. Marcus Dods’ Recent Sermon)  4th ed. 1890  31 pp.

Martin was one of the great lights of the Free Church of Scotland, known for his works on the Atonement and The Shadow of Calvary.  In the two works here linked, he takes aim at liberal professor in the Free Church of Scotland, Marcus Dods.

Letters to Marcus Dods: a Sequel to ‘The Westminster Doctrine of the Inspiration of Scripture’  2nd ed. 1877  56 pp.

Ryle, J.C.

The Inspiration of the Bible  on Jn. 17:17

Inspiration  on 2 Tim. 3:16

Urquhart, John – ‘The Scripture Doctrine of Inspiration’  1895  84 pp.  being Book 1, chs. 1-6 of The Inspiration and Accuracy of the Holy Scriptures  590 pp.



Warfield, B.B.

Inaugural Address:  ‘Is the Church Doctrine of the Plenary Inspiration of the New Testament Endangered by the Assured Results of Modern Biblical Criticism?’  in Discourses Occasioned by the Inauguration of Benj. B. Warfield, D.D. to the chair of New Testament Exegesis and Literature, in Western Theological Seminary: delivered on the evening of Tuesday, April 20th, 1880  (Pittsburgh, 1880), p. 17 ff.

See an introduction to this address at This Day in Presbyterian History: April 20th.

‘The Inspiration of the Bible’  a lecture, from Bibliotheca Sacra, v. 51, 1894, pp. 614-640

‘The Real Problem of Inspiration’   The Presbyterian and Reformed Review, v. iv, 1893, pp. 177-221

“‘It Says:’ ‘Scripture Says:’ ‘God Says'”  The Presbyterian and Reformed Review, vol. 10, issue 39, 1899, July, pp. 472-510  Also in Works, 1.283-332 & The Inspiration & Authority of the Bible, 299-348

‘God-Inspired Scripture’  in The Presbyterian and Reformed Review, vol. 11 (Jan., 1900), p. 89 ff.

”Scripture,’ ‘The Scriptures,’ in the New Testament’  in The Princeton Theological Review, vol. 8, issue 4, 1910, p. 560 ff.

‘The Church Doctrine of Inspiration’  in The Inspiration & Authority of the Bible, pp. 105-128

‘Inspiration & Criticism’  in Works, 1.395-425  Also in The Inspiration & Authority of the Bible, pp. 419-42

Works, vol. 1

‘The Idea of Revelation and Theories of Revelation’, pp. 37-48

‘The Inspiration of the Bible’, pp. 51-75

”Scripture,’ ‘The Scriptures,’ in the New Testament’, pp. 115-65, also in condensed form in The Inspiration & Authority of the Bible, pp. 229-41, under the title ‘The Terms ‘Scripture’ and ‘Scriptures’ as Employed in the New Testament’

‘The Oracles of God’, pp. 335-91, also in The Inspiration & Authority of the Bible, pp. 169-226

Selected Shorter Writings, ed. Meeter

vol. 1

‘Christianity & Revelation’, pp. 23-30

‘Inspiration’, pp. 31-33

vol. 2, Part V, pp. 537-638, including:

‘The Authority and Inspiration of the Scriptures’
‘The Divine and Human in the Bible’
‘The New Testament Use of the Septuagint, and Inspiration’
‘The Westminster Doctrine of Holy Scripture’  also found in Works, 6.155-257
‘The Westminster Doctrine of Inspiration;
‘The Inerrancy of the Original Autographs’
‘The Westminster Confession and the Origianl Autographs’
‘The Rights of Criticism and of the Church’

‘A Review of Three Books on Inspiration’
‘Inspiration’  1915  28 paragraphs  from The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, ed. James Orr, vol. 3, pp. 1473-1483, this is also in Selected Short Writings: Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 2, ed. Meeter, pp. 614 ff.

Warfield has some of the best writings on Inspiration and was a great defender of the Inerrancy of the Original Autographs of the Scriptures.  

Be aware, though, that, in his adoption of the ‘critical texts’ of Scripture (dug up in the mid-1800’s) and the philosophy behind them, Warfield did quietly drop the doctrine of the special, providential preservation of the Scriptures through the New Testament era *in all ages* (as WCF 1.8 states:  “and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical”).  Warfield, unfortunately has been greatly influential in this regard towards those who have come after him.  For a correction of this, see The Ecclesiastical Text.

Macleod, John – The Inspiration of the Scriptures  from The Evangelical Quarterly (1935)  A professor in the Free Church of Scotland

Murray, John

‘Inspiration & Inerrancy’  in Collected Writings, 4.22-29  Excerpt

‘The Inspiration of the Scripture’  33 pp.  in Collected Writings, vol. 3, pp. 30-57

Boettner, Loraine – ‘The Inspiration of Scripture’  in Studies in Theology  (P&R, 1985), pp. 9-49

Boettner (1901–1990)

Clark, Gordon H. – ‘Inspiration and Language’  1961  39 pp.  being ch. 3 of Religion, Reason and Revelation, p. 111 ff.  Buy



de Witt, J.R. – The Divine Spiration of Scripture: Challenging Evangelical Perspectives by A.T.B. McGowan – A Review by Dr. J.R. de Witt’  2008  39 paragrpahs  at Banner of Truth

“The gauntlet thrown down by McGowan’s treatise differs little from the challenges with which evangelical Christianity has been confronted over the centuries.”





Turretin, Francis – The Doctrine of Scripture  Buy  trans. John Beardslee III  (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981) from Turretin’s Institutes



Alexander, Archibald – Evidences of the Authenticity, Inspiration, Canonical Authority of the Holy Scriptures  (d. 1851; 1906)  326 pp.  This is a later expanded edition that includes A Brief Outline of the Evidences of the Christian Religion, 1825, and parts of The Canon of the Old and New Testaments Ascertained, 1833.

Alexander was the first professor of Old Princeton Seminary.

“Alexander’s work presents numerous ‘evidences’ but lacks his customary depth of thought;” – Joel Beeke

Carson, Alexander – The Theories of Inspiration of the Rev. Daniel Wilson, Rev. Dr. Pye Smith, and the Rev. Dr. Dick Proved to be Erroneous; with Remarks on the Christian Observer & Eclectic Review  1830  227 pp.

Carson was an Irish presbyterian turned baptist who was known for his work on Providence.

Janeway, Jacob – The Internal Evidence of the Holy Bible, or, The Bible Proved from its own pages to be a Divine Revelation  1845  300 pp. with a two page Introduction by Samuel Miller

Janeway was an Old School Presbyterian.

Bannerman, James – Inspiration: The Infallible Truth and Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures  1845  588 pages

Bannerman was another one of the great lights of the Free Church of Scotland.

“Bannerman excels on the history of the doctrine of inspiration.” – Joel Beeke

Gaussen, Louis

“It is Written”: or the Scriptures the Word of God  1856  194 pp.

Theopneustia. The Bible: Its Divine Origin and Inspiration Deduced from Internal Evidence and the Testimonies of Nature, History and Science  Buy  1867, 422 pages, it is also here on HTML

Gaussen was a Swiss-Reformed pastor.  This is the best and fullest book on the inspiration of the Bible, being Gaussen’s most well known work.

“Theopneustia” is the Greek word in 2 Tim. 3:16 for “inspired”, or more literally, “God-breathed”.  One highlight among many is Gaussen responding to the objection against inspiration that the NT writers often misquote the OT.  Gaussen lists and superbly analyzes the dozen or so ways in which the NT writers reference the OT (literally, in paraphrase, summarizing, interpreting, applying, giving the spirit of, combining the teachings of, etc.).

“Gaussen’s treatise is the nineteenth-century classic;” – Joel Beeke

“A classic defense of the conservative view and authority of the Scriptures.” – Cyril J. Barber

Hodge, A.A. & B.B. Warfield – Inspiration  HTML  1881  75 pp.

This is one of the best, short, yet in-depth, pieces that one can read on the subject.  This is on the required reading list for those in training for the ministry in the American presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing).

Warfield, B.B. – The Divine Origin of the Bible  (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1882)  47 pp.



Warfield, B.B. – The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible  Buy  (d. 1921; 1958)  442 pp.

Warfield has some of the best writings on Inspiration and was a great defender of the Inerrancy of the Original Autographs of the Scriptures.  Be aware, though, that, in his adoption of the ‘critical texts’ of Scripture (dug up in the mid-1800’s) and the philosophy behind them, Warfield did quietly drop the doctrine of the special, providential preservation of the Scriptures through the New Testament era *in all ages* (as WCF 1.8 states:  “and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical”).  Warfield, unfortunately has been greatly influenctial in this regard towards those who have come after him.  For a correction of this, see The Majority Text.

“The twentieth-century classic… which contains the bulk of articles (many of which have never been surpassed exegetically or theologically) in ‘Revelation and Inspiration’ (New York: Oxford, 1927), as well as a superior 65-page introduction by Cornelious Van Til.  Warfield is essential reading for understanding the ‘old Princeton’ position on divine inspiration.” – Joel Beeke

“A work which deserves a place on every pastor’s desk.” – Cyril J. Barber

Engelder, Theodore – Scripture Cannot be Broken  1945  500 pp.  Buy  Concordia

“Other helpful volumes on the popular level include: Theodore Engelder, Scripture Cannot be Broken… a vigorous defense of verbal-plenary inspiration;” – Joel Beeke

Young, E.J. – Thy Word is Truth: Some Thoughts on the Biblical Doctrine of Inspiration  Buy  1957  274 pp.

“Edward J. Young… does a marvelous job of combining doctrinal accuracy with popular readability.  He also effectively addresses inerrancy, individual ‘problem texts’, and modern views of Scripture.” – Joel Beeke

“A forthright defense of the Bible as the infallible and inerrant Word of God.” – Cyril J. Barber

Harris, Robert Laird – Inspiration & Canonicity of the Bible  Buy  1957

Harris was an Old Testament scholar and minister in the Bible Presbyterian Church and the P.C.A.

“On a somewhat higher level, R. Laird Harris, Inspiration and Canonicity of the Bible… is a basic, reliable work on canonization that covers most of the major issues.  Harris lucidly argues that inspiration is the core principle of canonicity.” – Joel Beeke

“A masterly approach to the subject of bibliology.” – Cyril J. Barber

Wenham, John William – Our Lord’s View of the Old Testament  Buy  1961

Custer, Stewart – Does Inspiration Demand Inerrancy?  Buy  (Nutley, N.J.: Craig Press, 1968)

“A study of the Biblical doctrine of inspiration in the light of inerrancy.  A clear, informative statement.” – Cyril J. Barber

Pink, A.W. – The Divine Inspiration of the Bible  Buy  1971  in Old Paths, pp. 1-39

“…aims for personal edification more than doctrinal depth;” – Joel Beeke

Edwards, Brian – Nothing but the Truth: the Inspiration, Authority and History of the Bible Explained  Buy  1978

“…which excels for those unfamiliat with doctrinal terms and recent debate;” – Joel Beeke

Packer, J.I. – God has Spoken  Buy  1979

“…which stresses the joy of Bible study and examines what Scripture says about itself.  Packer’s work includes the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.” – Joel Beeke

Clark, Gordon – God’s Hammer: the Bible and its Critics  Buy  1982

McDowell, W.J. – The Incomparable Book  Buy  Info  (Banner of Truth, 1998)



The History of the Doctrine of Inspiration

On Calvin

Murray, John – ‘Calvin’s Doctrine of Scripture’  18 pp.  in Collected Writings, vol. 3, pp. 158-175

Packer, J.I. – Calvin’s View of Scripture  in God’s Inerrant Word: a Symposium on the Trustworthiness of Scripture, ed. John W. Montgomery


On Westminster

Warfield, B.B.

‘The Westminster Doctrine of Holy Scripture’  106 pp.  being ch. 3 of vol. 6 of Works  Buy

II. ‘The Doctrine of Inspiration of the Westminster Divines’  in Presbyterian Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 27, 1894, Jan., p. 19 ff.  & as ch. 4 of vol. 6 of Works  Buy  76 pp.


On Lutheranism – 1600’s

Preus, Robert – The Inspiration of Scripture: a Study of the Theology of the 17th Century Lutheran Dogmaticians  Buy  1957

Preus (1924–1995)

“…is an able monograph on the theology of seventeenth-century Lutheran dogmaticians.” – Joel Beeke


On Warfield – Early 1900’s

Lloyd, Marc – ‘What the Bible Says, God Says: B.B. Warfield’s Doctrine of Scripture’  28 pp.

Nicole, Roger – ‘The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture:
J. D. G. Dunn versus B. B. Warfield’  1983  16 pp.




The Authority of the Bible


Where to Start?

Lloyd-Jones, Martyn – Authority  Buy  1966  96 pp.

“Where should you begin?  Read a persuasive, little book by D. Martyn Lloyd Jones titled Authority…  which is a clarion call to return to the authority of Christ, the Word, and the Holy Spirit.” – Joel Beeke

Crampton, Gary – The Bible: God’s Word  Buy  1989  170 pp.





Calvin, John – ‘Of the Power of the Church in Articles of Faith’  17 pp.  being Book 4, ch. 8 of The Institutes of the Christian Religion

In this masterful treatment, the reformer proves from Scripture that the Church derives all of her authority from the Word, is under it, that the Word is sufficient, and that the Church regulated in doctrine, worship and government by the Word.  One of the best chapters in Calvin’s Institutes.

Whitaker, William – 3rd Question – ‘Of the Authority of Scripture’  in A Disputation on Holy Scripture, Against the Papists, Especially Bellarmine & Stapleton  (1588; Cambridge: Parker Society, 1849)

Willet, Andrew – 4th Question – The Authority of the Scriptures  in the First Controversy, the Holy Scriptures  in Synopsis Papismi  (London, 1592)



Walaeus, Antonius – Disputation 2 – ‘On the Necessity & Authority of Scripture’  in Synopsis of a Purer Theology  Buy  (1625; Brill, 2015), vol. 1

Leigh, Edward – Ch. 2 – ‘Of the Divine Authority of the Scriptures’  in A System or Body of Divinity  (London, 1654), First Book, ‘Of the Scriptures’

Binning, Hugh – Lecture 3, ‘The Authority & Utility of the Scriptures’  on 2 Tim. 3:16  in The Common Principles of the Christian Religion  in The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning  ed. Leishman  3rd ed.  (Edinburgh: 1851), pp. 12-16

ed. Schmid, Heinrich – ‘Authority of the Scriptures’  13 pp. being ch. 4, section 8 of Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church

This work is a standard anthology of translated quotations from the main orthodox Lutheran theologians of the late-1500’s and 1600’s.

Jacombe, Samuel – ‘The Divine Authority of the Scriptures’  in Puritan Sermons vol. 5

Owen, John

A Short & Plain Answer to Two Questions I. Where was your Religion Before Luther? II. How Know you the Scriptures to be the Word of God?  By a Protestant  (London, 1682)  21 pp.

‘The Testimony of the Church is not the Only, Nor the Chief Reason of our Believing the Scripture to be the Word of God’  in Puritan Sermons, 5.606-648 & in Works, 8.495-543

Turretin, Francis

Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. 1 (P&R, 1992), 2nd Topic

Question 20 – ‘The Supreme Judge of Controversies & the Interpreter of the Scriptures’, pp. 154-162

Question 21 – ‘The Authority of the Fathers’, pp. 162-168



Howe, John – The Divine Authority of the Scriptures, 5 Lectures  on 2 Tim. 3:16  53 pp.

Boston, Thomas – ‘The Divine Authority of the Scriptures’  on 2 Tim. 3:16  in An Illustration of the Doctrines of the Christian Religion  in Works, vol. 1, pp. 19-37

Davies, Samuel – ‘The Divine Authority & Sufficiency of the Christian Religion’  in Sermons, vol. 1 (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1864), pp. 71-108



Payson, Edward – Sermon 49, ‘The Oracles of God’  in Works, 3.11-33

Cunningham, William

Chapters 21-26 on the Authority of Scripture  1878  73 pp.  in Theological Lectures, p. 269-342

Cunningham was one of the great lights of the Free Church of Scotland.

III. ‘What are the Scriptures’  on Jn. 5:39  in Sermons from 1828-1860 (rep. Still Waters Revival, n.d.), pp. 42-57

Robert Dabney – ‘The Bible its Own Witness’‘The Bible its Own Witness’  in Discussions, vol. 1 (Richmond, VA: Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1890), p. 115 ff.



Warfield, B.B. – ‘Scripture’  in A Dictionary of Christ & the Gospels, vol. 2  ed. Hastings, Selbie, Lambert  (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1908), pp. 584-587  See especially section 9 on pp. 586-7

Murray, John

‘The Infallibility of Scripture’  in Collected Writings, vol. 1, pp. 9-15  Buy

‘The Attestation of Scripture’  26 pp.

This is on the required reading list for those in training for the ministry in the American presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing).

Ferguson, Sinclair – ‘The Authority, Sufficiency, Finality of Scripture’





Whitaker, William – A Disputation on Holy Scripture, Against the Papists, Especially Bellarmine & Stapleton  †1595  742 pp.

Whittaker was an English Puritan.



Tilenus, Daniel – Positions lately held by the L. Du Perron, Bishop of Eureux, Against the Sufficiency & Perfection of the Scriptures, Maintaining the Necessity & Authority of Unwritten Traditions. Very Learnedly Answered & Confuted…  with a defence of the Sufficiency & Perfection of the Holy Scriptures  (London, 1606)

Tilenus (1563-1633) was a German-French Protestant theologian. Initially Reformed, he became a prominent and influential Arminian teaching at the Academy of Sedan.  He was an open critic of the Synod of Dort of 1618-9.

Ford, Thomas – Logos Autopistos, or, Scriptures’ Self-Evidence to prove its Existence, Authority, Certainty in itself, and Sufficiency (in its kind) to ascertain others that it is inspired of God to be the only rule of faith: published as a plea for Protestants in the defense of their Profession  (London, 1667)

Ford was a Westminster divine.

Owen, John

Of the Divine Original, Authority, Self-Evidencing Light and Power of the Scriptures; with an answer to that Inquiry, how we may know the Scriptures to be the Word of God.  Also a Vindication of the Purity & Integrity of the Hebrew & Greek Texts of the Old and New Testament; in some considerations on the prolegomena and appendix to the late ‘Biblia Polyglotta.’  Whereunto are subjoined some exercitations about the nature and perfection of the Scripture, the right of interpretation, internal light, revelation, etc.  in Works, 16.281-421

Book 6, pt. 1, The Reason of Faith; or, an answer unto that inquiry, ‘Wherefore we believe the Scripture to be the Word of God;’ with the causes and nature of that faith wherewith we do so: wherein the grounds whereon the Holy Scripture is believed to be the Word of God with faith divine and supernatural are declared and vindicated  in Pneumatologia: or, A Discourse concerning the Holy Spirit, Continued  in Works, vol. 4, pp. 1-115

Edwards, John – A Discourse Concerning the Authority, Style, and Perfection of the Books of the Old and New-Testament with a Continued illustration of several difficult texts of scripture throughout the whole work  (London, 1693)  Table of contents

Edwards (1637-1716) was a reformed Anglican.



De Moor, Bernard – Didactico-Elenctic Theology, ch. 2, Concerning the Principium of Theology, or Holy Scripture  Buy



ed. Stonehouse, Ned & Paul Woolley – The Infallible Word: a Symposium by the Members of the Faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary  Buy  1946

“The two most helpful books on biblical authority are The Infallible Word…  the symposium contains an excellent series of Reformed essays dealing with the general character of biblical authority and canonicity.  It concludes by stressing the relevancy and distinctive characteristics of these doctrines as well as the importance of preaching them.” – Joel Beeke

“A carefully reasoned series of essays dealing with the general character of Biblical authority, containing a chapter on the canonicity of the Scriptures, and concluding with an emphasis upon their relevancy, place in preaching, and distinctive characteristics of the Word of God.  By members of the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary.” – Cyril J. Barber

Ramm, Bernard – The Pattern of Religious Authority  Buy  1957  117 pp.

“The two most helpful books on biblical authority are…  Bernard Ramm, The Pattern of Religious Authority…  Ramm addresses issues on authority that confront the conservative evangelical.  He distinguishes between the ‘grounds of accepting an authority’ and ‘the right of authority’, and claims that reason, intuition, or inclination are modes of perceiving or receiving an authority but do not constitute the right of the authority received.  He argues that the believer’s doctrine of authority is threefold: the authority of the Scriptures, of the Holy Spirit, and of Christ.  This threefold delineation is contrasted with Roman Catholocism, modernism, and neo-orthodoxy.” – Joel Beeke

Lightner, Robert Paul – The Savior and the Scriptures  Buy  (Philadelphia: P&R, 1966)

“Presents Christ’s view of the Scriptures and stresses His absolute reliance upon the irrevocability of the Word.” – Cyril J. Barber

ed. Boice, James – The Foundation of Biblical Authority  Buy  1978  with articles by John Gerstner, James Packer, Francis Schaeffer, R.C. Sproul and others.

“Helpful articles…  the first major publication of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI), founded in 1977.” – Joel Beeke

Ridderbos, Herman – Studies in Scripture and its Authority  1978  120 pp.

Henry, Carl – God, Revelation and Authority, vol. 4  Buy  1979

“…contains a massive technical treatment of Biblical authority.” – Joel Beeke




Owen, John – Exercitations for the Sacred Scriptures Against the Fanatics  in Works, 16.424-476



The History of the Doctrine of Biblical Authority

Early Church

Warfield, B.B. – ‘Augustine’s Doctrine of Knowledge and Authority’  in The Princeton Theological Review, vol. 5, issue 3, July, pp. 353-397  The authority spoken of is specifically Augustine’s trust in Christian revelation, which, of course, can hardly be separated from Scripture.


On the Reformation


Murray, John

‘Calvin and the Authority of Scripture’  in Collected Writings, 4:158-75

‘Holy Scripture’  in Collected Writings, 3:256-62  Excerpt

‘Calvin’s Doctrine of Scripture’  being one of three lectures given under the auspices of the Reformed Fellowship, Inc. in Grand Rapids, Michigan on May 21, 22, 26, 1959 in connection with the commemoration of the 450th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin



Davies, Rupert Eric – The Problem of Authority in the Continental Reformers: a Study in Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin  Buy  1946

Murray, John – Calvin on Scripture & Divine Sovereignty  Buy

Fortsman, Henry Jackson – Calvin’s Doctrine of Biblical Authority  1962  Stanford University Press

“…includes a helpful epilogue on ‘Calvin, Calvinism, and the Contemporary Situation’ as well as an excellent bibliography.” – Joel Beeke


In Reformed Theology

van den Belt, Henk – The Authority of Scripture in Reformed Theology: Truth & Trust  Pre  Buy





Samuel Rutherford

The Divine Right of Church of Government...  (1646), Intro, Section 5, p. 78

“Now we hold that Scripture itself furnishes light and faith of itself, from itself; and that the Church does but hold forth the light: as I see the light of the candle, because of the light itself, not because of the candlestick.”


Historical Theology Book

van den Belt, Hendrik – Autopistia: the Self-Convincing Authority of Scripture in Reformed Theology  Pre  (1971)




On Augustine & Church Authority

Willem van Asselt  in Theology of the French Reformed Churches  (RHB, 2014), pp. 259-60

“…a discussion [by Andrew Rivet in his Isagogue] of the famous adagium [proverb] of Augustine, ‘For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church’ (chap. 3).

In this hotly debated issue, Rivet adhered to the orthodox Protestant answer:  Augustine voiced a personal problem relating to his Manichean past, and his adage is not to be viewed as a general rule.”


John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

“True, they [the Biblical writers] were the pen-men of the Holy Spirit, but then they were pen-men.”

“It is a grand evidence of the inspiration of the apostles that the theology of the post-apostolic Fathers is so puerile.”

“God speaks.  He speaks in his Word to all to whom it comes.”

“Believe not any man on his own mere word.  Sacredly reserve your faith for the Word of the living God.”



On the Inner Testimony of the Holy Spirit:  Historyical Theology

Herman Bavinck

Reformed Dogmatics,  vol. 1, pp. 584-585

“This doctrine [of the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit] was opposed, however, from the side of Sociniaism, Remonstrantism, and Romanism. And gradually the doctrine of the internal testimony began to lose its place of honor even in Reformed theology.

Already in Turretin, Amyrald, Molina, et al., it was weakened and identified with the so-called illumination of the Holy Spirit by which the intellect is enabled to note the marks and criteria of the divinity of the Holy Scripture. Faith no longer connects directly and immediately with Scripture but is the product of insight into the marks of truth and divinity it bears. Inserted between Scripture and faith, then, are the marks of the truth of Scripture.

This occurred first in the sense that the recognition of those criteria was attributed to an illumination of the intellect by the Holy Spirit.  But rationalism soon also considered this illumination unnecessary, assigned the study of the truth of revelation to reason, and base[d] the authority of Scripture on historical proofs.  Even orthodox theologians scarcely dared any longer to speak of the internal testimony [Wilhelmus A’Brakel and Johannes Marck are cited as examples].”




“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”

2 Tim. 3:16




Related Pages

The Inerrancy of the Bible

The Canon of the Bible

The Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha & Dead Sea Scrolls