It is important for Christians to know their confession of faith. So often we only have a surface knowledge. Some Christians are afraid of "doctrine" or too busy to give it much thought. This makes them susceptible to false doctrines and “wolves” who would destroy their faith. Almost every cult teaching and false doctrine has already been dealt with in Church history, but our ignorance leads us into dangerous waters again and again. We must have a firm understanding of the Word of God.
In 1647 an assembly of experts in the Word of God, including some Covenanters, completed The Westminister Confession of Faith. As you can imagine there were many disagreements and controversies as they worked out this Confession of Faith. Yet, in the end, they came up with an excellent statement of what the Word of God teaches on many basic subjects. It is a work of “men” and therefore not divinely inspired. In other words, it may contain errors. In the lessons below I have edited the Confession of Faith to update its language [a bit] and its form plus I have added a few editor’s notes [clearly marked] on subjects I thought need further clarification or I disagreed with.
The best way to do these lessons is to have a notebook [or new document] handy. Read the point, look up all the Scriptures, and then write your own comments and insights down.
This course is offered with the hope that you will gain in understanding of the basics of the Christian confession of faith, that your feet will be planted on the Rock, and that you may never be moved.
Sample from Lesson 1:
The Westminister Confession Of Faith
Edited/Adapted by Glenn Davis
Edited version copyright 2005 by Glenn Davis
Of the Holy Scripture
I. 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 unexcusable [Rom. 1:32, 2:1, 2:14-20, Ps. 19:1-3]; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary for salvation [1 Cor. 1:21, 2:13-14]. Therefore, it pleased the Lord to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church [Heb. 1:1]. Later Hecommitted it all into writing [Pr. 22:19-21, Luke 1:3-4, Matt. 4:4, 7, Is. 8:19-20] so that: 1. the truth could be preserved and promoted, and 2. there could be a firm establishment and comfort for the Church against - the corruption of the flesh, and - the malice of Satan and of the world.
This makes the Holy Scripture to be indispensable [2 Tim 3:15, 2 Peter 1:19], especially since the former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people have now stopped [Heb. 1:1].
II. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testament, 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 Song of Songs 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 Acts of the Apostles Romans Corinthians I Corinthians II Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians Thessalonians I Thessalonians II Timothy I Timothy II Titus Philemon Hebrews James Peter I Peter II John I John II John II Jude The Revelation of John
All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life [Luke 16:29-31, Eph. 2:20, Rev. 22:18-19, 2 Tim. 3:16].
III. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are not part of the canon of the Scripture. Therefore, they have no authority in the Church of God, and are only to be considered and used on the level of other human writings [Luke 24:27, 44, Rom. 3:2, 2 Peter 1:21].
IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, depends not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author of it. Therefore, the Holy Scripture is to be received because it is the Word of God [2 Peter 1:19-21, 2 Tim. 3:16, 1 John 5:9, 1 Thess. 2:13].
V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture [1 Tim. 3:15]. The following are abundant evidence that the Bible is the Word of God: 1. the detail and importance of the subject material, 2. the scope of the whole [which is, to give glory to God], 3. the full revelation it gives of the only way of man’s salvation, 4. the many other incomparable excellent revelations, and 5. the entire perfection of it. In spite of all this, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority of the Bible is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts [1 John 2:20, 27, John 16:13, 1 Cor. 2:10-12, Is. 59:21]...
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