Confirming Evidence

Institutes 1.8.2 – 1.8.9

In Thursday’s reading, Calvin presents a number of evidences from Scripture that testify to the fact that the Scriptures are the Word of God.

These evidences are:

  1. The Content Is Decisive – Whether the style of the writing contained in Scripture is elegant and eloquent or rude and homely, “the majesty of the Spirit … appears conspicuous in all.” (1.8.2) In whatever style the Scripture was penned, the message is consistently the same throughout.
  2. The Antiquity of Scripture – “Now, if Moses … traces the tradition of his doctrine from so remote a period (Abraham and the Abrahamic Covenant), it is obvious how far the Holy Scriptures must in point of antiquity surpass all other writings.” (1.8.3)
  3. The Truthfulness of Scripture Shown By Moses’ Example – In his writing, Moses is very honest about his ancestors (Jacob, Simeon and Levi), his family members (Aaron and Miriam) and himself. Who would be so honest unless he was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. ” … the Law itself contains throughout numerous proofs, which fully vindicate the credibility of Moses, and place it beyond dispute, that he was in truth a messenger sent forth from God. (1.8.4)
  4. Miracles Strengthen the Authority of God’s Messengers – “The many striking miracles which Moses relates are so many sanctions of the law delivered, and the doctrine propunded, by him.” (1.8.5)
  5. Moses’ Miracles Are Incontestable – “When (as often happened) the people proudly and petulantly rose up against him (Moses), when individuals conspired, and attempted to overthrow him, how could any impostures have enabled him to elude their rage? The event plainly shows that by these means (the miracles God performed through Moses) his doctrine was attested to all succeeding ages.” (1.8.6)
  6. Prophesies That Are Fulfilled Contrary To All Human Expectation – Prophesies uttered by Moses were realized. Calvin refers to Moses’ “assigning first place to the tribe of Judah in the person of Jacob” and “… though obscure, the admission of the Gentiles into the divine covenant … ” (1.8.7)
  7. God Has Confirmed the Prophetic Words – Isaiah and Jeremiah are cited as examples of prophets that the LORD used to make prophetic statements, all of which have been fulfilled. (1.8.8 )
  8. The Transmission of the Law Is To Be Trusted – ” … it is certain beyond dispute, that these writings passed down, if I may so express it, from hand to hand, being transmitted in an unbroken series from the fathers, who either with their own ears heard them spoken, or learned from those who had, while the remembrance of them was fresh.” (1.8.9)

Under paragraph 8 Calvin refers to an event that took place during the reign of Josiah (II Kings 22). While Hilkiah the high priest was searching the house of the LORD for money, he discovered the Book of the Law. While the Book had been preserved, it had been hidden and overlooked for years. The Book was not unknown or new to the priests and the people; the priests has simply “ceased to publish the law itself in due form, and the people also had neglected the wonted reading of it.”

In an age of itching ears and feel-good preaching, may we never be found guilty of failure to desire or preach the whole counsel of the LORD, the Word of God.

“And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book …. ” (Nehemiah 8:1)

“Preach the word.” (II Timothy 4:2)

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