Chapter 1. Of the Holy Scriptures
Article 1. 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 insufficient to give that knowledge of God and His will which is necessary for salvation. Therefore, it pleased the Lord at various times and in different ways to reveal Himself, and to declare His will to His people. Moreover, 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, He also committed His revelation to writing, in the form of the Holy Scriptures, which as His special revelation are necessary for our salvation and edification.
Article 2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, namely:
of the Old Testament,
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, 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, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation.
All of these are given by the inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.
Article 3. 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, and not to be otherwise approved or made use of except as other human writings.
Article 4. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, does not depend upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof. Therefore, it is to be received because it is the Word of God.
Article 5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to a high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures. In addition, the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, and many other evidences and incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it abundantly evidences itself to be the Word of God. Yet, at the same time, our persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof is, by such means, the result of the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
Article 6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory and man's salvation, faith, and life is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture, to which nothing at any time may be added except by God's authority through divine inspiration. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God and the government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
Article 7. All things in Scripture are not equally plain in themselves or equally clear to all. Yet, those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.
Article 8. The Old Testament in Hebrew and Aramaic and the New Testament in Greek, being immediately inspired by God, and by His singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic, so that the church is finally to appeal to them in all controversies of religion. Yet, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right to 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 common language of every nation to which they come, so 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.
Article 9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself. Therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.
Article 10. The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be none other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.