What are the Holy Scriptures?
The Holy Scriptures are the only sufficient, certain and infallible rule for saving knowledge, faith, and obedience. Although the light of nature and the works of creation and providence give such clear testimony to the goodness, wisdom and power of God that they leave people without excuse,yet they are not sufficient to give the knowledge of God and His will that is necessary for salvation.
Therefore it pleased the Lord to reveal Himself at various times and in different ways, and to declare His will to His church.To ensure the preservation and propagation of the truth, and to establish and support the church against human corruption, the malice of Satan, and the world, He committed His complete revelation to writing. The Holy Scriptures are therefore absolutely indispensable,for God's former ways of revealing His will to His people have now ceased.
The Holy Scriptures, or the Word of God written, consist of all the books of the Old and New Testament. These are:
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
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 rule1 of faith and life.
The books commonly called the Apocrypha were not given by divine inspiration, and are not part of the canon or rule of Scripture. Therefore they have no authority in the church of God, nor are they to be accepted or made use of in any way different from other human writings.
Holy Scripture demands belief, yet its authority does not depend on the testimony of any person or church,but entirely on God its author, who is truth itself. Therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.
We may be influenced and persuaded by the testimony of the church of God to hold a high and reverent regard for the Holy Scriptures.Moreover the glory of its contents, the efficacy of its doctrine, the majesty of its style, the agreement among all its parts, the expanse of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full revelation it gives of the only way for human salvation, together with many other incomparable characteristics and its complete perfection—all these arguments provide abundant evidence that it is indeed the Word of God.Yet, not withstanding this, our full persuasion and assurance of its infallible truth and divine authority comes from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
The whole revelation of God concerning all things essential for His own glory, human salvation, faith and life, is either explicitly set down or implicitly contained in the Holy Scriptures. Nothing is ever to be added, whether by a new revelation of the Spirit, or by human traditions.Nevertheless, we acknowledge that the inward enlightenment of the Spirit of God is necessary for the saving understanding of the things revealed in the Word.There are also some aspects of the worship of God and of church government common to human activities and organizations which may be determined by the light of nature and Christian common-sense, but in accordance with the general rules of the Word which must always be observed.
Not all things in Scripture are equally plain in themselves,nor equally clear to everyone.Yet those things that are essential to be known, believed and obeyed for salvation are so clearly set forth and explained in one place of Scripture or another, that not only the educated but also the uneducated may attain a satisfactory understanding of them by using ordinary means.
The Old Testament in Hebrew (the national language of the people of God of ancient Israel)and the New Testament in Greek (the common language of that time) were inspired directly by God, and were kept pure throughout the ages by his particular care and providence. They are therefore authentic,so that in all religious controversies the church must appeal to them as final.But these original languages are not known to all the people of God, who have a right to and an interest in the Scriptures, and who are commanded in the fear of God to read and search them.They are therefore to be translated into the common language of every nation to which they come,so that (with the Word of God living richly in all) people may worship God in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.
The infallible rule for the interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself. Therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any [part of] Scripture (which is not a miscellany, but a unity) it must be understood in the light of other passages that speak more clearly.
- The supreme judge by which all religious controversies are to be settled, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, human doctrines and individual thinkers are to be examined, can be none other than the Holy Scriptures delivered by the Spirit. In the verdict of Scripture our faith is finally determined.
 Proverbs 22:19-21; Luke 1:1-4; 2 Peter 1:12-15; 3:1; Deuteronomy 17:18ff; 31:9ff,19ff; 1 Corinthians 15:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2,15; 3:17; Romans 1:8-15; Galatians 4:20; 6:11; 1 Timothy 3:14ff; Revelation 1:9,19; 2:1, etc.; Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19-21
 2 Timothy 3:15; Romans 1:2; 3:2; Acts 2:16; 4:25; Matthew 13:35; Romans 9:17; Galatians 3:8; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Matthew 22:32; Luke 16:17; Matthew 22:41ff; John 10:35; Galatians 3:16; Acts 1:16; 2:24ff; 13:34-35; John 19:34-36; 19:24; Luke 22:37; Matthew 26:54; John 13:18; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Matthew 5:17-18; 4:1-11