This weekend, I had the opportunity to lead a small group study on the authority of Scripture. This small group is working through Thomas Watson’s A Body of Divinity. Watson had several excellent quotes that I wanted to save here for future reference.
On the authorship of Scripture:
I wonder whence the Scriptures should come, if not from God. Bad men could not be the authors of it. Would their minds be employed in inditing such holy lines? Would they declare so fiercely against sin? Good men could not be the authors of it. Could they write in such a strain? or could it stand with their grace to counterfeit God’s name, and put, Thus saith the Lord, to a book of their own devising? Nor could any angel in heaven be the author of it, because the angels pry and search into the abyss of gospel mysteries, I Pet. 1:12, which implies their nescience [ignorance] of some parts of Scripture; and sure they cannot be the authors of that book which they themselves do not fully understand.
On believing Scripture:
Oh give credence to the Word! It is breathed from God’s own mouth. Hence arises the profaneness of men, that they do not believe the Scripture. Isa. 53:1: ‘Who has believed our report?’ Did you believe the glorious rewards the Scripture speaks of, would you not give diligence to make your election sure? Did you believe the infernal torments the Scripture speaks of, would it not put you in a cold sweat, and cause a trembling at heart for sin? But people are in part atheists, they give but little credit to the Word, therefore they are so impious, and draw such dark shadows in their lives. Learn to realise Scripture, get your hearts wrought to a firm belief of it.
Some think, if God should send an angel from heaven, and declare his mind, they would believe him; or, if he should send one from the [condemned], and preach the torments of hell in all flames, they would believe. But, ‘If they believe not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one arose from the dead.’ Luke 16:31. God is wise, and he thinks the fittest way to make his mind known to us is by writing; and such as shall not be convinced by the Word, shall be judged by the Word.
He discussed the claim of Roman Catholicism that only the Roman Catholic Church had the power to interpret Scripture. In answer of the question of who may interpret Scripture, he said:
The Scripture is to be its own interpreter, or rather the Spirit speaking in it. Nothing can cut the diamond but the diamond; nothing can interpret Scripture but Scripture.