The Holy Scriptures
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God." – 2 Timothy 3:16.
I have a profound, unfeigned (I believe divinely given) faith in the Bible. I have, through grace, been by it converted, enlightened, quickened, saved. I have received the knowledge of God by it, to adore His perfections — of Jesus, the Saviour, joy, strength, comfort of my soul. Many have been indebted to others as the means of their being brought to God, to ministers of that Gospel which the Bible contains, or to friends who delight in it. This was not my case. That work which is ever God's was wrought in me through the means of the written Word. He who knows what the value of Jesus is will know what the Bible will be to such a one. If I have, alas! failed it, in nearly thirty years' arduous and varied life and labour — at least such, as far as the service of an unknown and feeble individual usually leads, I have never found it fail me; if it has not failed for the poor and needy circumstances of time, through which we feebly pass, I am assured it never will for eternity. "The Word of the Lord abideth for ever". If it reaches down even to my low estate, it reaches up to God's height, because it comes thence; as the love that can reach even to me, and apply to every detail of my feebleness and failure, proves itself divine in doing so: none but God could, and hence it leads me up to Him. As Jesus came from God and went to God, so does the book that divinely reveals Him come from and elevate to Him. If the truth in it be received it has brought the soul to God, for He has revealed Himself in it. Its positive proofs are all in itself. The sun needs no light so see it by.
I beg to avow, in the fullest, clearest and distinctest manner here, my deep, divinely-taught conviction of the inspiration of the Scriptures. That is, while of course allowing, if need be, for defect in the translation and the like, when I read the Bible, I read it as of absolute authority for my soul as God's Word. There is no higher privilege than to have communications direct from God Himself.
My joy, my comfort, my food, my strength, for near thirty years, have been the Scriptures received implicitly as the Word of God. In the beginning of that period, I was put through the deepest exercise of soul on that point. Did heaven and earth, the visible church, and man himself crumble into nonentity, I should, through grace, since that epoch, hold to the Word, as an unbreakable link between my soul and God. I am satisfied that God has given it to me as such. I do not doubt that the grace of the Holy Spirit is needed to make it profitable, and to give it real authority to our souls, because of what we are; but that does not change what it is in itself. To be true when it is received, it must have been true before it was so. And here I will add that, although it required the grace of God, and the work of the Holy Ghost to give it quickening power, yet divine truth, God's Word, has a hold on the natural conscience from which it cannot escape. And so the Word of God is adapted to man, though he be hostile to it — adapted in grace (blessed be God!) as well as in truth. This is exactly what shows the wickedness of man's will in rejecting it. And it has power thus in the conscience, even if the will be unchanged. This may increase the dislike of it; but it is disliked because conscience feels it cannot deny its truth. Men resist it because it is true. Did it not reach their conscience, they would not need to take much pains to get rid of and disprove it. Men do not arm themselves against straws, but against a sword whose edge is felt and feared.
Reader, it speaks of grace as well as truth. It speaks of God's grace and love, who gave His only begotten Son that sinners like you and me might be with Him, know Him, deeply, intimately, truly know Him — and enjoy Him for ever, and enjoy Him now; that the conscience, perfectly purged, might be in joy in His presence, without a cloud, without a reproach, without fear. And to be there in His love, in such a way is perfect joy. The Word will tell you the truth concerning yourself; but it will tell you the truth of a God of love, while unfolding the wisdom of His counsels.
Let me add to my reader, that by far the best means of assuring himself of the truth and authority of the Word is to read the Word itself.
J. N. Darby
The Holy Scriptures