Institutes Study: Book 1, Chapters 6-9

Week 3 Study Questions

1. For what purpose did God give the Scriptures?

Calvin answers this saying, “Not in vain, therefore, has he added the light of his word in order that he might make himself known unto salvation, and bestowed the privilege on those whom he was pleased to bring into nearer and more familiar relation to himself.”

2. Upon what ground are we assured that the Bible is the word of God ?

Calvin addresses a number of refutations in this chapter.  He considers God’s character to be the highest proof of the Bible’s validity.  His character is manifestly present throughout Scripture and Calvin quotes Isaiah 59:21 and 43:10 as direct examples.  But he ultimately states that the assurance is sealed to the heart of the believer by the Holy Spirit.

3. List some evidences that Calvin presents for the divine inspiration of the Bible?

a. The dignity of the content is even more impressive than the grace of the style.

b. The truth of Scripture is apparent without the art of rhetoric.

c. Scripture relies only upon itself for sufficiency.

d. Scripture affects mankind in a consistent and similar way.

e. The content and prose of the prophets collectively is beyond the scope of human invention.

f. The harmony of the gospels.

g. The agreement of the saints, despite their individual nuances and differences.

h. The consistency in the testimony of the blood of Christian martyrs.

4. What are some of the arguments Calvin uses to refute those who overthrow the authority of the Bible by claiming to have new revelations of the Spirit?

Calvin retorts that those who claim newer or greater revelations of the Spirit “are guilty of fearful sacrilege in tearing asunder what the prophet joins in indissoluble union” (referencing Isaiah).  He exposes that any such person would be attempting to claim that God gave his word only for “transient and temporary use”—in direct contrast to the accounts of Christ’s promise in the gospels and Paul’s affirmation in his writings to Timothy.  No, says Calvin, “God did not produce his word before men for the sake of sudden display, intending to abolish it the moment the Spirit should arrive; but he employed the same Spirit, by whose agency he had administered the word, to complete his work by the efficacious confirmation of the word.”

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