The following information is taken from AA Hodge’s Outlines of Theology, published in 1866. Hodge graduated from Princeton Seminary and served as a missionary to India and a pastor. He later served as a Professor and Chair of Theology at Princeton Seminary. Hodge was an associate and contemporary of the famous Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, and his Systematic Theology text was used at Spurgeon’s Pastors College.
The Baptist Confession of 1689 begins with the following words…
The Holy Scriptures are the only sufficient, certain and infallible rule for saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.
How do we know the Scriptures are the ONLY sole and infallible rule of faith? AA Hodge explains how the Scriptures themselves answer this question in Chapter 5 of his Outlines of Theology text.
Hodge’s Outlines of Theolgoy, Chap V Says…
5. What is necessary to constitute a sole and infallible rule of faith?
Plenary inspiration, completeness, perspicuity or clarity, and accessibility.
6. What arguments do the Scriptures themselves afford in favor of the doctrine that they are the only infallible rule of faith?
1st. The Scriptures always speak in the name of God, and command faith and obedience.
2nd. Christ and his apostles always refer to the written Scriptures, then existing, as authority, and to no other rule of faith whatsoever.—Luke 16:29; 10:26; John 5:39; Rom. 4:3;2 Tim. 3:15.
3rd The Bereans are commended for bringing all questions, even apostolic teaching, to this test.—Acts 17:11; see also Isa. 8:16.
4th Christ rebukes the Pharisees for adding to and perverting the Scriptures.—Matt. 15:7-9; Mark 7:5-8; see also Rev. 22:18, 19, and Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Josh. 1:7.
7. In what sense is the completeness of Scripture as a rule of faith asserted?
It is not meant that the Scriptures contain every revelation which God has ever made to man, but that their contents are the only supernatural revelation that God does now make to man, and that this revelation is abundantly sufficient for man’s guidance in all questions of faith, practice, and modes of worship, and excludes the necessity and the right of any human inventions.
8. How may this completeness be proved, from the design of scripture?
The Scriptures profess to lead us to God. Whatever is necessary to that end they must teach us. If any supplementary rule, as tradition, is necessary to that end, they must refer us to it.
“Incompleteness here would be falsehood.” But while one sacred writer constantly refers us to the writings of another, not one of them ever intimates to us either the necessity or the existence of any other rule.—John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:15-17.
9. By what other arguments may this principle be proved?
As the Scriptures profess to be a rule complete for its end, so they have always been practically found to be such by the true spiritual people of God in all ages. They teach a complete and harmonious system of doctrine. They furnish all necessary principles for the government of the private lives of Christians, in every relation, for the public worship of God, and for the administration of the affairs of his kingdom; and they repel all pretended traditions and priestly innovations.