Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned.

Ancient Warfare – A Very Short Introduction

We are all familiar with that picturesque incident of the conflict between Israel and Amalek, which ended in victory and the erection of this memorial trophy. Moses, as you remember, went up on the mount whilst Joshua and the men of war fought in the plain. But I question whether we usually attach the right meaning to the symbolism of this event. We ordinarily, I suppose, think of Moses as interceding on the mountain with God. But there is no word about prayer in the story, and the attitude of Moses is contrary to the idea that his occupation was intercession. He sat there, with the rod of God in his hand, and the rod of God was the symbol and the vehicle of divine power. When he lifted the rod Amalek fled before Israel; when the rod dropped Israel fled before Amalek. That is to say, the uplifted hand was not the hand of intercession, but the hand which communicated power and victory. And so, when the conflict is over, Moses builds this memorial of thanksgiving to God, and piles together these great stones—which, perhaps, still stand in some of the unexplored valleys of that weird desert land—to teach Israel the laws of conflict and the conditions of victory. These laws and conditions are implied in the name which he gave to the altar that he built—Jehovah Nissi, ‘the Lord is my Banner.’

Now, then, what do these stones, with their significant name, teach us, as they taught the ancient Israelites? Let me throw these lessons into three brief exhortations.

I. First, realise for whose cause you fight.

Antisemitism – A Very Short Introduction

The Crusades – A Very Short Introduction

Crusade: defined: according to circumstance, either a toxic byword for conflict between Christians and Muslims or a shorthand for what people believe to be a good and worthy cause. In the former context one might quote Osama bin Laden or, in parallel, the allegations made against Erik Prince, the founder of the Blackwater security company, in Iraq: ‘[he] views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe.’ In a more secular arena, any western politician asking for a cut in hospital waiting lists might call for a ‘crusade’.Yet such utterly divergent meanings originate with an idea conceived over 800 years ago, a concept that has produced one of the most long-lasting and adaptable legacies of the Middle Ages. Tracing how ‘crusade’ has evolved, mutated and been appropriated by individuals across the broadest possible spectrum is to follow an intriguing and often surprising trail.

The History of Time – A Very Short Introduction

The Spanish Civil War – A Very Short Introduction

The Renaissance – A Very Short Introduction

In nearly every nation, proceedings in courts of law often involve written documents. Things like receipts, letters, contracts, confessions and written statements by witnesses are used as evidence. But everyone knows that it is not enough simply to have such documents available to the court. For them to be used effectively, lawyers, judges, and juries have to know certain attributes or characteristics of their documents. Much time is often spent learning and establishing things like who wrote a particular document, who received it, when it was written, why was it written and what it states. Knowing these attributes is crucial to using these documents properly.

We have similar concerns when we do Christian ethics. No matter what the ethical question, we always have at least one document that we need to take into account, namely the Bible. But what impact the Bible has on our decision varies from person to person. Some Christians rely almost entirely on the Bible as the unfailing and authoritative source of perfect answers to moral questions; others value its advice, but take its words with a grain of salt; and still others disregard it as irrelevant and out of touch with the modern world. And all these different perceptions of the Bible’s usefulness in ethics have one thing in common: they are all based on an assessment of the Bible’s attributes.

This lesson is the third in our series of lessons on Making Biblical Decisions. We have entitled this lesson, “The Attributes of Scripture.” In earlier lessons we established that ethical judgments always involve a person applying God’s Word to a situation. And this outlook led us to see that there are three essential considerations that must always be taken into account as we make ethical decisions: the standard of God’s word, the particulars of the situation, and the person making the judgment. We have identified these three considerations as the normative, situational and existential perspectives in ethics. In this lesson we will address the normative perspective again, looking for the proper standards for ethical decisions.

As we have seen in the previous lesson, God’s own character is our ultimate standard, whereas his Word is our authoritative revealed standard because it infallibly teaches us about God’s character. In this lesson, we will focus on the attributes of Scripture in order to see more clearly how the Bible reveals God’s character to us. We will divide our discussion of the attributes of Scripture into two parts: First, we will investigate the attributes that Scripture possesses primarily by virtue of its Divine Authorship, namely, its power and authority. Second, we will explore the attributes that Scripture possesses primarily because it was written for a Human Audience: that is, its clarity, necessity and sufficiency. Let’s begin by looking at the Divine Authorship of Scripture.


When we speak of the divine authorship of Scripture, we are referring to the fact that the Biblical authors were inspired by God and authorized by him to deliver his message. We are looking at the Bible as God’s word to his people and emphasizing the fact that it is “God’s word.” As we explore the attributes of Scripture that derive primarily from its divine inspiration, we will touch on two matters: the power of Scripture and the authority of Scripture. Of course, most evangelical Christians instinctively recognize that the Bible is God’s powerful, authoritative word to every generation. Yet, most of us have never thought through many of the issues related these attributes of Scripture. But we can use the Bible more effectively in ethics if we understand these characteristics in further detail. So, let us turn our attention to the power of Scripture.

Power of Scripture

As Christians, when we approach the subject of ethics, we are not merely interested in figuring out which things are good and which are evil. We are also interested in applying that knowledge by acting, thinking and feeling in ways that are morally praiseworthy. But where can we find the strength to carry out what we know to be right and good? In this pursuit, we are greatly aided by Scripture’s power. As God’s living and active word, the Bible does not just tell us what to do; it also empowers us to believe and to live in ways that please God and lead to his blessings. Let’s unpack this concept first by looking at some examples of the power of God’s Word in its various forms, and second by turning to the implications that this power has for ethical decision-making.


As we have seen in our prior lessons, God’s Word may take many forms. And the Bible indicates that God’s Word is powerful even when it does not take the form of Scripture. As we seek to demonstrate the power of Scripture, we will begin by looking first at the power of God’s Word over creation. Next, we will touch on the power of his prophetic word, and then on the power of the preaching of the Gospel. Finally, we will explore the power of God’s written Word or Scriptures. Let’s begin by investigating the power of God’s Word over creation.

When we consider the power of God’s word, it is often helpful to think first about how his word is powerful over the creation. Perhaps the place where this is most easily seen is the creation account of Genesis 1, where God spoke the world into existence. Throughout the entire chapter, the only action that God performs is speaking. And by his spoken word, he creates, orders and fills the entire universe. As Psalm 33 verses 6 and 9 comment regarding this account:

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth… He spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” (Psalm 33:6, 9)

God’s declaration had great power in the days of creation, so much power that his word brought the creation into existence. It is not that the words have innate power that God manipulates. Rather, God uses his declarations as vessels that transmit his own power. God’s words are the means he uses to accomplish his ends, much as any human being might use a hammer to drive a nail into place.

In the second place, the Scriptures also make it clear that God’s word has power when it comes through the mouths of inspired prophets. Isaiah chapter 55 verses 10 and 11 confirm this idea. There the prophet wrote:

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish … so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Although this passage speaks of God’s word going out from his mouth, in the context it is apparent that God was referring to the preaching of the prophet Isaiah. The people of Judah heard this word of the Lord not directly from God’s mouth, but from Isaiah. Even so, the message was still powerful when Isaiah spoke and wrote it; it had God’s power to accomplish his purposes.

A third way in which we may see the power of God’s word is through the uninspired preaching of his word or the gospel. The New Testament frequently confirms this idea when it says that God works through the preaching of the gospel, even when the preachers are not infallibly inspired. For instance, in Romans chapter 1 verses 15 and 16, Paul directly stated that the preached gospel carries God’s power:

I am so eager to preach the gospel … because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. (Romans 1:15-16)

The gospel Paul had in mind here was not just a set of truths about what Jesus had done, nor was it the power of God represented by the statements of the gospel. He did not mean that the gospel is about the God who has power, or about the things that God has done with his power. Rather, Paul meant that the act of preaching the gospel is powerful because God uses preaching to bring people to faith.

Paul made a similar statement in Colossians chapter 1 verse 18, where he wrote:

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (Colossians 1:18)

Notice again, that Paul was speaking about the message itself, not just about the historical facts related by the message. After all, people do not accept the truth of the gospel’s claims while, at the same time, condemning God as foolish for saving humanity. Rather, people count the gospel message as foolish because they do not believe that its statements are true. To them, it sounds like a fanciful tale or even a lie, and they think that no right thinking person would believe it. It is for this reason that the gospel seems like foolishness to unbelievers. But to people who believe the message, the preaching of the gospel is the power of God because it is the means by which God brings them to a saving knowledge of the truth.

Realizing that God’s word is powerful over creation, in the prophetic word, and even in the fallible preaching of the gospel, we are in a position to understand the power of the written Word of God, the Bible.

Jesus himself pointed to the power of the written word when he told the familiar story of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16. You will recall that when the rich man died, he looked up from hell to see Lazarus being comforted by Abraham. The rich man, worrying that his family would also perish in hell, asked Abraham to raise Lazarus from the dead and to send Lazarus to preach repentance to the rich man’s family. In Luke chapter 16 verses 29 through 31 we read Abraham’s answer:

“They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them… If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” (Luke 16:29-31)

At least two elements of this passage pertain to our discussion. First, Abraham was speaking about Scripture. He referred to Moses and the prophets not as living people who continued to speak in person, but as authors who continued to speak through the Bible, God’s written Word. And just as the words of Moses and the prophets were powerful when God inspired them to speak during their earthly lives, they continued to be powerful in written form.

Second, Abraham said that the written words of Scripture, written by God’s inspired prophets, have as much power to bring people to repentance as does the tremendous miracle of seeing someone raised from the dead. In many respects this passage is one of the most astounding statements about the power of Scripture found in the Bible. We all realize that witnessing someone raise the dead would be a tremendously influential experience. It would potentially have life-transforming power. But here Jesus actually indicated that reading the Bible has even more power than witnessing a resurrection from the dead

The apostle Paul affirmed this idea in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verse 15 when he wrote:

The holy Scriptures … are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)

Studying Scripture is like preaching because it is a means through which God gives people the understanding and faith necessary for salvation. Just as surely as the preached word carries God’s power, so does the Bible.


With such an understanding of the power of the Word of God in creation, inspired prophetic speech, fallible preaching, and the Bible, we are in a position to reflect briefly on the implications of these matters for the process of making ethical decisions.

One passage that touches on the practical implications of the power of God’s word is Hebrews chapter 4 verses 12 and 13:

The word of God is living and active… it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

Notice here that the writer of Hebrews speaks of God’s word as living and active. It is not a mere collection of inert information that has no potency. On the contrary, when we approach God’s word, we are to view it as an active living thing, full of power to accomplish what God desires. And what does the Word of God do in the area of ethics? As this passage says, the word of God judges our hearts. It is able to penetrate and to evaluate our deepest thoughts and motives. And it has the power to save us from condemnation and to enable us to live holy, moral lives. Listen to how Paul continued the passage in 2 Timothy that we read a moment ago. In 2 Timothy chapter 3 verses 15 through 17 he wrote:

The holy Scriptures … are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

The Bible’s power is not just in leading us to our initial faith in Christ. As God’s voice, Scripture also has the power to equip us “for every good work.” The Holy Spirit uses the Scriptures to give us faith and wisdom, and to mold our characters in such a way that when we are confronted with moral choices, we are able to choose the good and refuse the bad.

Many times Christians find themselves frustrated by their attempts to live ethical lives. They feel helpless and impotent to do what is right and good. In such situations it is a great encouragement to know that learning the Scriptures, reminding ourselves of them, even meditating on the Scriptures, is not an exercise in futility. It is much more than simply reading an ethical guide. Instead, the word of God in Scripture actually empowers us to live for God. Constant learning and meditation on the word of God brings us into contact with the power of God that will always accomplish his purposes. In this way, the power of Scripture is of essential importance to Christian ethics.

Authority of Scripture

A second attribute of the Bible that derives from divine inspiration is the authority of Scripture. Because the Bible is divinely inspired, it carries God’s authority. In one sense, we have already proven this authority by demonstrating that Scripture is God’s voice, his living, active word to every generation. God has all authority. Therefore, whenever and however he speaks, all who hear him are obligated to obey him. This is the idea we put forth in our first lesson when we said that all revelation is normative because it teaches us about God, who is the ultimate standard for morality.

Nevertheless, it is still valuable to see how the Bible speaks about its own authority, as well as to look at some moral implications of this authority. We will turn first to the Bible’s claim of authority, and then to the implications of this claim for our lives.

Claim of Authority

The Bible claims divine authority for itself in at least two ways. First, it provides historical examples of its authority. And second, it explicitly claims authority. We’ll address the historical examples of the Bible’s authority first.

When we remember the close connection between the spoken word of God and the written word of God that we have already seen in this lesson, we can see many ways in which the Bible gives us examples of the authority of God’s word that apply to the Bible itself. In the earliest history recorded in the Bible, God spoke directly to humanity, and his speech carried authority. For example, in the account of the creation and fall in Genesis chapters 2 and 3, God commanded man to cultivate the Garden of Eden and not to eat the forbidden fruit. Eve, however, chose to listen to the spoken word of the serpent instead of to the spoken word of God, and thereby rejected the authority of God’s word. Adam, in turn, listened to Eve’s spoken word instead of to God’s word, also rejecting God’s authority. But the authority of God’s word was not thereby destroyed. Rather, God enforced his spoken word’s authority by punishing Adam and Eve, and all creation with them.

Later, in the days of Moses, God encoded his spoken word in written form. Instead of simply telling Moses what the Ten Commandments were, he carved these laws on stone tablets. He also gave Moses many other laws, and commanded Moses to record those words in writing. These records comprised the book of the covenant that we read about in Exodus chapter 24. They were the stipulations of God’s covenant with his people, and they carried not only God’s authority, but also his promise to enforce these laws with power, both by blessing the obedient and cursing the disobedient. Listen to this account in Exodus chapter 24 verses 4 through 8:

Moses … wrote down everything the Lord had said… Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.” Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” (Exodus 24:4-8)

In this record we find that God’s spoken word is the basis for his written word, and that the written word is God’s authoritative covenant document that his people are obligated to obey.

Many centuries later, when God’s people had rejected the things written in Scripture, God sent foreign nations to afflict them in war. Isaiah ministered during this time, and wrote these words in Isaiah chapter 42 verse 24:

Who handed Jacob over to become loot, and Israel to the plunderers? Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned? For they would not follow his ways; they did not obey his law. (Isaiah 42:24)

God did not hesitate to enforce his word in Isaiah’s day, just as he had not hesitated to enforce it in the Garden of Eden. But this time, the word that was violated was God’s “law.” It was Scripture, the written words of the covenant between God and his people. Just as God’s spoken word is authoritative revelation, so is his written word.

The New Testament also confirms the authority of Scripture through its examples. For instance, Jesus frequently appealed to Scripture to justify and explain his actions, as in John 17 verse 12 where he prayed these words:

“I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” (John 17:12)

Jesus here contrasted his eleven loyal disciples with Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him. And in this contrast, he indicated that both his protection of the eleven and his losing of the one were done in accordance with Scripture.

The apostles also demonstrated their belief in the Bible’s authority. For example, Paul appealed to the Scriptures as proof that Christians ought not to be vengeful. In Romans chapter 12 verse 19 he wrote:

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

Paul’s argument here assumes that the Old Testament carries authority when it assigns vengeance to God. So, by placing his readers under moral obligation to the Old Testament, Paul demonstrated his belief that the Scriptures are God’s authoritative word that binds even New Testament believers.

Besides proving its authority through examples, the Bible also proves its authority through explicit statements to that effect. One of best known statements claiming authority for the Bible is found in 2 Peter chapter 1 verses 19 through 21, where Peter wrote:

We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it… For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God… (2 Peter 1:19-21)

Here Peter indicated that the Old Testament prophetic writings continue to be authoritative in our day. Because these prophecies were inspired and authorized by God, they form a binding moral standard to which we must “pay attention.” That is, we must believe what the prophets wrote, and obey what they commanded.

James also made it clear that the Old Testament is still God’s authoritative command to us. As he wrote in James chapter 2 verses 10 and 11:

Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” (James 2:10-11)

Notice how far James went in emphasizing this point. First, he insisted that the written law is still binding. Those who break it are guilty. Second, James based the ongoing authority of Scripture on the authority of the one who gave the command, namely God. Because the Bible is still God’s word, it still carries God’s authority.

We also find claims for the authority of the New Testament. For instance, Jesus gave his apostles authority when he said in John chapter 13 verse 20:

“I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.” (John 13:20)

The apostles used this authority not only in speaking, but also in writing the documents we now have in the New Testament. This is evident throughout the New Testament in every instance in which they issued written commands, as in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3 verse 6, where Paul wrote:

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle. (Thessalonians 3:6)

Here Paul issued a direct written command that carried his delegated authority from Jesus Christ. This approach was typical of the apostles; they frequently used their authority to transmit their instructions in written form. Because the New Testament consists of documents that the apostles either wrote or approved, it carries the authority of the apostles, which is the authority of Christ himself.


Now that we have seen that Scriptures proves its own authority, we should touch briefly on some implications of this idea. Most simply, because Scripture carries God’s authority, we are morally obligated to conform all our choices, actions, thoughts and feelings to it. We might say that ethical behavior equates to “keeping the word of the Lord.” And keeping the word of the Lord must be done in at least two ways: We must conform to Scripture’s breadth by obeying all of its commands, and we must conform to its depth by obeying these commandments with commitment and conviction.

On the one hand, God’s people must keep the breadth of biblical instruction. Followers of Christ are not to obey what we like and ignore what we do not like. Now, we should admit that some things the Bible requires of us are more difficult to accept than others, but we are still called to submit to all that God has commanded in Scripture. Listen for instance to Exodus chapter 15 verse 26, where the Lord told Israel these words:

“If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians.” (Exodus 15:26)

At a time when the people of Israel were receiving God’s commands in written form, God equated keeping all his decrees with doing what is right. In essence, we do what is right when we obey all of the Scriptures.

The breadth of our obligation to submit to Scripture comes out even more clearly in 1 Kings chapter 11 verse 38, where God said these words to Jeroboam:

“If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands … I will be with you.” (1 Kings 11:38)

You will recall that in our first lesson in this series, we defined moral goodness as that which God blesses. Here, God promised blessings on Jeroboam if Jeroboam did what was right, and God explicitly defined “what is right” as whatever he commands. Goodness is not found in keeping just some of the law of God while rejecting other parts.

The fact that God calls his people to observe the authority of all of his word without exception should challenge us in our own day, just as it challenged God’s people during biblical times. Sadly, sometimes believers respond to this challenge by imagining that God does not mind if they follow only some of his moral directives. They wrongly think that God has given them liberty to ignore those commands that they find uncomfortable or difficult.

But even if we do not try to justify our rejection of some of Scripture’s moral teachings, we need to realize that we all fall into the trap of unconscious selectivity. For this reason, we must constantly return to Scripture to be reminded of those commands we may have overlooked or forgotten.

In the second place, God’s word has authority over us not just in the full breadth of its teaching, but also in the depth of obedience it requires of us. For example, in both the Old and the New Testaments, the Bible connects obedience to Scripture with love for God. Moral goodness is not obtainable through begrudging obedience, or even through a love for goodness itself, apart from a love for God. Rather, the basis of duty is the fact that God has called us in love and authority to be his willing servants. Listen to the way Moses expressed this idea in Deuteronomy chapter 7 verses 9 and 11:

The Lord your God … is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands… Therefore, take care to follow the commands, decrees and laws I give you today. (Deuteronomy 7:9, 11)

Because God has called us into a loving relationship with himself, we are obligated to obey his commands, which are set down for us in Scripture.

Jesus himself repeated much the same idea in the New Testament. In John chapter 14 verses 15 and 21 he told his disciples:

“If you love me, you will obey what I command… Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” (John 14:15, 21)

And by his example, he demonstrated that we must also render this type of loving obedience to the Father. As Jesus said in verse 31 of John 14:

“The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” (John 14:31)

Time after time Scripture indicates that the moral requirements God places on us are based in his love for us and are to be fulfilled in our love for him.

So we see that according to the Bible, we cannot do the right thing unless we have the right motive. Or to put it another way, only when we embrace the Scriptures deeply, from the heart, can we rightly submit to the authority of God’s word.

Now that we have looked at power and authority of Scripture, those attributes that Scripture has primarily by virtue of its divine authorship, we should turn our attention to our second topic, those attributes of Scripture that relate more closely to its human audience.


When God inspired and authorized the writers of Scripture, he had a particular goal in mind. Specifically, he wanted to give his people clear revelation concerning his will and his character in order that they would be better able to conform themselves to him. So, at this point in our lesson, we will focus our attention on the attributes that Scripture possesses primarily by virtue of the fact that God inspired it for his people. This aspect of our discussion will cover three of Scripture’s attributes: its clarity, its necessity, and its sufficiency. Let’s look first at the clarity of Scripture.

Clarity of Scripture

When we say that Scripture is “clear,” we do not mean that everything in the Bible is easy to understand, or that everything in the Bible is stated plainly and directly. Instead, we mean that the Bible is not obscure. It is not filled with hidden meanings that can only be discovered through mysterious means, or through special spiritual gifting, or by those who hold special offices in the church.

As we approach the subject of the Bible’s clarity, sometimes called its “perspicuity,” it will help to look at two matters: The nature of the Bible’s clarity, and some implications of the Bible’s clarity. Let’s think first about the nature of the clarity we find in Scripture.


The Westminster Confession of Faith offers a good introductory summary of the nature of the clarity of Scripture. In chapter 1 section 7, it states:

All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

Here the Confession addresses two aspects of the clarity of Scripture. First, it speaks of “all things in Scripture,” and second, it focuses on “those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation,” namely, the gospel. Let’s take a closer look at both of these ideas, beginning with the relative clarity of the gospel.

Simply put, Scripture speaks so plainly about the gospel that every mentally competent person should be able to figure out that salvation comes through repentance and faith in Christ. This does not mean that everybody does figure out the gospel. As the Confession points out, we have to make “due use of the ordinary means” if we expect to take advantage of the Bible’s clarity. That is, we have to read responsibly and diligently, not carelessly, and not with an agenda that twists what Scripture tries to teach us. In reality, many factors complicate our reading of the Bible, not the least of which is our sin. If we fail to handle the Bible reasonably, or twist it according to our sin, we will not discover the gospel. But again, this is our failure; it does not result from any lack of clarity in Scripture.

Notice also that the Confession does not say that a person can read any portion of Scripture and discover the way of salvation. Rather, it says that the gospel is made clear “in some place of Scripture or other.” That is, the Scripture as a whole presents a clear gospel message. A person who does not read the whole Bible may never come across the passages that present the gospel in a way that he could easily understand. Nevertheless, taken as a whole, the Bible does present the way of salvation with enough clarity that any competent person is capable of learning them directly from Scripture.

Although the Scriptures are particularly clear about the gospel of salvation in Christ, the Confession of Faith also makes some observations about all of Scripture. It says that matters other than the basic Christian gospel are “not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all.” In other words, Scripture may not be very plain regarding some of its teachings. In fact, there are many things in the bible that are not as clearly taught as the revelation of the way of salvation.

Still, God gave Scripture to us in order that we might understand the things he revealed in Scripture, and apply them to our lives. As Moses told the Israelites in Deuteronomy chapter 29 verse 29:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29)

In this passage Moses made a crucial distinction that we should remember as we explore the use of Scripture in Christian ethics. He distinguished between secret things and things revealed. God does keep some secrets from us. He does not tell us everything he knows, nor does he tell us everything we might want to know. There are matters — even matters of ethics — that God keeps to himself. Even so, what God has told us in Scripture is not a secret. The Scriptures fall into the category of “things revealed.” As Moses said, they are shown to us in order that we might “follow” and obey them.


To one degree or another, God has revealed his will to us with sufficient clarity to guide us in ethics. He has given us the Bible so that, through “due use of the ordinary means,” through reading and studying, we can come to know God’s will for all areas of our life. As Paul exhorted Timothy in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verse 16:

All Scripture … is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)

All Scripture is clear enough to be useful, if we apply ourselves to study it diligently.

For this reason, each one of us must be ready to search the Bible to discern its teaching in ethical matters. Now, again, we are not saying that Scripture is easy to understand in every respect. In fact, some portions of Scripture are quite a bit less clear than others. And beyond this, some people have a greater ability than others to understand the words of Scripture. As Peter wrote in 2 Peter chapter 3 verse 16:

Paul’s letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures. (2 Peter 3:16)

Not everyone has an equal ability to understand the Bible. And not everyone makes equal effort to study it. Nevertheless, if we apply ourselves sufficiently, we can all come to know God’s will well enough to conform ourselves to his standard for morality.

Now that we have explored Scripture’s clarity, we are ready to look at the second attribute that Scripture possesses primarily because it was written for a human audience: its necessity.

Necessity of Scripture

When we speak of the necessity of Scripture, we have in mind that people need the Bible, especially for ethical decision making. As we explore our need for Scripture, we will touch on three matters: the necessity of Scripture for salvation, the necessity of Scripture for faithful living, and the implications of our need for Scripture.


In the first place, Scripture is necessary for people to find the way of salvation. As we saw in a prior lesson, general, special and existential revelation overlap greatly, but general and existential revelation only provide human beings with sufficient information to condemn them for failing to keep God’s standard. Only Scripture provides sufficient information to secure salvation. Listen to the way Paul touched on this in Romans chapter 10 verses 13 through 17:

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? … Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:13-17)

Paul’s point here is rather clear: The gospel message is the normal means by which God delivers faith to individuals. And apart from the word of Christ, people have no access to the gospel message. This makes the word of Christ a necessary means to salvation in all but the most exceptional circumstances. The only exceptions theologians typically recognize are cases involving infants or other mentally incompetent individuals.

But what is this word of Christ? In the tenth chapter of Romans, Paul primarily had in mind the preaching of the gospel. But he also had in mind the Scriptures themselves as source of the gospel message. For instance, the words, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” are actually a quotation from Deuteronomy chapter 30. Paul’s use of Scripture in this way follows a pattern that appears throughout the Scriptures. Specifically, in the Bible the gospel proclamation is closely associated with the written word of Scripture. For example, in the Old Testament, God often delivered his messages directly to prophets who spoke God’s word to the people. But God also insured that the prophetic word was written down so that it could be learned by those who were not present at the proclamation. Following this Old Testament pattern, the apostles first learned the gospel directly from Jesus, and then delivered it not only through preaching, but also through their writings in the New Testament.

The practical outworking of this process is that human beings by and large receive knowledge of the gospel, and thereby come to faith and salvation, from the Scriptures, either through their own reading of the Bible or through preaching based on the Bible. Of course, there is an important difference between the written word of Scripture and preaching based on Scripture. Scripture is inspired by God, infallible, and absolutely authoritative in every case. Preaching is not. Insofar as preaching is faithful to Scripture, it is true, authoritative and powerful. But because we are fallen human beings, preaching is never fully true to Scripture. Unlike preaching, Scripture is stable and unchanging, it is a fully reliable and trustworthy standard. Preaching, church tradition, theological instruction, and many other sources of information are all helpful. But all of these contain a mixture of truth and error. Only Scripture is absolutely, unfailingly, unquestionably reliable. Therefore, Scripture is necessary both as a record of the gospel, and as a basis and criterion for the preaching of the gospel.

Faithful Living

In the second place, Scripture is also necessary for ethical living. You will recall that in a previous lesson we established that general, special and existential revelation are all true and authoritative. Why then do we set apart Scripture as a special case of necessary revelation? The answer is that while general and existential revelation are infallible and authoritative, they are much harder to interpret than Scripture is. Sin has corrupted nature and humankind, so that we no longer see only a pure reflection as God intended it. As a result, it is often very difficult to know how to interpret general and existential revelation. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to tell if what we are seeing is the result of God’s intention in creation, or the result of sin’s corruption of creation. But the words of Scripture are presented with tremendous clarity in this respect.

And in addition to this, our fallen minds are prone to twist, repress and resist the truth of general and existential revelation. Scripture speaks much more clearly and directly than do general and existential revelation, making our ethical determinations based on Scripture more secure and more reliable than those based on other forms of revelation. This is why the Westminster Confession of Faith chapter 1 section 10 insists on the primacy of Scripture over other sources of information:

The supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.

The Confession‘s point here is that all these other sources are valuable, but that the Bible is the most valuable of all because it is through the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit speaks most clearly.


What, then, are some moral implications of the necessity of Scripture? Although there are many ways in which the necessity of Scripture carries moral implications, we will focus on two. One, that we must read and rely on scripture if we are to have the ability to do what is morally good. And two, that we must read and rely on scripture’s comprehensive treatment of morality in order to gather ethical information that is not revealed in either general or existential revelation.

There is a very important sense in which we simply cannot be moral without attending to the teaching of Scripture. You will recall from our prior lessons that only those who are in Christ are capable of true morality. And as we saw earlier in this lesson, learning and believing the basic content of Scripture is necessary to salvation, whether we study the Bible directly or learn its central teachings from others. In short, without Scripture, salvation is not possible, and therefore morality is not possible. People who think they can ignore the teaching of Scripture and still be moral are seriously mistaken. In this sense, Scripture is necessary to our ability to behave morally.

In addition to this basic need for the word of God, Scripture is also necessary for human morality because it contains information that is not included in general and existential revelation. It is not uncommon for Christians to depend heavily on their experiences of life, the opinions of others, and their own moral intuitions as they make ethical decisions. And as we have seen, these and other features of general and existential revelation are important to consider. But we must also recognize that in many circumstances, general and existential revelation are not clear enough to show us the proper course of action, whereas Scripture reveals God’s will in sufficient detail to teach us what is right.

For instance, Acts 15 records that a controversy arose in the early church when Gentiles began to be converted to Christianity. Some within the church believed that Gentiles ought to be instructed to observe the Law of Moses in the ways that Judaism of the time had come to observe it. That is, they wanted Gentiles to be circumcised, and to offer the appropriate sacrifices at the temple, and to apply the Law to their lives in the ways that had become customary for Jews of the day. On the other hand, men like Paul and Barnabas argued that God did not expect Gentiles to live as first-century Jews. The issue was so problematic that the apostles and elders met to discuss and investigate the issue. During the council, both sides presented their arguments. We can speculate that those who wanted the Gentiles to adopt customary Jewish applications of the law appealed to Scripture itself, perhaps arguing that the law did not offer exceptions for believing Gentiles. The Apostles, however, looked at the general revelation of redemptive history to argue that God now received Gentiles unto himself without requiring them to adopt traditional Jewish customs. To solve this controversy, James, the brother of Jesus turned to Amos chapter 9 verses 11 and twelve. In Acts chapter 15 verses 16 and 17, James quoted Amos as follows,

“After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things.” (Acts 15:16-17)

From this text, James understood that God would include many Gentiles when he restored His Kingdom. More importantly, these converts would remain Gentiles even after they had been called to the Lord. In the Old Testament, Gentiles who converted became Jews and followed traditional Jewish practices. But, Amos indicated that when God restored His Kingdom in Christ the Gentiles would be included without having to follow Jewish traditions.

In this case, opinions of some people came into conflict with the reality of the Holy Spirit’s ministry among uncircumcised Gentiles. And these sources of information were not sufficient to provide a satisfactory solution. But once James appealed to Scripture that addressed this problem, the church united behind his position. Scripture was necessary because general and existential revelation were not sufficient to answer this moral question.

And the same applies today. Although general and existential revelation are always true, they are not always sufficient to give us clear moral guidance. Thus, in Christian ethics we must rely more heavily on Scripture than we do on general and existential revelation. We must devote ourselves to learning the teachings of Scripture as best we can because Scripture always speaks adequately to moral issues even when other forms of revelation do not.

Having this understanding of the clarity and necessity of Scripture in mind, we are now in a position to explore the sufficiency of Scripture.

Sufficiency of Scripture

Most basically, to say that Scripture is “sufficient” is to say that it is able to fulfill the purposes for which it was written. But not surprisingly, this simple idea becomes complicated because it is hard for Christians to agree on what the purpose of Scripture actually is. So, as we investigate the issue of Scripture’s sufficiency, we will begin by looking at Scripture’s purpose in relation to its sufficiency. Next, we will address some common misunderstandings of sufficiency, and finally we will speak about the popular but mistaken idea that Scripture is silent on certain matters.


With regard to the relationship between Scripture’s sufficiency and purpose, it will be helpful to look again to the Westminster Confession of Faith, which contains a very good summary of this idea in chapter 1 section 6. The Confession states the matter this way:

The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.

The Confession rightly concludes that Scripture’s purpose is manifold. It mentions that the Bible was written to teach us how to glorify God, to bring men and women to salvation, to instruct believers regarding the content of their faith, and to guide us in Christian living. These ideas of the Bible’s purpose come from Scripture itself.

For instance, the Bible teaches in many places that Scripture has been given to us in order that we might glorify God by obeying his commands. One place this can be seen rather clearly is in the covenant curses in Deuteronomy. In Deuteronomy chapter 28, verses 58 and 59, Moses pointed out a striking correlation between obedience to the written commands of God and the glorification of God.

If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name — the Lord your God — the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants… (Deuteronomy 28:58-59)

The Bible is designed to teach us how to glorify God, and it is sufficient to accomplish this purpose. Scripture contains all the standards that we need to know to glorify him.

Regarding “man’s salvation, faith and life,” Paul instructed Timothy to remain steadfast in his study of Scripture in order to gain these benefits that Scripture was designed to deliver. In this context, in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verses 15 through 17, Paul explicitly taught the sufficiency of Scripture. He wrote these words in verse 15:

The holy Scriptures … are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)

When Paul said that Scripture is “able” to make us “wise for salvation” he meant that by studying the Bible, we can learn the things that are necessary for us to know if we are to be saved. Paul believed this to be true because he knew not only that the Bible was powerful, as we saw earlier in this lesson, but also that it was designed to provide these specific benefits. Because the Bible is able to accomplish this purpose, it can rightly be called sufficient for salvation.

In much the same way, Scripture is also sufficient for “faith.” Look again at Paul’s words in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verses 15 through 17. Paul said that “the holy Scriptures … are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” The content of saving faith is revealed in the Bible as the means through which we are justified and receive our salvation from God.

Finally, the Bible is sufficient to guide us through “life,” the ongoing practice of our saving faith in Christ. Paul’s well known statement in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verses 16 and 17 make this clear:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Besides being intended to bring us to faith in Christ for our salvation, Scripture is also intended to prepare us for “every good work” — not just for some good works, but for every good work. Because it is intended to prepare us for “every good work,” and because it is powerful to accomplish its intended function, it is right to say that Scripture speaks sufficiently about every good work. If we rightly understand the whole Bible, then we will know God’s standards sufficiently to make proper determinations about any given ethical issue, as long as we also have a sufficient understanding of the persons and the situation.

Now, understanding the sufficiency of Scripture for life raises a serious question: How can any book, even one as large as the Bible, cover every conceivable moral problem, equipping us for every good work? Well, in truth, the Bible does not address every conceivable moral issue directly. Scripture speaks directly only to a limited number of issues in life, such as the fundamental content of our faith, and our basic responsibilities toward God and other people. But in so doing, Scripture lays down principles that we can extend and apply beyond the specifics mentioned in the Bible. This is why the Confession distinguishes between what is “expressly set down in Scripture” and what must be deduced from Scripture by way of “good and necessary consequence.” In all cases, however, Scripture provides us with the information we need in order to discover God’s ethical standards.

The last point we should note in the Confession‘s explanation of the sufficiency of Scripture is the qualification that Scripture is complete, so that:

… nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.

Scripture contains all the norms we need as Christians. Human traditions and authority structures, such as civil and ecclesiastical governments, are to be obeyed for the Lord’s sake, but they are never to be counted as absolute or ultimate norms. And insofar as these institutions require obedience to human norms that are not found in Scripture, the Christian has freedom to disregard these norms. The decision to follow or not to follow human norms must be guided by Scriptural norms, and human norms will always be defied when they conflict with biblical norms.

We see this demonstrated in Scripture time and again. For instance, in Jesus’ day the established Jewish leadership allowed moneychangers and vendors in the temple area. But when Jesus saw this, he became angry and drove them from the temple because the human leadership had allowed violations of scriptural norms within the temple grounds. We read this account in Matthew chapter 21 verses 12 and 13:

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there… “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.'” (Matthew 21:12-13)

Jesus rightly understood that Isaiah chapter 56 verse 7, which he quoted, revealed the biblical norm that the temple was to be dedicated to prayer. But the Jewish leadership had permitted the temple grounds to be profaned by secular transactions. Jesus’ condemnation that they were making the temple a “den of robbers” is actually incredibly strong. That phrase is drawn from Jeremiah chapter 7 verse 11, where it refers to idolaters and violent criminals who pay lip service to God at his temple. By his actions and words, Jesus demonstrated that following any human law or tradition is sinful when the human norm contradicts Scripture.

In every case, Scripture is sufficient to establish all moral norms. The ethical ordinances of men, however, are valid and binding only insofar as they echo biblical norms. But when human norms contradict biblical norms, the Christian is obligated to defy them.

With a proper understanding of the sufficiency of Scripture in mind, we should now turn our attention to some common misunderstandings of the Bible’s sufficiency.


We will group these misunderstandings into two fairly general categories: first, views that overestimate Scripture’s sufficiency; and second, views that underestimate Scripture’s sufficiency. Let’s begin with views that overestimate Scripture’s sufficiency.

Typically, those who overestimate the sufficiency of Scripture have very strong commitments to the Bible. But they frequently lack proper commitments to general and existential revelation. As a result, they wrongly believe that they can properly apply Scripture to ethical questions without having much knowledge, if any, about specific situations and people. They believe that making ethical decisions is as simple as reading the Bible and obeying it. But in reality, before we can obey or apply the Bible, we must also know something about the people and situations to which we are applying it. God has provided us with this information in general and existential revelation. If we ignore these other forms of revelation, we are ignoring the tools he has given us for interpreting and understanding Scripture.

But not all errors are based on overestimating the Bible’s sufficiency. Many more errors come from underestimating it. This error generally appears as an insistence that the Bible is sufficient to guide us only in limited areas of life, that it gives us moral instruction only on certain topics. For instance, Thomas Aquinas argued that general and existential revelation are sufficient to teach many moral principles, and that Scripture supplements this knowledge by giving us information regarding those subjects that natural and existential revelation do not cover, such as the way of salvation. In recent years, others have argued that the Bible does not address matters such as so-called monogamous homosexuality, abortion, and euthanasia.

As we have seen, however, either through explicit or implicit teaching, the Scriptures provide us with a comprehensive system of ethical norms. In this sense, the Bible’s sufficiency is unlimited when it comes to revealing the will of God for his glory, and our salvation, faith and Christian living. General and existential revelation also contain some of these norms, but they contain no additional norms beyond those found directly or indirectly in Scripture. Now, it is important to stress once again that Scripture does not explicitly or exhaustively comment on every detail of life. We have a great need for the information that general and existential revelation communicate

The point is simply that the Bible speaks sufficiently to every area of life, so that our true duty toward God is always an application of Scriptural norms.


At this point, we should address what is perhaps one of the most common ways that well-meaning Christians underestimate the sufficiency of Scripture: the popular but mistaken idea that Scripture is silent on certain matters. Specifically, Christians frequently teach that some issues of life are morally “indifferent” because Scripture does not provide us with sufficient information to know God’s will on these matters. Historically, these have been known as “adiaphora.” This typical position has been that indifferent things are neither right nor wrong in and of themselves.

For example, the church fathers taught that eating meat was neither right nor wrong, and during the Reformation, Martin Luther applied the term “indifferent” to certain Roman Catholic forms of worship that he felt were neither commanded nor forbidden by Scripture. Although many people throughout the history of the church have held to such positions, this position actually runs contrary to the teachings of Scripture. To be sure, the Bible does not comment directly on many aspects of life, but it also denies that anything is morally neutral. For example, whereas theologians speak of impersonal objects as indifferent or “neutral,” the Bible speaks of them as being good. We find this principle first in Genesis one, but even after the Fall of mankind into sin, Paul still insisted that everything was good. As he wrote in 1 Timothy chapter 4 verses 5 and 6:

Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:5-6)

Paul spoke specifically about food in this context, but the principle is far broader, extending to all creation, just as God himself proclaimed at the end of the creation week. For this reason, even impersonal objects are not “indifferent”; they are good.

Some theologians have also applied the term “indifferent” or adiaphora to choices between two or more good options. They have suggested that when all the choices are good, then Scripture is indifferent as to which we choose. But Scripture teaches that God blesses some good choices more than he blesses other good choices, and that Scripture sometimes praises one good option over another good option.

For instance, in 1 Corinthians chapter 7 verse 38, Paul wrote:

So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does even better. (1 Corinthians 7:38)

Now, it should be noted that scholars are not agreed as to the precise circumstances Paul addressed here. But his words are clear enough to demonstrate that marrying and not marrying were both good options, and that not marrying was the better option. In this sense, the Scripture is not really “indifferent” even when we have to choose between good options. Rather, Scripture always has much to say about our actions. Even if we were to find a situation in which the Bible praised two options equally, it would still be misleading to suggest scriptural indifference on the matter, as this would seem to imply a sort of moral neutrality regarding the decision. And Scripture never takes the position that anything is morally neutral.

You will recall that in our first lesson, we defined “good” as being that which receives God’s blessing, and “evil” as that which does not receive his blessing. By this definition, aspects of human beings and their lives are either good or evil; nothing and no one is indifferent or neutral. Either God blesses or he does not — there is no middle ground. If he blesses, it is good; if he does not bless, it is evil.

That being said, it is true that there are some words, thoughts and deeds that are good in some situations, but evil in others. For example, sexual relations within marriage are good, but sexual relations outside marriage are evil. But this does not mean that sexual relations in and of themselves are neither good nor evil. Rather, they are good, just as God created them to be good. But unmarried partners misuse sexual relations so that in their situation such relations are evil.

Finally, some theologians use the category of adiaphora to cover matters where we cannot determine what choices are good or evil. But because we know that the Scriptures touch on every aspect of life, at least indirectly, we must not treat matters about which we are uncertain as indifferent. It is true that we often feel as if we cannot know which particular choices, thoughts, actions, or attitudes are good and which ones are evil. But such situations occur not because God’s word is insufficient, and not because the Bible takes a neutral stance, but because we fail to recognize or to understand how to apply the truth that the Bible has disclosed.

This failure to reach an ethical judgment may take any number of forms. As you remember, the biblical model for making ethical decisions may be summed up in this way: “Ethical judgment involves the application of God’s Word to a situation by a person.” We must act on a proper understanding of our moral standard, our goals, and our motives, or to put it another way, on normative, situational and existential concerns. Failure to reach a proper ethical judgment can be caused by a failure properly to assess any of these perspectives. We may fail because we overlook or misunderstand the passages of Scripture we are dealing with. We may fail because we overlook or misunderstand the situation associated with the ethical question. And we may fail because we overlook or misevaluate the existential and personal aspects of a matter. In all cases, when we cannot come to a firm conclusion on an ethical decision, it is not proper to conclude that God has not revealed the information necessary to make the decision. And it is not proper to say that the matter is indifferent, that there is not a right course to follow. Rather, we must continue to read, study, pray and investigate the question, doing the best we can with our provisional judgments, but reserving final judgment until the normative, situational, and existential issues become clear.


In this lesson we have looked at several important attributes of Scripture. We have seen that because Scripture is divinely inspired, it is powerful and authoritative. We have also seen that because Scripture is written for human beings, it is clear, necessary and sufficient. As we progress in our study of Christian ethics, remembering these attributes of the Bible will help us come to biblical conclusions.


Proverbs 30 with Proverbial Wisdom

English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Dove of the Ho...

The Dove a Symbol of Peace and Love

Proverbs 30

The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle.
The man declares, I am weary, O God;
I am weary, O God, and worn out.
Surely I am too stupid to be a man.
I have not the understanding of a man.
I have not learned wisdom,
nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.
Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son’s name?
Surely you know!
Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the LORD?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.
Do not slander a servant to his master,
lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.
There are those who curse their fathers
and do not bless their mothers.
There are those who are clean in their own eyes
but are not washed of their filth.
There are those—how lofty are their eyes,
how high their eyelids lift!
There are those whose teeth are swords,
whose fangs are knives,
to devour the poor from off the earth,
the needy from among mankind.
The leech has two daughters:
Give and Give.
Three things are never satisfied;
four never say, “Enough”:
Sheol, the barren womb,
the land never satisfied with water,
and the fire that never says, “Enough.”
The eye that mocks a father
and scorns to obey a mother
will be picked out by the ravens of the valley
and eaten by the vultures.
Three things are too wonderful for me;
four I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a serpent on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a virgin.
This is the way of an adulteress:
she eats and wipes her mouth
and says, “I have done no wrong.”
Under three things the earth trembles;
under four it cannot bear up:
a slave when he becomes king,
and a fool when he is filled with food;
an unloved woman when she gets a husband,
and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress.
Four things on earth are small,
but they are exceedingly wise:
the ants are a people not strong,
yet they provide their food in the summer;
the rock badgers are a people not mighty,
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
the locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in rank;
the lizard you can take in your hands,
yet it is in kings’ palaces.
Three things are stately in their tread;
four are stately in their stride:
the lion, which is mightiest among beasts
and does not turn back before any;
the strutting rooster, the he-goat,
and a king whose army is with him.
If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
or if you have been devising evil,
put your hand on your mouth.
For pressing milk produces curds,
pressing the nose produces blood,
and pressing anger produces strife.

Proverbs 30
The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle.
The man declares, I am weary, O God;
I am weary, O God, and worn out.
Surely I am too stupid to be a man.(God made man both male and female in the beginning spiritual until we were cursed for transgression)
I have not the understanding of a man.(The spiritual being I am to become to receive the spirit of life once I have put away my fleshly wickedness of the world)
I have not learned wisdom,(The truth in the light of the Holy Spirit of God as true wisdom comes from above)
nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.(The Holy Spirit of God as I have been lost a stranger blinded by my fleshly youth)
Who has ascended to heaven and come down?(But the Holy Spirit of God)
Who has gathered the wind in his fists?(For through him all things are moved throughout time and space to inspire all things made and unmade)
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? (The spirits in his protection a new host or I.E. vessel I.E. wine sack as we drink of the spirit and not evil spirits is it no wonder they call alcohol and liquor “spirits”)
Who has established all the ends of the earth?(ordered by God the Holy Spirit of God hovered over the void and created all things – Genesis)
What is his name, and what is his son’s name?(God and the Holy Spirit of God)
Surely you know!
Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.(None come to the father”God” but through me “The Holy Spirit of God” as he gave all those receiving and honoring the covenant the right to become children of God)
Do not add to his words,(religious persecutions and rituals with their forgotten roots as man shall not live by them alone but every word that came from the mouth of God)
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.( a false teacher not tending to his vineyard)
Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;(the yeast of the bread revealing the true word – “the feast of unleavened bread‘s root)
give me neither poverty nor riches;(neither lack of The Holy Spirit or worldly riches as true riches are waiting for me in his kingdom not of this world)
feed me with the food that is needful for me,(Do not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil but drink of the spirit and eat of the unleavened bread as true wisdom comes from above and is the knowledge of God)
lest I be full and deny you(full of evil and impure unable to contain the grace of receiving the Holy Spirit)
and say, “Who is the LORD?”(Lest I be full of evil and not receive the grace of the holy spirit as a lamb sent to slaughter by my wicked ways not being a pure offering to the Lord as a new wine sack to receive The Holy spirit)
or lest I be poor(lacking spirit) and steal (for woe unto them who make them twice the child of hell by teaching false words adulterating the word of God as rituals and words will not save only actions and professions of faith – merit – without you will be stealing those away from the owner when the servant comes to receive them at harvest)
and profane the name of my God.(Adulterating his words)
Do not slander a servant to his master,(do not send an impure offering to the Holy Spirit as he shall see not only the words but the actions to prove upon the merits)
lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.(as it is written those false teachers shall see the darkest of darkness forever)
There are those who curse their fathers (father on earth, Holy Spirit the creator, and God)
and do not bless their mothers.(Mother on earth of the flesh, and mother – from the kingdom of which we come as it is written do not be deceived be not of this world)
There are those who are clean in their own eyes (self righteous not knowing the unleavened word of God trying to be saved by words and rituals alone but it is written “how can I be your master if you do not what I say?”)
but are not washed of their filth.(as water cleanses the earth the Holy Spirit of God cleanses the pure of heart honoring the covenants)
There are those—how lofty are their eyes,(as they seek worldly acceptance and seek the approval for worldly accomplishments)
how high their eyelids lift!(yet they are spiritually blind)
There are those whose teeth are swords,(the wolves looking for the lost with out sheep or shepherd as lambs to slaughter)
whose fangs are knives,(that dig deep to destroy God’s congregation)
to devour the poor(those lacking the truth and spirit) from off the earth,(the vineyard God hath set in place to harvest the pure spirits who have divorced the wickedness of the flesh I.E. the wife of their youth a spirit born into flesh to achieve grace and ascend to the kingdom of God)
the needy from among mankind.(as God created man both male and female and separated us from him for transgression to seek the light in the dark–darkness the wanting of light — light – the truth the wisdom of God – I.E. those needing the Holy Spirit of God to be saved)
The leech has two daughters:
Give and Give.(For they do not Give and receive they only take and destroy true life)
Three things are never satisfied;(the vineyard not tended, the lost without a guide, the trials that cannot be stopped without God’s love the Holy Spirit)
four never say, “Enough”:(The blind in Spirit cut off from the father in Heaven)
Sheol, the barren womb,(the seedless vineyard without the Holy Spirit)
the land(host I.E. vessel I.E. wine sack) never satisfied with water,(spirit)
and the fire ( as he will sit as a refiner of silver and to refine silver you must watch it until you see your image in it- therefore without God’s truth at times of trial leaving the silver to long burns it up and destroys it) that never says, “Enough.”
The eye (the wicked ways of the flesh without spiritual eyes) that mocks a father(by words and rituals but does not act in accordance will lack merit)
and scorns to obey a mother (a mother – singular – from the kingdom from which you came often referred to as the Jerusalem in heaven – defying God’s will)
will be picked out by the ravens of the valley (The valley of death as flesh ” the old wine sack will burst not being able to contain the spirit and shall perish in spiritual death not seeing everlasting life)
and eaten by the vultures.(The evil they are surrounded by picking away at them with temptation)
Three things are too wonderful for me;
four I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,(The one who watches over me for no one understands God without his Spiritual Guidance)
the way of a serpent on a rock,(The evil that upon a rock can only be if not on the rock of foundation- The Holy Spirit of God)
the way of a ship on the high seas,(this one shall be revealed to you when you receive it yourself)
and the way of a man with a virgin.( the way of a man “complete putting away childish things and becoming spiritual in maturity” who has received to plant the seed for one who has not –  God made man both male and female)
This is the way of an adulteress:
she eats and wipes her mouth (the womb of the world eats of the evil seed and hides as a wolf in sheep’s clothing)
and says, “I have done no wrong.”(self righteously)
Under three things the earth trembles; (God, the Holy Spirit, and the servants with a Godly congregation)
under four it cannot bear up:(under evil it cannot ascend)
a slave (as to be free from the bondage of sin we must divorce the wickedness of flesh) when he becomes king,( when evil is allowed to rule over good by transgressions and the lack of spirit….sheep to protect the lamb and shepherds to tend the flock.. for he sent them out as sheep among the wolves as sheep protect their lambs and shepherds keep the flock “congregation” together)
and a fool when he is filled with food;(lacking spirit filled with worldly knowledge and seeds of evil)
an unloved woman when she gets a husband,(for it is written the holy spirit is the bride groom yet if you are not pure it is written he shall not know the workers of lawlessness)
and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress. (a servant when displacing the master- “how can I be your master when you do not what I say)
Four things on earth are small,
but they are exceedingly wise:
the ants are a people not strong,(divided by rituals and religions and the yeast in the bread we are weak)
yet they provide their food in the summer;(meat in due season planting the seed with the faith of a mustard seed to harvest in abundance the good will and God’s purpose)
the rock badgers are a people not mighty,(building their house on firm foundations – The Holy Spirit is the rock)
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;( look for wisdom on high as true wisdom comes from above)
the locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in rank;( in unity each member has a purpose and skill and together a task is accomplished to establish divinity yet – evil shall deny God and stand against you if you do not know the way as evil has no king and has been denied entry into the kingdom and seek to devour it as locusts hence why God sent the locusts to teach evil a lesson they did not understand)
the lizard you can take in your hands,(for it is written to teach the kingdom of heaven is at hand)
yet it is in kings’ palaces.(plural – the choice is your’s and no other can choose for you – God gave man both male and female dominion over earth and it is by your works and measure that thou shall judge as a lizard is a chameleon it can be renewed beware of wolves but wolves can also be renewed as it is written one day the wolves and sheep shall dine together)
Three things are stately in their tread;(God, The Holy Spirit and the children of God planting seeds to tread out the grain (spirit) for the harvest)
four are stately in their stride:
the lion, which is mightiest among beasts (god)
and does not turn back before any;
the strutting rooster(The Holy Spirit who awakens you upon your rebirth in the spirit), the he-goat,(the child of God)
and a king whose army is with him.(congregation of God who stands for God in purity)
If you have been foolish,(without spiritual guidance) exalting yourself,(self righteousness)
or if you have been devising evil,(slaughtering the lambs having no sheep or shepherd to tend the vineyard by lack of spirit and teaching leavened bread)
put your hand on your mouth.(and speak not of the leaven but seek truth and the Holy Spirit shall set you free)
For pressing milk produces curds,(The press of the vineyard was a wine press to press spirits, milk rots and becomes curd and the Lord accepts no substitutions I.E. rituals and words by false doctrines having no works as it is written the flesh shall perish but all those receiving the grace of God The holy spirit shall not perish but become everlasting)
pressing the nose produces blood,( for the hypocrite lifts his nose and is to righteous shedding the blood of the lamb instead of producing water into wine “spirit” since we did not understand when Jesus was stabbed with the spear water flowed from him to give you this key)
and pressing anger produces strife.(for without love and the wisdom from God religions and rituals separate us with strife for this is the purpose of the greatest being the 2 love God and Love your neighbor as yourself)

We are all his creations and we are all his temples and we all were given the choice….

God Bless,

Minister Joseph Preston Kirk

The Declaration of Independence and God

United States Declaration of Independence

Image via Wikipedia

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27

By invoking the “Laws of Nature and of Nature‘s God” the 56 signers of the Declaration incorporated a legal standard of freedom into the forms of government that would follow. The theory of freedom adopted was simply that God’s law was supreme and gave freedom. The phrase “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” referred to the laws that God in his capacity as the Creator of the universe had established for the governance of people, nations and nature. These laws are variously described as the laws of Creation, God’s Creation laws or as the framers elected to refer to them, as the laws of nature and of nature’s God. This body of law, whatever it is called, can be ascertained by people through an examination of God’s creation, the text of the Bible, and to a certain degree, instinct or reason.

The decision to expressly rely upon God’s law of creation was not a superficial one, but ably debated for many years before and after the Declaration was drafted.27 Thomas Jefferson, for instance, reflecting on the Declaration of Independence, wrote in 1825 that its essential point was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject.”28 For the common sense of the subject, the framers turned to the laws of creation. They gave the principles of that law expression in the Declaration. The American Revolution was the context in which the Declaration’s principles were discerned and expressed for all the world to hear and consider anew.29

These are concurrent expressions of God’s law which we may consider in our effort to adequately determine what the law prohibits, allows and commands.18

In contrast to God’s law, the civil laws of nations are not written on anyone’s conscience or mind. They are not written in the physical creation. Nor are they appended to the Bible. The civil laws of nations are only written in their own lawbooks. Consequently, the validity and force of such laws are based solely on national authority. There is no other supporting evidence or “witness” to testify for the validity of specific civil laws. This shortcoming, however, is not necessarily a fatal one. In order for the civil laws of any nation to be authoritative, they must at least be supported by the testimony of another source and that they are consistent with God’s delegation of authority to civil governments.

In order for the laws of a nation to be valid, they must at the very least harmonize with, and not contradict, the law of God. We know the law of God by looking to its expressions. If the laws of a nation conflict with one of the expressions of the law of God, then something is amiss. Or, perhaps we do not understand one or the other clearly.

The optimum situation would be where the laws of a nation are consistent with each of the expressions of the law of God. But, perhaps the best that can be generally hoped for is that civil laws be found to not contradict the most universal expression of the law of God in creation – the law of nature. The heavens and the earth declare that law. Thus we may deduce a rule to guide us: only when civil law does not contradict this fundamental and universal expression of the law of God can it be recognized as prima facie valid. That is to say, civil laws, so far as can be judged from first appearances, are valid if they do not violate God’s law as reflected in the law of nature. And we can know if our interpretation of the law of nature is correct if it comports with the Bible.

Consistency with creation, therefore, is the minimum test to validate the laws of nations. Historically, this was recognized in the legal maxim, lex spectat naturæ ordinem, the law regards the order of nature. A law which fails this initial test is of no binding legal effect because it remains unsupported. Every civil law requires the supporting testimony of the law of God in at least one of its expressions in order to be of binding effect. Indeed, no nation should be bound to a malum in se rule or law simply because it is written in a statute book.


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

(The Latin word for assume  is ” vindico : to avenge, punish, liberate, deliver, protect.”

assume among the powers of the earth….

Powers of the Earth

Power of Man

Genesis 1:26

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Governments were instituted to protect that right from the unbelieving sojourners.

Power of Satan

2 Corinthians 4:4

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Ephesians 2:2

in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience

The phrase “god of this world” (or “god of this age” indicates that Satan is the major influence on the mind-set expressed by the ideals, opinions, goals, hopes and views of the majority of people. His areas of influence also encompass the world’s philosophies, education, and commerce. The thoughts, ideas, speculations and false religions of the world are under his control and have sprung from his lies and deceptions.

This is not to say that he rules the world completely; only God does this. But it does mean that God, in His infinite wisdom, has allowed Satan to operate in this world (within the boundaries God has set for him) and has allowed Satan to operate with an agenda. When the Bible says Satan has power over the world, it must be made clear that God has given him domain over unbelievers alone. Believers are no longer under the rule of Satan.

Colossians 1:13

13He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us tothe kingdom of his beloved Son,

Unbelievers, on the other hand, are caught “in the snare of the devil”..

2 Timothy 2:26

and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

lie in the “power of the evil one”

1 John 5:19

We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

and are in bondage to Satan

Ephesians 2:2

in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience

Satan’s agenda includes pushing a false philosophy onto the unbelieving world—a false philosophy that blinds the unbeliever from the truth of the Gospel. Satan’s philosophies are the fortresses in which people are imprisoned, needing to be set free and brought captive to Christ in obedience to the truth.

1 John 8:44

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

 to avenge, punish, liberate, deliver, protect among the powers of the earth…. )

( …..the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…

Nature – the fundamental qualities of a person or thing; identity or essential character )

(  a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

impel – to drive or cause to move onward; propel; impart motion to.)

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

( Supreme Judge of the World….. – “God”

rectitude of our intentions…..

rectitude – rightness of principle or conduct; moral virtue

do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies……

Genesis 1:26

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

as Free and Independent States…….

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence…..


1. of or pertaining to a god, especially the Supreme Being.
2. addressed, appropriated, or devoted to God or a god; religious; sacred: divine worship.
3.proceeding from  God or a god: divine laws.
Providence –
God, especially when conceived as omnisciently directing the universe and the affairs of humankind with wise benevolence.

with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence….

Divine Providence-

The word comes from Latin providentia “foresight, prudence“, from pro- “ahead” + videre “to see”. Divine Providence derives from the sense “knowledge of the future” or omniscience, which is the privilege of God. The initial meaning of provider remains in ‘to provide’ = “to take precautionary measures”.)

John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton