The Internal Testimony of the Holy Spirit

Happy New Year one and all. After a brief hiatus in celebration of being married to my most splendid wife and co-laborer for 20 years, it is time to once again assume the blogging mantle. Thanks to Dr. Van Kleeck Sr. for doing all the heavy lifting while I was gone. We pick up again with Richard Muller on the point of the Holy Spirit’s witness. Muller writes,

“testimonium internum Spiritus Sancti: internal testimony of the Holy Spirit;

the inward work of the Spirit that testifies to faith concerning the truth of Scripture.”

Richard Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms: Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology, Term: testimonium internum Spiritus Sancti.

It is important to note that the word of God is not ever alone in its work. Where the word is the Spirit is and where the Spirit is the word is. Indeed, it is the presence of the Spirit of God in and through the words of Scripture which makes those words quick (living) and powerful. Muller reminds us of the Protestant orthodox position when he writes,

“The Reformers and the Protestant scholastics were adamant in their belief both that the testimonium is necessary to the subjective receipt of the truth of Scripture and that the testimonium only ratifies the truth of the text and adds no new information.”

Muller, Dictionary, Term: testimonium internum Spiritus Sancti.

For our purposes and for use in the current textual discussion, the truth of the text and thereby its trustworthiness and authenticity/genuineness are ratified by the Holy Spirit. No doubt there are many gifted thinkers who have their say about what they think is or is not a part of that thing called the New Testament in Greek. But let’s be clear. The orthodox theological position has been that the Spirit of God ratifies His own words, and He does so by speaking through His words to His people. The Holy Spirit ratifies His words through His words and does not if the words are not His. This is how an average non-seminary educated saint can believe and know that what he/she reads is the word of God even if scholars argue that those words don’t belong in the New Testament (at least according to the evidence).

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