Pretending to Know the Mind of God Better Than Himself — John Wilson (1588-1677)

Andrew Willet wrote that if Scripture were not self-interpreting everyone would have to carry “the Pope around in his pocket” for reference before a clear rendering of the text could be made. Anyone pretending to know the mind of God better than himself would also gladly take on the responsibility of being the new “Pope in the pocket,” establishing a new “rule” or “canon” of interpretation for the Church, to replace the authority of the self-interpreting Canon or Rule of Scripture as taught by the Holy Spirit. As you read Wilson’s work a stark contrast is evident between the high regard for Scripture in his day and the subordinate role of Scripture today.

The following is a quote of Cambridge fellow John Wilson (1588–1667), writings that “the Scripture is the only Authentic Record of the Mind and Will of God, “

“For it is certain and undoubted Voice of God himself; and what that speaks, He speaks. And who so fit to interpret the meaning of the words as himself? Ejus est Interpretarm cujus est condere, is an approved Rule in Civil Law; “He that made the Law, is fittest to interpret it.” And in the present case the reason is evident; God best knows his own mind; and he hath nowhere so plainly and fully revealed his mind as in Scripture. Certainly, there can be none so sure and infallible Interpreter of these sacred Records, as the Holy Spirit that edited them; and he Interprets them, not by suggesting to us anything for their understanding which is not there already, by but speaking to us more clearly from some part of Scripture what is delivered most darkly to others. Can any man, or sort of men in the world, pretend to know the mind of God better than himself? or give us better assurance what his mind is, than the Word which himself hath appointed to be written for this very purpose? Whatsoever sense may be put upon any Scripture-assertion, and by whomsoever framed, it cannot challenge our undoubted reception, unless we can discern the Voice of God in it.”

John Wilson, The Scriptures Genuine Interpreter Asserted: or a Discourse Concerning the Right Interpretation of Scripture (In the Savoy: Printed by T. N. for R. Boulter, at the Turks Head in Cornbil, over against the Royal Exchange, 1678), 215-216.

Published by Dr. Peter Van Kleeck, Sr.

Dr. Peter William Van Kleeck, Sr. : B.A., Grand Rapids Baptist College, 1986; M.A.R., Westminster Theological Seminary, 1990; Th.M., Calvin Theological Seminary, 1998; D. Min, Bob Jones University, 2013. Dr. Van Kleeck was formerly the Director of the Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, Grand Rapids, MI, (1990-1994) lecturing, researching and writing in the defense of the Masoretic Hebrew text, Greek Received Text and King James Bible. His published works include, "Fundamentalism’s Folly?: A Bible Version Debate Case Study" (Grand Rapids: Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, 1998); “We have seen the future and we are not in it,” Trinity Review, (Mar. 99); “Andrew Willet (1562-1621: Reformed Interpretation of Scripture,” The Banner of Truth, (Mar. 99); "A Primer for the Public Preaching of the Song of Songs" (Outskirts Press, 2015). Dr. Van Kleeck is the pastor of the Providence Baptist Church in Manassas, VA where he has ministered for the past twenty-one years. He is married to his wife of 43 years, Annette, and has three married sons, one daughter and eighteen grandchildren.

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