In 1996 I remember traveling on a train and reading a great little book: Authority by Dr Martin Lloyd Jones.
At the time I was struggling with my faith as I sat under liberal theology lecturers who had multiple theories on the authority of Scripture, the doctrine of Salvation, and so on. I was being greatly helped by the RTSF and their monograph series, but there was a few paragraphs in this little book that shaped and sharpened my faith.
What did he teach?
An amazing truth that has been a rock to me ever since: the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit.
This is the idea that God literally confirms the authority of His Bible on an experiential level through the Third member of the Trinity. Therefore, only believers can be convinced of the true nature of Scripture by the grace of God.
I prayed for this, and the Lord blessed.
Whilst I still worked on the Synoptic problem and Higher Criticism, I was able to seek God and His Spirit to aid me in my search.
I ended up with a stronger faith after doing a liberal degree! All because of God’s goodness to me through His Spirit.
Where does Calvin come into all this?
Well, as I was reading through his Institutes my heart jumped with excitement as I came across Book 1, Chapter 7: The testimony of the Spirit necessary to give full authority to Scripture.
It was great to be reunited with that old friend of a doctrine that kept such a close eye on me a dozen years ago.
This is how Calvin put it:
The testimony of the Spirit is superior to reason. For as God alone can properly bear witness to his own words, so these words will not obtain full credit in the heart of men, until they are sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit.