1689: 1.6: Sufficiency of Scripture, Good and Necessary Consequence, and the Spirit's Illuminating Work
6. The whole counsel of God concerning everything essential for his own glory and man’s salvation, faith, and life is either explicitly stated or by necessary inference contained in the Holy Scriptures. Nothing is ever to be added to the Scriptures, either by new revelation of the Spirit or by human traditions.9
Nevertheless, we acknowledge that the inward illumination of the Spirit of God is necessary for a saving understanding of what is revealed in the Word.10 We recognize that some circumstances concerning the worship of God and government of the church are common to human actions and organizations and are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian wisdom, following the general rules of the Word, which must always be observed.11
92 Timothy 3:15–17; Galatians 1:8,9. 10John 6:45; 1 Corinthians 2:9–12. 111 Corinthians 11:13, 14; 1 Corinthians 14:26, 40.
I'd like to break this down a bit for the sake of brevity and clarity. First, the founders firmly believed that the Scriptures are sufficient. Not just authoritative- sufficient. In God's Word, one will find everything one needs regarding the glory of God, the way to be reconciled to God, faith in practice, and the meaning of life. These things are either discussed explicitly in Scripture, or they are made clear through necessary inference. The 'necessary inference' part is an important phrase to take notice of. It is here that the founders of the Confession borrowed from the Westminster Confession of Faith (1.6) when it uses the language 'by good and necessary consequence'.
Why is this important? Let's take the word 'Trinity' for example. The word 'Trinity' is nowhere in the Bible. You will hear cults like the Jehovah's Witness make this claim. In fact, the word 'Trinity' isn't first recorded until around the 2nd century (Theophilus of Antioch) to our knowledge. However, orthodox Christians have worshipped God as a Trinity all throughout history. How can this be? It is because we clearly see God is Triune when we harmonize the Scripture. Therefore, by good and necessary consequence, orthodox Christians assert that God is Triune beyond a shadow of a doubt even though the word 'Trinity' is not explicitly in Scripture. The word 'Trinity' is a shorthand word used to assimilate information about God contained in the Scripture.
Next, notice in the Confession that nothing should be added to the Scripture by new revelation of the spirit or by human tradition. The framers used this particular passage to support this statement:
8 "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8-9 NKJV)
Simply put, if folks come to you with so-called 'assertions from God' that are foreign to the Scripture, Paul says let these people be accursed. They are not from God. God is not speaking to them. In fact, God is done speaking revelation. The canon of Scripture is closed- no mystery there. Now, if someone comes to you speaking that which is in harmony with the Scripture, accept this brother or sister, because what they proclaim is not a new revelation at all. It is an old revelation that has been documented in Scripture long ago.
The final bit I'd like to highlight today is that we need the Holy Spirit of God. No man can see, hear, or understand apart from divine illumination. Non-Christians can read the Scripture. They can hear the Scripture preached. They may even give intellectual assent to its claims, but only the illumination of the Holy Spirit can warm one's heart and affections for Christ Jesus. Only the Holy Spirit of God can make stony hearts flesh. And praise be to our Triune God for that.