Scriptural Principles


Orienting Quotes

 Warfield:  “Nor do we need to do more than remind ourselves that this attitude of entire trust in every word of the Scriptures has been characteristic of the people of God from the very foundation of the church.  Christendom has always reposed upon the belief that the utterances of this book are properly oracles of God.  The whole body of this book are properly oracles of God. The whole body of Christian literature bears witness to this fact.  We may trace its stream to its source, and everywhere it is vocal with a living faith in the divine trustworthiness of the Scriptures of God in every one of their affirmations. This is the murmur of the little rills of Christian speech which find their tenuous way through the parched heathen land of the early second century.  And this is the mighty voice of the great river of Christian thought which sweeps through the ages, freighted with blessings for men.”  source
Calvin: “Therefore, however fitting it may be for man seriously to turn his eyes to contemplate God’s works, since he has been placed in this most glorious theater to be a spectator of them, it is fitting that he prick up his ears to the Word, the better to profit … Now, in order that true religion may shine upon us, we ought to hold that it must take its beginning from heavenly doctrine and that no one can get even the slightest taste of right and sound doctrine unless he be a pupil of Scripture.  Hence, there also emerges the beginning of true understanding when we reverently embrace what it pleases God there to witness of himself.  But not only faith, perfect and in every way complete, but all right knowledge of God is born of obedience”  source
Oswald Dykes, “If men must have a reconciliation for all conflicting truths before they will believe any; if they must see how the promises of God are to be fulfilled before they will obey his commands; if duty is to hang upon the satisfying of the understanding, instead of the submission of the will, — then the greater number of us will find the road of faith and the road of duty blocked at the outset.”  source
ThesisIt is not the history of interpretation, nor what is current in our own time that should govern our method of interpretation, but what the Bible says about itself that should govern how we interpret it. When we look at what the Bible says about itself, it is the Inspiration, Perfection, and Authority of Scripture that especially ought to drive us to the Holy Spirit to Enlighten our Minds to Interpret it rightly.

The Inspiration of Scripture

 The doctrine of inspiration is specifically taught in two great passages.  The first is found in 2Peter 1:21. This passage emphasizes and explains the divine origin of prophecy, and by extension Scripture. Peter attributes the uniqueness and perfection of prophecy to the fact that God moved men to speak. Here is the biblical concept of inspiration: Men spoke … moved by God.
They spoke words, and they did so in a way that God was in control over them. He moved them. He overshadowed them. They opened their mouth because of Him. They spoke what He wanted them to speak and the process made sure it was God’s Word.
The second main proof for the doctrine of inspiration comes to us in 2Tim. 3:16ff.  Here we learn that Scripture was not dictated by God, but inspired by God. He so moved upon the Scriptural writers that what they wrote down conveyed His breath. The Word of God is the Word of the Spirit. That is why the Scriptures say, “as the Holy Spirit saith” (Heb 3:7; cf. Rev. 2:29; Rev. 3:22, etc.).
Inspiration is not simply that these men through the help of God and His Spirit achieved something beyond the ordinary, as talented men, and that we now look at it and say: that is inspired, like we do of some piece of art or poetry that are sublime and extraordinary. Inspiration is not simply that God gave them some thoughts, ideas, or concepts, and they spun them together according to their own abilities, like philosophers or poets might land on an idea, something impressed on them and then take pen to paper and write something beautiful or influential.
Neither is inspiration the thought that when we read the Bible the Lord gives us certain insights whereby we see that the things the Bible says are special. That is a different doctrine, the doctrine of illumination, which we also hold to and believe. It is an absolute requirement for anyone who will truly believe the Scriptures savingly – he or she must be illumined by the Spirit. However, this is not inspiration. The text says that “All Scripture is given by inspiration,” not all Scripture is received by inspiration.
Finally, inspiration is not that God dictated all the words to the Scripture authors. In certain cases, it did happen, that God dictated his word to prophets. However, when Moses wrote the history of the world and the patriarchs and Israel, God moved Him to write it. So too, Luke, when he wrote the history of Christ on earth, he researched it and God moved him to write it.
Inspiration is best conceived of as an instrument of music, which someone takes hold of and plays, an organ, piano, or harp, with this qualification that instruments might be faulty and hinder the player, but though every man is faulty, God moved upon them in such a way that the words were flawless.  As B. B. Warfield writes:

The Biblical books are called inspired as the Divinely determined products of inspired men; the Biblical writers are called inspired as breathed into by the Holy Spirit, so that the product of their activities transcends human powers and becomes Divinely authoritative.  Inspiration is, therefore, usually defined as a supernatural influence exerted on the sacred writers by the Holy Spirit, by virtue of which their writings are given divine truthfulness, and constitute an infallible and sufficient rule of faith and practice.”   source

The Infallibility of Scripture

A second biblical concept that safeguards the authority of the Word of God is infallibility or inerrancy.  Because it is God who inspires the Scriptures, the historic Christian doctrine regarding the Bible is that it constitutes an infallible or inerrant book. Both terms mean essentially the same thing.  Infallibility is a more historic term, inerrancy more recent.
Scripture itself makes clear that it is infallible or inerrant and absolutely without error down to its very words.  See for example the following texts: Num. 23:19; 2 Sam. 7:28; Ps. 12:6; Ps. 19:7; Ps. 119:140; Ps 119:160; Prov. 30:5.  Significantly Christ himself said to the religious leaders of his time: “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures,” which implies that the Scriptures are a standard that do not err (Matt. 22:27).
The inerrancy of the Bible means that Scripture can be thoroughly trusted. It does not first need the approval of priests or popes, or the verification of science or archaeology first to be trusted.  No, it is trustworthy from the outset, and thoroughly trustworthy, down to the details and right to the very end.
That doesn’t mean that the Bible does not need to be interpreted. Search the Scripture, Christ himself said. Scripture is of no private interpretation, Peter said. It needs to be read, searched, and understood. Scripture must be compared with Scripture. There are figures of speeches that the authors employed. Like ourselves, they used at times the language of observation. We need to interpret the Scripture as it is designed to be interpreted, as the Spirit designed for it to be read, uncovering the meaning, the proper and singular meaning of the Scripture at every point. There are many items that need to be harmonized and there may be things that are difficult to be harmonized from our perspective, but none of these things detracts from the Scriptural doctrine of inspiration and infallibility.
And infallibility and inerrancy is the historic Christian doctrine. Warfield writes:

“Even a detailed attempt to explain away the texts which teach the doctrine of the plenary inspiration and unvarying truth of Scripture, involves the admission that in their obvious meaning such texts teach the doctrine which it is sought to explain away … It is doubtless the profound and ineradicable conviction, so expressed, of the need of an infallible Bible, if men are to seek and find salvation in God’s announced purpose of grace, and peace and comfort in his past dealings with his people, that has operated to keep the formulas of the churches and the hearts of the people of God, through so many ages, true to the Bible doctrine of plenary inspiration.  In that doctrine men have found what their hearts have told them was the indispensable safeguard of a sure word of God to them, — a word of God to which they could resort with confidence in every time of need, to which they could appeal for guidance in every difficulty, for comfort in every sorrow, for instruction in every perplexity; on whose “Thus saith the Lord” they could safely rest all their aspirations and all their hopes.  Such a Word of God, each one of us knows he needs, — not a Word of God that speaks to us only through the medium of our fellow-men, men of like passions and weaknesses with ourselves, so that we have to feel our way back to God’s word through the church, through tradition, or through apostles, standing between us and God;  but a Word of God in which God speaks directly to each of our souls.  Such a Word of God, Christ and his apostles offer us, when they give us the Scriptures, not as man’s report to us of what God says, but as the very Word of God itself, spoken by God himself through human lips and pens.  Of such a precious possession, given to her by such hands, the church will not lightly permit herself to be deprived.”  source

That means that the very words that we have on the page of Scripture are the words that the Spirit teaches. Every word is His Word. He says of them: They are mine. This is what is taught in 1 Cor. 2:12-13, where Paul writes: “Now we have received, not the Spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God, which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

The Authority of the Bible

What are we to do with an inspired and infallible Bible. We need to believe it and bow under it, for it has more authority in all the word than all princes, rulers, presidents, and monarchs put together from all ages. It has more authority than principalities and powers, angels and archangels, devils and demons, all put together. It has such perfection and authority that we do well to treat it like the angels do every word that comes out of the mouth of God: Don’t question it, but obey it, quickly, reverently, and fervently.
It has authority to outstrip by far the wisdom of the world and give the mind of God.
In order to do this, we need to see it as far superior to any wisdom this world can offer. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:7-11). No wonder the Christian can have assurance of truth, for the Spirit of God himself speaks in the Word.
It has authority to bring life from the dead.
The word of God is quick (living) and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). We cannot hide, for the Word of God is “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
God’s Word separates. It separates that which is from ourselves and from God. It takes away everything that needs to go, and replaces it with godliness. It is like we are laying on an operation table and we become exposed, as the Word of God has cut us open to see how we function and operate. But then, God heals us again, heals the wound after taking the problem out and fixing our body from the inside out. For God’s Word breaks, but heals again. “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me; I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver” (Deut. 32:39).
And when you cast aside all else can come under the Scriptures, you will find as Spurgeon says: “The Word of God is so sharp a thing, so full of cutting power, that you may be bleeding under its wounds before you have seriously suspected the possibility of such a thing.” source  Or as he says elsewhere: “Take up any other book except the Bible and there may be a measure of power in it, but there is not that indescribable vitality in it which breathes and speaks – and pleads and conquers in the case of this sacred volume.”  source
The Bible is a book that is applicable for all times, every age, every person, and has throughout all the ages worked with its changing power. Jesus said: “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matt. 5:18). And “heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall no pass away” (Matt. 24:35). His word is firmly fixed in the heavens (Ps. 119:89). It does not change, for in heaven there is no time, just the unchanging, everlasting God.
Shall we not then read this book front to back and back to front. Spurgeon said: “A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” It is living and powerful. Even when you feel dead when you start reading it, it will revive your soul. Spurgeon: “When you converse with Revelation, that if you yourself are dead when you begin to read, it does not matter – you will be quickened (made alive) as you peruse it. You need not bring life to the Scripture. You shall draw life from the Scripture.” source

It has authority to transform our lives.

God’s Word can change the hardest of people. Paul writes: “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance” (1 Thess. 1:5). Psalm 107 says: “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (Ps. 170:20). We may depend on the power of the Word. “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isa. 55:10-11).  As Martin Luther said: “Christ is involved in the Scriptures as a body in its clothes.”[footnote]Cited in Lutzer 47.[/footnote] He does this powerful work by regenerating the soul, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, though the Word of God that abides forever (1 Pet 1:23). It unbinds the fettered sinner and he is freed by the truth, for the truth sets him free, if we continue in that word (John 8:34-36). We must continue to come under that word. It wills sanctify us as Christ prayed: “Sanctify them with the truth; thy Word is truth” (John 17:17).
John Wesley said:

To candid, reasonable men, I am not afraid to lay open what have been the inmost thoughts of my heart. I have thought, I am a creature of a day, passing through life as an arrow through the air. I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God: Just hovering over the great gulf; till, a few moments hence, I am no more seen; I drop into an unchangeable eternity! I want to know one thing,—the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach the way: For this very end he came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it: Here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be homo unius libri. [A man of one book.] Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone: Only God is here. In his presence I open, I read his book; for this end, to find the way to heaven. Is there a doubt concerning the meaning of what I read? Does anything appear dark or intricate? I lift up my heart to the Father of Lights:—“Lord, is it not thy word, ‘If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God?’ Thou ‘givest liberally, and upbraidest not.’ Thou hast said, ‘If any be willing to do thy will, he shall know.’ I am willing to do, let me know, thy will.” I then search after and consider parallel passages of Scripture, “comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” I meditate thereon with all the attention and earnestness of which my mind is capable. If any doubt still remains, I consult those who are experienced in the things of God; and then the writings whereby, being dead, they yet speak. And what I thus learn, that I teach.  source

It has the authority to resist Satan. 

We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God …. The helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:12-17). So Christ resisted Satan with the words: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). “And the devil leaveth him” (Matt. 4:11).

It has authority to deal with suffering and death.

It has the authority to guide safely through suffering and death.  Christ himself quoted the Scriptures, bringing them to mind on the cross, confiding as he did the Scriptures, pleading them. Paul asked for the parchments (2 Tim. 4:13), likely copies of Scripture parts.
When Sir Walter Scott, himself a famed author, lay dying, he called his secretary and asked him for The Book. And when his secretary brought to mind the thousands of books in Scott’s library, he asked, Dr. Scott, which book. “The Book,” replied Scott. “The Bible – the only book for a dying man.”  source

The Christ-centeredness of Scripture

A third Scriptural principle is the truth that everything hangs together and coheres in Christ. 1 Pet 1 says:  “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you, searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand, the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Pet. 1:10-11). Luther is famous for his hermeneutical principle that everything focused on Christ. Spurgeon said it similarly:

Sixthly, I believe that those sermons which are fullest of Christ are the most likely to be blessed to the conversion of the hearers. Let your sermons be full of Christ, from beginning to end crammed full of the gospel. As for myself, brethren, I cannot preach anything else but Christ and his cross, for I know nothing else, and long ago, like the apostle Paul, I determined not to know anything else save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. People have often asked me, “What is the secret of your success?” I always answer that I have no other secret but this, that I have preached the gospel—not about the gospel, but the gospel—the full, free, glorious gospel of the living Christ who is the incarnation of the good news. Preach Jesus Christ, brethren, always and everywhere; and every time you preach be sure to have much of Jesus Christ in the sermon. You remember the story of the old minister who heard a sermon by a young man, and when he was asked by the preacher what he thought of it he was rather slow to answer, but at last he said, “If I must tell you, I did not like it at all; there was no Christ in your sermon.” “No,” answered the young man, “because I did not see that Christ was in the text.” “Oh!” said the old minister, “but do you not know that from every little town and village and tiny hamlet in England there is a road leading to London? Whenever I get hold of a text, I say to myself, ‘There is a road from here to Jesus Christ, and I mean to keep on His track till I get to Him.’ ” “Well,” said the young man, “but suppose you are preaching from a text that says nothing about Christ?” “Then I will go over hedge and ditch but what I will get at Him.” So must we do, brethren; we must have Christ in all our discourses, whatever else is in or not in them. There ought to be enough of the gospel in every sermon to save a soul. Take care that it is so when you are called to preach before Her Majesty the Queen, and if you have to preach to charwomen or chairmen, still always take care that there is the real gospel in every sermon.   source

Connected to this it is truth that Scripture sheds light on Scripture, and by comparing Scripture with Scripture, we receive greater light. The usual term for this concept is call: “analogy of faith,” (regula fidei) which is drawn from Rom 12:6.  It denotes the general harmony of fundamental doctrine as it pervades the entire Scriptures. A better way to say it is: The consistency of Scripture. In other words: The Bible will nowhere teach something that elsewhere is truly contradicted by another passage.
This might help. To know someone better, you should take all they say about themselves to shed light on what particulars they say about themselves. Thus, for example, even if you want to study someone from history, you read all you can that that person has written in order to get a complete picture. What they say in one place may help you understand what they say in another, and certainly, you can guard against wrongly interpreting what someone means by taking the whole of what they say. So too, with God. The more you know the Bible, and the deeper you wade in the Bible, the more you know what each particular means, because you get to know the God of the Bible better.

  1. Matt 4:1:  “He was lead up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil.” Cf. James 1:13:  “God tempteth no man.”  Consequently, by analogy of faith, “the leading, on the Spirit’s part, into the field of temptation, was for the purpose of victory over sin, not of subjection to its power” (Fairbairn).
  2. Christ wielded analogy of faith against devil’s use of Scripture. Ps 91:  “He shall give his angels charge over thee…” “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God”:  The promises of God ought to be “understood as bounded and qualified by the plain rules of duty.”
  3. Matt 16:18: On this rock I shall build my church:  also Matt 19:29;  Gal 2:9;  Eph 2:20;  Rev 21:14;  but see 1 Peter 5:1-4; 1 Peter 1:2-3;  1 Peter 2:3-6.
  4. James 2:24: “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith.” Compare with Rom. 4:5: “But to him that worketh no, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Without the analogy or consistency of Scripture, these two passage would be contradictory. But now, there is a solution. We are justified before the tribunal of God without works by faith alone; but faith that justifies will never stay alone, and before people our righteousness will be vindicated as we work out our salvation.

The Relation of the Exegete to Scripture

  1. Qualifications for the interpreter
  2. Intellectual qualifications

Among these are, according to Terry,  acuteness of intellect, controlled imagination, sober judgment, correct and delicate taste, aptitude to teach.  Defective mental powers disqualify.  Terry:

“The interpreter of Scripture, and, indeed, or any other book, should have a sound, well-balanced mind.  For dullness of apprehension, defective judgment, and an extravagant fancy will pervert one’s reason, and lead to many vain and foolish notions.  The faculties of the mind are capable of discipline, and may be trained to a very high degree of perfection;  but some men inherit peculiar tendencies of intellect.  Some are gifted with rare powers of imagination, but are utterly wanting in the critical faculty.  A lifetime of discipline will scarcely restrain their exuberant fancy.  Others are naturally given to form hasty judgments, and will rush to the wildest extremes.  In others, peculiar tastes and passions warp the judgment, and some seem to be constitutionally destitute of common sense.  Any and all such mental defects disqualify one for the interpretation of the word of God.”  source

Academic Qualifications

An interpreter must be acquainted with the geography, history, original languages, logic, and other such ancillary disciplines.

Spiritual Qualifications

An interpreter of Scripture must be regenerated, for otherwise they will not receive the things of the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:14).  They must love the truth and desire to know the truth.  They must be tenderly affectionate and filled with love towards God and others.  They must have an enthusiasm for the word, chastened and controlled by a true reverence for the Lord.  Finally, they must be in living communion with the Triune God through the Holy Spirit.  Believers must offer up their body as a living sacrifice to the Lord.

The Role of the Holy Spirit in Interpretation

The Importance of the Spirit’s Illumination

Owen teaches “the necessity of an especial work of the Holy Ghost in the illumination of our minds, to make us understand the mind of God as revealed in the Scripture. source  The first rule of interpretation is then prayer and meditation.
Arthur Lindsley writes:  “The Holy Spirit is the ‘porter’ not only of the truths of the person and work of Christ, but of all the truths of Scripture.”  Non-believers can have a certain understanding of individual texts, thought it is impossible for them to relate them together and see the depth thereof.  The Spirit helps the believer to see the mutual relations of truths.
Edwards writes that the Spirit’s illumination gives us a more lively sense of ideas by engaging “the attention of the mind with more fixedness and intenseness to that kind of object, which causes it to have a clearer view of them and enables it more clearly to see their mutual relations, and occasions it to take more notice of them”  Apart from the Spirit, people are “inclined to all things that are vain, curious, superstitious, carnal, suited unto the interests of pride, lust and all manner of corrupt affections.” (see page 415 here)  Regeneration is the only remedy from bondage.
Calvin wrote:

“Our mind is too rude to be able to comprehend the spiritual wisdom of God which is revealed to us by faith, and our hearts are too prone either to diffidence or to a perverse confidence in ourselves or creatures, to rest in God of their own accord. But the Holy Spirit by his illumination makes us capable of understanding those things which would otherwise far exceed our capacity, and forms us to a firm persuasion, by sealing the promises of salvation on our hearts.”   source

The Spirit and the Beauty and Excellence of Scripture

The Holy Spirit helps us to sense the beauty and excellency of Scripture.  Calvin writes:

“…illuminated by Him, the mind receives as it were new keenness for the contemplation of heavenly mysteries … Thus the human intellect irradiated by the light of the Holy Spirit begins to have a taste for those things which pertain to the Kingdom of God.”   source

Without the Spirit, our minds are “too stupid and senseless” to have any relish for God’s truth.

Spirit and the Sufficiency of Scripture

The Spirit does not add any new words, propositions, or doctrines to the Scripture.  Illumination opens the mind for the truth of Scripture and drives it home to the heart.  Edwards wrote:

“The spiritual light is not the suggesting of a new truth or propositions not contained in the word of God … It reveals no new doctrine, it suggests no new propositions to the mind, it teaches no new thing of God, or Christ or another world, not taught in the Bible, but only gives a due apprehension of those things that are taught in the word of God.” (see page 412 here)

Calvin stated that “the Word is the instrument (organum) by which the Lord dispenses the illumination of His Spirit to believers.”   source

The Spirit and Assurance of the Truth

The internal testimony of the Holy Spirit (testimonium spiritus sancti internum) is the term that has come to designate the Spirit’s action by which a believer acknowledges the inherent authority of the Scripture as a whole.  1 Thess 2:13.  This is not a special revelation.  The Spirit witness in our hearts by and with the Word.  Calvin writes:

“For as God alone is a fit witness of Himself in His Word, so also the Word will not find acceptance in men’s hearts before it is sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit.  The same Spirit, therefore, Who has spoken through the mouths of the prophets must penetrate into our hearts to persuade us that they faithfully proclaimed what had been divinely commanded.”  source

Elsewhere he shows what this means experientially.

“The Spirit of God shows us hidden things, the knowledge of which cannot reach our senses.  Eternal life is promised to us, but it is promised to the dead;  we are told of the resurrection of the blessed, but meantime we are involved in corruption;  we are declared to be just, and sin dwells within us;  we hear that we are blessed, but meantime we are overwhelmed by untold miseries;  we are promised an abundance of all good things, but we are often hungry and thirsty;  God proclaims that He will come to us immediately, but seem to be deaf to our cries.  What would happen to us if we did not rely on our hope, and if our minds did not emerge above the world out of the midst of darkness through the shining Word of God and by His Spirit.”  source

In other place he says:

“Such, then, is a conviction (persuasio) that requires no reasons;  such, a knowledge (notitia) with which the best reason agrees – in which the mind (men’s) truly reposes more securely and constantly than in any reasons;  such finally, a feeling (sensus) that can be born only of heavenly revelation.”  source

The Spirit and Application

The Spirit is the one who applies God’s truth to our lives.  It imbues in us a desire to obey it.  Edwards writes:

“This light and this only has its fruit in an universal holiness of life.  No merely notional or speculative understanding of the doctrine of religion will ever bring to this.  But this light, as it reaches the bottom of the heart changes the nature, so it will effectually dispose to an universal obedience.”  (see page 424 here)

Calvin says:

“By receiving it with the full consent of our conscience, as truth come down from heaven, submitting ourselves to it in right obedience, loving it with true affection by having it imprinted in our hearts, we may follow it entirely and conform ourselves to it.”   source