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Maddox: Scripture and the Analogy of Faith

"Likewise, while Wesley generally used dictation imagery in describing the inspiration of Scripture, he recognized the evidences of human deliberation and participation in the process. As such, though he clearly considered Scripture to be an infallible, or totally reliable, guide for Christian life and belief, it is doubtful that he should be characterized as an inerrantist in the contemporary sense of the term.

"Most important, Wesley was sensitive to some of the problems with treating Scripture as a depository of ‘nuggets’ of divine truth; i.e., isolated truths that could be extracted at will and organized as desired into doctrinal claims. As a result, his continual appeal to Scripture only infrequently degenerated into proof texting.

"What helped Wesley avoid fragmentary proof texting was another of his exegetical principles: that any particular Scripture must be interpreted according to the 'analogy of faith.' For Wesley, this term referred to a 'connected chain of Scripture truths.' He highlighted four soteriological truths in particular: the corruption of sin, justification by faith, the new birth, and present inward and outward holiness. He believed that it was the shared articulation of these truths that gave the diverse components of Scripture their unity. Accordingly, he required that all passages be read in light of these truths."

Randy Maddox, Responsible Grace: John Wesley's Practical Theology (Kingswood: 1994) p. 38.

For those who might be interested, here is a compilation of direct quotes from John Wesley about his beliefs on Scripture: What John Wesley Actually Said About the Bible.

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