“You will say Christ saith this, and the apostles say this, but what canst thou say? Art thou a child of Light and hast thou walked in the Light, and what thou speakest is it inwardly from God?” —George Fox, 1652
The Jewish and Christian writings in the Bible are part of the Quaker religious inheritance shared with other churches. Following Fox, however, Friends have refused to make the Bible the final test of right conduct and true doctrine. Divine revelation has not been confined to the past. The same Holy Spirit which inspired the scriptures in the past can inspire living believers centuries later. By the Inner Light, God has provided everyone with access to spiritual truth for today.
There is extreme variety in the Bible’s contents and much of it is quite foreign to our present ways of living and thinking. If it is to be our only guide, it is plainly silent on many urgent questions.
Not all Friends have achieved an ideal relationship to the Bible. Old patterns of misuse or sheer neglect prevent the most beneficial use of the book. What Friends acknowledge as “biblical illiteracy” is too prevalent, and the cure is not easy.
—Adapted from Henry J. Cadbury “Friends and the Bible”