most Friends, the Judeo-Christian Bible is an interpretation of
God’s revelation over many centuries and a rich and sustaining
source of inspiration. The Quaker movement began at a time when
the Bible had recently come into wide circulation in England.
George Fox and other Friends knew the Bible well, studied it
earnestly, and quoted it often.
they affirmed the inspiration of the scriptures, early Friends made
a distinction that has remained vital to this day. In
Henry Cadbury’s words: “Divine revelation was not
confined to the
past. The same Holy Spirit that had inspired the scriptures in the
past could inspire living believers centuries later. Indeed, for
right understanding of the past, the present insight from the same
Spirit was essential.” Thus, in emphasizing both the power
produced the scriptures and the accessibility of that same power
today, Friends have avoided making written records a final or
infallible test. Instead, Quakers seek the spirit behind the Bible,
in order to understand its contents and to be led in continual
discovery of God’s ways.