In insisting the Word, or Logos, was Christ, as the opening chapter of John declares, Friends challenged a commonplace Protestant teaching that equates the Word with the Bible. As a result, Quakers had a much different appreciation of the Scriptures.
Just listen to Elizabeth Bathurst (1655?-1685):
- Yet would I not be thought to undervalue the Scriptures any whit, for I have very venerable Thoughts of them, and a reverend Esteem for them, as being Holy Writings: But I dare not confine all Means for Man’s Salvation to them, because the Lord hath not confined himself to them, but hath left himself a Witness in every Conscience, which Witness is a spiritual Manifestation of his Son, the Saviour of the World.
- However, we do say, That the Scriptures, in which we have a Declaration of what Christ hath done and suffered for us, those do much facilitate Salvation through Faith in Christ Jesus; and therefore they ought thankfully to be received by us, and borne witness to, whenever the Lord shall require us, so as that we may not be ashamed to own, nor afraid to confess him to be our Saviour, who they make mention of, to have been put to Death in the Flesh … by the Hands of Sinners.
- Neither do I assert, that those who are set out as Travellers in Sion’s Road, are at once so perfectly instructed in all the Paths thereof, that they need not to inquire of those who are gone before, which is the Way thither, whose Experiences may be to them of use, for escaping the Snares which the subtil Fowler layeth to catch Souls in, both on the Right-hand and on the Left, that so they may walk right forward with their Faces Sionward, until they shall come to sit down in Heavenly Places in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Nor is it altogether useless for those that are established in the Truth, to hear the Things thereof declared, notwithstanding they knew the same before; yet may it be to the stirring up of their pure Minds by way of Remembrance, of the Dealings of the Lord with themselves in Days that are past, and for the comforting and refreshing of their Spirits, to feel how the Work of the Lord prospers in others of his People, and for the chearing and making glad their Hearts, to hear how Truth prevails, and gets Ground in the Earth.