“Strangely, this is phrase is not of Baptist origin. Dr. Hugh Wamble of MBTS researched its origin. He found that a young English minister wrote the philosopher John Locke asking how he might have a more successful ministry. Replying to his request in a letter dated August 15, 1703 Locke told him to preach the Bible. For, said he, “It has God for it’s author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for it’s matter.” In 1883 this statement verbatim was included in the Baptist New Hampshire Confession of Faith. In 1925 the Southern Baptist Committee on the Baptist Faith and Message included it. It was retained by the 1963 committee. It is accepted by the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists.”
The Herschel Hobbs Lectures are a series of lectures given at Oklahoma Baptist University on the topic of Baptist history and life. The lectureship is ongoing and this story and others can be found in Fibers of Our Faith.