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Biblical Authority

Ultimate authority is derived from God, who created the universe and people. As our creator he has the right to determine for us what the rules are by which we are to live. However, another question that often arises with regard to authority is how we know what God's will is regarding an issue. Foreseeing the problem God had his will written down and is made available in the Bible as an objective source of truth. By objective I mean that it is found outside of men, who would distort the truth to justify what ever they wanted the freedom to do. God provided his known will when he gave his revelation to the men that composed the Bible. It reveals what his will is and is the final authority that we can appeal to in determining what is right or wrong. 

As William Webster points out - Jesus clearly taught that Scripture is inspired by God. He regarded it as truth-infallible, inerrant, historically reliable, authoritative for living, and an all-sufficient rule of faith. He could say, for example, when speaking with the Pharisees or Sadducees, "Have you not read what God said?" and then quote from Scripture (Matt. 22:31-32). In Matthew 4:4-10, Jesus repeatedly answers Satan by using the Old Testament as the Word of God, saying, "It is written." He maintained that not one jot or tittle would pass from the law until all was accomplished (Matt5:17) and that the Scriptures cannot be broken (John 10:35). In the prayer to his Father on the night before he was crucified, Jesus declared that "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17). He affirmed the historicity of Adam (Matt19:4), Cain and Abel (Luke 11:51), Noah (Luke 17:26), Jonah (Matt12:40), the creation account (Mark 10:6-9), and the reality of heaven and hell (Mark 9:44-46).

 

Jesus also used the Word of God as an ultimate standard of authority when he came into conflict with other people. He rebuked men with Scripture; correcting their false concepts, teaching and misinterpretations of Scripture by using scriptural proofs. Matthew 22:23-33, for example, describes how Jesus told the Sadducees that they were greatly mistaken in their denial of the resurrection because they did not know the Scriptures or the power of God. Then he quoted a passage from the book of Genesis as an authoritative declaration from God to correct them. It is highly significant that Christ never appealed to tradition as a standard of authority; instead he used Scripture to correct the errors of tradition.

 

--William Webster





The Bible as Authority






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