Archive for March, 2014

15
Mar
14

The Authority of the Scriptures

The term, “Bible Thumper” has been used in a pejorative way of those who appeal to the Bible as their authority. Admittedly, there are times when such persons have done so by taking proof-texts out of context and using them for a pretext, but at least they understood we are to appeal to the Scriptures as our final authority in matters of belief and practice.

I was recently accused on another blog site of saying we don’t need the Holy Spirit to lead us because we have the Scriptures. The same person said I was placing the Scriptures above God’s authority and was in danger of “bibliolatry.” Of course, I am not suggesting that the Scriptures have an authority that is not God’s authority, or that we do not need the Spirit to guide us by illuminating the Scriptures. What I am saying is that the Scriptures are God’s revelation of his authoritative standard for all we believe and do.

To seek to discuss issues of doctrine or ethics with a person who does not accept the inspiration, inerrancy and trustworthiness of the Scriptures will always prove to be a futile endeavor. I am not suggesting we can claim inerrancy for our interpretations. We may differ in what we believe the authoritative standard prescribes, but we must agree the Bible is our sole standard and final authority.

Jesus tells us we are truly his disciples if we continue in his Word. It is important for us to understand his Word extends not only to his personal utterances but also to his Word spoken through apostles to whom he had granted authority to write the New Testament Scriptures. Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 14:37,”If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.” Red letter editions of the Bible send a wrong message. They give the impression that the words Jesus spoke carry more weight than the other words of Scripture. The reality is though every verse of Scripture may not be equally important, every word of Scripture is equally inspired by God. Christians are responsible to believe and practice all that is taught or commanded in the New Testament Scriptures, but we must reject every teaching or practice that has no biblical authority or precedent.

I recently wrote an article titled “Evangelistic Drivel,” in which I listed several phrases that are used in modern evangelism but that are never found in the biblical record. It had been my hope that readers would have responded by examining the Scriptures to see if these popular phrases bore even a faint resemblance to the teaching of Jesus and the apostles. Instead, I fear many have opted to continue in their comfortable paths because it would just require too much effort to develop a biblical pattern of evangelism. Additionally, why should we change our message and methods if we are getting countable results from what we have been doing? Pragmatism [If it works it must be right] trumps Scripture again.

There are certain thoughts that should never enter a believer’s mind, much less pass his lips. We should never think or say:

1. I know what the Bible says, but . . . .

2. It must be right because it gets results.

3. I see what the Bible says, but it just doesn’t feel good to me.

4. I know the Bible doesn’t teach it, but this is the way we have always done it.

5. I can’t cite any biblical passage to support what I believe, but this is what I have always been taught.

It is time for believers diligently to examine our beliefs and practices in the light of God’s authoritative standard and conform ourselves to that standard. “Paul wrote, “Put everything to the test, hold tightly to that which is good.”

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