Biblical Authority - Introduction
By Mark J. Ward
The subjects of Bible Interpretation and How To Establish Bible Authority are essential subjects to consider when we think of our spiritual well-being. If we do not properly determine what God's Will is for us to follow (by correct Biblical interpretation), we will sin in our lives. With this article, we will begin a series of writings on these important subjects.
We will be pointed, yet seek to be kind. We will be direct, yet teach in love. May God bless us as we enter into these studies.
1. First, let us consider the truth that ALL authority may be expressed in one of (or a combination of) three ways: by direct statements, by examples (approved or disapproved) and by unavoidable conclusions that are reached from examining pertinent direct statements and/or examples. This is axiomatic, or "self evident". We will go in depth on this in future articles, however please think on this to a great extent. This is true in any walk of life! This is NOT something "made up" or "devised" by some religious group. We will give examples of such in the future.
2. We also must realize that authority may be expressed generically or specifically. We will have much to say about this as we study together. Also, we must realize that truth does not contradict truth. Truth is consistent with itself. Man may need to change in order to be consistent with God, but God's truth is always consistent.
3. We also need to mention that authority is properly established by adding up the SUM of the direct statements, examples (approved and disapproved) and unavoidable conclusions on any particular subject. In Psalm 119:105 the Bible teaches that the SUM of God's Word is truth. We come up with ERROR on any Biblical subject when we fall short (or go beyond) the sum of what God has taught us on the matter.
4. There is only ONE TRUE source of authority in religious matters...GOD. The Godhood (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is the only source of authority to which we should appeal. We must realize that the inspired Word of God is all we need (God-breathed words, the apostles and other inspired writers of the New Testament were guided by the Holy Spirit into ALL TRUTH per John 16:13). Our appeal must be to the writings of the Holy Scriptures and not to the words of UNinspired men and women. No matter how much we love or respect men and women who spend much time in God's Word, we must realize that the eternal destiny of our souls is to be determined by how God judges us by HIS WORD. James 2:12 teaches us that we are to live our lives in such a way knowing that we will be judged by the law of liberty. When Jesus was being challenged on one occasion (among many) while on earth, the question was asked, "And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? 24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? 26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. 27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things. we know him, if we keep his commandments."
5. There are sources of false authority...the devil and uninspired man (when acting without God's permission), would be two that come to my mind. However, we must realize that God has seen fit to delegate authority to civil government, parents, school authorities, elders of local congregations, for example, that "have authority" in the sense that it is delegated unto them. ABUSES aside, the force, or value of this delegated authority MUST be properly recognized. For example, if God says obey civil government (the exception being not to obey if asked to sin) then the force of the law administered by that government must be obeyed, or the Christian SINS! This is a crucial point! More on that possibly in future studies. But consider the impact and truthfulness of such!
Please consider carefully the points made above. Do you agree? Why, or why not? Let me hear from you. Thanks. Let us all continue to study with love matters that are spiritual, especially matters that affect our soul's eternal destiny. --mjw
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