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Biblical Authority

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DESERVED AUTHORITY

            All men live under authority weather they realize it or not. Authority is that power or influence in a person’s life that demands thought, action, opinion, or behavior.[1] Religions today all claim some book, creed, tradition, or practices as the basis of their authority, but the only book that has full right to demand the thoughts, actions, opinions, or behavior of men is the Bible. God gave man His words to reveal to man God’s plan, purposes, and character. The Bible itself claims the inspiration of God as well as proof outside the covers of the Bible point to a divine author. With sixty-six books written by the hands of more than forty men with backgrounds from all walks of life and a period of sixteen hundred years to complete one would think that it must contain errors or discrepancies, but no errors or discrepancies can be found and the only explanation is that it is from God Himself. No other book can stand up to the credentials of the Bible. The Bible deserves to be the believer’s soul authority based upon nature of its revelation, inspiration, inerrancy, illumination, and preservation.

            First, The Bible deserves to be the believer’s soul authority based upon the nature of its revelation. Revelation is God’s work whereby He makes truth about Himself known to man that man could never know without instruction. God has chosen to progressively reveal more and more of Himself to man throughout


history.[2] God walked and talked directly with Adam and eve in the Garden of Eden and they fell. God allowed men to rule according to their conscience and they turned to wickedness that was so great that God sent a flood to destroy all mankind except Noah and his family. God revealed Himself to man through an age of Government until man disobeyed God’s command to fill the earth and He confused their languages. God then chose to reveal himself through Abraham by promise, but once again man was unsuccessful at fulfilling God’s purpose.[3] God chose to reveal Himself through the Law of Moses at Mt. Sinai, but man could not keep the whole law and then tried to establish their own righteousness and ultimately killed Messiah, the one who was sent to be their savior. Now God has revealed Himself through His written word.[4] Direct written revelation of God Himself deserves not only to be an authority, but it deserves to be the only authority in believers lives.

            God reveals Himself to all men in both a general and specific way. “General revelation is God’s communication of Himself to all persons at all times in all places. It refers to God’s self-manifestation through nature, history, and the inner being (conscience) of the human person.” [5] [6] God’s special revelation to man came through the Word of God. This is both the incarnate Word (Jesus Christ) and the written Word (Scripture). Without God’s special revelation mankind would have an incomplete knowledge of God. Jesus Christ and the Bible give man knowledge about God that our senses could never find. Everything written in the Bible is true and proceeds from the mouth of God. “It is of vital importance for us to understand that the Bible is a statement, not of theories, but of actual facts; and that things are not true because they are in the Bible, but they are only in the Bible because they are true.”[7]

            God had Divine reasoning behind His revelation to man. Christ is the subject of Scripture and the purpose of the Bible is the glory of God. All things in heaven and earth are for the glory of God.[8]  God’s working with the nation of Israel was for His glory.[9] The salvation of sinful lost men is for the glory of God.[10] All of mans service is should be to the glory of God.[11] God’s written Word brings glory to Him for it is the divine record of God’s actions to create man, give life, and save men from sin, death, and hell.

            Not only does the Bible deserve to be the believers sole authority because it is God’s revelation, but the Bible also deserves to be the believers soul authority based upon the nature of its inspiration. II Timothy 3:16 declares that all Scripture is inspired by God. If all the Scriptures are inspired than what is inspiration?  Inspiration can be simply defined as “God Breathed”.[12] Satan has attempted to pervert the doctrine of inspiration of the Bible with many heresies.

            Heresies that surround the inspiration of the Bible include: Mechanical, partial, Degrees, natural, and mystical inspiration. Mechanical inspiration claims that the biblical author was passive and God simply bypassed their human faculties to record His word. If God had done this we would not see the separate personalities and writing styles that we see. The second heresy is partial inspiration. Those who hold this view believe that parts of the Bible are inspired and parts are not. The writers were inspired when it came to matters they understood, but in areas where they were not trained their writings were not inspirited. This is in direct contradiction to II Timothy 3:16 where it says “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God”.  Some believe that the Bible is inspired to differing degrees. This allows for some of the “lesser inspired” portions of Scripture to contain errors. The entire Bible is without error as stated in John 10:35 and 1 Peter 1:23. The intuition or natural view holds that God gifted certain men with unique writing abilities to write the Bible. This view puts the Bible on the same level as the Koran, writings of Confuses, teachings of Buddha, and other false religions. Also 2 Peter 1:20-21 declares that the Scripture came from God through men. Illumination or mystical inspiration believes that God took the abilities that each writer had and supernaturally brought them to an elevated level. Objectives to this viewpoint include the problem that biblical teaching cam through special revelation and not heightened capabilities and the human authors expressed the words of God and not their own words.

The only proper view of the Inspiration of the Bible is a verbal, plenary view. The entire Bible is inspired by God and God used human authors. God simply took the vocabulary and style of these men and wrote His words through them.

Third, the Bible deserves to be the believer’s soul authority based upon the nature of its inerrancy. What a wonderful doctrine! God’s word from cover to cover is without a single error. This is known as complete inerrancy.[13] Christ said that not one jot or tittle would pass away.[14] If God is perfect, and He is, and none of His words will pass away, than His perfect written word will remain forever.  Daniel Fuller, Stephen Davis, William LaSor and others fail to see the Bible as inerrant concerning secular maters such as science and history. They believe in a limited inerrancy. To them only matters of salvific doctrine are inerrant. Jack Rogers and James Orr promote that the Bible does not have any error when it comes to the purpose of the Bible, but it does contain some errors that reach out of its purpose. Others yet believe that it is not important weather the Bible has errors or not.[15] Inerrancy of the Scriptures is a crucial doctrine because it relies upon the very character of God. God is perfect and so His Word. God is eternal and so is His Word. Is it hard for men to believe that a perfect God can write a perfect book? Limited inerrancy and inerrancy of purpose subject the Bible to the possibility of many other errors.

            Fourth, the Bible deserves to be the believer’s sole authority based upon the nature of its illumination. Illumination is “the method used by the Holy Spirit to shed divine light upon all seeking men as they look into the Word of God.”[16] Without God’s Spirit making clear the truth of Scripture it would simply be another book. No other book in the world has the power that the Bible has. The book of Hebrews claims that God’s word is a sharp and powerful sword that can cut to the heart of the reader. Illumination is necessary for fallen man because we are naturally blind and cannot receive spiritual truth.[17] The Spirit must also illuminate the truth because Satan spiritually blinds men according to II Corinthians 4:3-4. Lost men are the Children of the Devil according to John 8:44. They are bound by the authority of Satan according to Acts 26:18. They are held in bondage by the Strong man in Mark 3:27. And the last are called Satan’s Prisoners of war in Isaiah 14:17. According to John 16 the Holy Spirit has been sent to convince the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to illumine the truths of Gods word and open the eyes of men from darkness to light.

            Lastly, the Bible deserves to be the believer’s sole authority based upon the nature of its preservation. The preservation of God’s word is also referred to as manuscript evidence. God Promised to preserve His word in Matthew 5:18 and He has done it. Men have tried to destroy the Bible and have failed and despite their efforts no other ancient document has as many manuscripts as the Bible. Men can corrupt God’s word by adding to it, subtracting from it, or by changing it.[18] But no matter what men try to do to change God’s word God will preserve it until the end.

            The Bible must be a believer’s only authority. It is God’s revealed word to man. He breathed out the words to man without error and illuminates it to the hearts and minds of the hearers. Never will God’s word disappear. Scripture must determine how believers think, what choices believers, make, and how believers conduct their lives.


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[1] Merriam Webster, Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary, 2003 [CD-ROM]

[2] Hebrews 1:1 describes that God revealed Himself to man in “Many parts and many ways.” Revelation is unfolded to man as God desires to give it and as man is able to receive it (John 16:12-13). Man is accountable for God’s revelation to that point in time. Those living in the New Testament age have been given much for a greater responsibility.

[3] Two views are held why this dispensation failed. First, some believe that this failure was a general failure in the lives of the patriarchs. Second, some believe that this failure was a climatic failure from when Jacob went down to Egypt. Regardless of why the dispensation of promise was a failure if it worked God would not ended that dispensation.

[4] This is known as the dispensation of Grace or the Spirit/Church. Man is responsible to receive Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, identify with the Body of Christ, and take the Gospel to everyone. This dispensation will one day come to an end and Christ Himself will rule and reign on earth.

[5] H. Wayne House. Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House. 1992), 21.

[6] Psalms 19:7-14; Romans 1:18-32; Acts 14:15-17;17:22-31

[7] Hannah Whitall Smith, The God of All Comfort, (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1956), 12-13.

[8] Colossians 1:16

[9] Jeremiah 13:11

[10] Romans 9:23

[11] Matthew 5:16

[12] William Evans, The Great Doctrines of the Bible. (Chicago Illinois: The Moody Bible Institute, 1974), 194.

[13] Proponents of Complete Inerrancy include: Harold Lindsell, Roger Nicole, Millard Erickson, and others.

[14] Matthew 5:18

[15] A key proponent of the irrelevancy of inerrancy position is David Hubbard.

[16] H.L. Willmington, Dr., Willmington’s Guide to the Bible, ( Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1981), 792.

[17] I Corinthians 2:14

[18] Deuteronomy 4:2; Romans 1:25

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