The person who reads on one subject one hour a day for one year is considered to be an expert on that subject. When that person has read on the one subject one hour a day for five years, he is considered to belong in the top five percent of experts in the world on that subject.* Academic authority is the right to speak on a subject based on superior knowledge.
As Christ’s ambassadors to a lost and confused world, should we not be experts in His Word? Would saying we should know the Bible better than we know any other book be expecting too much? I think not. Nor does He. “Study to show yourself approved and unashamed; a right-divider” is His standard. Who we know counts, yes, indeed. But what we know counts, too.
Our foundation for witnessing of the Gospel is biblical authority. But what is our basis for making that statement? Why do we claim that the Bible has authority? The Bible presents itself as the unique and final Word of God; the ultimate authority of God Himself is clearly revealed in the Bible. It unequivocally reveals the mind and workings of God, speaking of Him and for Him to humanity throughout the ages.
To argue with the biblical scriptures is to argue with God Himself, for biblical authority is timeless, unconditional, and unusurpable. The Bible is the incontrovertible and final authority for truths regarding Christian doctrine, experience, ethics, culture, mankind and everything pertaining to our salvation and eternity. There are no continuing, completing, or competing revelations. In life’s decision-making process, the authority of the Bible is the highest appeal – “…the touchstone whereby Christians examine all…” stated John Wesley.
Don’t you love the word infallible? And inerrant? Plenary? Inspiration? Revelation? The Bible unfailingly and unerringly reveals the self-disclosure of God to humanity – infallible. It is inerrant in its clear explanation of all things necessary to the salvation of mankind, so clear, in fact, that any declaration of salvation not found in the Bible is fallacy. The word plenary informs us that, without fail, the Word of God is inspired by the Holy Spirit in its entirety. And inspiration explains the energizing power of the Spirit of God by which men of God were enabled to receive and deliver biblical truths without error. Revelation is how God made known the truths He intends us to believe and live by. Biblical authority, indeed. Powerful words we can stand on and never be shaken. Don’t you love it?
The Bible is the authority for revealing Jesus. Within its pages we are told exactly Who Jesus is, what He did, and what He said. The Bible message reveals to us the divine intervention into and the meeting of human need – the plan of salvation in place from before the foundation of the world. And that there is no other way whereby mankind can be saved. Biblical authority is foundational in setting forth right and wrong. And the concepts and precepts of spiritual growth.
The authority of the Bible rests in its unity and wholeness. All parts of the Bible are vital to the completeness of divine revelation. Old Testament authority is ascribed by the New Testament writers. The Word of God substantiates itself and is never in conflict with itself. Fidelity to the original languages qualifies its authority and is found in all faithfully translated versions.
As ambassadors and right-dividers of the Word of God, we are to become experts in distinguishing the timeless from the temporary, the fulfilled from that awaiting fulfillment, and that universally binding until eternity from that which was for the time and the place of the writing. Biblical authority holds forth the ultimatum that no matter how contrary to the Word of God current culture stands, the Word of God is the standard for the Christian. Our occupation with the Bible is to bear the fruit of understanding, obedience, and the confident holding forth of its authoritative truths as the hope within us. What we know counts, especially when we’re speaking to those who don’t know and are desperate to hear the message contained in the Bible.
* quoted by Charlie Hedges in Getting the Right Things Right
Many points of the blog adapted from Biblical Authority and Christian Faith by Richard S TaylorTags: Bible, biblical authority, inerrant, infallible, inspiration, plenary, reliability of the bible, revelation, rightly divided, Word of God