Theology: The Authority of the Bible

bible

What does it mean that the Bible is our authority?

In the words of Wayne Grudem:

All the words in the Bible are God’s words. Therefore, to disbelieve or disobey them is to disbelieve or disobey God. (Christian Beliefs, pg. 13)

The words in the Bible are from God himself. We aren’t allowed to decide if they’re true or to pick and choose which words we will obey. God decides what is true and right. Not us.

In 2 Timothy 3:16 we read:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…

Scripture is breathed out by God himself, and is our final authority for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. The words of scripture don’t conform to some external standard of truth. They are the definition of truth. Those things which conform to scripture are true, and those that don’t are false. In John 17:17, Jesus said:

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

The truthfulness of the scriptures doesn’t mean that the Bible reports all events with precision, scientific detail. It often uses round numbers (e.g. “There were 6,000 men”) or makes general statements (e.g. “He traveled a far distance”), but the general nature of these statements doesn’t make them any less true.

The truthfulness of the Bible does mean that it never affirms something that is false. If it did affirm something false, we couldn’t trust the Bible, and ultimately, we couldn’t trust God. That’s why it’s so crucial for us to affirm that absolute truth and authority of the Bible.

Because the Bible is true, we can place our full trust in it and wholeheartedly obey it.

Adapted from Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know

+photo by le vent le cri

Comments

  1. says

    Stephen,

    I'm quick to agree with the truth of the scriptures. But if I'm honest with myself, I would treasure it and give it a greater place in my life if I truly grasped the authority and power it has.

    I want my attitude to echo with the voice of the psalmist (Ps. 119):

    14 I rejoice in following your statutes
    as one rejoices in great riches.

    15 I meditate on your precepts
    and consider your ways.

    16 I delight in your decrees;
    I will not neglect your word.

    Thanks Stephen!
    Dave

  2. says

    "The words of scripture don’t conform to some external standard of truth. They are the definition of truth. Those things which conform to scripture are true, and those that don’t are false."

    I really like that phrase because it helps us to remember not to measure the harder to swallow parts of God's word against our finite human reasoning. I never want my mind to be the standard of authority against which I measure God's word.

    Isaiah 55:8-9
    8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
    9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    • says

      I'm in the same camp Bob. It's easy for me to try and evaluate the difficult part of God's word, as if God somehow has to conform to my standard. God's ways are certainly not my ways!

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