The Bible’s Authority

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 11, 2022 1 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

I have written about the topic of the Bible’s authority in multiple posts over the years, and one can never emphasize this point enough. The Bible has authority, and everyone knows it, believer or not. Whether people recognize it or not, nearly every decision must go through the Bible and God’s revealed moral statutes. Those who believe and follow the Bible will make their decision based on a particular command or principle established in Scripture. Those who reject the Bible may not think about it actively as they make their decision, but they categorically rejected the Bible a while back. To this day, I have never met a person who can truly demonstrate that he rejects the Bible for intellectual reasons. He hides behind such reasons, but that is not why they reject it. It is because of the moral standards and the ever-present condemnation that it brings to men who are not of Christ.

The Bible has authority. One thing I find fascinating is that everyone who holds to some teaching that goes against what the Bible said, even if they proclaim to be Christians, are constantly arguing and debating against people who do believe what the Bible says. Why would they? The answer is very simple: they need approval from those who know God to justify their own unbelief. They are very clever in their approach, but they are constantly looking for acceptance and approval from the genuine believer. They would not do this unless they knew the Bible actually has the authority on the matter and they knew that the believer was at the watch tower to let them in or not. If they really believed the Bible didn’t have such authority, they would not even bother with us and they would not seek to get us involved in their choices. But they can’t escape it. God won’t let them live in rebellion against Him that easily. So they come to us for the purpose of seeking to suppress the truth and justify their unbelief and sin.

The Bible has authority. If you pay attention to any of the creeds or confessions of the faith of church history, the Bible is always what they start with, because the Bible is the source of all their information and their statements. It is imperative that we give the Bible the position that God gave it. There are three positions of authority I am going to address in this post.

1) The Bible is our first authority. Many people tend to forget this one and leave the Bible as the last resort. However, the Bible should actually be our first authority. It should be the first authority that we turn to. The Bible should be our first filter to determine what we should do. Any time we are confronted with a decision our first question should be “What does the Bible say?” (Katie Erickson’s book is a good primer on this issue.) The Bible may not explicitly state what we should do in every situation. It does not tell us whether we should go to that football game or not, or whether we can watch that show or not, or which school we should go to. But it does give us the framework we should use in making said decisions. One question we should use in such cases is: “How will doing this thing or going to this place help me give glory to God?”

The Bible teaches us that our primary purpose is to glorify God and to worship and enjoy Him. When God rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt, He didn’t want to just get them out of slavery; He wanted them to be a people unto Him, to serve Him and to glorify Him. The same is true when Jesus delivers us from the slavery of sin. Our saved life is about glorifying and serving Christ. So, when we decide what job to take or what school to go to or whatever, our first authority should be to see what God says about such things.

2) The Bible is our final authority. Now, don’t get the wrong idea here; I am not talking about the Bible being our last authority after we have exhausted all others. There are severe dangers in that because we’ll start getting ideas from the bad sources and intentionally or not, we’ll start comparing the Bible to what we heard from the world or start mixing and matching what the world says with what the Bible says.

What I mean by the Bible should be our final authority is that we should start with the Bible, do our study and analysis, and then check our conclusion with the Bible. We build our framework for our question with the Bible, and then we confirm that our answer, our models, and our conclusions still agree with the Bible in case we got off track. Many people will build their models and ideas and they’ll use pieces of Scripture to build them, but they never check to see if their models actually agree with what the Bible says. That is why we must check our ideas out with the Bible as our final authority.

3) The Bible is our ultimate authority. This is not popular today because this means that the Bible is above every other authority out there; yes, that includes all academics and modern “science” which has become its own religion. It does not matter how many physicists, geologists, astronomers, paleontologists, biologists, chemists, theologians, or whatnot support whatever model; if it does not agree with the framework of the Bible, namely the historical context of events it describes (6000 years of history, a global flood, and people dispersion from Babel), then it is not an accurate study. The skeptics hate the “statement of faith” that groups like Answers in Genesis or the Institute for Creation Research have in which any scientific statement that disagrees with the Bible must be wrong. At least AiG and ICR are up front about it. The same skeptics automatically dismiss any science that might agree with the Bible, so they are guilty of the same thing. But what many Christians have done, including some who are very good preachers otherwise, is surrendered the Bible in light of “modern science.” All the “old earth creation” models actively reject the authority of Scripture on this topic, whether anyone recognizes it or not, because in order to get “millions of years” into the picture, you have to reject Genesis’ account, even if you support pieces of it. It’s all or nothing.

A common argument I get is that “The Bible is silent on this issue; therefore, we are free to look to other sources.” Actually, no you are not. And you will find that the people who say the Bible is silent on the “age of the earth” have the exact same argument structure and style as those who say the Bible is silent on “loving, committed, homosexual relationships.” In fact, the Bible is quite clear on both of those topics. If old earthers had not brought such arguments into the Church, the Church would not be listening to it from the sexual immoral people trying to justify their lusts. Yet they are, because they no longer believe in the Bible as the ultimate authority, the supreme authority, and the superior authority. They didn’t go to it first. They went to their own models and own ideas. They did pull from some Scripture, attempting to justify their models by twisting Scriptures totally out of context. And they never went back to verify their models to compare them with what Scripture says.

If we are to actually believe the Bible as the inspired Word of God, as actually coming from God, we cannot allow any other authority to have a say. If we do allow them say, then they must be completely subservient to Scripture. Rank them. If the Bible is at authority #1, then science should actually be about #10 if not lower. In between with a full visible gap between the Bible and the next ranked authorities, pastors and commentaries should be next around authority #5 or 6. There should be no #2-4 in this case to just to showcase how far above and beyond the Bible is over any man and his sayings or writing. Even the man who fully believes the Bible should be put far below Scripture itself. Please, friends, don’t ever think that what I am writing here is actually remotely on par with Scripture itself. All I can do is point to it.

When we have the Bible in its rightful place with authority over all matters in which it speaks (hint: it speaks on every type of topic so there is no thing you can address in which the Bible does not have some say on the matter in concept, overview, or specifically), then we can make the wise and correct decision in any matter or situation. Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at how people are reading the Bible wrongly today and how it should be read instead.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you Charlie