THE AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE
The authority of God, Christ, and the apostles is very clearly taught in the Scriptures (Ps. 50:10-12; Heb. 1:1-2; Mt. 16:19, 17:5, 18:18; II Cor. 5:20; Phil. 4:9). Also, the Holy Spirit played a role as he guided the apostles “unto all truth.” Consider now the authority of God’s Word.
The apostles were given authority to reveal God’s Will to man (Mt. 18:18; Jn. 16:8). However, the apostles eventually died. How then are we to be guided today? Our guide is to be the inspired Word of God — the Bible.
Consider the teaching of Paul in Ephesians 3:3-5. This says, “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” The particular “mystery” that Paul has in mind is found in verse 6 (“that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body”) but what he says would be true generally. This mystery was revealed to him, as an inspired writer, and he wrote it down so that it could be read and understood. This was called a “mystery” in the sense that previously it had not been revealed. Paul, and other inspired individuals, guided by the Holy Spirit, revealed the mind of God to man.
I Corinthians 2:12-13 says, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” The NASB renders the last part “combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.”
In I Thessalonians 2:13, Paul wrote, “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” Negatively, he states that they had not received his preaching “as the word of men”; positively, they had received it as the “Word of God.” Paul was thankful that they had received him as an inspired teacher of God’s Word.
There are other passages in I Thessalonians where Paul points out that his message was from God. In chapter 4, he revealed that the commandments which were taught were “through the Lord Jesus,” and the person who rejected their teaching “does not reject man, but God who has also given us his Holy Spirit” (vs. 2, 3, 8). Later, when instructing them about the second coming of Christ (4:15) Paul said, “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord . . . ”
In I Corinthians 14:33 Paul said, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” Paul, and other inspired people, revealed God’s commandments through the written word.
The Bible is the inspired Will of God (II Tim. 3:16-17). It is the “oracles of God” (II Pet. 1:3); it is the final revelation for us (Jude 3); it is all that we need (Jas. 1:25); it will save us eternally (Rom. 1:16, James 1:21) if we obey it (James 1:22).