The Authority of Scripture
(4) The Authority of Scripture
*The First in a series of 4- Authority, Clarity, Necessity, Sufficiency
What Does the Bible Teach?
- The Doctrine of Authority: “The authority of Scripture means that all the words in Scripture are God’s words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.”
- This is what the Bible claims for itself:
- “Thus says the Lord…” “When prophets say (this) they are claiming to be messengers from the sovereign King of Israel, namely God himself, and they are claiming that their words are the absolutely authoritative words of God. When a prophet spoke in God’s name in this way, every word he spoke had to come from God, or he would be a considered a false prophet.”
- Num 22:38
- Deut 18:18-20
iii. Jer 1:9
- Ezek 2:7
- 2 Tim 3:16
- 2 Pet 1:19-21
- Matt 19:5: Quotes Gen 2:24 to God
- Acts 1:16
- 1 Cor 14:37
- We are convinced of the Bible’s claims to be God’s words as we read the Bible.
- A. “It is one thing to affirm that the Bible claims to be the words of God. It is another thing to be convinced that those claims are true. Our ultimate conviction that the words of the Bible are God’s words comes only when the Holy Spirit speaks in and through the words of the Bible to our hearts and gives us an inner assurance that these are the words of our Creator speaking to us.”
- 1 Cor 2:13-14
- John 10:27
- Other evidence is useful, but not finally convincing.
- Extra-biblical sources of confirmation
- Prophetic Dating
- 150 years before King Cyrus lived, Isaiah prophesied of him in Isa 45:1. Josephus, the Jewish historian cites that Cyrus was informed of this.
- The words of Scripture are self-attesting.
- A. “If an appeal to some higher authority (say, historical accuracy or logical consistency) were used to prove that the Bible is God’s Word, then the Bible itself would not be our highest or absolute authority; it would be subordinate in authority to the thing to which we appealed to prove it to be God’s Word.”
- Isn’t This is a Circular Arugument? YES!
- “We believe that Scripture is God’s Word because it claims to be that. And we believe its claims because Scripture is God’s Word.”
- Grudem’s Defense: All claims to a “highest authority” is in some way circular…
Ex 1: “My reason is my ultimate authority because it seems reasonable to me to make it so.”
Ex 2: “I know there can be no ultimate authority because I do not know of any such ultimate authority.”
Ex 3: “Logical consistency is my ultimate authority because it is logical to make it so.”
iii. Ultimately- Go back to point #2: The Holy Spirit must convince us of this as (according to Grudem) our (1) knowledge of Scripture and our (2) knowledge of God increases.
- Therefore, to disbelieve or disobey the Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.
- John 15:20
- 2 Pet 3:2
- We also know that God’s Word is true because God cannot like or speak falsely.
- Titus 1:2
- Heb 6:18
- God’s words are the Ultimate Standard of Truth and therefore our final authority.
- John 17:17
- 1 Cor 14:37
What Does the Confession Teach?
- 1689 1.4: “The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, depends not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.”
- 1 Thess 2:13
- I John 5:9
- 1.5: “We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to a high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, and many other incomparable excellencies, and entire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.”
- 1.10: Sola Scriptura: “The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.”
How Can We Apply This to Our Worship?
God’s word is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. We must work out the practical implications of this in our theology of worship. What will we allow? What will we not allow and why?
- The Regulative Principle of Worship: Only those elements positively expressed in Scripture are to be allowed in worship. (Position of Calvin)
- The Reading, Preaching, & Teaching of the Word
- Singing Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs
- The Sacraments
- The Normative Principle of Worship: We are free to add elements of worship unless the Scripture expressly forbids it. (Position of Luther)
- Dance/ Skits (Performing Arts)
- Atlar Calls/ Mourner’s benches?
How do we apply this to our life?
- God’s authority over our way of life
- What is our sin issue?
- What does the Bible say?
- Pray for conviction: Teaching, conviction, correction, and disciplined living (2 Tim 3:16)