The Authority of Scripture
What does it mean to say that the Bible is authoritative? How do we know that it is the word of God and not just a human product? How can we apply it to our lives today? These are some of the questions that Christians have wrestled with throughout history and that we still need to answer in our own context.
One of the best places to start is by looking at what the Bible says about itself. There are many passages that affirm the authority of Scripture, but here are three that are especially relevant:
- Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” This verse expresses the guidance and direction that God’s word provides for his people. It shows us the way to live according to his will and to avoid the pitfalls of sin and error. It also implies that without God’s word, we would be in darkness and confusion.
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” This verse emphasizes the origin and purpose of Scripture. It is not a human invention, but a divine revelation. It is not a collection of myths or legends, but a reliable and trustworthy testimony. It is not a burden or a hindrance, but a resource and a tool. It is designed to instruct us in the truth, to expose our errors, to correct our faults, and to train us in godliness. It aims to make us mature and ready for serving God in every situation.
- Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” This verse highlights the power and effectiveness of Scripture. It is not a dead letter, but a living voice. It is not a passive object, but an active agent. It is not a blunt instrument, but a sharp weapon. It penetrates deep into our being, exposing our innermost thoughts and motives. It judges us according to God’s standards and convicts us of our need for his grace.
These verses show us that the authority of Scripture is not based on human opinions or traditions, but on God’s character and actions. He is the author, the source, the giver, and the enforcer of his word. He speaks to us through his word, he reveals himself to us through his word, he transforms us by his word, and he holds us accountable to his word.
Therefore, as Christians, we should submit to the authority of Scripture in every area of our lives. We should read it regularly and attentively, study it carefully and diligently, meditate on it deeply and prayerfully, obey it faithfully and joyfully, share it boldly and lovingly, and defend it firmly and humbly. We should also pray for the Holy Spirit to illuminate our minds and hearts as we engage with God’s word, so that we may understand it rightly and apply it wisely.
The authority of Scripture is not a dry doctrine or a rigid rule, but a precious gift and a powerful resource. It is God’s way of communicating with us, guiding us, shaping us, and blessing us. Let us treasure it, honor it, and live by it.