Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Think Apologetics. Tabernacle of David considers this resource trustworthy and Biblically sound.
For many Christians the Bible is the source for faith and practice. But I would gather that many sitting in pews on a weekly basis probably haven’t thought much about as to why we think the Bible is an authority. I think many Christian’s make the following assumptions:
- It is trustworthy.
- It is a revelation: God has chosen to reveal Himself through a text.
- It is an authority: We are called to place ourselves under its authority.
- It is inspired by God.
- It is factually true.
- It can be interpreted and applied.
- It can and should lead to transformation in our lives.
That leads to the next set of assumptions:
1. God needs to pick a medium to communicate to us his plans for humanity.
2. The Bible is accessible to most people.
3. How should God communicate to us? Other than creation and the Bible, is there another medium that makes more sense?
What does it mean to say the Bible an authority?
1. Scripture’s authority doesn’t depend on whether mankind cooperates with it or understands it. Its authority depends on the power and supremacy of its Author—God.
2. We obey other authorities. Human laws and other people are authorities in our lives.
3. God delegates his authority by giving us a book, the Bible.
4. Because the Bible coveys His message, it carries the same weight God himself would command if He were speaking to us personally.
How do we argue the Bible is an authority?
1. If God has authorized someone to speak in His name and he has proved He is that spokesperson, then what He says about Scripture is true (i.e., Jesus).
2. If Jesus rose from the dead, He is authorized to speak on the authority of the Bible.
3. Jesus (i.e., God incarnate) taught that the Old Testament is divinely inspired, and he promised the inspiration of the New Testament through his apostles. The Gospels report Jesus frequently using the formula “it is written” to introduce quotations from Scripture. This formula appears in (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10, cf. Luke 4:4, 8, 10; Matt. 11:10, cf. Luke 7:27).
4. A similar formula, “Have you not read…?” appears in all three Synoptic Gospels, again including passages (Matt. 12:3, 5; 19:4; 21:16, 42; 22:31; Mark 12:10, 26; Luke 6:3). All of these sayings all treat the Scriptures (our O.T.) as implicitly authoritative revelation from God.
Or, we could summarize:
(1) The New Testament documents are historically reliable evidence.
(2) The historical evidence of the New Testament shows that God authenticated Jesus’ teaching/ claim to divinity by His miracles/His messianic speaking authority, His messianic actions, and His resurrection.
(3) Hence, Jesus is God incarnate.
(4) Jesus (i.e., God incarnate) taught that the Old Testament is divinely inspired, and he promised the inspiration of the New Testament through his apostles.
(5) Therefore, the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) is divinely inspired.
The Authority of the Bible is Related to the Inspiration of the Bible
1. Paul stated: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). “Inspiration” is taken from the Greek: “theopneustos” (theos meaning “God” and pneō meaning “to blow, breathe on”). “Scripture” (graphē) must refer to the Old Testament written Scripture, for that is what the word graphē refers to in every one of its fifty-one occurrences in the New Testament.
2. Peter wrote: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation. For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spoke from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit”(2 Peter 1:20-21). “Moved” by the Holy Spirit,” literally means “borne along.”
3.Inspiration is not Dictation Theory: the human role was a purely mechanical one: their individuality was by-passed while they wrote, and neither did their cultural background have any influence on what they wrote, because these writers were under the control of God.
4. Does the Bible teach exactly how inspiration works? No. There is a relationship between the human author and the Spirit of God.