Sharing Him Article #4: Authority in Religion

stw1As you engage people in a discussion of religious matters and their personal need for God, it is very important to discuss, very early in the conversation, the significance of the Bible being our only authority – our only guide, our only standard – in religion.

Perhaps we assume that everyone automatically thinks of the Bible, and whatever it says, as the final word in all religious matters; but such an assumption is wrong!  There are those who do not know the Bible is our only guide; there are others who emphatically reject the very notion of such.  Because people are guided by different “standards” (such as church authorities, majority rule, what is popular, their own personal preference or opinion, or any such like), different doctrines and practices are advocated.  Our goal is to get people to look to the Bible, and the Bible alone, as the only and complete guide for all religious questions.

Introduction passages

There are several passages we need to introduce to people so that they will know the Bible is to be our only guide.  The following are some significant points, with scriptural references establishing them:

1. The Bible is the Word of God. Carefully study 2 Timothy 3:16–17, and note some truths set forth in this text.  First, all Scripture is given by inspiration of God; the Bible is not the product of man, but a revelation of the mind and will of God (for some comparison passages, see also 1 Corinthians 2:9–13; 2 Peter 1:20–21; Matthew 24:35).  Second, Scripture is profitable (useful; beneficial) for doctrine (teaching), reproof and correction (to reveal our sin, and to convict us of our sin), and for instruction in righteousness (teaching about the right ways of God).  Third, Scripture is complete (the meaning of the word “perfect” in the King James Version); Scripture completely furnishes us unto every good work of God.

Emphasize that the Bible is God’s Word and provides all we need in religion!

2.  God the Father has given all authority to His Son, Jesus. Jesus has all authority (Matthew 28:18–20) and God speaks to us through His Son (Matthew 17:5; Hebrews 1:1–2).  Jesus’ words are to be taught (Matthew 28:19), to be continued in (John 8:31–32), and will judge all mankind at the last day (John 12:48).  Jesus is the “final word” because He is the only head of the church (Ephesians 1:1–2; Colossians 1:18).

Emphasize that we must listen to Jesus, and His Words are found in the Bible!

stw23. Jesus promised the apostles inspiration. Read and study John 14:25–26 and John 16:12–13.  Jesus promised His apostles inspiration:  the Holy Spirit would teach them all things, bring to their remembrance what Jesus said, guide them into all truth, and show them things to come.  To hear and heed the words of the apostles is to hear and heed the Word of God.  They acknowledge this inspiration, and said their words could be read and understood (Ephesians 3:3–5).

Emphasize that the words of the apostles and prophets in Scripture are the very words of God!

4.We must not depart from God’s Word. The Bible warns against teaching for our doctrines the commandments of men (Matthew 15:7–9), adding to or taking from God’s Word (Proverbs 30:5–6; Revelation 22:18–19), or turning aside to any other gospel (Galatians 1:6–9).

Emphasize that God has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness in Scripture (2 Peter 1:3).

In conclusion

These points are all for the purpose of getting people to look to the Bible as their standard, their authority, for all religious matters.  When it comes to any doctrine or practice, the thing that matters is what the Word of God teaches.

It is important that people not think in terms of “what my church teaches” or “what your church does,” or “what you think about it,” or “what I was told,” but rather what the Bible says. That is the importance and essentiality of knowing the Bible is our authority.

By John Brown

Speak Your Mind