How To Establish Bible Authority
Having Bible authority for all that we do in our lives is vitally important. Colossians 3:17 commands, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” To do everything in Jesus’ name is to do everything by His authority, meaning that we must have Bible authority for everything we do in life. So, let’s consider some basics about how to establish Bible authority. There are three ways through which we can establish Bible authority.
(1) Through a direct command/statement given in the Scriptures. For instance, baptism is commanded in Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Loving our enemies is commanded in Matthew 5:44: “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” So, we have Bible authority (established by direct commands) for both of these actions – that we must do these things if we want to live in a way that pleases God!
(2) Through an approved example given in the Scriptures. For instance, Acts 8:38-39 shows an approved example of baptism: “So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.” Acts 20:7 shows an approved example of Christians partaking of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week: “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight” (note that the “breaking of bread” refers to the Lord’s Supper in this passage). So, we have Bible authority (established by approved examples) for both of these actions.
(3) Through a forced conclusion from the Scriptures. This is a conclusion that is necessary (not a guess or something that is speculated; but, one that is unmistakable). For instance, Acts 8:38-39 forces us to the conclusion that the man from Ethiopia was immersed in water and not sprinkled (or any other practice). For, the passage (as we have just read) tells us that both the one being baptized and the one doing the baptizing went down into the water for the baptism – and both came up out of the water. Acts 20:7 forces us to the conclusion that the Lord’s Supper is to be taken on the first day of every week (and not just on a yearly, quarterly, or monthly basis – or any other practice). So, we have Bible authority (established by forced conclusions) for each of these practices.
In these 3 ways, Bible authority is established. Bible authority is not established in any other way. Bible authority is not established because I want the Bible to teach a particular thing. Bible authority is not established because I always thought the Bible taught a particular thing. Bible authority is not established because I have always done things a particular way. Instead, Bible authority is only established if there is a direct command/statement, an approved example, or a forced conclusion in the New Testament Scriptures. Without one of these three, there can be no Bible authority for a thing – and the thing does not please God!