Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Authority of Scripture

Classes Start TONIGHT!  I am excited, and a little nervous.  I am excited because it has been awesome to see God put this whole thing together and I am a little nervous because my funding is not yet complete for the first semester.  God has faithfully provided thus far and I expect He will continue, but I would love to be able to look at my account and see a zero, or a black number!

If God is leading you to support me, now is the time.  If you have been putting it off, please put it off no longer.  It has been amazing to me to see how support has come in.  Most of it from people I don't know personally.  Thank You to all who have and who continue to support me financially and in prayer.  I can not tell you how much I appreciate it!

My first paper is due tonight.  I had to write a two page paper on what I thought were key issues on the subject of "Biblical Authority".  What follows is the paper I will submit tonight... It wasn't easy keeping it to two pages!



As a child I learned the famous children’s song “The B-I-B-L-E” and for many years that song’s lyrics defined Biblical Authority in my life. “I stand alone on the Word of God”. I remember being taught, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that’s good enough for me.”

Since then however, I have matured and come to realize that the Bible’s authority isn’t in the printed words on thin gilded pages, the Bible’s authority is contained in its content, and in its meaning. Biblical authority comes not from the Bible, but from its author, God Almighty. God’s word is unique in that the same passage can contain multiple messages to multiple readers. The Holy Spirit has more to do with how the words on the page are interpreted by the reader than do the words themselves.

The Bible contains many different types of literature from enjoyable to read poetry and song lyrics to laborious legalistic documentation, from intimate love letters from one lover to another to open letters from a church leader to an entire body of believers. It contains disturbing descriptions of things which actually happened to even more disturbing descriptions of things to come. Its content has been debated, argued, discussed and berated. It has been put on a pedestal, literally printed in gold, and it has been trod upon and burned.

Its meaning is at times literal and at other times figurative. It is sometimes very clear and at other times very ambiguous. There are instructions meant to be applicable to all times and all people and there are instructions recorded that were specific to one time and one place. Its meaning has also been debated, argued and discussed even more than its content. Its meaning can be universally identified and individually applied.

Unlike any other text in the history of the world, the Bible is unique in that while it is and has been read by millions of people, it contains a unique message to each of its readers. Yes, there are universal truths contained in its pages that are applicable to all of its readers, but within it there is also a personal message to every reader from the author Himself. It is this very personal aspect of the scripture that gives it its unique authoritative quality. The Bible’s authority comes from its author and is implemented by its readers when they apply it’s truths to their individual lives.

Biblical Authority therefor is as personal as our relationship with the God who created us and authored this book for our benefit. How that authority is meted out in our lives is also as unique as we are. But that is not to say that the dictates of the bible are different for every reader, it is not to say that there are no universal truths applicable to all persons. Quite to the contrary, there are many universal truths that apply to every human being. Even to those who have not read the scripture. There are truths that are universal to all of mankind for all of history past, the present and the future.

Often we think of authority in terms that we can readily identify with. Parental Authority, Managerial Authority, Governmental Authority are all examples of Authority as we normally identify it. The one thing all of these types of authority have in common is that there is one being who is subject to another. A child is subject to its parent, a worker to the department manager, and the citizen of a country to the laws and leadership thereof. Biblical authority isn’t like this though, so it is more difficult to identify.

Biblical Authority is not based on a Master and a subject, it is rather based on absolute truth. Truth is the underlying authority that the bible wields, Absolute Truth. Truth is not dependent on any person or on anything, truth simply is. Absolute truth does not require validation by any person’s belief, it simply is.

The bible does not need anyone to believe it for it to be true. It would be true regardless of anyone’s belief or non-belief. And it is from this simple fact that it gains its authority. It does not require you or me to believe its authority, nor to prove its authority. God once told Moses that his name was “I Am”. The bible’s authority comes from that same place of truth.

Until His Work In Me is Complete,
Paul

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