What is the Authority Source in Your Life? (Part 1)
One only has to go to the first book of the Bible to see how Satan works. When Eve repeated to Satan what God told her in Genesis 3:3, 4, "but of the fruit of the tree...you shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die", Satan immediately responded by denying this, "then the serpent said to the woman, you will not surely die." He then went on to give a substitute explanation, with the purpose of getting man to deny, doubt, and disobey what God had said. Throughout history, this has never changed. Whether preached by the disciples of Jesus' day or by today's missionary, Satan continues to oppose the will and the word of God. Jesus once stated that we are wrong often simply because, "ye err, not knowing the Scriptures." (Matthew 22:29) Scriptures were so effective that Paul once wrote, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes," (Romans 1:16) Satan also knew how Scriptures could change man. And just as he did when he tempted Jesus, (Matthew 4) he comes prepared to deceive anyone that doesn't know Scriptures!
As we continue, my hope is to illustrate the enormous spiritual warfare for men's souls and to shed some light on this very thing. Those that oppose the sufficiency of Scriptures, they do so, just as Satan did above, by trying to cast doubt through suggestive questions, leading many on "rabbit trails," all in an effort to then give a substitute message. The Bible – can we rely on it as "The Authoritive Source" today or is the doctrine of Sola Scriptura itself unbiblical? This question alone might be Satan’s initial suggestion to cast doubt, but you can be sure he’d follow this by a whole series of roadblocks as well. The enemy might then ask the believer to prove from the Bible that the Bible is the only rule of faith, stating, "Nowhere does the Bible say that it is the sole authority."
Biblical response #1 - Just as the Bible doesn't say the word Trinity, it does teach the word Trinity. Likewise, so does it teach the Sola Scriptura principle as a fact. In other words, the Bible clearly does, indeed, make its claim to both being sacred and spiritually sufficient in 2 Timothy 3:15-17, ".....the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 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." And as we examine the Bible, we see that the sufficiency of Scripture doesn't rest on a single, isolated verse, but rather it is confirmed thorough Scriptures! The salvation of man doesn't happen by accident, "for faith comes by hearing the Word of God." (Romans 10:17) Paul also writes, "In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise..." (Ephesians 1:13) So as you can see, we not only are told the method by which we attain faith in Jesus Christ, and the moment to when we attained salvation, but the Bible also shows us the manner by which man may attain spiritual growth, as Peter explained, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby!" (1 Peter 2:2) All these things, including becoming a Christian, are the results of reading and knowing Scriptures, just as Peter has written, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." (1 Peter 1:23) As convincing as these passages are, the enemy isn't about to quit as he might now begin to suggest that the Bible Believer takes his verses out of context, often times ignoring the many passages that point out the valued oral teachings and traditions. And Satan’s arguments appears to be even more convincing when He adds to this points like the Christian faith existed and flourished for years before the first book of the New Testament was written!
Biblical Answer #2 - When examining Scriptures, we must remember that Scripture cannot contradict Scriptures! Paul would happily write to those who valued God’s word, "the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it, not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God."(1 Thessalonians 2:13) Furthermore, we find that, "…no prophecy of Scriptures is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (1 Peter 1:19,20) The reality is that, since God’s word is truth and cannot contradict itself, then the very same teachings, traditions, and Christian faith of the disciples that are found in the written Word, would have to be (and are) the same as what was orally expressed before they were written in the Book! So, just as in explaining how 2 Timothy 3:15-17 shows the sufficiency of Scriptures, failing to mention that in verse 14, Timothy was initially exhorted to hold to the oral teachings—the traditions—that he received from the apostle Paul, does not avoid them, nor does it take verses 15 to 17 out of context. Thus we can avoid speculations about Biblical teachings and problems by sticking to the written Word. Perhaps this is why Paul wrote, "not to think beyond what is written." (1 Corinthians 4:6) Interesting also is how often Jesus would respond to Satan, beginning often by saying, "It is written…."
In closing part one of our check to see if Scriptures should be the authority, I'm reminded that often times skeptics would then point out that John, himself, wrote that not everything that Jesus did was written down. Ahhh, yes! Another implication by Satan, as if the Holy Spirit forgot something! However, Scriptures reveal in the very next verse that what we have is sufficient by adding, "but these ARE WRITTEN THAT YOU MAY BELIEVE…." (John 20:31 see also 1 John 5:13), so that we can, no doubt, believe and know for sure, the sufficiency of Scriptures!