What is the Authority Source in Your Life? (Part 2)
Last month we began our examination of the spiritual warfare concerning Satan's attack on Scripture and the question about whether Christians should view it as "The Authority" or not? We began by establishing how the Bible does indeed teach its sufficiency and does so without taking verses out of context. In fact, when examining the Bible, we can see that the Bible is actually one book with one Divine Author. And although it was written over a period of 1500 years through the pens of almost 40 human writers, it is without any contradictions. Despite the satanic suggestions to the contrary, the Bible has proven to be truthful, just as it claims, but this can only be a reality if the written word and traditions say the same message as what the apostles had orally taught. And as we saw last month, Satan will continue to try to undermine and oppose God's Word by making suggestive statements, implications, innuendos, and questions, all in an effort to cast doubts in people's minds about the Bible standing as "the Authority!"
As we continue, the next question that the skeptic might ask the Bible believer to examine, might be something like, "How did we get the Bible, which Books belong in the Bible, and who decided?" This type of question, is particularly disturbing to me because it amounts to a "rabbit trail" in that the focus turns from what does God's Word say, to how did we get it, even though we've had the Bible since around 350 - 400 AD when God's Word was gathered into one inspired Book. How we got the Bible was that the early Church had three basic principles that they used to validate those writings which became our inspired Word. First, the writing had to come from a recognized prophet or apostle. Secondly the writing could not disagree or contradict previous Scriptures. And third, the writing had to have a general consensus by the early church.
However, even here Satan schemes to deceive, and two facts must be clear about what was just said. First, we should note that the various councils did NOT vote for the canonicity of a book but rather recognized after the fact, what God had already written. Second, we should know what the Biblical definition of a church is: CHURCH - When the church is implied, church refers to all who follow Christ, without respect to locality or time. The Church general refers to all believers of all ages. (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary) This can be seen by Scriptures as well. Notice what Paul wrote: "Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body....the church is subject unto Christ.......Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word...That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:23-27) When you now continue using Scripture to define Scripture, you see this train of thought when Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth, "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." (1 Corinthians 3:9) Adding as a reminder a few other enlightening verses on this subject, such as "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:9) and "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name", (1 John 1:12) we can see the question of "interpretation" eliminated. Biblically speaking, when referring to the word church, it is meant to be Believers. Satan continues to deceive many by suggesting that a particular denomination is what Jesus meant. Therefore, when many see the word church in the Bible, they automatically and mistakenly think in terms of "their" denomination, instead of believers in general.
More importantly, we see that Scriptures tell us, that over 2000 times in the Old Testament alone, the Bible asserts that God spoke what was on its pages. The phrase "Word of God" occurs over 40 times in the New Testament. Though the Scriptures came to us centuries ago, the Scriptures are relevant for today, as well as for every generation. People may drive cars instead of camels, cook in microwaves instead of campfires and fight with missiles instead of slingshots, but people are still people and God's ways never change. The facts are that, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8), "Scriptures cannot be broken," (John 10:35) and Jesus once said, "Heaven and Earth may pass away, but my words will never pass away." (Matthew 24:35) The Psalmist tells us how God values His Word in that God actually magnifies His word above His name! (Psalm 138:2) Jesus, Himself, also said, "If you abide in My Word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31,32)
Since Scriptures are that important and also knowing that the New Testament Books are the same as the originals, agreed upon since the Bible was first written, should we ever doubt the Bible? Obviously, God's Word, unchanged in nearly 2000 years, testifies that when God closed the Bible with a warning against adding or subtracting from the Scriptures, that the Bible is sufficient and complete. In the Book of Job, after listening to Job and his buddies using their rational and explanations about God and His ways, God spoke up saying, "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?" (Job 38:2) And later He asks, "Wilt thou also disannul my judgment?" (Job 40:8) Would God feel any different concerning those that would doubt His word today, or even questioning what Books belong in the Bible, as if man made those decisions? Rather, indeed, we should have the attitude like those whom Paul complimented when he wrote, "Because when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God.." (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
Next month we'll continue to look at the Bible, its authority, and the many schemes against it.