t{squared}: The Authority of Scripture

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theology

First time to read t{squared}? Click over here to read the introduction or click on the button above to read previous posts.

The Authority of Scripture

The Authority of Scripture

Establishing Scripture’s authority is important to the remainder of our study of systematic theology. If we do not believe Scripture has any authority in our lives, that lack of belief drastically changes how we approach the Bible. This begs the question, fromĀ where does Scripture receive its authority? How do we know these words can be trusted to guide our lives?

Our first instinct, especially for Americans and those in more Western cultures, is to “prove” that the Bible is true and authoritative for our lives. We search for evidence towards the historical accuracy of the stories found in the Bible. We study the prophecies and find evidence for their fulfillment. We look at the internal consistency to see if the Bible agrees with itself. All these components testify to the truthfulness and authority of Scripture and benefit our study of Scripture. However, we cannot rely solely on this sort of external proof to establish the authority of Scripture.

A second approach would be to apply our personal experience to determine the authority of Scripture. We read a passage and it speaks directly to our lives. We are convicted of sin. We are encouraged. We grow in our knowledge of God. We experience the authority of Scripture in our lives. However we cannot rely solely on personal experience to establish Scripture’s authority. Every individual will have different experiences and draw different conclusions. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit enlightens the believer’s heart to the truths of Scripture and applies those truths to his heart.

Finally, we establish Scripture’s authority based on what the Bible says about itself. Scripture claims to be God’s word and authoritative for life. In an earlier post about God’s word, we established that the words found in Scripture are indeed God’s words. The phrase “thus says the Lord” is found frequently in the Old Testament (Deut 18:17-20) and the Lord spoke through the prophets (Jer 1:9). Paul writes to Timothy that “all Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).Now many will say Scripture granting itself authority is an invalid argument. But, if Scripture is the ultimate authority, then to allow anything or anyone else give it authority would be to place that thing in a higher authority than Scripture.

We must believe and trust through faith and the guiding of the Holy Spirit within us that Scripture is indeed what it claims to be–God’s holy and authoritative Word.

Application

Grudem defines authority of Scripture as “all the words in Scripture are God’s words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God” (73). This means that we cannot pick and choose which passages we will follow and cast aside those we dislike. We cannot label them “outdated” or “outside our culture”.

Scripture is God’s word to us, and out of our love for Him, we obey His words, find encouragement in His words, and share His words with others. <—Click to Tweet!

Where are you struggling to obey God’s Word? How do you find encouragement in His Word? How can you share His Word with one person this week?

Challenge

Let’s go on a bit of a scavenger hunt! Find one or all of the following. Report back in the comments or on my Facebook page.

  1. Find one (or all if you are an overachiever) of the following: (a) a favorite historically accurate passage (I know they all are, but which one is your fave!); (b) a prophecy that has been fulfilled (bonus if you have a passage showing the prophecy’s fulfillment!); and/or (c) two passages that agree with each other on a subject in Scripture
  2. Share a passage that the Holy Spirit has used to speak to you. If you are comfortable, share how it applied to your life.
  3. Find one passage where Scripture claims to be God’s words and/or have authority.

Have fun exploring God’s Word!

This is the hardest post that I write each week. It’s also the one I get the least feedback on! If you have learned something from the t{squared} series, please leave a comment! I could use a little encouragement to keep going! :P

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This post is linked with thanks to:

Thought Provoking Thursday
Thoughtful Thursday
Thankful Thursday
Proverbs 31 Thursday

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Comments

  1. RedOakLane says:

    this is something that I have come to understand in my life. thank you for reinforcing it.

    Thank you for linking up with Thankful Thursday.

  2. Wendy @ E1A says:

    Love your post and have linked it here:
    http://encourage-1-another.blogspot.co.uk/p/storehouse-collection.html

    This is a good challenge you have set and a great one to write about in a blog post. I will link back to your post whenever I carry out this challenge.

    Thank you!

    Wendy @ Encourage-1-another.blogspot.co.uk

    • Thanks for sharing the post! I’d love to read what you find some please link back or come let me know! I tried to comment on your most recent post but I’m not sure if it went through. I’m on my phone with no access to a computer! I’ll check again when I get home!
      Blessings to you!

      Mary Beth

  3. I always enjoy reading your posts, Mary Beth! Thank you for being faithful in sharing what God lays on your heart.

  4. You go where I do not in the blogging world ;) I love to come here and be encouraged through your studies on theology ;) Keep up the good work that God has called you to do! Blessings and love friend!

    • I feel like I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to study theology in seminary under some great men of God, so I should share what I’ve learned. It’s hard! And scary. I haven’t even gotten to the really controversial stuff yet. Eeesh!

      • I think that it is wonderful that you are sharing! I am a bit jealous of the studies you’ve been able to sit in on, but am thankful that you are sharing so I too can learn! :) Bring on the controversy ;) I’m up for it ;)

  5. I have only recently begun following you, but I have to tell you that I love t{squared}. Please keep going! :)

  6. I just found this post through Thoughtful Thursday – and I plan to go back and read some of your other theological posts. I am so glad there are people who still believe in the authority of scripture. In our “relative” society, so many people want to make scripture apply to them- and not the other way around. Blessings from Zagreb: A Little R & R http://www.litterandr.org

    • That is what encourages me to continue writing! I pray that those who read will learn and understand the importance of these Truths! Blessings to you!

  7. Mary Beth, I agree with @openid-131423:disqus. I look forward to continue visits to your blog.

  8. Jessica @ Muthering Heights says:

    This is extremely off topic, but my son came in while I was reading this, and repeatedly exclaimed, “Wow!!! Lots of BOOKS!” So, I’d say he approves of your image selection! LOL!

    • LOL. I’m glad he likes it! It was a bit of a “default” option because Flickr wouldn’t produce what I had in my head. :) Funny how that happens a lot!

  9. Hi again Mary Beth!!! I love Scripture scavenger hunts and I will be doing this later today… But in the meantime, I wanted to say KUDOS to being obedient and following the Spirit’s lead to write t-squared… Theology in general is tough stuff and can get a little sticky. But I know you can do it– especially because God is on your side. Keep it up, sister!

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