The Bible’s Supreme Authority

So often we say, “God said it. I believe it. That settles it!” We recite these words in relation to our salvation; yet when called to surrender our heart to God’s Word as believers, we may find ourselves choosing to hold fast only to the Scriptures that we consider relevant for our day. The opinion, that human reasoning claims precedence over the Bible’s supreme authority, is rampant in our day.

Undermining the Bible’s supreme authority is not just a trend of the 21st century. Throughout history men have repeatedly sought to overturn the rulings of Scripture and establish their own logic as a guide. During Biblical times the Pharisees asked the Lord, “Why walk not Thy disciples according to the traditions of the elders.” The Savior’s reply forever condemned the attempts of leaders to institute their own guiding principles as “laying aside the commandments of God and making the Word of God of none effect” (Mark 7:5-13). Regrettably, for the most part, our Lord’s words have gone unheeded and men continue to look to their own intellect and tradition for establishing authority.

Nevertheless, God in His mercy has seen fit to preserve the Scriptures down through the centuries. From the printing of the Gutenberg Bible to the preservation of ancient Biblical manuscripts found in the caves of Qumran, His means have been varied, but very much evident. Perhaps the most recognized method has been the raising up of men and women to maintain the truth. Many of them, like John Wycliffe, gave their lives to assure the accurate communication of the Scriptures down through time. In 1382 he translated the first English Bible, the first translation done in over 1,000 years! Martin Luther was another, who, after nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the Wittenberg Cathedral door in 1517, established the foundational principles behind “Sola Scriptura.” He sparked a reformation substantiating the Scriptures as the only reliable governance for faith and the Christian walk.

Ultimately then, it is Scripture itself through divine revelation of the Holy Spirit that provides us with the evidence for why we believe the Bible to be the supreme authority. Indeed, the Gospels clearly record for us that the Lord Jesus Christ had the highest regard for the Scriptures. He spoke often concerning their authenticity and perpetuity. While tempted of Satan, He demonstrated His reliance on the Scriptures by thrice declaring, “It is written” (Matt 4:4-10). On the night of His betrayal, He verified His confidence in the Scriptures when He prayed to His Father, “Thy Word is truth” (John 17:17). During the Olivet discourse He expressed His certainty of the Scriptures when He said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Matt 24:35).

Throughout the Lord’s earthly ministry it was evident that each step of His journey was in harmony with the Word of God. In fact, it is recorded 10 times in the Gospels that God’s master plan was unfolded in such a way that the Scripture might be fulfilled (i.e. Mark 14:49, Luke 4:21, John 17:12, 19:28). Familiarizing ourselves with the fulfillment of Scripture will give us a greater appreciation for the infinite value that God places on Scripture and will cause us to desire to learn more from His precious Word! As the world we live in becomes progressively more and more indifferent to the teachings of Scripture, it becomes increasingly more important that we take a diligent look into His Word so that we may uncover the truths that help us verify that the Bible is the supreme authority.

The Bible Is Inspired

Any consideration of biblical authority must begin with the foundation of God as its author. The Bible does not just contain the words of God but it is the Word of God. To substantiate this all one needs to do is read through the Old Testament where we find numerous references to such phrases as “God said” and “Thus saith the Lord.” The Apostle Paul confirms this truth for us in the New Testament when he writes, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2Tim 3:16). The Bible we hold in our hands today was “God-breathed” and did not originate with men; it is the voice of God spoken through divine revelation to the Biblical writers.

We see this idea further developed by Paul when he writes to tell the Thessalonian Christians, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, 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, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1Th 2:13). Peter uses the same words in his epistle to those scattered abroad, telling them: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2Pe 1:20-21). In other words, God spoke and men wrote.

This truth is further borne out when we consider the prophetic character of our Bible. Hundreds of prophecies pertaining to the birth, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, together with those concerning men and their kingdoms, are recurrently being fulfilled throughout the Scriptures. No other book has ever given such precise predictions hundreds of years prior to their being fulfilled. Only God could have had such foreknowledge and only God could produce such a book.