WELCOME to the 2nd part in looking at the Authority of Scripture. (Meta-blog interruption, since one post usually takes me about an hour to read the content, make notes and write up, I’m looking at a big project ahead of me! On the bright-side we’re 4/57 chapters of our way through. So whats that? Like, 1/14ish Almost a tenth!…)
Authority of Scripture – to disobey or disbelieve any word of scripture is to D/D God.
This is why Jesus can rebuke His disciples for not believing the OT (Lk 24.25), why believers are encouraged to obey apostles (John 15.20, 2 Pet 3.2). And why disobeying Paul’s writings could result in excommunication (2 Thess 3.14) or Spiritual punishment (2 Cor 13:2-3). In contrast God delights in those who tremble at His Word (Isaiah 66.2).
Grudem makes an amazing observation on how this doctrine – sub-doctrine – whatever – affects the role of preaching. I love it so much I’ve copied it again:
As a personal side note – I think our expectations of a sermon are far off – and that’s our own fault. We have a tendency to lift up a gifted speaker, a funny communicator, an intelligent teacher or a likeable personality. We rate someone – according to their engage-ability, the stories told, the feelings we had over the message (ALL GOOD THINGS)…But in doing so – we can get distracted, miss the point and forget what really matters, really. It is His word. His word brings life, not a speaker’s ability. I love Paul’s opening to the Corinthians (1 Cor 2:1-5):
And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power…
Anyway! – Grudem also explores the Truthfulness of Scripture, and how this aspect of the WoG allows us to confidently acknowledge it’s authority. We know that the His Word is true because:
- God cannot lie – See Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18, 2 Samuel 7.28 and Numbers 23:19.
- Scripture is without error – Proverbs 30:5, Psalm 12:6
- His Word will endure – even if Heaven and earth pass away (Matthew 24:35)
- Not only are His Words true, but they are the ultimate standard of Truth. See John 17.17, Grudem explains that the greek word for “true”ness in this passage is actually a noun. His word is Truth.
What then is truth? Truth is what God says, and we have what God says (accurately but not exhaustively) in the Bible.
Q WHAT IF…we discover a new fact that contradicts Scripture.
- Examine the fact, data and source. Check it really is a fact.
- Re-examine our own interpretation of Scripture, have we really understood it correctly – is it possible we have read in to it – what makes sense to us. Is there a chance we – fallen, human beings – have misunderstood it. Or is it more likely God made a mistake!? (Rhetorical question!)