Concerning religion, there are only two sources of authority — God or man. Of these two sources, only one is the rightful source — God. The right standard of authority is important because when our authority is men, our worship is vain. Jesus said, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). Thus, whatsoever we do in word or deed, we must do all in the name of (or by the authority of) the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:17).
The Bible is from God
Since God is the only rightful source of religious authority, then how does God communicate with man? The answer is the Bible and only the Bible. Paul wrote, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). “Inspiration of God” literally means “God breathed.” Just as we breathe out words, God breathed out the words of the Bible. How did God accomplish this? Peter wrote that “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). God is the originator and source, and holy men of God wrote His words as the Holy Spirit guided them. Thus, God is the author, and holy men of God such as Moses, the prophets, and the apostles were the writers.
Therefore, when we study the Bible, we are studying the creator’s will for His creation. We are studying God’s word. The Bible is not simply a book of words in which it does not really matter whether we read them or not. The Bible does not contain “words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth” (1 Corinthians 2:13). Paul further explained, “Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:3-6). The Bible is as David said, “a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). The Bible is God’s authority, and to be approved of God, we must give diligence to the study of the Bible, handling it accurately as the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
The Bible Is the Complete Will of God
The Bible does not simply contain the will of God. It is the complete will of God. It is God’s standard of authority. The Bible, and it alone, is God’s communication with man. Peter wrote, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3). Since God has provided “all things that pertain unto life and godliness,” then there is nothing beyond what is found within Scripture that we need for spiritual life and godliness. The Bible is, therefore, God’s complete revelation.
Furthermore, since Jesus promised the apostles that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth would teach them all things, bring all things to their remembrance, and guide them into all truth (John 14:26; 16:13), then the apostles had all truth and revealed unto us all truth. The rejection of the apostles’ messageis a rejection of Jesus and God, the Father. Jesus said, “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me” (Luke 10:16). Also, consider Paul’s instruction to the church at Corinth, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37). Since, the apostles received and recorded all truth, the Bible is, therefore, God’s complete revelation to man.
Additionally, since the Scriptures will thoroughly furnish the man of God unto all good works and bring him unto perfection (2 Timothy 3:16-17), then what more is needed? What more could something beyond scripture furnish us? Why would we need any more than that which can bring us to perfection? The Bible is, therefore, God’s complete revelation to man.
Even further consider this: In Revelation 22:18-19, God commands that we not add to nor take away from His word (see also Proverbs 30:5-6). If we do either, God will punish us by adding to us plagues or by taking away our inheritance. Why are we not to add to nor take away from the Bible? Because the Bible is the complete word of God and to change it by adding to or taking from it either adds more than what is necessary or takes away from what is necessary. To change perfection is to defile it and make it imperfect.
Since the Bible is from God and is complete, we must also understand that it is authoritative. Authoritative means that the Bible should be the standard for which all is done in matters pertaining to religion. To the church at Colossae, Paul wrote, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). What does it mean to do something “in the name of the Lord Jesus”? To do something “in the name of ” another is to do it by his or her authority. In Acts 4:7, the priests and elders of the Jews asked the apostles, “By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?” These Jews were asking about the source of the apostles’ strength and their authority to do miracles. Peter answer, “by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth . . . this man stand here before you whole” (4:10). The apostles’ authority was Jesus. So, it should be with us. The Bible should be our source of authority.
In order to avoid chaos, a standard of authority is essential. This is true in our homes, our schools, our government, and in the church. An organization with too many chiefs is a “jumbled up mess.” There needs to be a head. In the church, Christ is the head (Ephesians 1:22-23) and His word, the Bible, is the standard of authority. A failure to recognize this authority will result in division. This was the very problem in Israel during the time of the judges. “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6; 21:25). Rather than recognizing the right standard of authority — God, their standard of authority was themselves. Sadly, such is too often true today.