If you have not read my last blog, you may want to read it as a foundation before reading this one. Here is the link: (Sorry, but I am having technical issues with my blog and cannot create a clickable link right now. Just cut and paste this into your browser.)
The next principle of Bible study concerns authority and truth.
Many people and entities are authorities in our lives. We begin with our parents, move on to teachers and church authorities, then bosses and government. All of these are God-given authorities in our lives, but ultimately there is only one authority – Scripture. This means that while we obey those in authority over us, we never go against the Bible to do so.
Scripture is also the ultimate standard of truth. While we can certainly learn from many sources, the Bible is the one and only true standard in which to judge all knowledge and to know what is truth. So the Second Principle of Bible Study is . . .
The Bible is our ultimate authority . . .
The Bible is the ultimate standard of truth.
Everything – people, science, our experiences, teachers, nature, what we see and hear, even preachers and sermons, must be tested against the Word of Truth.
So often people will follow one person or one preacher without digging into the Word for themselves and understanding what the Bible says. Since people are human they can be wrong and lead us astray.
King David is case in point. He was King over God\’s people, but he killed his good friend Uriah and took Uriah’s wife Bathsheba for his own, bringing God’s wrath on himself (see 2 Samuel 11). To David’s credit, he repented, but never regained his original power.
If King David can fall and be wrong, anyone can! It’s never a wise choice to follow a person or take at face value everything that someone says about the Bible without learning how to check it out for oneself.
Can we learn from other people? Absolutely! But we must make sure that we are following God and His Word, not a person.
Isaiah 8:20 tells us: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
“Law” (“Torah”) means “instruction,” and refers mostly to the Pentateuch (Gen through Deut), but can also refer to all the instruction God gives through His prophets. The Hebrew word for “testimony”is often a synonym for God’s law (see Exodus 25:21, Psalm 19 & 119).
So according to the Bible itself, if something does not agree with its teachings or the law of God, that something is not valid. What are some of those “somethings?”
Have you ever been tempted to gain knowledge by supernatural means – using a spirit medium, or by contacting spirits on your own? In Isaiah 8:19 people were telling others to seek answers from the dead through mediums. This goes against many places in Scripture that condemn this practice (such as Lev 20:26, 27; Deut 18:10-12; 1 Chron 10:13). So if someone comes to you and suggests that you seek answers from a supernatural source, you know that the authority of the Bible forbids this, and that this person is not speaking from God.
You may stay away from the supernatural.. But here’s another area that often gets us into trouble; it’s thinking that we know what would be best for us. After all, we are intelligent, experienced, and should be able to tell what’s right for us, right? Wrong!!
Our human emotional and mental faculties, our own reasoning and experiences, were never designed to be our own authority. Eve proved this.
Eve was created a perfect being, but in Genesis 3 she trusted her own emotions and reasoning above God’s direct Word, plunging the human race into ruin. She listened to the voice of another who seemed to make better sense at the time than God did, and she chose to trust her own intellect and feelings rather than obeying God. What trouble could have been avoided if Eve had not gone her own way!
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate,” Gen 3:6.
We face the same choices for our own lives. If we obey God even when we don’t understand why, we make Him and His Word our ultimate authority and source of truth, and remain on the path of safety. If we choose to “know best,” we are on dangerous ground.
Solomon says in Proverbs 14:12 – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” No matter what appears right in our own eyes, we must test it against what the Bible says.
These are two ways that we can make something other than the Bible our authority and truth. Next time I’ll discuss a few more.
Please leave a comment and share your thoughts on this important topic.