Scripture is our final authority
Since what Scripture says, God says, since Scripture is without error and is the ultimate standard for truth, then we must conclude that the words of Scripture carry with them the full authority of God Himself. This means that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or to disobey God. This is why in Matthew 15:1-9 Jesus rebukes the religious leaders for giving human tradition a higher place of authority than Scripture.
What does it look like in our lives when Scripture is the final and supreme authority in our lives? That seems to be a major part of the point that Paul is making in 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)
The first thing we see is that Scripture is the authority for doctrine. In other words, Scripture teaches us what is right. God wants us to know who He is and what He is like. He also wants us to know about mankind and why at times we are so very evil. He wants us to know the beginning and the end of all things. God wants us to know the way of salvation that comes through Christ alone. God also wants us to know how we are to live in this life, what things we should do and what things we should avoid. All of these things are revealed to us in Scripture. From Scripture we learn to think rightly about God, salvation and life in general.
This is incredibly important because many of the things of this life contradict what God has revealed to us in Scripture. The culture we live in tells that we really can’t know God or what He is like. The culture we live in tells us that we began as primordial sludge and evolved into humans through random chance. The culture we live in tells us that people are basically good and their main problem is a lack of resources and education. The culture we live in tells us that all religions are either equally true or equally false, but no one religion is the right way. The culture we live in tells us that as long as we aren’t hurting someone then no one has any right to impose any sort of restraints in our lifestyle.
Each one of these is completely contrary to what God has revealed to us in Scripture. Knowing this, the question you will have to answer is what will be the authority in your life? Will the culturally acceptable norms be your authority and lead you to conform to the culture around you? Or will Scripture be your authority and lead you to conform to Scripture and to the person and life of Jesus? You demonstrate that Scripture is your authority when your doctrine comes from Scripture.
The next thing we see is that Scripture is the authority for reproof. Reproof basically means to show us what is wrong. So Scripture will confront and convict us when the way we think about God, salvation and life in general is wrong. Scripture makes it clear to us when we are having wrong thoughts and wrong actions. At times reproof will be a gentle nudge and at other times it will be hard and strong conviction.
What will you do when Scripture reproves you? Will you ignore it and go on the way you are living? Or will you turn to Christ with confession and repentance seeking to get back on the right track? It is easy to say that we will respond with repentance and confession until we are reproved about something we really want to do. At that point, we demonstrate either that our want is the authority in our lives or we demonstrate that Scripture is the authority in our lives. You demonstrate that Scripture is the authority in your life when Scripture can reprove you over anything in your life and you respond with repentance and confession.
Next, we see that Scripture is the authority for correction. Scripture not only points out when we are wrong but it also shows us how to correct what is wrong. Scripture doesn’t point out things that are wrong with our lives and then leave us wrong. Scripture will also show us how to fix what is wrong. Correction implies change, changing our wrong thinking or wrong actions for right thinking or right actions.
This can be pretty tough because God will often use Scripture to change things in our lives we really don’t want to change. God can use Scripture to change relationships we are in, music we listen to, the way we dress, what we watch on TV, the way we talk and what we are going to do with our lives.
What will you do when God uses Scripture to correct the way you think, the way you live or what you have planned? Will you keep on the way you are? Or will you make the changes that God reveals to you from Scripture? You demonstrate the authority of Scripture when you will change anything in your life so that it will be in line with Scripture.
Lastly, Scripture is the authority for instruction in righteousness. Through the teaching of Scripture, we are instructed in how to become righteous, live righteous, have righteous relationships and react to stressors in righteous ways. We have to understand that the world’s idea of righteousness and Scripture’s idea of righteousness are vastly different.
The world teaches that we are righteous by nature and Scripture teaches that we are unrighteous by nature. The world teaches that we can live righteous by being “good person” and Scripture teaches that can only live righteous after Christ has made us righteous and then we must strive for what the Bible calls holiness. The world teaches that righteous relationships are relationships that are mutually pleasing and Scripture teaches that there are some people we should not be in a relationship with and that there are things we cannot do in any relationship outside of marriage. The world teaches that we are to stand up for our rights and that if someone hacks us off then we should let them know and Scripture teaches that we are to give up our rights and to turn the other cheek.
What will you do when your idea of righteousness clashes with Scriptures idea of righteousness? Will you keep on following the mindset of the world and live with the world’s righteousness? Or will you make the necessary changes to have and to live in the righteousness that the Bible describes? You demonstrate the authority of Scripture when you let Scripture determine what is righteous and not the world.
One of the most important questions you will ever answer will be in regards to what will be the authority in your life. For those of us who profess faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we must ensure that nothing supersedes Scripture as the final and ultimate authority in our lives.
Heavenly Father, the world and our own flesh pull at us to make something, anything, other than Your Word the final authority in our lives. The life Your Word calls us to live is counter-cultural and difficult at times. However, we know that Your way is best and we want to live in obedience to Your Word. Guide us that our ways would be directed to keep your statues so that we would not be ashamed when we looked into Your Word. Amen