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The Basics Of Authority

How To Establish Biblical Authority

  1. Precept: What has God said? – This is simply the authority of God’s specific directive and divine commands. What has God or the Son of God said? What have the Prophets and Apostles said? See II Peter 1:3-4 and Ephesians 2:19-22.

  2. Precedent: What has God shown us? – This is simply the authority of the biblical patterns and examples of God and godly people. What examples have the saints of Israel and especially the church left for us to follow? See Matthew 28:18-20 ... I Peter 2:21 cf. I John 2:6 and I Corinthians 11:1; 4:16-17; Philippians 3:17; 4:9; I Thessalonians 1:6-7; 2:13-14; II Thessalonians 3:7-9; II Timothy 1:13; Hebrews 8:1-6; 13:7; III John 1:11; etc.

  3. Principles: What does God want? – This means simply understanding the principles and implications that are contained in all of the Word of God that we need to learn to apply to our life setting and situation. This is perhaps one of the more difficult and challenging aspects to understanding biblical authority for many. Yet, behind every passage in the Word of God stands some principle that we need to grasp. Everything matters in Scripture. Nothing is irrelevant. We need to have the spirituality to discern all the truth of God’s Holy Word. Allow one illustration to suffice: What is the time and frequency of the Lord’s Supper? In order to answer this question we need to look at all that God has revealed with regard to this memorial. (Remember, we don’t know what God has said until we know all God has said on a given matter.) And we need to understand its background and setting. In addition we might want to compare what God said with regard to “remembering the Sabbath” and consider how often Israel in the Old Testament was required to do so. For those who don’t respect the principle of God’s authority all of this is ridiculous. For those who love the Lord there is nothing we won’t do to please him. Which is it for you?

Five Old Testament Examples

  1. Cain and Abel – Genesis 4:2-5 (Hebrews 11:4, John 4:23-24, Romans 10:17
  2. Nadab and Abihu – Leviticus 10:1-11
  3. Saul and Samuel – I Samuel 13:1-15; 15:1-35
  4. David and the Ox Cart – II Samuel 6:1-11, I Chronicles 13:1-14
  5. Uzziah and the Altar of Incense – II Chronicles 26:16-21

Note the power and principle (i.e., typology) the Old Testament – I Corinthians 10:6,11-12, Colossians 2:16-17 (Hebrews 8:5; 10:1 cf. Hebrews 9:8-10,24-28)

Three Principle Lessons

  1. The Noble Bereans – Acts 17:11
  2. Jesus and the Lawyer – Luke 10:25-37
  3. Jesus and the Samaritan Woman – John 4:1-26

Finally, respect for authority is not about legalism it is all about love for God and his Word! Thus the principle of authority is based upon the greatest command. See Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (Deuteronomy 11:1,13,22; 30:16,20; Joshua 23:11) → Matthew 22:36-40; Mark 12:28-31 … Luke 10:25-37