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Bible Authority Chain Reference

The Authority of Christ's Word and Its Delivery to Us

The teachings of Jesus concerning the authority of His word and how it would be delivered to man:

John 12:47-50... "If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects Me and does not receive My savings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me."

John 14:25-26... Jesus said to His "apostles" who walked and talked with Him, and who witnessed His life and ministry, "These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you."

John 15:26-27... Jesus again said to His "apostles" who were with Him throughout His ministry, "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning." (Note that these particular promises were made only to those who were with Jesus in the 1st century, and who had been with Him "from the beginning.")

John 16:12-15... Again, Jesus speaks only to His chosen "apostles" who walked with Him and talked with Him during His ministry in the 1st century. To them He says, "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of mine, and will disclose it to you."

From these passages of scripture we learn that Jesus promised to send the "Spirit of truth," that is the Holy Spirit, to His "apostles" who were with Him in the 1st century. The Holy Spirit would "inspire" (miraculously disclose, guide, direct) the apostles so that they would know "all the truth" and remember all that Jesus did and said. The apostles recorded that information and it has been preserved down through the ages for us in the pages of our New Testament.

The Apostles' Claims of Authority

The apostles claimed authority from God as they wrote by way of Holy Spirit inspiration:

I Corinthians 2:10-13... "For to us (apostles) God revealed them through the Spirit; for the spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words."

*Note that in this passage, the apostle Paul claims direct inspiration from God through the Spirit who gave him not only "spiritual thoughts" but also "spiritual words" to express those thoughts.

I Corinthians 14:37... The apostle Paul states, "If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment."

I Thessalonians 2:13... Here the apostle Paul says to the church at Thessalonica, "For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe."

Ephesians 3:3-5... " revelation there was made known to me the mystery... the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit."

Colossians 4:16... The apostle Paul intended that his epistles (New Testament letters, books) be read in the church and shared among the various churches: "When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea."

I Thessalonians 5:27... "I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren!"

2 Thessalonians 2:15... "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us."

2 Timothy 1:13... Here the apostle Paul asserts his "apostolic authority" in the fact that His teachings contain the "pattern of sound words" and that Timothy and the church must hold to that pattern: "Hold to the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus."

2 Peter 1:15-16... The apostle Peter asserts his "apostolic authority" to write to them as one who was an "eyewitness" of Christ: "And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure [death] you will be able to call these things to mind. For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty."

2 Peter 3:1-2... "This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand [Old Testament] by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior [New Testament] spoken by your apostles."

2 Peter 3:15-16... The apostle Peter equates the writings of the apostle Paul with "the rest of the Scriptures" and warns against those who would distort them; thus claiming authority from God for all the "apostles"... "And regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction."

The Sufficiency of New Testament Writings

The apostles of Christ taught that their teachings (New Testament writings) were all that was necessary for us to understand and know the will of God, be saved, and live in a manner pleasing unto Him:

John 20:30-31... "Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name." Here John tells us that the things which he wrote are sufficient for those who read it to "believe" in Jesus and to "have life" - eternal life, salvation - "in His name."

2 Peter 1:2-3... "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence."

Ephesians 3:3-5... In verses 3 and 5, the apostle Paul writes, "...that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery... which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit." In the middle of this, he assures us in verse 4 that this is both available and understandable to us, by way of the things he wrote: "By referring to this (the revelation to Paul), when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ."

2 Timothy 3:16-17... "All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."

The Distinct Standard of Authority

The apostles of Christ taught that their teachings (New Testament writings) were the only standard of authority for the New Testament church, and that they must not be distorted. They also gave strict warning concerning "false teaching" and following after human traditions or any other ideology:

2 Peter 1:20-2:3... "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep."

Galatians 1:6-12... The apostle Paul writes to the church in Galatia, saying: "I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ."

I Corinthians 4:6... The apostle Paul in combating false teachings and divisive opinions in the church at Corinth, told them: "Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other."

I Timothy 1:3... The apostle Paul in giving instruction to the young evangelist, Timothy, told him: "As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith."

2 Timothy 4:1-4... Paul also warned the young evangelist, saying: "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths."

2 John 8-11... The apostle John warns the church about false teachers who have gone out into the world, explains how they can be identified (by comparing their doctrines with the teachings of Christ), and commands that we not receive or encourage such teachers: "Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds."

Revelation 22:18-19... The apostle John sums up his writings at the close of the book of Revelation, the last book in our Bible, with this severe warning: "I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. " This was a very suitable way for the apostle to close his inspired writings. For we do not want to be guilty of either "adding to" or "taking from" God's inspired word... whether it be the book of Revelation, or any other portion of the Bible.

Matthew 15:6-9... Here, Jesus himself warns the people of His day, and us as well, concerning the danger of following human traditions and elevating them to a level equal with, or even above the authority of God's holy word. He says, " invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophecy of you, saying 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'" May we never be guilty of "invalidating" the word of God for the sake of our own opinions, traditions, or religious doctrines. Rather, may we always honor the word of God, the Bible, and ascribe to it the respect and authority it is due!

No Additions or Replacements

In correspondence with the above set of Scriptures, the word teaches that God is unchanging in His judgements. Therefore, anyone who teaches any kind of addition or replacement to the New Testament scriptures is in clear defiance of God...(see Gal.1:6-12)...

James 1:17... "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow." ...Note that a literal translation of the Greek words for "shifting shadow" is "shadow of turning." Are there religious authorities here on earth who have "turned" or "shifted" in their teachings, which they claim are from God?

Malachi 3:6... Here, God is speaking about His judgements against His offenders, concluding, "For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed."

Numbers 23:19... "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent..." ...A note on "repent": this word (translated from the Hebrew nacham) has a literal meaning of "change"; for example when a human repents he is changing his heart. Have certain religious teachers, claiming authority or revelation here on earth, "changed"???

Hebrews 13:8... An appropriate statement to tie it all together: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

We conclude our study with a precious promise from God, given through the hand of the apostle Peter as he quoted the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, concerning His holy word...

"All flesh is like grass,
And all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
And the flower falls off,
But the word of the Lord endures forever."

I Peter 1:24-25
Isaiah 40:8

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