The Need for Biblical Authority

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APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot

In creating men and women, God had something different in mind than He did for the other creatures. The latter are spoken of as having been created “according to their kinds” (Gen 1:25). Humans, however, are described as being made in the image and likeness of God (1:26–27). Although we are not told just what this image consisted of, we do note that God intended that humans would serve Him by having dominion over the rest of the creation (1:26, 28). In addition, it apparently was customary for God to come and have fellowship with the man and the woman (3:8–9).

Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS

All creatures are in some sense related to God, for all in one way or another obey Him. They do this, however, in differing ways, corresponding to their respective natures. Thus inanimate objects, such as planets, obey mechanically by following certain natural laws. Animals do so instinctively, such as fish that return to spawn each year in the place where they were spawned. These are unconscious acts of obedience, carrying out God’s will by simply following the nature given them in creation.

Only humans are able to obey God voluntarily, by consciously fulfilling His commands as well as loving and worshiping Him. This, however, requires knowledge of God, His nature, and His will if we are to fulfill what the Westminster Confession of Faith identified as the “end” of man: “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

Problems exist here, however. For one, humans are limited, and God is unlimited. It is therefore impossible for us to discover God. We are unable to ascend to His level to investigate Him. Consequently, for humans to know, love, worship, and obey God, it would be necessary for God to take the initiative to make Himself known. God’s disclosure, or unveiling, of Himself is known as revelation. It is the first step in the process of human knowledge of God. It is referred to technically in theology as “revelation.”

A second problem exists for human knowledge of God, namely, the problem of sin. When sin entered the human race, it introduced a “blinding” effect (2 Cor 4:4). This meant that humans became unable to recognize and understand correctly that which could be known of God (Rom 1:19). Like a cloud obscuring the sky, sin makes the truth of God obscure to sinful humans. This compound problem cries out for God’s initiative if He is to be known.

Jesus quoted the Scriptures or referred to them 120 times. If we take everything Jesus said in all four Gospels, it would be about a two-hour sermon. So, if you had a visiting pastor on Sunday that gave a two-hour sermon and quoted it referred to the Scriptures 120 times, would you say he depends on Scriptural authority?

Imperfect humans cannot go without making a scribal error when copying the Bible, so he knew that there were scribal errors, just as every scholar from Ezra forward knew this. But that is not the question or the issue. He was different from the great Jewish minds of his day, and the Jews were astounded and astonished at the way he taught. Why? Because the Jewish scholars of that day did not quote Scripture as their authority, they quoted previous Rabbis. Jesus leaned entirely on the Word of God as his authority.

The originals of each Bible book written by the Bible authors and their scribes, if they used one, were without error, as the authors were inspired and led along by the Holy Spirit. Now, we do not need the original manuscripts; we simply need the original words that were on the original manuscripts.

The 1881 Westcott and Hort Greek NT and the 2012 Nestle-Aland Greek NT (28th ed.) are 99.99% reflective of the originals. And the same applies to the Hebrew text. So, we do not have a miraculously preserved text like the King James Version Onlyists believe; we have a miraculously restored text. So, we have the authority, the absolute inerrant, inspired Word of God. – Edward D. Andrews

What Are Textual Variants [Errors] and How Many Are There?

Holman Bible Handbook (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 1992).

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