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Bible: What authority does it have? 

Gary Googe Mar 19

In literally every generation the Bible is under attack. From the time it was first completed, the attack has been relentless.  Aside from man’s sinful nature, the fallen angel known as Satan is the one behind so much of it.  Of course, there are many people who don’t even believe he exists.  But that alone will give you an idea about how successful he’s been in blinding people to the truth about him and so many things.  Most of these people, even most church leaders, can’t even give you a correct explanation about how to get to Heaven after death. That alone will tell you how very successful Satan has been to keep people from accepting the authority of the Bible and learning the truth.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4

3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. [Emphasis added]

Yes, it is Satan who is “the god of this world” who has done this.  People are so blind to this that they don’t even know they are following him.  And what is this gospel he hides from people.  If you’ve spent time on our website, you’ve seen it many times.  I refer to this passage often because it is one that gives us the most important information anyone will ever come to understand.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

He says it this way because there are many false gospels being proclaimed in every generation.  It is the apostle Paul’s gospel message that is ours today.

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you [when he was there with them], unless ye have believed in vain.

Being saved is being delivered from the consequences of believing otherwise. The Corinthians had believed it and been saved by it but had stopped believing in resurrection because some false teachers had influenced them.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received [by special revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself], how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [Emphasis added]

In Paul’s writing, he is the one who provides a clear explanation of what happened when this Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and arose from His grave.  Here’s an example of that.

2 Corinthians 5:19-21

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we [as believers in this gospel] are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he [God the Father] hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

It is this that is the primary message in the Bible to us that is always so under attack.  I have found that the average local church member cannot explain this to you as it relates to being one’s sole means of salvation and securing an everlasting future in Heaven.  This is because even though the Bible is the best-selling book of all time, most people know little about it and a lot of what they think they know about it isn’t true.  Of all books, this is one that should not only be read, but studied with a view toward applying what’s learned from it.  This means then that it should become your chief source of wisdom in all your decision-making.

2 Timothy 2:15

15 Study [SPOUDAZO = be diligent] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added]

For more information about what it means to rightly divide scripture, please see my articles about it on this website.

4Us2Us:  What does this mean?

Bible:  How is it best to study it?

As we are diligent to study and apply the Bible, we need to be aware that it is authoritative.  What you read from the Bible itself you should believe. However, please realize that there are many translations of the Bible.  As good as it is, even the King James Bible is a VERSION of it.  That’s why it is called the KJV.  Words and their meaning can and often do change over time, even sometimes over a relatively short period of time.  The actual autographs, the original manuscripts of the Bible in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek are long gone.  What we have today are many copies.  Does that diminish the reliability of it? No! Nearly all of them are identical. The translations and versions of it are in some parts different, but not the original writings.  They are very much the same.  The copyists did a fabulous job with this as they wrote these writings out in their original languages. The very slight differences that are found in some are so minimal it is not worth your time to have undue concern about them.  Therefore, what we now have in the original language manuscripts of the sixty-six books of the Bible IS reliable.  Let us never forget the apostle Paul’s words about this.  But please remember that when he said this, he wasn’t talking about any subsequent translation, but what he and other authors of Scripture had written.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God [THEOPNEUSTOS = God-breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect [ARTIOS = brought to maturity], thoroughly furnished unto all good works. [Emphasis added]

These “holy men of God” who wrote the Scriptures were led perfectly to write what they wrote.  As good as some may be, such cannot be rightly said about any of the subsequent translations.  Anyone who believes or teaches otherwise is depending totally on assumption, not reliable evidence.

2 Peter 1:21

21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved [PHERO = borne along or impelled] by the Holy Ghost [PNEUMA = spirit]. [Emphasis added]

This is precisely why I was so excited about going to a school where I could learn the original languages of Scripture.  I wanted to be able to go myself to the original text to see and learn what was written, rather than having to depend on anyone else’s translation of it.  

Have you ever noticed that all the writers of Scripture are men? Is there anything wrong with that? Obviously not! God Himself provided them with all the information for the sixty-six books of our Bible.  Certainly, there are people today who have a problem with that.  But the reality of that is that generally these people tend to “have a problem” with all of God’s Word, not just this.  I learned a long time ago that such represents “a problem” they have with authority of any kind unless it’s their own.  That’s because ALL authority and every expression of it is of God.

Romans 13:1-7

1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers [EXZOUSIA = authority – absolute freedom of action, unrestricted]. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained [TASSO = appointed] of God.

2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance [DIATAGE = disposition or appointment] of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation [KRIMA = condemnation].

The passage then goes on to warn us of the temporal punishment that can come from government for resisting establishment authority figures in one’s life.

3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

And please realize that this was written at a time when the Roman Empire ruled nearly everything.

4 For he is the minister [DIAKONOS = servant] of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil [speaking of criminal activity], be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

The “sword” mentioned here is the short two-edged Roman military sword, the MACHAIRA, that was the one used in warfare but also for execution by decapitation of capital offenders who were citizens of the Roman Empire. Non-citizens were crucified for such offenses.

5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath [ORGE = anger], but also for conscience sake [simply because you know such activity is wrong].

6 For this cause pay ye tribute [PHOROS = taxes] also: for they are God’s ministers [even when they are unsaved unbelievers], attending continually upon this very thing.

7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. [Emphasis added]

This tells us their job is an honorable one that merits our respect and our pay through taxation. We must all learn to recognize and respect the authority of Scripture over all of us in all areas of life, including matters pertaining to taxation.

The Bible is the most important book you’ll ever own.  Because of the reliability of what’s there, it has priceless value.  In its original text it is described as having been perfect. The only imperfections in the Bible are ones that have come through people’s many translations and interpretations of it.  Even the King James Bible, as good as it is, is only a VERSION of it.  Even though many people don’t seem to understand this, that’s why it is called the KJV.  But even there, the problems with it are easily remedied by going to the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek copies of it in what is called the Textus Receptus, the Received Text.  

2 Peter 1:20-21

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. [Emphasis added]

We have a description in Scripture of this perfect Bible God has provided for us.

Psalm 12:6-7

6 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

The words of Scripture God has provided and preserved for us are the very words God would have us know and believe.

7 Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. [Emphasis added]

The words that were perfect and preserved were the ones initially given by their authors.  Any time you’ve seen someone use these verses to endorse any translation of it, they were absolutely wrong in doing so.  Again, even the King James Version of the Bible is just a translation, subject to man’s imperfections. There’s no objective evidence whatsoever that things are otherwise.  The world did not have to wait for centuries and till 1611 to have a reliable Bible. Men who lived before then like Martin Luther and John Calvin had reliable Bibles.  As diligent as those KJV English translators may have been, they were not perfect, as none of us are.  They were all human beings with a sinful nature.  And, again, there’s no evidence at all that things were otherwise.  Only the original writers were moved by the Spirit of God to write the original text that was perfect in its creation.  However, we do have an abundance of perfectly reliable copies of it.

Again, 2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God [THEOPNEUSTOS = God-breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect [ARTIOS = brought to maturity], thoroughly furnished unto all good works. [Emphasis added]

The one thing we have here on this Earth that has enduring value is the Word of God.

Psalm 119:89

89 For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. [Emphasis added]

Matthew 24:35

35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. [Emphasis added]

Although God created that original perfect text of Scripture that was through various human agencies, none of the subsequent translations can rightfully claim that perfection.  Today there are hundreds of English translations alone, let alone all the others in many languages.

History tells us all the translations come from two separate Greek source texts.  The source for the King James Bible is the Antiochian text which is called The Majority Text.  Even Scripture speaks of believers who lived in that area of Syria.

Acts 11:26

26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. [Emphasis added]

Then there’s also this other source for Scripture text known as the Alexandrian Text from Alexandria, Egypt.  At the time I’m writing this, of the over 900 English Bible translations in existence, only a few are based on the Textus Receptus [the Received Text].  It is the Bibles from this source that are the ones most reliable.  Therefore, Bibles from other sources are not reliable. This is a primary reason for exclusive use of the King James Version on this website.  While other translations may be easier to read being more in tune with modern English, my goal was primarily to use a reliable rather than a more readable translation.  I hope you appreciate that.  I now end this article with one of my favorites of all Scripture passages.  When these words were first written the apostle Paul was writing to his student Timothy.  They are the apostle Paul’s last recorded words to us all.

2 Timothy 3:12-17

12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God [THEOPNEUSTOS = God-breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect [ARTIOS = brought to maturity], thoroughly furnished unto all good works. [Emphasis added]

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