The authority of Scripture is one of the oldest and most discussed questions of humankind. It is also one of the most important for us to consider today. People often prove their spiritual condition by their attitude toward the Bible.
Several years ago I had the opportunity to meet with about a dozen ministers near a city where I was involved in a campaign. To say I was shocked by our discussion may be a bit too strong, but I was certainly surprised by the serious differences of opinion we had on some basic questions. At least half of these ministers did not accept the Bible as the authoritative Word of God!
Several said they believed some Scripture passages were erroneous. Even more astonishing was their admission that when they are uncomfortable with portions of the Bible, they rationalize away such portions as "unscientific."
Is it any wonder that in certain parts of the world the Christian church staggers? Who wants to listen to ministers who don't believe the Bible is the Word of God? Where is their authority? Where do you draw the line between which passages of the Bible are inspired by God and which are not?
When I hear people who profess to be Christians questioning whether the Bible is God's Word, I can't help but wonder if Christians today worship too small a God. After all, if God is God, then couldn't He write a Book that is without error? Of course He could, and He did!
Paul could confidently tell Timothy, "Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:14-15). Why could Paul say that? Because all Scripture is inspired by God; it is authoritative because it is God's Word, not man's.
Peter could write, "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty" (2 Peter 1:16).
The Bible has the ring of authenticity. No other book has this divine stamp of approval. Arthur T. Pierson, a noted Bible expositor, explained the Bible's uniqueness this way: "From all human oracles, however self-confident, we turn at last to the inspired Word, where instead of ambiguous and untrustworthy utterances, we find teachings distinct and definite, authoritative and infallible." We can trust God's Word!
If God couldn't write a book that is perfect, then why should you or I trust such a God with our salvation? I am not saying that belief in inspiration is necessary for salvation, but I am saying that to experience authority and power and fellowship with God in our Christian walk, we must accept the Bible as God's Word.
Belief in the full authority of Scripture is vital to living an authentic and victorious Christian life. Only through such faith can we experience the joy of being God's children.