God’s Word Has AuthorityAugust 8, 2021 Save Article
1 Peter 1:23-25
In our ongoing study of kingdom authority, previously we looked at the lordship of Christ—when the King is on the throne of our lives. Today we look at the Word of the King—the Bible. Can it be trusted as the true Word of God? Or is it just a nice collection of ancient literature, quaint, but not fully divine?
The Apostle Peter describes the Word of God in 1 Peter 1:23-25. He makes it clear: we are saved through the Word of God.
[You have] been born again, not of corruptible [perishable] seed but incorruptible [imperishable], through the Word of God, which lives and abides forever, because [and here Peter quotes Isaiah 40:6-8] “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the Word of the Lord endures forever. (Bracketed information is added for explanation.)
The Bible is not the book of the month. It’s the Book of the Ages. It took 1,500 years for the Bible to be written. Its authors spanned 30 generations. It was completed 2,000 years ago, yet it’s still a fresh reality. The Word of God is…
…living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
The Issue Is Authority
We cannot live victoriously in spiritual warfare without a final source of authority, an authoritative Word of God. Our own conscience won’t cut it. A religious hierarchy won’t do. Only Jesus Christ Himself, speaking through inspired, infallible Scripture, provides the foundation we need.
But Satan continues to muddy the waters in the issue of biblical authority. Since the Garden of Eden, he’s been asking, “Did God really say that?” insinuating, of course, that He didn’t.
What Does God Say About It?
More than 500 times in the first five books of the Bible, God says, “This is My Word.” More than 1,000 times in the prophets, God says, “This is My Word.” More than 4,000 times in the Old Testament and 44 times in the New Testament, the Bible is called the “Word of God.”
God Himself calls the Bible the Word of God. I could give hundreds of examples, but here are a few:
- And they spoke the Word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:31)
- So faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17)
- And take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:17)
- For this reason, we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God…. (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
It’s not the word of man. The Old Testament prophets prophesied because the Holy Spirit was prophesying through them. (See 1 Peter 1:10.) Although the Bible had human penmen, it wasn’t written by men but by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ Connection with the Bible
Consider this: The Holy Spirit inspired the writers to call both Jesus and the Bible the “Word of God.” God not only called His Book the “Word of God,” but He also called His Son the “Word of God.” He gave Jesus the same name as He gave to His book.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made…. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-3, 14)
In Revelation 19:13, Jesus comes in power and great glory, “and He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God.” Both Jesus and the Bible are called the “Word of God.”
The character of the Bible and the character of Jesus are inseparably linked. From cover to cover, the written Word presents unerringly the living Word. And the living Word believed the written Word.
A man and his word may be different, but Christ and His Word are not different. There is a beautiful, miraculous connection. The things that are true about Jesus are in many ways true about the Bible. I’m not saying Jesus and the Bible are identical, but they are inseparable. Look how they are linked:
- Both Jesus and the Word of God came from Heaven.
- Both live forever. Jesus is alive forevermore (See Revelation 1:18.), and “The Word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1:25).
- Both Jesus (See Hebrews 13:8.) and the Word (See Matthew 5:18.) are unchanging.
- Both Jesus and the Word are light in a dark place. Jesus is the light of the world. (See John 8:12.) So is the Bible. (See Psalm 119:105.)
- Both are absolute truth. “I am the truth” (John 14:6); “Your Word is truth” (John 17:17).
The Bible is as spotless in character as the Lord Jesus. If we take a lesser view of Scripture, we’re making less of Jesus as well by disbelieving His testimony. Jesus held the Word of God in the highest place of honor, and so must we. How can we logically call Jesus Lord and reject His view of Scripture?
“God-breathed” Means “Perfect”
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. (See 2 Timothy 3:16.) “Inspiration” here is literally translated “God-breathed.” The Bible isn’t a compilation of possible thoughts God might have had. No! God breathed out the Scriptures, and the God of truth cannot “breathe out” error.
- Jesus said the Scriptures came from the mouth of God. (See Matthew 4:4.)
- Every word of God is pure. (See Proverbs 30:5.)
- The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. (See Psalm 19:7.)
The Bible is nothing less than revelation from the transcendent, personal God. Take away its inerrancy, and all that’s left is human opinion.
And human penmanship does not make the Bible any less the Word of God than Jesus is any less the Son of God because He was born of a human woman named Mary. The Holy Spirit kept the human writers of Scripture from including error in what they wrote.
The Powerful Word
When J.B. Phillips began working on his translation of the New Testament, he was one of those scholars who just didn't believe the Bible is perfect. He didn’t believe God was meaningfully choosing each word, carefully superintending the writers. But as he continued to translate the Scriptures and see the power in the Word of God, it changed him. He came to believe it was perfect:
"Handling Scripture day after day was like trying to rewire a house without pulling the main switch,” he wrote. There is so much power in the Word of God, it overwhelmed him.
Hebrews 4:12 says the Bible cuts right through to the heart of the matter:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
No wonder the God-breathed Scriptures pulsate with power.
The Incorruptible Word
Incorruptible, “imperishable,” (See 1 Peter 1:23.) means no taint, no impurities hide within the words of Scripture. Protected by the Holy Spirit, the Bible has survived the challenges of the years. Atheists rail against it; agnostics smile cynically; liberals move Heaven and Earth to disprove it; materialists ignore it; radicals and false cults twist it, and yet the Bible still stands, imperishable.
Dr. Robert G. Lee said of the Bible,
All of its enemies have not torn one hole in its holy vesture, or stolen one flower from its wonderful garden, nor diluted one drop of honey from its abundant hive, nor broken one string on its thousand-stringed harp, nor drowned one sweet word in infidel ink.
The Indestructible Word
For centuries people have tried to discredit or destroy it. The kings of this Earth have set themselves against it. America’s public schools have banned it. Yet the Word of God endures.
Diocletian was emperor of Rome from 284-305 A.D., responsible for the worst persecution, torture, and martyrdom Christians ever faced. He hated the Bible and was determined to wipe it out.
As many Bibles as he could find, he destroyed, and in 303 he erected a monument over the ashes with these words: “Extincto nomene christianorum.” (“The name of Christian is extinct”).
But in 312, the next emperor, Constantine, declared himself to be a Christian, and in 325 Constantine made the Bible the infallible judge of truth for the Empire. Today, Diocletian is rarely heard of, and the Bible is preached worldwide.
The Indispensable Word
You will never have kingdom authority, speak with authority, or live with authority until you get under the authority of the Word of God.
Before his ministry became known worldwide, Billy Graham came to a moment that changed everything. He was struggling with accepting by faith the authority of the Word of God. At a secluded, wooded retreat, he knelt before God and prayed,
Here and now by faith, I accept the Bible as Your Word. I take it all. I take it without reservation. Where there are things I can’t understand, I will reserve judgment until I receive more light. If this pleases You, give me authority as I proclaim Your Word, and through that authority convict me of sin and turn sinners to the Savior.
He stopped trying to prove the Bible was true. He settled in his mind that it was. Within six weeks, the historic Los Angeles crusade began. His faith was conveyed to the audience. Again and again, he found himself saying, “The Bible says,” a voice through which the Holy Spirit was speaking.
The Bible became a flame in his hands that melted unbelief and moved people to decide for Christ.
The Word of God, with its discerning, piercing, burning message, is the authoritative basis for our faith. If you want to believe, you can, because God will give you faith.
If you don’t believe the Bible, your problem is not intellectual but moral. It comes not out of your head but out of your heart. Your problem is your will. Billy Graham said, “When I surrendered my will, I got it settled.” The Bible says “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief…” (Hebrews 3:12).
The Word of God implants faith in your heart, and if you want to know, you can know. Your heart will respond to the Word of God like your eye responds to light. Open your heart today to the perfect, powerful, inerrant, indestructible Word of God.
If you want to give your life to God, stop now and pray something like this: “Lord Jesus, I believe Your Word. I believe it when it teaches that You are the Son of God. I believe it when it teaches that You died upon the cross for my sin. I believe it when it teaches that You rose again from the dead. I believe it when it teaches if I will believe on You and trust You, You will save me as You said in Your Word: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). I do believe. I do trust You right now with all of my heart, once and for all, now and forever I receive You as my Lord and Savior and I stand upon Your Word.”