Roger Boone and Raymond Fox
Authority: the Bible or Man?
One of the first steps in returning to New Testament Christianity is for us to decide who will be our authority in religion. Who or what can tell us how God wants man to live? There are really only two possible authorities to choose between: the Bible or man.
The problem with accepting man or the opinions of man as our authority in religion is that man's wisdom is fallible and his knowledge is finite. In his egotistical arrogance, man has tried to devise his own ways of coming to God. He has even tried to conform Christianity to fit his own ideas of what he thinks God requires of man. The prophet Jeremiah recognized that man's wisdom is unreliable and wrote, "O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps." Jeremiah 10:23
In the New Testament, Jesus made it plain that we cannot come to God on the basis of man's authority. He said, "And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." Matthew 15:9 Man cannot be our authority in religion!
The Bible: the Word of God
The Bible is God's revelation to man. Therefore only the Bible can tell us how to come to God through Christ. Read carefully what the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16,17
The word "inspiration" literally means "God-breathed" and implies that God used certain men to write exactly what He wanted them to write. Since the Scriptures are inspired by God when you read them, God is speaking to you through them.
Furthermore, Paul pointed out that we do not need God to speak to us in any other way. He said in the verse above that the Scriptures, when applied, would make "the man of God complete," complete in every need. Paul continued to say that the Scriptures would thoroughly equip us "for every good work." Thus, the Scriptures alone will bring us to God if we have a willing heart.
Returning to New Testament Christianity means realizing that God still speaks today through His word. For this reason the Bible is our only authority in religion. Our goal as the church of Christ is to "Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent."