A few days ago I scrolled through one of those “I’m right, you’re wrong” conversations on Facebook, and I was saddened to see one participant reject another viewpoint out of hand with the dismissive, derisive, “Obviously, you don’t accept the authority of scripture.”
Over the years I have observed that the phrase, you don’t accept the authority of scripture is really code for, “Your understanding/interpretation/conclusions are different than mine… so that means you don’t really believe the Bible.” Sigh.
When I read it again I immediately thought of a classic scene from The Princess Bride (1987). The bad guy repeatedly uses the word “inconceivable” to describe challenge after challenge the hero overcomes with ease. Eventually Inigo Montoya (played by Mandy Patinkin) taps him on the shoulder and says, “You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means.”
So here’s my word to Christians who love to judge other believers, and who throw around the term, “authority of scripture” – I do not think it means what you think it means!
POWERFUL SERMON: This past Sunday my wife Rebekah preached from the following text – “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The key word here is, “all,” and I believe the most important question we must continue to ask is this – “What is the witness of the entire word of God, especially viewed through the lens of The Living Word, which is Jesus?” Jesus is The Word Made Flesh, the most complete, eloquent, clear, and true representation of God’s transformational love and grace.
- You say you want authoritative? I urge you to meet Jesus!
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14.
Being guided by the authority of scripture is not the same as literalism, it’s not the same as legalism, and it’s not the same as proof-texting. Those approaches conspire to diminish and water-down the word of God; whereas recognizing and being guided by the authority of scripture embraces the sovereignty of God, the mystery that led God to remind Job (and the rest of us) how little he understood, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the fact that God breathes life into the scriptures, and the critical importance of our ongoing relationship with Jesus, “the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12).
“Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand…”- Job 38:2-4
I’d like to recommend that you take a few minutes and listen to Rebekah’s message on the subject. She’s a powerful and engaging preacher, and I believe you will not only enjoy what she has to say, but become inspired to be a more committed, diligent, and open-hearted student of God’s word.
Here’s the link: “The B.I.B.L.E.” – DEREK
But as for you, 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. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.