Divine Authorship and Authority

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

- 2 Timothy 3:16–17

Criticism from others is a reality that all of us must face. Other people will criticize what we do and say, sometimes getting it right and sometimes getting it wrong. but whether the criticism is constructive or not, the degree to which we accept it depends largely on how we view the critic. Some critics we take quite seriously; others we brush aside. In turn, our evaluation of our critics is tied directly to their credibility. as our parents always told us, “Consider the source.” We tend to give the words of knowledgeable individuals who criticize us more weight than the words of those who are not experts in their fields. Yet this is true even when we are not considering the criticism others have made of us. Whether we are accessing an Internet news story, newspaper article, television broadcast, book, magazine, or any other source, how much we rely on the source depends on the author behind it.

This is no less true of Scripture, which means that biblical authority is inseparable from biblical authorship. If God is the ultimate author of Scripture, then it must be our only infallible authority because the lord Himself is infallible. He cannot err, and if He inspired every word of the bible, then the bible cannot err either.

Second Timothy 3:16–17 is perhaps the clearest statement on the origin of Scripture that we find in the bible. Paul tells us in this passage that all Scripture is “breathed out by God.” What is revealed in Scripture finds its origin not in the opinions of men. It is not a mere record of religious experience or a record of the attempts of ancient people to come to an understanding of our Creator. Instead, it is the very revelation of God Himself. It is exactly what the lord wants us to have in order to know His will, and is nothing less than the very speech of our Maker.

In making this assertion, we are not denying that God made use of human authors to put His words on paper. He commissioned apostles and prophets to speak on His behalf (for example, see Jer. 1:5 and Rom. 1:1), using their individual giftings and writing styles to give us His Word. but He did this in a manner that makes the words of His servants nothing less than His words. This means that we can expect God’s Word never to teach error (to be inerrant), and it also means that it is the supreme authority for us because it is the very speech of the One who is Himself the supreme authority over all.

Coram Deo

Because Scripture is the living and active Word of God, what we have in the pages of the bible is the Lord’s voice. In other words, we are at no disadvantage to abraham, Moses, or the other great figures in biblical history, for we have what they had—God’s speech to His people. Let us not be tempted to think that the believers of ages past had it better than we do, for Scripture clearly reveals to us God’s will and is to be followed just as we follow the Lord Himself.

Passages for Further Study

Obadiah 1–4
Nahum 1:12
John 17:1–8
Acts 9:1–19a

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