Authority and Authorship
“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 competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17).- 2 Timothy 3:16–17Ex. 10:3 • Obad. 1–4 • Nah. 1:12 • John 17:1–8 • Acts 9:1–19
All of us at one time or another have had to face criticism for the things that we have done. Some criticisms we accept either because we deserve it or because of the esteem we give certain critics. Other criticisms we brush aside because they may come from an ill-informed source.
Whatever the case, we almost always make our evaluations based on the credibility of the speaker. And this is true not only when we are criticized, for we also, at times unconsciously, consider the source whenever we attempt to decide whether or not a particular piece of information is believable. Whether it is a textbook, a newspaper, or the Internet, the accuracy of the facts in question and their authority over us in making a decision is always dependent upon the source, or “author,” of the information.
How much more true is this of our relationship to Scripture and the eternal matters of which it speaks? Biblical authority is inseparable from biblical authorship. The Bible is our only infallible authority because it comes from an infallible source.
Today’s passage is one of many that tells us the Bible is the very Word of God. We read in 2 Timothy 3:16–17 that all Scripture is “breathed out by God.” What we read on every page of the Bible are the very words spoken or “breathed out” by God Himself. The ultimate origin of Scripture is the Lord God Almighty.
This is not to deny the human authorship of Scripture. God did commission apostles and prophets to speak on His behalf (for example, see Jer. 1:5 and Rom. 1:1). He appointed servants and made use of their individual gifts and talents to write down His revelation. However, He did this in a way where the very words of these servants are also the very words of God. There is a one-to-one correlation between the words of the Bible and the words of God.
Because the Bible is the very Word of God we can expect it to be completely free from error (inerrant). And because it is the infallible, inerrant Word of the supreme authority over creation, Scripture is the sole infallible and supreme authority over us as well.
When we speak of the authorship of Scripture, we must never forget that the individual human authors of each book did contribute a distinct style and emphasis to our understanding of God. However, we must always remember that though each brought a unique contribution to the canon, God inspired each of them so that they wrote His words accurately. As you study the Bible, ask God to remind you that the words you read are indeed His words.
Passages for Further Study