Jesus and Authority
“He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? How do you read it?’” (Luke 10:26).- Luke 10:25–37
Today we will conclude our examination of biblical authority by looking at Jesus’ view of Scripture’s inerrancy and authority. In the final analysis, our view of the Bible’s authority is tied to our view of Christ’s authority. Our Christology impacts our view of Scripture.
In our day, many “evangelicals” have affirmed Christ’s Lordship while denying inerrancy. This is extremely problematic, for how do we know what our Lord commands if it is not from Scripture? And if Scripture is not entirely trustworthy and free from error, how can we be sure we have the will of the Lord for His people?
Thus it is important that we are clear about Jesus’ view of the Bible. Now the only way we know what Jesus says is to go to the Bible, but since the Bible records Jesus maintaining the authority of the Word of God, are critics right when they say that we are locked in a vicious circular argument? The answer is no, for we can argue that Jesus had the highest view of Scripture without talking in circles.
First, we must ask if we can be confident that the Bible has at least some value with respect to historical content. Thoughtful scholars of all persuasions agree that Scripture has at least some historical value. Second, we must consider whether the Bible is basically reliable. Indeed, much can be said on this topic. For example, Luke is considered by many to be the finest of all ancient historians.
The basic reliability of Scripture convinces us that at the very least, Jesus must be a prophet, and if a prophet, His words are required to be true. When Jesus speaks of Scripture He appeals to its authority (see today’s passage), speaks of its truth (John 17:17), and even appeals to the inspiration of the individual letters (Matt. 5:18). People may question inerrancy today, but there is no doubt that Jesus believed that the Scriptures are entirely trustworthy, authoritative, and inerrant.
If Jesus, knowingly or unknowingly, made these claims and they were false claims, then He sinned, for it is wrong to lie or claim to know things that in fact one does not know (Ex. 20:16). Moreover, if Jesus sinned, He cannot save anyone. We cannot have it both ways. If Jesus is Lord and Savior, then the Bible is inspired, infallible, and inerrant.
In John 13:20, Jesus tells His apostles that whoever receives them receives Him. We cannot separate our reception of Jesus as Lord with our reception of His apostles and the Bible that He has given us through them. If we do not accept the words of the apostles (and his old covenant emissaries — the prophets), we have not accepted the Lordship of Christ. Ask the Lord always to remind you that believing in Him means believing His Word.
Passages for Further Study