The Bible is God’s written word to mankind. It reveals his character, his desires, and ultimately points to Christ in every book. In recent years scripture is losing its authority in the life of Christians and that poses a huge problem to Christianity in general. Here are the five greatest threats to the authority of scripture.
One great statement the Reformation gave us was the statement Sola Scriptura, which means scripture holds authority over all church traditions, creeds, and instruction, and therefore each must be in unity with what scripture says. It also goes on to conclude that you do not have to have a pastor, priest, or pope to interpret scripture for you.
The Bible is the only book and document we have that is God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). No other book was divinely inspired and given to men as an authoritative book on God’s character, spiritual life, and God’s eternal purpose.
We have come to a place where everyone has something to say and an experience to share. Those experiences and personal revelations should never elevate themselves above the authority of scripture in your life, especially if it contradicts scripture.
The Holy Spirit may illuminate a scripture or set of scriptures for you personally, but it should never be placed on the same level of authority in your life as scripture itself.
Creeds, confessions, and doctrines
In many denominations and sects of Christianity there are various creeds, confessions, and doctrines. These formal documents should never take the place of scripture. They are intended to be supplemental, but should never supersede scripture’s authority, or even be placed on the same level with the Bible.
We share stories and cute little one-liners that are often quoted as scripture or passed on as though they carried the same theological and divine weight as scripture. Take for instance sayings like:
- Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
- God will never give you more than you can handle.
- Money is the root of all evil.
First of all these sayings are not scriptural in any way. Second, we can’t allow our one-liners to define the depth of our theology and understanding of scripture. We should all be studying scripture and keeping it as authoritative in our lives.
The teachings of a pastor or teacher
I’m going to throw this out there, but sometimes your pastors get it wrong. They may at times miss the mark when it comes to the interpretation of scripture. They may lead a group of people on a personal doctrinal bend that takes you away from Christ. They may try to let their words become of greater authority than scripture (or you may elevate their words yourself).
Always take the time to look up what a pastor or teacher says to see if it matches up with scripture, even me. If I say, write, or share something you’re not sure about ask me, and let’s talk about it. I don’t claim to be perfect. If I say something that doesn’t line up with scripture call me out on it.
We can gain all the knowledge in the world, but it will never be more authoritative in our lives than the Word of God. Even if you, your pastor, or I can read the entire Bible from the original manuscripts in their original languages, our ability to do so never supersedes the authority of those words themselves.
I encourage you to keep scripture as the authoritative guide for your life. Don’t allow experiences, teachings, knowledge, doctrines, or traditions elevate themselves above what scripture says about you, God’s character, or his will.