Monday, February 21, 2022

Authority and Authorship (2 Timothy 3:10-17)

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).

The debate over the the authority of Scripture is ultimately a question of authorship. If people were convinced that the Bible is the very Word of God, they could not reasonably deny its authority or inerrancy. Critics deny the authority of Scripture claiming that because men wrote the Bible, it is not binding on others. They claim that human authorship demands error because men are not perfect. They leave no room to consider the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in directing these authors to write the Word of God. The crux of the debate is over authority—are the Scriptures the voice of God?

To answer this question, we must begin by admitting that the Bible actually was written by men. No one disputes this fact. God did not pen the Scriptures, but used human instruments. The authors of the 66 books are many and diverse, writing in different times to a variety of people in a plethora of situations. They were authors who wrote in their own styles, according to their own cultures—they were not mere automatons. Yet these men were divinely inspired by the Spirit of God who worked through them, establishing the inerrancy and truth of what they wrote.

The debate over authorship is important because the Bible claims to be the Word of God. While we may accept truth written in other books, people like Plato, Aristotle, or Shakespeare did not claim to write the very words of God. But the Bible makes this claim, and it must be taken seriously. In 2 Timothy, Paul exhorts his protege to remain secure in what he had learned: “From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.…” If the Bible is God-breathed, it must be inerrant. God does not make mistakes.

2 Timothy 3:16 describes the source and origin of the Bible, saying the Scriptures have in essence been “breathed out” by God. The authority of Scripture, therefore, is rooted in this source. Just as the prophets claimed authority from God by saying, “Thus saith the LORD,” so the Scriptures stem from God Himself. This stamp of authority rests on all of Scripture, making it binding on all men.

If someone were to ask you why it is important to maintain that the Scriptures are the Word of God, what would you say? Write a brief response using information from today’s lesson as well as any necessary Scripture passages.