Biblical Authority

Hebrews 7:14- For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.

Authority is a concept many do not completely understand. In the case of jobs, most employees know that they can do nothing without their boss’s approval. When we have positions of authority we want our orders to be carried out exactly as we directed. However, when it comes to the Bible, many do not see the necessity of following it as directed. They pick and choose what God would want them to do and leave out the points they do not like. This is not how things should be. God is not some lenient, weak being who lets anything go. He has a way He wants things to be done and is not happy when they are not followed. Even if we understand this, the question comes of how to establish authority. In this article we will briefly cover them.

  1. Express command: This is the one everyone understands. When God commands that something be done, it is that and nothing else. The Bible is full of instances where God commanded that something be done. However, even then men still did not follow the command. The most famous example is Adam and Eve in the garden. God told them not to eat of the tree and they failed. We see that God did not just let them off the hook because they were deceived but instead He punished them. Then there is Nadab and Abihu. The Lord had told them a specific fire they were to use and when they used something different, they were killed. Lastly, look at the young prophet. He was told not to eat or drink until he returned home. However, he did it anyway, believing that God had changed His mind. Did God go easy on him for it? No, a lion met him on the way and killed him. God takes His command’s seriously, no matter how “minor” the command may be.
  2. Apostolic example: Many will say the only thing we can bind is express command. However, let’s think of this in a secular sense for a minute. When we do not know how to do something, or not sure how those in authority want it done, how do we learn? We need someone to show us. God does the same. We as imperfect humans can get many things confused, even commands. To counter this, God has shown us many examples of how we are to behave and how to worship. We see the first century Christians meet on Sunday, partake of the Lord’s Supper on that day and have many examples of how we should behave. This is just as good as command.
  3. Necessary inference: The final way to determine authority is by necessary inference or conclusion. God is not always specific with commands and even with the examples we are given. In these moments we have to think things through and reason what God has authorized. Some might see this and say there is no way to know exactly what God meant in some places but in each one of them God worded things in such a way we can only come to one conclusion. For example, we are told to meet. This means that we need a place to do so and a way to have it. We are told to sing. This authorizes books, a way to keep the tune and pitch pipes. These are just two examples but God has always made it easy for us.

These are the ways we determine authority. However, as is the case with all things Biblical, men do not always listen. Many believe that if God did not forbid something, then it is okay. As the passage above states, if God did not condone an act, we have no right to ourselves. God’s authority is what matters and nothing else.