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How Do We Discover
God’s Authority?
Many people know at least something about the Bible. A person may
know that God is the author, he may know the books of the Bible in
chronological order, and he may even know and quote John 3:16. However, there is much more involved and necessary to know God’s Word. We
as humans need to be reasonable people (Isaiah 1:18) and ensure we can
accurately answer this question: “How Do We Discover God’s Authority?”
We discover God’s authority by learning that the Bible authorizes explicitly. For example, Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall
be saved; he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). This
statement is clear that we must believe and be baptized to be saved. An explicit statement is often in the form of an imperative statement. Peter said,
“…repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ
for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38). These statements are not suggestive, but they are imperative. We must discover this manner in which the
Bible authorizes and observe the commands (John 14:15).
We discover God’s authority by learning that the Bible authorizes implicitly. Unlike explicit statements, implications are not clearly expressed,
but they are equally authoritative. Often, an implication is found when
an explicit statement occurs. Peter explicitly said, “Wherefore the rather,
brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do
these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:10). What is the implication?
If we do not give diligence to make our calling and election sure, we will
fall. If the Jews on the day of Pentecost did not repent and be baptized,
their sins would be retained rather than remitted (Acts 2:38). There is
not a passage that explicitly says, “babies are not to be baptized.” There
is, however, an implication involved. The Bible informs us that belief is a
requirement to be saved (Mark 16:16). Since babies cannot believe, they
are not subject to baptism. Let us ensure we realize that implications are
just as authoritative.
We discover God’s authority by learning that the Bible authorizes by
approved examples. The Lord’s Supper is an example of this manner of authority. The disciples came together on the first day of the week to break
bread (Acts 20:7). We are authorized to do the same when we come together on the first day of the week. There is authority for sending financial
support to an individual or another congregation. When it was prophesied
that a famine would occur in Jerusalem, the disciples determined to send
relief according to each person’s ability, and they sent it to the elders at
Jerusalem to distribute accordingly (Acts 11:29-30). We have authority for
doing these things today.
Since the Bible is authoritative (John 17:17), it is prudent that we discover how the Bible authorizes, which are explicit statements, implications,
and approved examples. May we learn this and teach others to respect the
authority of God’s Word.
By David Stafford

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