Why Do You Deny the Bible is the Final Authority? – Greg Albrecht
I would like to talk to you about the fact that the Bible is the final authority. You don’t seem to believe that or practice that. What do you believe about the morals of your life? Where do you use rules for your life since it seems you only believe the Bible is out of the picture? Why can’t you just believe that the Bible is whole and you can’t just take pieces out? Thank you so much for answering my questions!
Thank you for your questions. You raise an important topic and a long answer would be necessary in order to cover all the bases – here’s a few thoughts which may spur further thoughts – we also have a number of related resources on the topic of the Bible we have posted on our site. For brevity, here are some enumerated considerations addressing your questions:
- The Bible does not claim to be the final authority. All judgment has been given to Jesus, who alone is the final authority. If we say the Bible is the final authority it could well be we are bypassing Jesus, not exactly what a Christ follower wants to do.
- The Bible is not the uppercase Word of God as some within Christianity claim. According to the first chapter of the Gospel of John Jesus is the One and Only Word of God, full of grace and truth.
- You ask about morals and rules for life. The Source and Focus of my faith is Jesus. He alone is Lord. As and when I find other resources helpful, the Bible being at the top of my list, followed by humans, alive and dead, who follow(ed) Jesus, then they help me follow him.
- My morals and the rules for my life come from Jesus, who died self-sacrificially on his cross, and who is my risen Lord, living in me by the grace of God. Thus, I am his workmanship (Ephesians 2:10) and he is the master Potter who forms and shapes me, as I yield to him, into what he wants me to be. My morals or religious rules do not transform me into a Jesus follower – (lest anyone who performs works or duties or is obedient to laws can boast as Paul says in Ephesians 2:9).
- Some, particularly those who are convinced of the righteousness produced by performance based religion (see what Paul has to say in Romans 3, particularly vs 21) often say that those who follow Jesus above all, and believe in the supremacy of the love and grace of God, say that God’s grace leads to immorality. I refer such folks to Titus 2:11-12. How does one know if Christ is in them, producing his morals? One can refer to the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21 – these behaviors are not Christ-like and are not produced by the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is given in Galatians 5:22-23. Other passages that help us see the works of God’s grace include 2 Peter 1:5-7 and James 3:17-18. So if I believe I am following Christ he will be working in me, maturing me, if you like, see 2 Peter 3:18, so that these attributes will help define and identify me.
- I do believe the Bible is “whole” and I believe “taking pieces out” – that is, proof texting, selecting passages that support what one already believes while ignoring others, is a flawed methodology. I read and study the entire Bible, in its linguistic, historical and literary context, but I believe the New Testament interprets and helps us understand, in the Light of Jesus, the Old Testament, rather than the other way around. I do not worship the Bible – it is a book inspired by God, but it is fallible. God alone, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is infallible. When God determined to use humans to write, translate, preserve, edit, compile, and publish what we know as the Bible he determined, because humans are fallible and always bring imperfection, that some degree of imperfection would be present in the Bible. Is that imperfection such that we should not read and study the Bible? No. But that imperfection (and that is another topic to address, and we have, in other resources) helps us realize the Bible is the lowercase word of God and that Jesus alone is the unique, one and Only Word of God.
Long answer – but still not as long as might be necessary.
In Christ, Greg Albrecht