Attacking the Authority of the Bible

Josh Buice

From the very beginning, Satan has had one primary agenda in his opposition against God.  His agenda is to attack and undermine the authority of the Bible.  That’s what happened when Satan attacked Eve in the Garden, he veiled the authority of God’s Word with doubts and lies.  From that time forward, since the fall of Adam and Eve, skeptics, liberals, atheists, agnostics, pagans, higher critics, and others have employed the same tactics.  If you want to lead people astray, cause them to deny the authority of the Bible.

I was once asked by the parent of a rebellious child what my opinion was regarding their child’s persistent sin problem.  I responded by saying that I personally believe that all rebellion is rooted in the problem of authority.  If you have a rebellious attitude toward your parents, it’s rooted in rebellion toward God.  If you have a problem with authority in areas of government, it’s rooted in a rebellion toward God.  How does one rebel against God?   It begins with a simple rejection of God’s authoritative Word.

In Paul’s words to Timothy, he writes the following:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

As Timothy was to do the work of ministry and get into the trenches of controversy in Ephesus, before going off into eternity, the final words we have on record from Paul to Timothy point him to the Scriptures as his ultimate authority.  Paul didn’t point Timothy to a catechism, a list of articles he and other apostles had written, or another source for ultimate authority.  It should be pointed out that Paul didn’t point Timothy to the “Church” as his source of authority.  Timothy was to teach, preach, reprove, correct, and train disciples in righteousness through the holy Scriptures.

If Satan can cause someone to reject the authority of the Bible and rest upon another source, whatever it may be, that’s the decisive moment where the person rejects God.  It’s impossible to disconnect the authority of God from His Word.  Paul didn’t say, “All catechisms are breathed out by God.”  Paul put the Scriptures as his focal point for divine authority.  Just as the Psalmist pointed to God’s Law (the Old Testament Scriptures) as authoritative (Psalm 19; Psalm 119), so did Paul in his final letter in the New Testament.

In order to have ultimate control, the Roman Catholic Church never denied the authority of the Scriptures.  What they did was very sly and crafty.  The Roman Catholic Church elevated the authority of the Church to the same level as the Scriptures and claimed that in order to interpret the Scriptures properly, one must read through the interpretive lens of the Catholic Church.  The Roman Catholic Church also placed the Sacred Tradition of the Church on the same level as the Scriptures, and by simple definition, if the Scriptures are constant and never changing (a complete Canon), they’re therefore controlled by the Tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.  Why?  Because the Tradition changes based on leadership within the Catholic Church.  Therefore, if the Tradition moves and shifts over time, that turns the Scriptures into the caboose that follows Church Tradition down the train track.  This must be rejected as a false understanding of God’s Word and a denial of Scriptural authority.

If we’re looking for a juicy quote that points to the authority of Scripture, we will not be disappointed by looking to men like Charles Spurgeon.  A valiant defender and proclaimer of the gospel, Spurgeon once said the following in a sermon titled “The Lover of God’s Law Filled with Peace,” preached on January 2, 1888:

The Word of God can take care of itself, and will do so if we preach it, and cease defending it. See you that lion. They have caged him for his preservation; shut him up behind iron bars to secure him from his foes! See how a band of armed men have gathered together to protect the lion. What a clatter they make with their swords and spears! These mighty men are intent upon defending a lion. O fools, and slow of heart! Open that door! Let the lord of the forest come forth free. Who will dare to encounter him? What does he want with your guardian care? Let the pure gospel go forth in all its lion-like majesty, and it will soon clear its own way and ease itself of its adversaries.

Consider the words taken from Keach’s Catechism (1689):

Question 4: What is the Word of God?

Answer: The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, being given by divine inspiration, are the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; Isaiah 8:20)

1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith (Chapter One, Of The Holy Scriptures):

Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in diversified manners to reveal Himself, and to declare (that) His will unto His church;3 and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which makes the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now completed.

Westminster Confession of Faith 1646 (Article One, Paragraph Eight):

The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; (1) so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them. (2)

(1) Matt. 5:18.
(2) Isa. 8:20; Acts 15:15; John 5:39, 46.

While it’s extremely helpful to consider the words from historic preachers, catechisms, and confessions of faith, it’s most profitable to examine how Jesus used Scripture.  More than juicy quotes, we need to see how Jesus approached and used the Scriptures.

In confronting the religious establishment of his day, Jesus quoted the Old Testament Scriptures.  It was clear when Jesus preached, because He preached with authority (Mark 1:22).  It wasn’t just His posture in preaching that astonished the religious leaders.  It was what He preached.  Jesus was preaching God’s Word.

In Mark 10:3, when asked about divorce, Jesus responded by asking, “What did Moses command you?”  Jesus corrected the religious community of His day in John 5:46 by saying, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.”  When Jesus preached His famous Sermon on the Mount, He consistently corrected the incorrect interpretations of the rabbis by saying, “You have heard it said, but I say unto you.”  In preaching about His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus pointed to Jonah as an illustration of what was to come (Matthew 12:40).  Jesus also stated, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).  What were Jesus’ commands?  Remember, He did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).

When Jesus withstood Satan in the the wilderness, He consistently quoted Scripture, not catechisms, creeds, confessions, or church fathers (Matthew 4:1-11).  We must recognize the age old attack when it comes knocking on our door.  To reject the authority of the Bible is to reject God Himself.  Beware of slick salesmen who come to you with religious talk, enticing words of man’s wisdom, and cleverly constructed cliches.  You cannot reject God’s Word and be the child of God.  Learn to love God through the Scriptures.  Jesus said:

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).

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Author Attacking the Authority of the Bible

Josh Buice

Pastor Pray's Mill Baptist Church

Josh Buice is the founder and president of G3 Ministries and serves as the pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church on the westside of Atlanta. He is married to Kari and they have four children, Karis, John Mark, Kalli, and Judson. Additionally, he serves as Assistant Professor of Preaching at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He enjoys theology, preaching, church history, and has a firm commitment to the local church. He also enjoys many sports and the outdoors, including long distance running and high country hunting. He has been writing on Delivered by Grace since he was in seminary and it has expanded with a large readership through the years.