The Authority of the Scriptures
You hold in your hands the most powerful book ever written. Countless lives have been changed by it, and many Christians have died to preserve it. Why is the book so important? Because this book, the Bible, is the very word of God. It came from God Himself: He is the author. Over hundreds of years, he chose certain individuals to write down exactly what He wanted to tell His people. This process is called `inspiration.'
One of Jesus' followers wrote: "Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in scripture came from the prophet's own understanding, or from human initiative" (2 Peter 3:16,17). No, those prophets were moved by the holy spirit, and they spoke from God. The apostle Paul says: "All scriptures are inspired by God and are useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. They correct us when we are wrong and teach us to do what is right. God uses them to prepare and equip his people to do every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16,17). This is still true today, even though the Bible was written hundreds of years ago; its message is timeless, personal and very powerful. Why? Because all scriptures come from God.
The fact that scripture was inspired by God makes it the ultimate authority for our beliefs and practices as Christians. If we discover that someone is teaching in ways that do not agree with scripture, we should point this out, and demonstrate what the Bible actually teaches. We should recognize that scripture is a higher authority than any human teaching. All teaching about God and the life of faith should be judged against the truth found in the Bible, which is God's word.
Remember also that as God speaks to us through scripture, we must do what He tells us, we must obey Him: "Don't just listen to God's word. We must do what it says. Otherwise we are fooling ourselves. For if we listen to the word and don't do and obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror; you see your face or yourself, walk away and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect lens that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it" (James 1:22-25). It is important that we work hard to understand God's word and then also apply its truth effectively in our lives.
Bro John Kasanda (Kasumpa, Zambia)