where does the bible say it's the sole and ultimate authority? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 06-29-2010, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm struggling with this concept and churches proclaiming that the Bible is the only authority...so where does the Bible say this??

I believe God is in everyone, and so it seems to me that God is the ultimate authority.

Maybe I'm a wee bit jaded, but is this another way for the church to hold power over people?

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#2 of 21 Old 06-29-2010, 11:32 AM
 
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cachet, I personally dont think so. I also believe the bible, with the way it 'speaks' assumes its an authority, that it is the Word of God. I dont think it necessarily IS a tool the church can use to hold people to ransom, but I do know that some churches misuse the bible in that way. I personally believe it is the way God has communicated with people in THIS age, ie after Jesus came, died, rose and ascended. I DO believe this bc of personal experience with the Bible.
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#3 of 21 Old 06-29-2010, 11:45 AM
 
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Off the top of my head I don't think the Bible does say that it is "the ultimate authority." (but I could be wrong!) It does say the Bible is without error and that every word in the Bible is inspired by God (I believe in 1st or 2nd Timothy? boy, I'm a little rusty!).

I believe that God=Truth and therefore truth found anywhere is God's truth, whether or not it's in the Bible. I'm not sure if that's connected with what you think of as Ultimate Authority.

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#4 of 21 Old 06-29-2010, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for your responses! I read this passage recently in Dance of the Dissident Daughter, which is really making me think. Most churches claim to be preaching only from the Word and make the same claims as in this quote...which made me realize I have never read in the Bible that it claims to be the sole authority, so I can't give that whole premise credibility if the Bible never even claims it!

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In church one Sunday morning, the minister was holding up a Bible. He was saying that the Bible was the sole and ultimate authority of the Christian’s life. The sole and ultimate authority. I remember a feeling rising up from a place about two in. below my navel. It was a passionate, determined feeling….
It was the purest inner knowing I had experienced, and it was shouting in me, no, no, no! The ultimate authority in my life is not the Bible. It is not confined between the covers of a book. It is not something written by men and frozen in time. It is not from a source outside myself. My ultimate authority is the divine voice in my own soul. Period.

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#5 of 21 Old 06-29-2010, 12:19 PM
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I want to think about this and come back. I do believe that the Bible is the ultimate authority, and I know I can at least explain why I think so.

But, let me ask you, is there something that you are feeling like you have a problem with? A lot of times I find that if I don't understand something, or don't agree with it, I will pray and it will be revealed to me.

Is there something that has come up, that has promted you to ask this question? Or was it the article that made you start thinking about it?
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#6 of 21 Old 06-29-2010, 12:35 PM
 
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Maybe it doesn't and that's why many folks debate it.

Great book, by the way - Dance of the Dissident Daughter.

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#7 of 21 Old 06-29-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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"The Bible" can not claim itself to be "the ultimate authority" even if it does say that in there somewhere, because "The Bible" is not one cohesive whole. The Bible is a collection of many different works written by different people at different times and then collected by different people at different times. To this day there is disagreement about the varying levels of "authority" of different parts of the Bible and even about what parts should be included or excluded.

I am pretty sure most Jews would not include any of the New Testament in an "ultimate authority". Most Christians give all parts of the Bible traditionally included by their religion authority, but in areas of apparent disagreement the New Testament would be given more authority than the Old Testament.

With that said, it is definitely true that different parts of the Bible attempt to establish their authority through various means. I believe the first five books of the Bible were traditionally supposed to be written down by Moses and directly dictated to him by God, so that would clearly establish their authority if you believe that is true. The Gospels establish their authority by claiming to be written by an apostle of Jesus or a student of an apostle of Jesus. Other books are written by prophets, who were supposed to have been spoken to and/or inspired by God.

Finally, I think it is reasonably clear that neither the authors of any of the parts of the Bible nor the early Christians believed that God was in everyone. Throughout the Bible and church history there is an obvious need for intercessories. We need prophets to tell us what God is saying, we need God's commandments written down to tell us what to do and how to live our lives and then we need priests to interpret and explain the scripture to us. Even today many religions offer prayers to a lesser entity to relay on to a higher power or God (e.g. praying to Mary or the saints in Catholicism). The ideas of the divine being in each of us, that divine inspiration and revelation are available to anyone directly, that common people can read and interpret scripture for themselves, are all new relatively speaking.

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#8 of 21 Old 06-29-2010, 07:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cachet View Post
Maybe I'm a wee bit jaded, but is this another way for the church to hold power over people?
Historically, I think the Protestant claim that the Bible is the ultimate authority was a way of breaking the (RC) church's power over people, not increasing it. They bypassed clerical, and even Papal, authority and went directly to Scripture. Giving all authority to Scripture was a way of escaping what they saw as a corrupt church hierarchy.

The Bible does not name itself as the only authority, and it does not seem that the writers of the NT saw it that way. The early Christian Church existed for a long time before there was a Christian Bible to base anything on, so its authority obviously came from another source. Besides which, what we now know as the Bible (NT) was only organized by a council in the fourth century. This means that (a) there was no Christian Bible to act as authority for several centuries of Church history, and (b) Church councils had more real authority than the books of the Bible, which they had the power to recognize or reject.
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Originally Posted by Adele_Mommy View Post
"The Bible" can not claim itself to be "the ultimate authority" even if it does say that in there somewhere, because "The Bible" is not one cohesive whole. The Bible is a collection of many different works written by different people at different times and then collected by different people at different times. To this day there is disagreement about the varying levels of "authority" of different parts of the Bible and even about what parts should be included or excluded.

I am pretty sure most Jews would not include any of the New Testament in an "ultimate authority". Most Christians give all parts of the Bible traditionally included by their religion authority, but in areas of apparent disagreement the New Testament would be given more authority than the Old Testament.

With that said, it is definitely true that different parts of the Bible attempt to establish their authority through various means. I believe the first five books of the Bible were traditionally supposed to be written down by Moses and directly dictated to him by God, so that would clearly establish their authority if you believe that is true. The Gospels establish their authority by claiming to be written by an apostle of Jesus or a student of an apostle of Jesus. Other books are written by prophets, who were supposed to have been spoken to and/or inspired by God.

Finally, I think it is reasonably clear that neither the authors of any of the parts of the Bible nor the early Christians believed that God was in everyone. Throughout the Bible and church history there is an obvious need for intercessories. We need prophets to tell us what God is saying, we need God's commandments written down to tell us what to do and how to live our lives and then we need priests to interpret and explain the scripture to us. Even today many religions offer prayers to a lesser entity to relay on to a higher power or God (e.g. praying to Mary or the saints in Catholicism). The ideas of the divine being in each of us, that divine inspiration and revelation are available to anyone directly, that common people can read and interpret scripture for themselves, are all new relatively speaking.
Great post! Thank you

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#10 of 21 Old 06-29-2010, 07:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
Historically, I think the Protestant claim that the Bible is the ultimate authority was a way of breaking the (RC) church's power over people, not increasing it. They bypassed clerical, and even Papal, authority and went directly to Scripture. Giving all authority to Scripture was a way of escaping what they saw as a corrupt church hierarchy.

The Bible does not name itself as the only authority, and it does not seem that the writers of the NT saw it that way. The early Christian Church existed for a long time before there was a Christian Bible to base anything on, so its authority obviously came from another source. Besides which, what we now know as the Bible (NT) was only organized by a council in the fourth century. This means that (a) there was no Christian Bible to act as authority for several centuries of Church history, and (b) Church councils had more real authority than the books of the Bible, which they had the power to recognize or reject.
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#11 of 21 Old 06-29-2010, 08:29 PM
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I'm sure this is really not what you're looking for, but Catholics will often point out 2 Thess. 2:15 which says "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle." This is the Catholic justification for the use of Sacred Tradition in addition to the Bible. Catholics will also point out that the Bible was compiled by the Catholic Church. In any case, this would imply that the written word, the Bible, is not the only means of knowing the faith. I still believe that everything in the Bible is absolute truth, but writings can be interpreted in so many ways as is evident in the large number of people who "just believe everything it says in the Bible" and believe totally different things. I believe that while the Bible can be read and understood well by many people, the only complete and authentic interpretation lies in the Church that Christ founded and promised "On this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not pravail against it." It is through this promise that the Church is protected from error.
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#12 of 21 Old 06-29-2010, 10:30 PM
 
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It's been alluded to here already, but not all Christian groups teach this. It's essentially a Protestant idea, and isn't even understood in the same way throughout the various Protestant bodies - a number such as Lutherans and Anglicans would also identify other types of authority for Christians. The Catholics, Orthodox don't teach that the Bible is the only authority, and the Church before the Reformation never thought any such thing.

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#13 of 21 Old 06-30-2010, 11:12 PM
 
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Just FYI, Jews believe in the Torah (what Christians call "The Old Testament") and there it is readily recognized that G-d aknowledges other religions. Jews do not believe everyone must convert to Judaism or that Judaism is the only way to G-d (we believe that non-Jews who stick to a few laws that basically amount to "be a good and fair person" and you are straight with G-d, no matter your personal faith). We believe G-d has lots more rules for us though (that's where you get all the "Worship me, not other gods or idols" stuff... It is intended for Jews/Hebrews, but not necessarily for others ).

So, I'm thinking if you are looking, it's gotta be in the "New Testament"... Which I don't know much about :-]
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#14 of 21 Old 07-03-2010, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by bluebirdiemama View Post
I want to think about this and come back. I do believe that the Bible is the ultimate authority, and I know I can at least explain why I think so.

But, let me ask you, is there something that you are feeling like you have a problem with? A lot of times I find that if I don't understand something, or don't agree with it, I will pray and it will be revealed to me.

Is there something that has come up, that has promted you to ask this question? Or was it the article that made you start thinking about it?
I guess there are a couple of issues I'm grappling with, which tie in to each other. The one is the claim about the Bible, and the other is the claim you hear in churches all the time that it (church) is SO important, important to attend every week, etc. But I'm not buying it. I read an article years ago that always stuck with me (written by a pastor!) that perhaps having a Sunday morning convo with your neighbor over the fence, or making a meal for someone, or having a relaxed morning connecting with your family, etc, is a decent way to spend a Sunday and no less 'good' as attending church.

So, I'm questioning the church (as we know it) and Bible as the sole authority thing, because it's just not adding up for me and I wonder if this was Jesus'/God's intent?

Thanks for the great insights so far!

Krista, crafty blogging mama to four
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#15 of 21 Old 07-03-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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Cachet, Ive wrestled with that stuff myself and personally come full circle. I was wondering how much you've actually tested the bible yourself to find out if it IS the authority Christians have claimed it is. You see, I say that bc I personally have and Ive come to understand that it is the word of God given to man, just like these christians say it is. I dont always agree on everything concerning interpreting scripture as many other christians but thats mostly bc its such a personal thing. When I read the bible I KNOW Im meeting with God, Im learning from Him. Im hearing His instructions to me personally concerning where I am in my life and what I need to understand. Also, I do believe we have SO much to learn from the bible. I know I learn about eternity. I learn about what heaven might be like, and when I read it I know hope. Real, hope, so real that if hope could be tangeable, it would be. Now, I do understand that we can learn almost just as much from nature. But romans even says that, even psalms talk about nature declaring the truth about God, that He is real. However, saying that, I do believe that a christian without the word of God, the bible is like a boat without a rudder. There really IS so much depth to that book, I really genuinely do believe that to neglect it, to me it doesnt bear thinking about. I might want to not read it but thats usually bc I kind of am in a mood to ignore God. And another thing, I have had stages where I did not want to read the bible, sometimes I went with that 'feeling' and honestly suffered loss. Other times I pushed past that and read it only to be genuinely blessed in ways I couldnt have imagined. I genuinely believe that book is the Living Word of God. Its always got something to teach me. I could read the same verses that I really do know so well and learn something radically different every time. thats no lie or exaggeration!

Big hugs. I dont know you well on here, are you a christian? I might assume you were for asking this question but I dont want to be ignorant and pressumptious (no matter how I spell that work it dont look right!).

hugs to you

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#16 of 21 Old 07-03-2010, 07:09 PM
 
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The Bible does not claim to be the ultimate athourity. The verse about all scripture being God breathed woulod not have been talking about the New Testement anyway. As it wasn't around yet...it was obviously still being written and the books had not be chosen or agreed upon as scripture, just letters to the church from church athourities.

Sola Scriptura and scripture being the ultimate athourity in ones life is a protestant idea and does not reflexct the views of many (most?) Christians world wide. neither the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic (or other Orthodox or other Catholic) believe this.

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The Bible does not claim to be the ultimate athourity. The verse about all scripture being God breathed woulod not have been talking about the New Testement anyway. As it wasn't around yet...it was obviously still being written and the books had not be chosen or agreed upon as scripture, just letters to the church from church athourities.

Sola Scriptura and scripture being the ultimate athourity in ones life is a protestant idea and does not reflexct the views of many (most?) Christians world wide. neither the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic (or other Orthodox or other Catholic) believe this.
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#18 of 21 Old 07-03-2010, 07:45 PM
 
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The Bible does not claim to be the ultimate athourity. The verse about all scripture being God breathed woulod not have been talking about the New Testement anyway. As it wasn't around yet...it was obviously still being written and the books had not be chosen or agreed upon as scripture, just letters to the church from church athourities.

Sola Scriptura and scripture being the ultimate athourity in ones life is a protestant idea and does not reflexct the views of many (most?) Christians world wide. neither the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic (or other Orthodox or other Catholic) believe this.


And as someone whose background is protestant, this has been a real eye-opener for me. I think it takes things to a whole other level when you really consider how (and by whom) the New Testament became Scripture. Sola Scriptura does not make sense when put into this context.
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I guess there are a couple of issues I'm grappling with, which tie in to each other. The one is the claim about the Bible, and the other is the claim you hear in churches all the time that it (church) is SO important, important to attend every week, etc. But I'm not buying it. I read an article years ago that always stuck with me (written by a pastor!) that perhaps having a Sunday morning convo with your neighbor over the fence, or making a meal for someone, or having a relaxed morning connecting with your family, etc, is a decent way to spend a Sunday and no less 'good' as attending church.

So, I'm questioning the church (as we know it) and Bible as the sole authority thing, because it's just not adding up for me and I wonder if this was Jesus'/God's intent?

Thanks for the great insights so far!
Well, I suppose the first question might be - what is the Church?

FWIW - when I have talked to someone with no background in a religious group about why we have an obligation to attend group worship, I have sometimes said that it is rather like why as citizens we have an obligation to vote. There is more to it than that, but I find that it is a good starting place for some people.

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#20 of 21 Old 07-06-2010, 12:35 AM
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I absolutely think it can be used as a control mechanism when the people are told they cannot understand the Bible, which is the word of God, or that they cannot communicate with God. This is the type of system that Jesus came to abolish.

I don't know of anywhere that the Bible actually says that it is the sole authority, but it does say that it is the Word of God, and that God does not change, that He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, and that He does not lie.
That being said, I agree with you. God is the ultimate authority. But I don't think that relying on what we feel inside of us is a good/consistent/foolproof way to hear God. Yes, He does place thoughts and feeling into my mind and my heart, but if I listen to what I hear within myself 100% of the time, I would be one huge walking contradiction after another.

I don't know where you are spiritualy (I haven't read all these posts---but I will later!), but if you are looking for a church, or questioning the Christian church geniunely looking for what it is about, you need to be aware that not every church is a representation of God. It is in every denomination that you will find churches that are not preaching the same message that Jesus preached. When you see a church that holds things over it's congregation, and uses passages or whatever to manipulate and control, that is not God. (the God I know)
Jesus preached freedom. He said that "everything is excusable for you, but not everything is beneficial." (I don't have my Bible right now, I'll come back with book/chap/verse)
He offers us all kinds of freedoms, that before you know Him you really can't imagine that you are a slave to (general you, including me!). And sometimes it requires denying ourselves to break bondages.
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#21 of 21 Old 07-06-2010, 01:01 AM
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I guess there are a couple of issues I'm grappling with, which tie in to each other. The one is the claim about the Bible, and the other is the claim you hear in churches all the time that it (church) is SO important, important to attend every week, etc. But I'm not buying it. I read an article years ago that always stuck with me (written by a pastor!) that perhaps having a Sunday morning convo with your neighbor over the fence, or making a meal for someone, or having a relaxed morning connecting with your family, etc, is a decent way to spend a Sunday and no less 'good' as attending church.

So, I'm questioning the church (as we know it) and Bible as the sole authority thing, because it's just not adding up for me and I wonder if this was Jesus'/God's intent?

Thanks for the great insights so far!
For me, the answer to this question depends on firstly, what do you consider good? and secondly, what is your world view.

For the first, what do you consider good? And what degree of good are you talking about?
Sharing time with someone, making a meal or being with family are all good, and sometimes I miss church for these things, but it is not the same kind of "good" as honoring, worshiping, and offering to God. God asks that we seek Him, it brings Him joy when we worship Him, and when we go to church we are bringing God an offering. We are putting up a spiritual alter, and laying on it our time and our selves. We do this because He loves us and we love Him. We can't expect to not spend time with God and yet get to know Him. That's true for any relationship.
And of course, anybody who truly offers themselves up, and experiences God benefits from it immensely. I just went through a period of backsliding, where I didn't go to church for about 2 months (other than once or twice), haven't been reading my Bible or praying, and oh... my... sweet... good ness, seriously, it has been bad. I just backslide into all the crap the Lord has been pulling me out of. But I know, because I know God, that when I start living for Him again, His truth is going to pull me back out of it. (His truth not being rules and regulations for us, but simply laws of Truth. Who knows us better than our Maker? and thus, He knows what will set us free from our bondages)

So, secondly, what is your world view? When you ask what the Lord's intent is, what do you mean?
My world view, and that of the church I attend, is that we are in between Jesus' first coming, and His second coming. If you read Revelation you will see that the world we around us, all of us living the way that we do now, will come to an end. My church considers all Christians to be the body of Christ, working together to accomplish the will of God. There is a passage about no one part of the body being more signifacant than another, what would an eye do without an ear? (I'll site it tomorrow) But saying that we are all part of the body of Christ on earth, we were called into the kingdom, to accomplish God's will.
It may seem to some that God is finished, but if you read the Bible and get to know Him, you will see that there is alot more that needs to happen.
Because this is my world view, I see that meeting with other Christians, and getting to know them, encouraging them, or crying with them, or celebrating, are all very important.

So, IMO, before you can find an answer to the questions you asked, there are at least two more things you need to consider.
I hope you will come back and update us on what you are thinking. <3
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