The Authority of Jesus
“So Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [the one I claim to be] and that I do nothing on My own but speak just what the Father has taught Me’” (v. 28). - John 8:12-30
The question of the written Word of God boils down to a question of the Incarnate Word of God. We defend the Bible’s authority and inerrancy as the Word of God because Jesus Himself claimed it to be so. It is not possible to have an inerrant Jesus without having an inerrant Bible.
Consider it this way: the overwhelming majority of scholars admits that the Bible is the most generally reliable historical document we have from the ancient Near East. Even without granting the inerrancy of Scripture, it is clear that the man Jesus Christ claimed to be a prophet. Everyone admits this, including liberal theologians. Jesus’ claim to be a prophet makes it important to investigate what Jesus taught about the Bible, because a prophet was required to be more than just generally reliable.
Interestingly, while critical scholars reject much of the New Testament as myth, they all admit that the Gospels are historically accurate in places where Jesus taught about the Bible. They admit that Jesus taught the standard Jewish views of the day, including the notion that the Bible is inspired and inerrant.
But, say the critics, Jesus was wrong. How can they say this, and still claim to be Christians? Because, they say, Jesus was a man, and men err. In His divine nature, Jesus was omniscient, but in His human nature, He could be wrong about history and science.
This position is impossible to maintain. Jesus Himself says that in His human nature there were some things He did not know, such as the date of His return (Matthew 24:36), but instead of teaching error at this point, Jesus was silent on the subject. Jesus said that He never taught anything except what the Father gave Him to teach (John 8:28). Jesus’ human nature was not omniscient, but it was infallible because He only spoke what He knew to be true.
If Jesus claimed to be a prophet and claimed to teach only what the Father gave Him to teach, and then taught error, then He was either a fool or a liar. We cannot regard Jesus as our Lord and Savior without accepting His teaching as perfect, including His teaching about the inerrancy of Scripture.
Today’s lesson is one sustained argument for the inerrancy of the Bible. Reread the lesson carefully and then close the book and see if you can rehearse the argument to an imaginary friend. Master this argument today, both for your own confidence and so that you can tell others.
Passages for Further Study
- Matthew 28:19–20
- Acts 1:8 Hebrews 1:3
- Revelation 5:9–14
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