THE AUTHORITY OF THE SCRIPTURES

I know you like a little history so here is something that you may find interesting. King James II of England had about 50-60 or so scholars who translated the Bible from its original text to the King’s English. What’s important to realize here is that King James was Catholic. Of course, you know that Catholics have totally different beliefs than Protestant Christians so I won’t delve into specifics here.

The scholars did a marvelous job translating the King James Bible, but remember again (and I can’t emphasize this enough) King James was Catholic. If you research King James on your own, you will find that he rigorously enforced the Catholic religion and was very harsh on those that did not conform to it.

Now we come back to these scholars and how all this ties in with them. When they translated The Bible, they desensitized a lot of words or simply transliterated them so as not to contradict the King’s Catholic beliefs. For example the word “baptize”, in the Greek language the word is “baptizo” which means fully wet or what we know as immerse.  Instead of translating it to the actual meaning, which is immerse, the scholars only transliterated the word to baptize. Why? Well, what would it have done to the Catholic baptism if the researchers had put the real meaning of the word “baptize” in the Bible? It would have made the Catholic baptism (sprinkling of water) of none effect. Right? What would King James have done to those scholars if they had translated the word correctly?

My point here is that God said in Matthew 7: 7-8: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened for you: For every one that asketh recieveth; and he that seeketh findth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

So we must diligently seek to understand the word of God on our own and not take anyone else’s translation or interpretation of it—not even the scholars that translated the Bible. God has made the promise to us that if we ask, he will give; seek and he will let us find; and knock and he will open.

As Christians it would not be wise to let anyone else do the asking, knocking, or seeking for us we must do it on our own. We can do this by going to the original language the Bible was written in (Hebrew and Greek) and make sure the words were translated the right way.

You may argue that you have no training in Hebrew or Greek and cannot search words by yourself. That may be true. However, there is a simple process that you may use with relative ease.  Use a book called Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.  Following the instructions in the preface, you will learn quickly how to find what you need.

So, in a nutshell, the point I’m trying to get across is that it would be wise to understand the true meanings of words in the Bible so as not to base our religious beliefs on the errors or biases that the scholars have created.

What is also good to remember is that the Bible is in the King’s English. Just like modern day English, a particular word may have a double meaning. One such word is the word “name” which might mean Peter or Sam in some contexts but authority at other times. How do we know where it means what? The only way to know is to examine thoroughly how God uses the words, see what context is being used, and go to the original language to see if it all fits together. I asked God to help me understand the authority concept, and I sincerely believe that he has answered my prayers. Follow me on this.

Everything in the Bible, Old Testament, and New Testament has to be done by the authority of the Lord. In the Old Testament, everything the Lord’s people did had to have the Lord’s direction behind them to be successful. If not, they would fail.

  1. If Israel went to war with God’s authority, they won every time; if not they lost every time. (Joshua)
  2. They could not offer sacrifices that were not authorized by God, or they would be killed. (Aaron’s sons)
  3. God authorized Aaron’s family to be the priests. The Lord caused the earth to swallow those who challenged that authority. (Numbers)
  4. God authorized the Ark of the Covenant to be moved a certain way. When the Israelites didn’t do it in that authorized way they failed.
  5. God did not authorize the children of Israel to take a wife or husband from the people of Canaan. When they married foreign men or women in spite of the Lod’s direction, He afflicted them. (Joshua)
  6. God told Samson’s mother that Samson’s hair should never be cut. When Samson did not heed the Lord’s authority, God left him (Judges).
  7. God told Moses to speak to the rock. When he did not heed God’s authority and smote it instead, he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land.

I could go on and on, but as you see God’s authority was emphasized throughout the Old Testament. Those who obeyed His authority and did things with his authorization were successful. Those who did not obey his authority either failed or were punished every time. That’s the bottom line.

The Old Testament is a shadow of the New Testament. We see throughout the New Testament that the Lord still has all authority. We also see that all things must be done under his authority.  “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name (authority) of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Col. 3: 17).

Now here is the ultimate point—our primary focus. We are to do all things in His name (meaning by His authority) so let’s look at baptism in Matthew 28:18. (I find it strange that we always argued about verse 19 when the power, is in verse 18.

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” So Jesus then says in verse 19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name (authority) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”

So translating Matthew 28:18-19 to what it actually means straight from the original language Jesus (and I paraphrase here) says, “I was given all the authority in heaven and in earth; therefore go teach all nations and baptize with that authority.”

The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost do operate under the same authority. Am I right? So what did the Apostles then do after Jesus said that? Throughout the book of Acts, we see they did exactly what Jesus said; they baptized in the name (authority) of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? Who did Jesus say that all the authority in Heaven and earth was given to in Matthew 28:18? It was to himself of course, so they baptized in his name because they knew that he had all the authority. And after that, throughout the rest of the Bible, it continuously emphasizes that Jesus has the authority.

Do you see now how that fits with the authority concept throughout the entire Bible Old Testament and New Testament? Everything in the Bible up to the command about baptism, Old Testament and New Testament, had to be done under the authority of the Lord to be successful. So does baptism also have to have this authority? Of course, it does. Everything after the baptism in the Bible needed the Lords authority to be successful. Did he exclude baptism? God forbid. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name (authority) of the Lord Jesus…” (Col. 3: 17).

Does this include baptism? Word or deed means everything we say or do doesn’t’ it? We take this very seriously, and we go as far as we can to determine that this is the right way of doing things. Looking at the original language is a wise thing to do because, as we noted earlier, King James was Roman Catholic, and his scholars were a little biased (or fearful) to challenge his beliefs.

There’s no way you can understand what Scripture means if you take someone else’s word for it instead of seeking, knocking, and asking for yourself. Do so and God will let you find, He will open, and you will receive because God cannot lie! May your search be rewarded and God Bless!  Let me know what words you searched and what you found that helped you understand a passage better.

—Beth

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