“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). This passage lays the foundation principle regarding the fact that the Bible is the authority by which the church worships and works. If there is a command, apostolic approved example or inference that is necessary in order to complete a command then that is biblical authority. For example: the commands and examples in the book of Acts concerning salvation is that one must believe, repent of their sins, confess faith in Jesus, and be baptized (immersed) for the forgiveness or remission of sins (Acts 2:36-38,41, Acts 8:35-40, Acts 22:16).

There is then biblical authority for this pattern of how to become a Christian or be saved and any other practice would arise from a misunderstanding of what the Bible teaches or simply trying to impose one’s opinion over and in place of the Bible. The biblical authority is determined by understanding the doctrine or teaching, the example of what they did, and seeking to understand the original meaning of the words used. For example: understanding that the word believe includes more than merely believing in the mind, but that biblical belief also includes action (James 2:14-17, Acts 2:41-42, Acts 22:16). Another example is of the word baptism. The traditions and opinions of men provide various meaning for the word baptism, but looking to the original meaning of the word in the language that the New Testament was written indicates that it is an immersion in water and that is exactly what is seen in the book of Acts.

There would be many more examples that could be presented, but all would lead to he same conclusion and that is that the Bible is the authority and not the opinions of men. There certainly is a place for opinion in the church, but it can never conflict with the will of God (Leviticus 10:1-2). The opinions of men may be classified as judgment concerning how to carry out a command or example. The command and example is that the church assemble every first day of the week to worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24, Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, Hebrews 10:24-25), but it is left to the opinion or judgment of man to decide where, at what time, how long, etc. These things are in the realm of judgment and in and of themselves do not violate a command or apostolic example.

The goal of every Christian individually and congregation of the Lord’s church should be to respect the authority of God’s word and not depart to the right or to the left (Joshua 1:7). The goal of every Christian should be to be a good student of God’s word regarding context, what words mean in he original languages and in all seeking to do the will of God and not just have a knowledge of it (James 1:22).

by Wayne Brewer