October 04, 2017

The Divine Authority of God’s Word

Psalm 19

The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.

—  Psalm 19:9

The word authority has two common meanings. An authority can be a person who has extensive expertise that can be relied on. Authority can also include the right to make a decision, to direct or control something. In the Protestant Reformation, the teaching about Scripture alone made a claim based on both of these meanings.

The Reformers claimed that since the Bible was “God-breathed,” it was speaking God’s message to the world. As such, it has God’s authority for all humankind. Indeed, the Bible informs us that through the power of his word, God made the heavens and the earth, all things visible and invisible. God is the King of his creation, and he has the right to demand our submission.

But the Bible’s authority also operates in the sense of expertise. Through his Word of truth to us, God conveys his expertise as our Creator, Sustainer, and Savior. Who can know the creature better than its Creator? Who knows all that we need, what is best for us, and how we should live in relation to him, to others, and to his creation? God does, and he uses the Bible to teach us these things.

Psalm 19 describes the amazing value and qualities of God’s Word. As you read this psalm, list the ways you can submit to the authority of God’s Word in your life, and commit to pleasing God in all you do and say.

You have the authority to command all I do and say, Lord. You are the expert on my deepest needs and truest aims. Help me to hear and follow your excellent Word. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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