The Christian's Authority

Bill Bright

Before I became a believer in Jesus Christ, God's Word did not make sense to me. I occasionally tried to read it during my high school and college days, but found it boring. Finally, I concluded that no really intelligent person could believe the Bible.

Then I became a Christian.

My life was transformed, and my attitude concerning the scriptures changed. I realized the Bible was the holy, inspired, and eternally authoritative Word of God.

Not only is God's Word divinely inspired, but it is also the basis of our belief as Christians. It gives us God's perspective on how we should live and how we can be fruitful witnesses for our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bible is God's love letter to man. From Genesis to Revelation, it tells of God's great compassion for us and of His desire to fellowship with us. Furthermore, the Bible reveals God's attributes. It tells us that He is holy, sovereign, righteous and just; that He is loving, merciful and kind; that He is gracious, patient and faithful; that He is powerful, wise, and constantly available to His children.

And the more we read and meditate upon His precious Word - and allow His Holy Spirit to control our lives - the more fruitful we become for our Lord. Because God's Word is truth and "sharper than any two-edged sword," it is impregnated with the power of the Holy Spirit to speak to today's world and our own personal needs and circumstances.

Ultimately our view of the authority of the Bible and of the incarnation of Christ are related. In John 10:34-36, for example, Jesus taught that the Old Testament was totally accurate. In Matthew 4:4-10, He quoted it as being authoritative (Matthew 24:35).

He even told us that the Holy Spirit would bring to mind what He said so that the disciples would preach and write accurately, not depending upon only memory or human understanding (John 16:12-15).

A high view of inspiration should be related to personal Bible study and meditation. As you study this lesson, I urge you to apply the principles that you will learn about God's inspired Word to your life. Let God speak to you and invite the Holy Spirit to transform you into a joyful and fruitful Christian.

Biblical Claims of Authority

  1. What were the attitudes of the following prophets concerning their writings? Isaiah 43:1-12, Jeremiah 23:1-8, Ezekiel 36:32-38.
  2. What were the attitudes of the following authors toward other writers of scripture? Paul (Romans 3:1-2), Peter (II Peter 1:19-21), The writer of Hebrews 1:1. 
  3. If the writers had this high regard for scripture, how should we view the Bible? What part should God's Word have in our lives and in the way we evaluate and react to circumstances and events?


Purpose of Personal Bible Study

  1. Name some of the practical results of a thorough study of the Word of God. (II Timothy 3:15-17) What changes have you seen in your life from your study of the Bible?
  2. In Acts 20:32, Paul says that the Word of God is able to do what two things?
  3. What should be the effect of reading the Word of God on your own life? (James 1:22-25 ) Think of a difficult circumstance in your life. In what ways is reading and meditating on God's Word helping you cope with the situation? How are you applying God's Word to the problem?

Preparations for Personal Bible Study

  1. Set aside a definite time. When did Moses meet with God? (Exodus 34:2-4 ) When Did Christ meet with God? (Mark 1:35) What is the best time for you?
  2. Find a definite place. Where did Christ pray? (Mark 1:35) What is the value of being alone?
  3. Employ these tools: Modern translation of the Bible, notebook, pen, dictionary. How can you use these tools in your Bible study?

Preparation for Personal Bible Study

Using Psalm 119:57-104, go through these three major steps of methodical Bible study:

  1. Observation: What does the passage say? Read quickly for content. Read again carefully, noting key words and phrases.
  2. Interpretation: What does the passage mean? Ask God to give you understanding of the passage. Consult a dictionary or modern translation for the for the precise meaning of the words. 

    Ask: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

  3. Application: Ask yourself, "What does the passage mean to me and how can I apply it to my life?"

Make a list of the following:

  • Attitudes to be changed
  • Actions to take or avoid
  • Promises to claim
  • Sins to confess and forsake
  • Examples to follow
  • Other personal applications


Life Application

Study Luke 19:1-10 , and apply the Bible study method you just learned.

What does the passage say?

What does it mean?

How does it apply to you?


How effective will this method of Bible study be for you now with other scripture passages?

  1. What changes in your life do you expect as you proceed with more in-depth Bible study?
  2. Plan your Bible study time for the next four weeks. Write down the time, the place, and the passages to be studied.


Adapted from The 10 Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity, by Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Cru. All rights reserved.

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