A. The Bible is Authoritative (pt. 2)
In 2 Timothy 3:16, we read these incredible words: All Scripture is breathed out by God. Stop. Read that again, since it is an incredible claim. Scripture – and by “scripture”, he is speaking about what is written, the text – is breathed out (or exhaled) by God. Further, it is not merely “some” or “most” of Scripture. But all Scripture is Divinely-produced.
Second Peter instructs us, as well, saying no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. Why, you ask? Because men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:16-21). Note that there was an event of speaking, where the prophet was carried along by the Spirit. That was, then, followed by the act of writing down the God-exhaled text. Here’s the point: the text is trustworthy, since it originated with God, not with man. Thus, the Bible is in a category all of its own, being of Divine origin, as opposed to those of merely human origin.
This is how Jesus viewed the Scriptures, as well. The New Testament was not yet composed when Jesus lived on the earth, but we learn a great deal about how He viewed the Old Testament. He quoted from it, not from the Apocrypha. He taught it in the Temple and in the synagogues. He debated its meaning with the scribes and Pharisees and paid attention to the very details of the text to draw out its meaning. You can turn to Mark 11:27-12:37 for a wonderfully clear example of this. What this demonstrates is that Jesus considered the biblical text to be authoritative. Its inherent meaning was of the utmost importance, and He sternly rebuked those that interpreted and taught it falsely.
Many more verses could be cited to demonstrate the Bible’s authority. But where it is important to finish this section is to highlight the fact that the text is inherently authoritative. The text originates with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is sovereign. He is authoritative. The Triune God breathed out this text. Further, Jesus treated the text as authoritative in itself, not relying upon the Sanhedrin (i.e., the Church leaders) to grant it authority. That means, contrary to the claims of Roman Catholicism, that the Church does not bestow authority on the text. The Church has never made a book or letter into scripture. God made Scripture and the Church merely receives and recognizes the authority that is inherent in the text. The Church receives it as God’s word because God the Holy Spirit convinces us of such (1 Cor. 2).
In the Early Church, church leaders needed to list the biblical books because sects were introducing their own – those leaders never made the books into Scripture. Councils were convened, which declared what biblical books were Scripture, but – again – they were stated what books had always been Scripture. These were acts of reception and recognition of the Bible’s inherent authority. The Church and its Councils were not giving authority to the Bible, as if the word of God needed some help.