"Do All in the Name of the Lord"
From this study, we will establish how the Bible teaches us to determine what God expects us to do and not to do, what is right and wrong. The Biblical conclusion we will reach should sound appealing to our common sense. From this study, we will find that any one of the following things will teach us that something is authorized, or right:
- A direct command from God to New Teatament Christians
- An New Testament example approved in the Scriptures
- A Necessary Inference formed from Bible premises
This should seem sensible because it is how we justify actions at work, to our parents, to the law, or any other authoritative body. But before we continue, let's examine exactly what is mean by the word 'authority' and other related terms.
What is "Authority?"
"What is really meant by 'authority', and 'in the name of the Lord'?" These words and phrases are similar to terms used by lawyers and those that enforce the law. If one has ' Bible authority' for some action, then he or she has Biblically-based justification for that action. Similar to lawyers, we must study God's law to determine if we can justify everything that we do. During an arrest, policemen may shout, "... in the name of the law!" When they say this, they express that they are agents operating by the authority of the law. However, they cannot bust through any door they wish, but only when they have this authority (search warrant, etc.). Similarly, God instructs us to not act without His authority, which likewise limits our actions to those that are 'in the name of the Lord', or those done by the 'authority' of the Lord.
Therefore, these words have become synonymous with the process of establishing what is right and wrong. This idea is expressed in Colossians 3:17, and it is the verse from which the above phrase is taken. It reads:
"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
So, how do we actually go about establishing a method for determining Biblical authority?
It is often said that the Bible is its own best commentary. With this in mind, let us look through the pages of the Bible to determine how we can use it to establish right from wrong. This may seem at first like circular reasoning, establishing a Biblically based way of determining Bible truths; however, there must be some beginning point to learning how to study the Bible. Therefore, initially equipped with our common sense, we examine Biblical examples of Jesus and His apostles using Scripture. Surely Jesus and His apostles knew how to use the Bible. Moreover, from their examples, we should be able to determine a clear means of establishing Biblical authority. It is recommended that one have first studied the difference between the Old and New Testaments, since God binds only the New Testament upon us today. This distinction will be assumed as given in the following Bible study.
Outline of Study
- Review: Must not act beyond our limits that God has authorized.
- Do not add to His Word or take away (Deuteronomy 4:2)
- Turn not to "right hand or to left" (Joshua 1:7)
- People transgressed by teaching doctrines of men as commandments of God (Matthew 15:3,9)
- People are accursed by God if teach anything different than gospel (Galatians 1:8,9)
- We are instructed to speak only as the oracles of God speak (I Peter 4:11)
- It is transgression to go beyond doctrine of Christ (II John 1:99)
- Do not add to His Word or take away (Revelation 22:18-19)
- Must possess attitudes appropriate for studying God's Holy Word
- Must put God's will before ours
- Desperately want truth (Matthew 5:6; 7:7-11)
- This requires making conclusions from God's Word, not going to God's Word to support our conclusions
- We may be condemned already by our attitude.
- Let this never be said of us.
- Without love of truth (II Thessalonians 2:8-12)
- Forming conviction without investigation (Proverbs 18:13)
- Hardened heart, unable to recognize truth (Matthew 13:14-15)
- The Remedy - Sincere love of truth
- Study God's Word (II Timothy 2:15)
- Pray (James 1:5,25)
- Must understand that God's Word is written in human language.
- It speaks to us directly
- It uses examples to teach
- It provides bits of information from which we must infer conclusions
- It utilizes figures of speech
- Metaphor – Matthew 26:28; Luke 13:32; John 6:48-58; 10:9,11; 11:25
- Simile – Psalm 42:1; 22:14,15
- Hyperbole – Psalm 22:6; Matthew 5:41
- It uses figurative language - always denoted by context ("vision", "signified", etc.)
- Symbolism – Malachi 3:1; Matthew 11:10-14; Revelation 1:1
- Parables – Matthew 13:14-17, 34-35
- Must use the Bible as Christ did.
- As defense to temptation - Matthew 4:4-11
- Based on Example – compare v.4 to Deuteronomy 8:3
- Based on Necessary Inference – compare v.7 to Deuteronomy 6:16
- Based on Direct Command – compare v.10 to Deuteronomy 6:13
- General fulfillment of prophecy – Matthew 15:7-9
- Necessary Inference – John 10:34-36
- Necessary Inference – Matthew 19:4-6
- Specific fulfillment of prophecy – Matthew 21:42-46
- Necessary Inference – Matthew 22:23-33 and Luke 20:27-40
- Argument rested on tense of verb: "AM" instead of "WAS"
- Necessary Inference – Matthew 22:4-6
- Must use the Bible as the Apostles did.
- Instruction from prophecy – Acts 1:16-25
- Specific fulfillment of prophecy – Acts 2:14-21
- Necessary Inference – Acts 2:25-36
- Necessary Inference – Galatians 3:16
- Necessary Inference – Hebrews 7:1-19
- Direct Instruction – Hebrews 8:7-13
- Approved examples – Hebrews 11:4-12:1
- Must follow the examples of Jesus and the Apostles.
- Jesus – I Peter 2:21-24
- Apostles – Philippians 3:17; 4:9; II Thessalonians 3:7-9
- Must establish authority as the examples found in the best Bible commentary – the Bible.
- Direct Instruction or Commandment
- Approved Examples
- Necessary Inference
- Next: General vs. Specific
The best way to learn how to study and use the Bible is to examine how Jesus and His apostles used it. From this, we discover that for something to be authorized, we must have either a direct instruction, approved example, or a necessary inference found in the New Testament. Elsewhere, we also learned that it is essential to be careful that we do not stray from God's pattern. Therefore, let us be diligent in study that we may be able to stand approved before God. Having learned something of how to study from God's Word and to establish right from wrong, let us now complete this study by investigating the difference between general and specific authority. Without being aware of this basic concept, we will be unable to proceed very far into a deeper knowledge of God's word. The following study will be key in resolving many issues about the church and our personal lives that would have otherwise been unanswerable.
Next: General vs. Specific
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