As we look at what kind of church to consider, we must look more deeply into the reasons why we are distinctly Baptist. What does it mean to be a Baptist? The names we often ascribe to different religious groups (Baptists, Presbyterian, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Mormons, etc.) are clear indicators of what we believe and why. I have said this before, but I will say it again: I am a Baptist. That begs the question, “Why am I a Baptist?” I am a Baptist because I believe the Bible. It really is that simple! As I examine the Bible, and compare it to other sects and religions, I cannot see any other cult, sect, religion or practice that honors and adheres to the Word of God. In class, I was given a simple acrostic which clearly defines some of the major differences between a true Baptist and some of the other religions out there (later in the series, we will look at some of the differences between a true Baptist and others who claim to be Baptist). That acrostic spells BAPTIST. In this article, we will look at the first letter: B, for Biblical Authority. As we examine the authority of the Bible, must realize that the Bible is the very Word of God. Yes, there are many books which claim to be The Bible, which are not. You cannot be a Bible believer if you do not hold the Bible in your hand. We will discuss which is actually the Bible in a future article.
1 Thes 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
There is a clear proclamation that the Bible is the very Word of God. Yes, it was received through the hands of men, but it is still the Word of God. Imagine someone taking transcription. That is very much like what the penmen of the Bible did: they were transcribing for the Lord. Understanding that the Bible is the Word of God, and likewise understanding that God is sovereign, then we must logically assume that the Word of God is our authority. We must also assume that the Word of God is truth since God cannot lie.
2 Pet 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
If the Bible is true and is the Word of God (and it is), then we must accept all of it as it applies to us. This verse explains to us that there cannot be any private interpretation of the Bible. So, the Bible simply says what it says.
2 Tim 3:15-17 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Finally, Paul wrote to Timothy under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost and admonished him that all Scripture is good to be used for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness. The Bible is the ultimate authority for all matters of faith, practice of worship, and lifestyle of the believer. Regardless of what any single person or group of people may believe to be true, the Bible must be considered the final authority. If the opinions of any person or group of people disagree with the Bible, those opinions should be discarded. We can accept the Bible (KJV for the English-speaking people) as our ultimate authority because of the nature of the Scripture. The Scripture is the very WORD of GOD to man. We know that God simply cannot lie, and the Bible has proven itself to be the Word of God! Men have tried to elevate creeds and traditions to be equal to the Word of God. Most notable of these are the Mormon Church with their Book of Mormon and the Roman Church (aka Catholic) with their various creeds, councils and the ramblings of their pope – all of which seem to change the truth of the Word of God to suit the leaders of the church at the moment. However, as a BAPTIST, one must accept and rely upon the Bible as their sole and final authority. If some doctrine or practice contradicts the Bible, it must be discarded in favor of the Biblical truth.