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The Scriptures (Part 1 – Biblical Authority)
February 28, 2021

The Scriptures (Part 1 – Biblical Authority)

February 28, 2021

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Scripture – Part 1

Welcome to Jesus Church!

Today we start a new series on the Bible – Very excited to dive into this

  • One of my main hopes as a pastor… and in what we do
    • Is 2 make the Bible something that is more accessible
    • Something you feel you can read/study and hear God through
    • Both for yourself/family/friends/share…
  • And the danger w/ Sunday Morning Church mentality
    • For many this time is our weekly feel good dose of the Bible
    • Either b/c its all the time we’re willing to give to the Bible
    • We don’t think we can understand it on our own
  • I believe one of the main objectives of our fallen world… the enemy
    • Is to undermine the authority and value of the scriptures
      • To say: The time isn’t worth it… don’t get anything out of it
      • To say: The content isn’t relevant… don’t know if I trust it
    • Because if you can undermine the Bible
      • You can take out the authority attached to the Bible
      • And insert a new authority that has nothing to do w/ God

And the truth is… for many: We have already bought in to this story

  • B/C the majority of Xians don’t really read their Bible (2020 stats)
    • 82% of Xians never read Bible outside of Sunday morning
      • Of 2 Billion Xians… less than 30% will ever read thru Bible
      • Which is crazy to base life on book u haven’t read
  • In Reality: Bible is best seller of all time
    • Every year it sells over 25 million copies
    • One writer called it: Best selling book never read
  • Especially younger generation… Just don’t read it anymore
    • We listen to teachings on the Bible
    • We listen to podcast about the Bible
    • Some will read a devo w/ 1 or 2 verses – page commentary
  • Many relationships w/ Bible looks like
    • (Pic) Tweet about the Bible like this…
    • (Pic) Instagram of the Bible
      • Nothing wrong with doing this
      • But for many this is only experience we every have w/ Bible
        • I don’t think this is what God had in mind

Honestly: Many just don’t know how to read the Bible

  • Because honestly the Bible is hard to wrap ur head around
    • This isn’t young adult fiction… Hunger Games or Twilight
  • This is an ancient library: 66 books
    • Diversity of: genre/style/tone/outlook
    • Written in different: language/era/culture
      • Opening Bible can feel like stepping in strange new world

Deeper issue: Some just don’t like the Bible

  • There is weird stuff in the Bible
    • Page 3 is a talking snake (weird)
    • A lot of it is boring (ever read Leviticus for fun)
  • And if I were to ask honestly how u feel about Bible
    • Some would say – Love the Bible
      • Read it every day
      • Vital part of discipleship to Jesus
      • Unfortunately that’s a tiny minority
    • Most (if honest) would say – I don’t really like the Bible
      • I like that you like the Bible
      • I like that you read/study
        • Can tell me about it (TED Talk)
        • But its not really my thing

Even deeper: Many have issue w/ the Bible

  • World of today is different in viewing the Bible
    • Up through the 80’s – Read story of Jericho
      • Joshua and Israel march around city 7 days
      • Think God is with me/I’m not alone/tare down walls
    • Today story is read and it sorta looks like genocide
      • Almost like its Ethic cleansing in name of God
      • God commands extinction of women & children
      • Feels like its based on ethnicity (race)
    • And how do I relate this to Jesus
      • His commands on non violence
      • His commands on loving enemies
  • Bible is so good/beautiful/true… it’s poetry/prophecy/exhortation
    • There’s a reason it has changed countless lives
    • There’s a reason people willing give their lives for it
    • It’s changed western civilization
  • But at same time – Full of some tough stuff
    • Poligamy… incest… rape… sexism
    • Racism… war… violence… revenge
  • And it’s not only that it’s in Bible – That’s not a big deal
    • It’s in some of the most prominent characters in the Bible
      • Abraham (Hero of Faith)
        • Polygamist
        • Misogynist
        • Absentee Father
      • David (man after God’s own heart)
        • Violent war criminal
        • Adulterer
        • Murderer… this is the hero (Line of Jesus)

Then there is how we understand the Bible

  • Some read the NT: Manifestations of the Holy Spirit
    • Their belief is… all of that is for our world today
      • Healings… Prophecy… Knowledge… Discernment
      • All which we very much believe
    • Other’s say no way: Look at 1 Cor. 13
        • Canonization of scripture took its place
        • No more need for manifestation of H.S.
    • Some read the stories of God and Freewill
      • Think God is in control of everything
        • They use language like: Sovereignty/Predestination
      • Others say that’s not the way God works
        • Humans have free will… which is necessary for true love
        • We have responsibility to choose good or evil
          • Future isn’t set in stone– open, permeable
    • So who is right or wrong – Same Bible

    What about terrible things done in name of Bible

    • People in the name of the Bible have justified
      • African/American slave trade
      • Genocide of Native Americans
      • Crazy snake handlers (Mark 16)
      • Polygamist Mormons – take child wives b/c of Bible
        • Lots of crazy stuff done in “name of the Bible”
    • Growing trend: Xians see Bible as a problem… but not 2 be solved
      • They see it as a liability more than an asset
      • And the question that is then dropped in their ear is…
        • Is the Bible even good for us anymore
        • Do we really need it… or should we cut ties and move on
          • Keep Jesus but leave Bible behind

    Question today is: Why the Bible

    Main answer: We are followers of Jesus

    If we know anything about Jesus – He was obsessed with the Bible

    • Jesus: read Bible, quote Bible, He taught it, preached it, lived it
      • As a Rabbi Jesus would have had the entire OT memorized
      • B/C it was his JOB to teach the Bible… it’s what a Rabbi did
    • And as Followers of Jesus (We strive to be like Him)
      • Our end goal should be to strive for same relationship w/ Bible

    Matt. 5:17-19 NIV

    1. The Bible is a story that reaches its main point in his life

    • Couple of key words Jesus says…
      • …I have come to FULFILL the scriptures
      • …Until EVERYTHING is fulfilled
    • B/C Jesus didn’t read scriptures as an encyclopedia of truth
      • Many Christians do this all the time – Text book of answers
    • Jesus read this library first and foremost as a story
      • As the long drawn out narrative on human history
        • Where we came from/where we are going
      • And Jesus sees it as story that builds up to… HIM
        • His coming/birth/life/victory over sin/holy spirit

    2. To Jesus the Bible is trust worthy

      • And that’s about as high of a view of Bible as you could ever have
        • When Jesus was asked question about Bible – Criticism
        • Jesus would never rail on the Bible
          • His beef was with someone’s misreading of it

      3. To Jesus the Bible is authority

        • Break: set aside, ignore, relax
          • So if you excuse something (its ok in 2021… things are different)
          • Or if you ignore it (I know… but will do it anyways)
          • Or if you relax it (well I am who I am)
            • You will be called least in kingdom of heaven
        • Jesus view is: We are to come under authority of Bible
          • That means to literally stand under the Bible

        At same time Jesus wasn’t a dogmatic fundamentalist

        Listen to how he relates to the scriptures

        Matt. 5:21-22 NIV

        Matt. 5:27-28 NIV

        Matt. 5:33-34 NIV

        Matt. 5:38 NIV

        Matt. 5:43-44 NIV

        What’s going on… Jesus calling out trendy readings/misreading of Bible

        • Stuff on marriage… divorce… money… revenge… justice…
          • Here is what I want you to see… to Jesus: When it comes to us
          • We need to continually look at our understanding of the Bible
          • To Read it/Discuss it/Think & Rethink it/Talk about it
            • All to get back to the heart of the text
        • But the Fundamentalist bumper sticker says
          • The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it
          • I don’t think that would fly with Jesus in Matt. 5
            • This philosophy missing part of what it really is saying
            • It’s saying; The Bible says it… I interpret it

        But Hermeneutics 101 on how to read Bible well

        • One of the first thing you learn (There are 3 steps to Bible study)
          • Revelation – What does text say
          • Interpretation – What does text mean
          • Application – How do we live the text out
        • Fundamentalists blur the lines b/w revelation & interpretation

        Example: Convo w/ fundamentalist on age of Earth (how to read Gen. 1)

        • Fundamentalist: “Bible says _____ and I believe the Bible”
          • U think “I believe Bible too – Don’t think it means that
          • Fundamentalist can or will not distinguish b/w
            • Revelation & Interpretation
              • 1 – What the text says
              • 2 – Their reading of the text

        This isn’t what we see with Jesus – Not a fundamentalist

        • He understood that it takes intelligence to read Bible well
          • Doesn’t mean you need: PHd… seminary or Gk and Heb classes
          • But you do need some tools to read the Bible well
        • Bible used for great good/worst evil in history
          • Mark Twain: Bible is both poison and cure
            • Used to justify slavery
            • Also driving force behind Abolition of slavery
          • Been used to justify racism, hate, murder, sexual
            • Also know its the absolute truth against all of those
        • In the wrong hands – Bible is dangerous
          • Eugene Peterson – Analogy: Giving Bible to some people is like giving keys of car to a teenager. YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL

        Peter writes about how some twist scripture to own destruction

        • This isn’t to say Bible is only for the professionals
          • But we need to know Bible should be wrestled with
          • It needs to be read… re-read… discussed… researched
          • With humility, wisdom, intelligence

        And we see why in Mark 12

        Mk 12:35-36 NIV

        I want you to see how Jesus sets up Ps. 110

        • David himself says – Speaking by the Holy Spirit declared
          • To Jesus the Bible is a DEVINE and HUMAN word
          • Will continue to talk on this concept throughout next few weeks
          • Here is the short version
        • We live in growing conservative/liberal scripture divide in US
          • Conservatives: Emphasize divine side of Bible
            • Bible is scripture, Word of God
            • 1 Tim 3:16 – Go to for conservatives (All scripture…)
          • Liberals: Emphasize human side of Bible
            • View scripture as man’s thoughts from long ago
            • Poetic, beautiful – most outdated and irrelevant

        Both sides lob grenades back and forth at each other

        • But the either or mentality is not the way Jesus thought
          • Jesus believed it is a both human AND divine
          • David himself… Speaking by the Holy Spirit said…
            • To Jesus the Bible is divine: Speaking by Holy Spirit
            • To Jesus the Bible is human: David himself said
          • David, Paul, Moses, Peter, John wrote that
            • It’s not some dirty little secret that humans wrote the Bible
            • Bible doesn’t hide fact it has Human fingerprints all over it

        Example: 1 Corinthians – Paul basically says: I don’t really know what Jesus thinks about this, but here is my opinion.

        • Bible doesn’t hide this – Its there for all to see
          • This was written by David – Inspired by Holy Spirit
          • This was written by Moses – Inspired by Holy Spirit
            • It’s just not a issue for the Bible
            • It is written by people BUT inspired by God
        • This is SCRIPTURE: Sacred Writing
          • Not just Odyssey, Shakespeare, Hunger Games
        • But also LITERATURE: Poem/Biography/Census Record/Letter
          • These 2 things are not at odds with each other
          • But they are in tension
            • As followers of Jesus – Have to live in that tension

        Jesus got flack from both sides in His teaching of Bible

        • Pharisees (Conservatives) & Sadducees (Liberals)
          • We too will probably get flak
          • Our goal is to be like Jesus – Not be Politically Correct

        One more reason why this matters so much

        Mark 12:18-23 NIV

        • Not a theological issue today so who cares
          • I want u to see is Jesus’ answer

        Mark 12:24-27 NIV

        • This is like Biblical Kung Fu by the way – Jesus so smart
          • Sadducees believed in first 5 books – But not the prophets
          • Jesus makes his case only using those books
            • Like fighting w/ one hand behind your back
            • Still knocking everyone out
        • To Jesus many people are in Biblical Error
          • Maybe b/c they have never read the scriptures
          • Maybe b/c they don’t know how to read scripture
          • Maybe b/c they read it wrong or don’t actually believe
        • Jesus tells these Bible teachers how far off they are
          • I wonder today how much bad thinking/living comes today
          • Because so many people don’t know the Bible
            • AND we don’t know the power of God
            • B/C we don’t actually believe what we read

        This is what we want to change in this series (Much more to say)

        But for today: We follow Bible B/C we follow Jesus

        Not the other way around

        Andrew Wilson:

        Our trust in the Bible stems from our trust in Jesus Christ. I don’t believe in Jesus because I trust the Bible, I trust in the Bible because I trust in Jesus. I love him and have decided to follow him. So if he talks and acts as if the Bible is trust worthy, authoritative, good, helpful and powerful, I will too. Even if some of my questions remain unanswered or if my answers remain unpopular.

        If u grew up in church: Don’t get how odd to base life on Ancient book

        • But we don’t believe Bible is scripture b/c Bible says so
          • All sorts of writings will say that
          • Koran/Mormon/Bagabogita
            • We believe Bible is scripture b/c we believe in Jesus
            • And Jesus said the Bible was scripture
        • This is why we follow Jesus into a relationship of Bible
          • Why we come under authority of the Bible

        Matt. 28:16-18 NIV

        This is how you say “By the way – I’m God” in 1st person

        • This is what we believe… Jesus was a human Rabbi & Teacher
          • BUT he was way more than that as well
            • Jesus was Messiah and is ultimate power in universe
            • He is embodiment of God who made everything
        • Because of that all authority on heaven & earth
          • Invested in Jesus… not the Bible
            • Closing line isn’t – All authority is given to the Bible
            • It was given to Jesus
        • Jesus is our authority – He is our Boss
          • But Jesus as you continue reading
          • He mediates his authority through the scriptures

        This is actually normal in all of society

        • Almost all authority is mediated through speaking/writing
          • When ur boss sends an email saying do these things
          • You obey the email b/c it’s from ur boss
            • When ur wife sends text saying to get milk at store
            • You obey the text b/c it’s from ur boss (wife)
        • All authority is mediated through speaking/writing
          • True for U.S. Government (constitution)
          • True for Phoenix (speed limit sign)
          • True for Job/Gym/School
            • Jesus authority is no different

        Scholars call scripture “Covenantal Documents”

        They are writings for those who enter into covenant w/ Jesus

        • Which means: THE BIBLE IS NOT FOR EVERYBODY
          • It’s for people in covenant with Jesus
          • Important to understand it
        • Religious Right gets it absolutely wrong here
          • You can’t just proclaim on today’s issues “Bible says”
          • Even though you are right
            • The Bible isn’t authoritative for everyone in our country
            • It’s true – But only authoritative for those in covenant
        • The Bible not authority for ur Buddhist friend/gay neighbor
          • It’s true for them
          • In its pages we read best way to be human
            • But its not the authority for them

        The Bible is my authority – but that’s b/c I’m follower of Jesus

        • I have entered into that covenant
          • Of my own free will… that was my decision
            • I believe that Jesus wasn’t just a man
            • He is Lord/God/Authority
            • That authority is mediated through Bible I read today
        • I live/believe/trust/obey the Bible
          • These r covenant docs on how I enter in that relationship



        • Obedience of the Bible is an expression of my trust in Him
          • When we disobey/ignore/minimalize the Bible
          • That is expression as well in our lack of trust or faith

        And this concept of Biblical authority is a crisis that keeps getting worse

        • In the west: Authority used to be entrusted to the Bible & Tradition
          • So 500 years ago authority was in the Bible and the Priest
          • After enlightenment it changed to science and education
          • Now in post-modern/post-Christian/post-everything ear
            • Authority is found in the autonomous self
            • You are now the final authority… and maybe ur therapist
        • And these changes in societal authority effect relationship to Bible
          • As general rule most of us live as if WE ARE THE AUTHORITY
          • Idea to come under Jesus and His ancient library
            • That is a bizarre idea in our world today
        • But all the debate on the issues (gay marriage/abortion/divorce)
          • It is a debate on the authority of the Bible
          • Is the Bible authoritative or not
          • That is the crux of everything

        Great to say YES to authority – Not that simple

        Yes authority mediated through writing and Bible is authoritative

        • But this isn’t a speed limit sign (35 mph)
          • If you pass by that sign at 45 mph and cops pulls u over
          • You can’t tell cop “Well that’s ur interpretation of that sign”
            • I live in post-madernity
            • Latin root to limit means boarder – which expand
              • That doesn’t work… here is ur ticket… have a nice day
        • And there is a lot in the Bible that is just that clear
          • You shall not commit adultery
          • You shall not murder… that’s black & white

        But there is a lot in the Bible that isn’t clear – The Bible is our Authority

        • Ok… What part of Joshua marching around Jericho 7 days
            • Then killing women and children
            • What part of that is authoritative over my life
          • Or a guy having sex w/ daughter-in-law
            • Then wanting to burn her alive
            • How can I see that as authoritative over my life

        And then there are universal commands we read all over the Bible

        • Love your neighbor – That’s for ALL people ALL the time
        • But other commands are very local
          • Jesus tells James and John to go find a donkey
          • When you read that passage
            • Doesn’t mean you need to go get a donkey for Jesus
            • That’s super easy
        • Problem – Some commands hard to know if universal/local
          • Gen. 1: Be fruitful and multiply in number
            • Are you all supposed to get married and have kids
            • And it says multiply – 2 kids isn’t even enough
              • That’s addition not multiplication…
        • And now with world over population… famine and water shortages
          • We are multiplying exponentially… so is that command satisfied
          • Do we now have a moral imperative to have less kids
          • It’s just not always super clear

        Then there are the 613 commands in the Torah

        • Paul makes crystal clear we don’t live by these laws in NT
          • It’s ok to eat bacon
          • It’s ok to wear clothing that uses both cotton & polyester
          • Don’t need to be stoned for having tattoos or a nose right
            • So not all the Bible is authoritative
            • Parts of the Bible are authoritative
        • So which parts are authoritative then… default answer is NT
          • But there are even NT commands that don’t fit for today
            • Greet one another w/ a holy kiss – 6 times it says that
              • So do we just toss it
              • Obey principle (side hug)
              • Strong Handshake
        • If we throw it out – what about all the other commands
          • So it’s clear to see that it isn’t clear to see

        We will talk about all of these in the weeks to come: Short Answer

        • Parts of Bible are Authoritative for followers of Jesus
          • We read the Old Testament as story of where we come from
            • It was authoritative for a time
            • It is part of God’s plan and narrative
          • Now we live under covenant docs of the New Testament
            • We live under authority of teachings of Jesus
            • Writings of NT authors
        • But there is a short list of commands
          • Holy Kiss
          • Women & Braided hair
          • Women & Head coverings
            • Culture changed so much
            • We obey principle behind command

        Here’s the point of tonight

        1: The Scriptures are Authoritative

        2: Living under Biblical Authority is what it means to follow Jesus

        Problem: Many people want to pick and choose

        Thomas Jefferson (American way of reading the Bible)

        • Took a pair of scissors
          • Cut out everything in his Bible that he didn’t believe in
          • Left with bits and pieces of the Bible that he would read
            • At least he was honest
            • Way more people do this – Won’t admit it
        • We love Jesus message on love, justice, freedom
          • Ignore Jesus teachings on Bible as scripture
          • Ignore Jesus teaching on Social Dynamics… Love your Neighbor
          • Ignore Jesus teaching on Money… Forgiveness… Meekness
        • We can’t do that w/ Jesus or Bible… or u won’t be following Jesus
          • You will be following a figment of your imagination

        Andrew Wilson

        Whenever scripture challenges some of our deeply held beliefs, as it often does, we have a choice. We can challenge the Bible or we can let the Bible challenge us.

        • We can pull a Jefferson – cut and paste
          • Or we can pull a Jesus
            • Affirm accuracy of it… allowing it to refine us

        Ray Lubeck

        For believers to follow Jesus implies adopting the same attitude towards God’s word as Jesus had. Simply put we cannot say that we are followers of Jesus if we neglect or refuse to obey the Bible’s commands.

        Many of us don’t have same relationship w/ Bible that Jesus had

        • But I desire for all of you to love the Bible b/c of Jesus
          • I don’t love the Bible because I teach it
          • I love the Bible b/c of Jesus
        • As much as u don’t have to be a NFL coach to like the NFL
          • Don’t have to be a pastor
          • Don’t have to be a seminary grad
            • All you have to be is a follower of Jesus
        • Pray we can close gap as followers of Jesus
          • We through understanding the Bible
          • Life will be shaped by His story – discover life there

        Jesus said:

        You search the scriptures day and night because in them you think that you have life. But these are them that testify of me.

        • We step into this ancient world not just to learn/knowledge
          • We step in to find Jesus
          • That is my prayer for all of us


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