BIBLICAL AUTHORITY

INTRODUCTION

God has always expected His people to follow His commandments.   He has used two covenants to give His commandments to His people.

The first is referred to as the old covenant also called the old testament.    The old covenant has many examples of those who acted without divine authority and were punished by God for their lack of obedience.

The second is referred to as the new covenant also called the new testament.    The new covenant warns repeatedly of this danger and the penalties for disobedience.

The old covenant was only a shadow of good things to come.  Hebrews 10:1
Hebrews 10:1

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

Click on the scripture to see it from the bible

  The new covenant replaced the old covenant when Christ died on the cross.  Colossians 2:14
Colossians 2:14

14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross,

Click on the scripture to see it from the bible

It is our goal to follow only that which the new covenant teaches us to do.

If you would like to know more about these covenants before you continue with this study, click on   Image

It sometimes become helpful to study the verses around the verse that is used for the current point.   In the interest of making this a simple page, the main point of each scripture will be presented with a link to the scripture that supports it.

We leave it to the reader to click on the links to view and study the scripture.

AUTHORITY IN THE OLD COVENANT

The laws in the old covenant were not always recorded but we know what some of them were because
God said they had violated His commands.

Some examples of not doing what God commands

Adam and Eve disobeyed the command of God and He drove them out of the Garden of Eden
                Genesis 3:14-24
Genesis 3:14-24

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle...

16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception...

17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake...

23 ...therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.

24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Click on the scripture to see the entire reference

The Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth..."
but he saved Noah and his family
                Genesis 6:11-22
Genesis 6:11-22

11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
13 And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth...

14 Make yourself an ark of gopherwood...

22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

Click on the scripture to see the entire reference

Nadab and Abihu offered fire before the Lord which the Lord had not commanded
                Leviticus 10:1-2
Leviticus 10:1-2

1 Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them.
2 So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.

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Uzziah transgressed against the Lord and was told “It is not for you to burn incense to the Lord"
                2 Chronicles 26:16-20
2 Chronicles 26:16-20

16 But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense...

18 And they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord, but for the priests...

20 And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the Lord had struck him.

Click on the scripture to see the full reference from the bible

God warns His people not to add to, or take away from, His commandments
                Deuteronomy 4:2
Deuteronomy 4:2

"You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."

Click on the scripture to see it from the bible

      Deuteronomy 12:32
Deuteronomy 12:32

“Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it."

Click on the scripture to see it from the bible

      Proverbs 30:6
Proverbs 30:6

Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

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AUTHORITY IN THE NEW COVENANT

Keep the ordinances as they have delivered to you
        I Corinthians 11:2
I Corinthians 11:2

Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

Click on the scripture to see it from the bible

Paul warns the brethren to preach only the gospel they have received
        Galatians 1:6-10
Galatians 1:6-10

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,
7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

Click on the scripture to see it from the bible

Stand fast and hold the traditions which we have been taught
        II Thessalonians 2:15
II Thessalonians 2:15

Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.

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If we abide in Christ we need to walk as Christ walked
        I John 2:6
I John 2:6

He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

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If we walk in the doctrine of Christ we have both the Father and the Son
        II John 1:9
II John 1:9

Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son

Click on the scripture to see it from the bible

Under the old covenant they were told not to add to or take away from the word of God
Under the new covenant we are also told not to add to or take away from the word of God
        Revelation 22:18–19
Revelation 22:18–19

18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;
19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

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AUTHORITY FROM GOD IS NECESSARY TO BE ACCEPTABLE TO HIM

If we act without authority from God we do not have His approval
        II John 9-11
2 John 9-11

9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;
11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

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The chief priests and elders of the Jews recognized the need for authority
        Matthew 21:23
Matthew 21:23

Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”

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Jesus showed the only two sources of authority are from heaven or man
        Matthew 21:24-25
Matthew 21:24-25

24 But Jesus answered and said to them,...
25 The baptism of John—where was it from? From heaven or from men?”

Click on the scripture to see the full text in the bible

Some deny that authority from God is needed for all that man does in religion
        Jeremiah 10:23
Jeremiah 10:23

O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps

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     Proverbs 14:12
Proverbs 14:12

There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

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AUTHORITY IS TAUGHT BY BOTH JESUS AND THE APOSTLES

Jesus recognized and taught the need of authority

Workers of lawlessness will be rejected by Jesus. Lawlessness is to work without authority.
        Matthew 7:21-23
Matthew 7:21-23

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

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The workers of lawlessness will be cast them into the furnace of fire  along with some others
        Matthew 13:41-42
Matthew 13:41-42

41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,
42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

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                   Revelation 21:8
Revelation 21:8

But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

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Parable of the wise and foolish builders (Matthew 7:24-27)
    The wise man is he who hears and DOES the will of the Lord
        Matthew 7:24-25
Matthew 7:24-25

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

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    The foolish man is he who hears but DOES NOT obey
        Matthew 7:26-27
Matthew 7:26-27

26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:
27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

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The apostles taught the need of authority with unity

Unity cannot be had without abiding by the same rule and speaking the same things
and this cannot be done without recognizing a standard of authority for governing us
        1 Corinthians 1:10
1 Corinthians 1:10

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

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     Philippians 3:16
Philippians 3:16

Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.

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THE SOURCE OF AUTHORITY IS GOD THROUGH JESUS

Everything we do in word or deed must be done in the name of Jesus which shows the authority of Christ

Jesus is God's ordained spokesman and He requires that we hear what he says and do it
        Matthew 17:5
Matthew 17:5

While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”

Click on the scripture to see chapter 15:1-5

Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth. He told his disciples to observe all that He has commanded them.
        Matthew 28:18-20
Matthew 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Click on the scripture to see it from the bible

This was given to Jesus by the Father in heaven
        I Corinthians 15:27
I Corinthians 15:27

For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted.

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Jesus is the head of the body, the church - Christians are the members of the body
        Ephesians 1:22-23
Ephesians 1:22-23

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,
23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

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     Colossians 1 :18
Colossians 1:18

And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

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All things must be done in the name of Jesus
        Colossians 3:17
Colossians 3:17

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.e.

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     2 John 9-10
2 John 9-10

9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;

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THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

Jesus is the source of all authority under the new covenant. Jesus does not speak directly to us but rather speaks through the words of the new covenant which shows us the will of Jesus.

God promised to make a new covenant
        Jeremiah 31:31-34
Jeremiah 31:31-34

31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah
32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt...

Click on the scripture to see the full text

Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant
        Hebrews 9:15-17
Hebrews 9:15-17

And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

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     Hebrews 8:6
Hebrews 8:6

But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.

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God once spoke by the prophets under the old covenant but speaks to us today by his son under the new covenant
        Hebrews 1:1-2
Hebrews 1:1-2

1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

Click on the scripture to see it from the bible

Jesus also spoke through the apostles who were his witnesses and ambassadors
        Luke 24:46-48
Luke 24:46-48

46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48 And you are witnesses of these things.

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     Acts 1:8
Acts 1:8

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

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     II Corinthians 5:20
II Corinthians 5:20

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

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The apostles were guided by the Holy Spirit. Those who received the apostles received Christ
and those who rejected the apostles rejected Christ.
        John 16:13
John 16:13

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

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        Galatians 1:11-12
Galatians 1:11-12

But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.
12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

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WHEN WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY FROM GOD

Some things are accepted as authoritative without considering that they are not from God.

Only the teachings of the bible are authorized by God.

 When we use the doctrines or practices of the old covenant

The old covenant was only a shadow
        Hebrews 10:1
Hebrews 10:1

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

Click on the scripture to see it from the bible

The old covenant was removed when Christ died on the cross
        Colossians 2:14
Colossians 2:14

14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross,

Click on the scripture to see it from the bible

 When the elders of a local church define the doctrines or practices

Elders are under the authority of Christ and have no legislative power.
Under their oversight, unauthorized practices and organizations cannot be made scriptural.

Elders are to tend the flock    I Peter 5:1-3 I Peter 5:1-3

1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:
2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;
3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;

Click on the scripture to see it from the bible


and exercise the oversight of it  Acts 20:17, 28 Acts 20:17, 28

17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church.

28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Click on the scripture to see Acts 20:17-28

 When a congregation defines the doctrines or practices

Israel wanted gods to go before them
        Exodus 32
Exodus 32:1, 30, 33

1 Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us"...

30 Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses said to the people, “You have committed a great sin. So now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”...


33 And the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.

Click on the scripture to see the full chapter 32

Israel wanted a king

        I Samuel 8:6-7
I Samuel 8:6-7

6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord.
7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.

Click on the scripture to see the full chapter 8

King Saul said, "the people wanted to do this"

        II Samuel 15:15,24
II Samuel 15:15,24

15 And Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.”

24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.

Click on the scripture to see II Samuel 15:15-24

 When a preacher defines the doctrines or practices

Preachers are to preach the word, not their word
        II Timothy 4:1-2
II Timothy 4:1-2

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:
2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

Click on the scripture to see it from the bible

 When a creed defines the doctrines or practices
        Matthew 15:9
Matthew 15:9

And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”

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        Colossians 2:21-22
Colossians 2:21-22

21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”
22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men?

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 When a practice accomplishes a "good work" or accomplishes "big results"

It is assumed that the end justifies the means without any authority from God.

CONCLUSION/SUMMARY

What do we learn from this?

There is nothing in religion that can be practiced unless there is authority from God in the scriptures to do so.

From the time God created man, He has demanded they follow his commandments without modification.

Beginning in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were told, in no uncertain terms, not to eat the fruit from the Tree of Life. When they did, they violated the command of God and were expelled from the garden. Note that this one semingly "small" violation of a command of God resulted in a penalty for a lot of people for a very long time.

In the days of Noah the people had become only evil continually, disobeying the commands of God. This caused the flood waters to destroy all flesh except Noah and his family who were obedient to the commands of God.

All throughout the old covenant, God has made His commandments known to His people. Time and time again they chose to violate his commandments and were punished in various ways for doing so.

Today, the old covenant has been replaced by the new covenant and the commands of God are laid out in the New Testament scriptures. God has passed these commandments on through Jesus who passed them on to the apostles, guided by the helper (comforter or Holy Spirit) who Jesus sent after he left, and they have been written in the New Testament scriptures.

All the information above shows that God has given us his commandments to follow. When we do not follow them and try to avoid and re work these commandments we are in violation of the commandments of God.

God does not punish us in this life as He did with those under the old covenant but will do so after this life for eternity. This is why we have presented this information; so that all people will follow His commandments and will be saved for eternity.

There is much disagreement and misunderstanding in the religious world today.  Failure to recognize the need for authority in religion shows that we failed to learn a basic bible principal governing acceptability with God.
                   II John 1:9-11
II John 1:9-11

9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;
11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

Click on the scripture to see it from the bible

There are many things being practiced in churches today that are not authorized by God. Some of these practices are listed next. Some practices are explained in other sections on this web site by clicking on "Reference".

1) Reaching back to the old covenant to justify:
   incense, candles and ceremonial worship services
   tithing
   infant church membership
   polygamy

2) Reaching back to the old covenant to bring instrumental music into the worship service   Reference

3) Raising money other than contributions by members on the first day of the week   Reference

4) Communion other than only on every first day of the week   Reference

5) Men are the head of churches rather than Christ   Reference

6) The old covenant ten commandments are still binding on us today   Reference

7) Preachers are called pastors   Reference

8) Salvation is by faith only   Reference

9) The work of the church is other than preaching the gospel, benevolence and edifying the members.
  Such things as dinners, sales to raise money, entertainment to draw people to services
  and other activities that are considered "good Works" lack biblical authority   Reference

TAKE HEED
1 Timothy 4:16
1 Timothy 4:16

Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Click on the scripture to see it from the bible

All of the scriptures are from the New Testament

Some of the format for this page came from:

Multiple online web pages as well as from me

A book titled "A Study of Authority" by Billy W. Moore

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