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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Is the Bible the Authoritative Word of God?

Don Stewart :: Should the Written Scripture Be Our Source of Authority?

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Should the Written Scripture Be Our Source of Authority?

Is the Bible the Authoritative Word of God – Question 23

Yes, the written Scripture should be the final authority on all matters of faith and practice. Unhappily, by a number of different means, some have tried to substitute God’s written Word with something else. We can make the following observations:

1. Some Try to Translate the New Testament from Greek Back into Aramaic to Discover the True Meaning

There have been some Bible students who have attempted to discover the actual words of Jesus by translating His sayings from Greek into Aramaic ? the language many assume that He normally spoke. To discover the actual words of Jesus, they work backwards from the Greek New Testament and attempt to discover what it originally said in Aramaic.

2. They Revise the Sayings of Jesus

Once the translation has been made, the next step is to revise the sayings of Jesus. While these scholars agree the words need to be translated back into Aramaic, unfortunately no two of them can agree on what Jesus actually said or what He meant!

3. We Should Not Attempt to Do This Type of Thing: There Is Too Much We Do Not Know

There are a number of reasons as to why we should not practice this sort of thing. They are as follows:

We Do Not Know When Jesus Spoke Aramaic

First, we do not know on what occasions Jesus actually spoke Aramaic. It is still debated how much He spoke in Greek. In fact, many scholars are arguing that Greek was the main language in which Jesus spoke, not Aramaic.

It is also possible that He may have spoken Hebrew on occasions. Because we do not know for certain which language Jesus used in a particular situation, we should not attempt to retranslate the Greek New Testament back into Aramaic or Hebrew.

We Should Not Attempt to Change God’s Word

There is more. It is a dangerous thing to try to correct the written Word of God by translating His Greek sayings back into Aramaic, and then making conclusions about what He really said or did not say. To make matters worse, some of the people who do this sort of thing actually assume the gospel writers mistranslated Jesus’ sayings. They, of course, believe that they have the correct understanding of what Jesus originally said.

We Do Not Know What Was in the Mind of the Biblical Writer

In addition, there are others who attempt to determine the historical circumstances that led the gospel writers to author their works. While there is nothing wrong with this, some have gone too far by assuming that they know what the writers were really trying to say—not what they actually did say. There is no possible way to know what was in the mind of the biblical writers. All we know is what they wrote.

Conclusion: the Written Scripture Should Be Our Final Authority, Not What We Think It Might Have Said

Therefore, it is only the written Word that should be considered authoritative. We should believe it as it stands written, rather than attempt to change it to what we think it should have said.

Summary – Question 23
Should the Written Scripture Be Our Source of Authority?

Whether done intentionally or unintentionally, it is wrong to attempt to make some standard of authority other than the written Word of God. God’s Word in the New Testament has come to us in Greek. No one has any right to change it into some other language in an attempt to discover what it really said.

The written Word of God, in its present form, is our final source of authority. Neither should anyone be so bold as to assume that they know what was in the mind of the biblical writers. Nor can anyone be certain of the exact historical circumstances behind the writings. The goal of those who read and study the Bible should be to understand what is written—not to try and improve it!

Were Some of the Biblical Books Actually Written by a Scribe Rather than by the Named Author? (An Amanuensis) ← Prior Section
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