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Don Stewart :: Does Each Book of the New Testament Claim to Be the Authoritative Word of God?

Don Stewart

While not every New Testament book claims to be the authoritative Word of God each book does contain some type of authoritative claim contained within it. The evidence is as follows.

The Evidence From The Four Gospels

Each of the four gospels gives claims of divine authority.

Matthew

Matthew records Old Testament prophecy being fulfilled.

Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet (Matthew 1:22).

He also stated.

He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my Son" (Matthew 2:15).

Later he wrote.

Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled (Matthew 2:17).

Mark

Mark's work is about the "good news" of Jesus

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1).

Luke

Luke wrote so that the reader could know the truth about Jesus.

In as much as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught (Luke 1:1-4).

John

John wrote for the distinct purpose of causing people to believe in Jesus.

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:30,31).

The Testimony Of The Book Of Acts

The Book of Acts records what Jesus continued to do after His death, resurrection and ascension.

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach (Acts 1:1).

Acts also records the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy

These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel (Acts 2:15,16).

The Book of Acts records James speaking authoritatively at the council of Jerusalem.

When they finished, James spoke up: "Brothers, listen to me" (Acts 15:13).

The Evidence From The Letters Of Paul

In each of Paul's letters we find some type of authoritative claim.

Romans

To the Romans, Paul stated that the gospel he preached was promised beforehand by God.

Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh (Romans 1:1-3).

Paul emphasized that his calling was supernatural.

Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him (Romans 16:25-26).

First Corinthians

Paul asserted his apostleship to the Corinthians.

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? (1 Corinthians 9:1).

To the Corinthians he also wrote.

If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command (1 Corinthians 14:37).

Second Corinthians

Paul stressed his apostleship in his second letter to the Corinthians.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia (2 Corinthians 1:1).

Galatians

Paul told the Galatians that his doctrine was received by revelation of Jesus Christ.

I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:12).

Paul repeats his claim to apostleship.

I saw none of the other apostles - only James, the Lord's brother (Galatians 1:19).

Ephesians

To the church Paul stated.

That by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief (Ephesians 3:3).

Philippians

Paul emphasized his consistent Christian lifestyle to the Philippians.

Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you (Philippians 3:17).

Paul reemphasized that to the Philippians

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:9).

Colossians

To the church at Colosse he wrote.

I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness (Colossians 1:25).

First Thessalonians

Paul said to the Thessalonians that his words were the words that God gave him.

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

Paul's authority was such that he could command his letter to be read to them.

I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers (1 Thessalonians 5:27).

Second Thessalonians

In his second letter to the Thessalonians Paul stated that he wrote authoritatively about the future day of the Lord.

Now we request you, brothers and sisters, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).

First Timothy

Paul urged Timothy to teach the things that he had learned.

And for this we labor and strive, that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all humanity, and especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things (1 Timothy 4:11,12).

Second Timothy

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul encouraged him to keep the sound teaching that he had learned from Paul.

What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:13).

Paul's lasts words to Timothy was a command to continue to preach the word.

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction (2 Timothy 4:1-2).

Titus

Paul wrote to Titus.

These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you (Titus 2:15).

Philemon

Paul emphasized his right to command others to Philemon.

Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I appeal to you on the basis of love. I then, as Paul - an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus (Philemon 8,9).

Hebrews

The writer to the Hebrews also claimed authority. He urged his readers.

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith (Hebrews 13:7).

He concluded by saying.

Brothers and sisters, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written you only a short letter (Hebrews 13:22).

James

James wrote as servant of Jesus Christ.

James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings (James 1:1).

First Peter

Peter asserted his apostleship when he wrote his first letter.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia (1 Peter 1:1).

He also wrote.

With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it (1 Peter 5:12).

Second Peter

In his second letter Peter also emphasized his apostolic position.

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours (2 Peter 1:1).

He emphasized the authority of the apostles.

I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles (2 Peter 3:2).

First John

John wrote

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched - this we proclaim concerning the Word of life (1 John 1:1).

He also wrote.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God (1 John 4:1-2).

Second John

In his second letter John wrote.

And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another (2 John 5).

He also emphasized.

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work (2 John 10,11).

Third John

In his third letter John said.

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us . . . Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone - and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true (3 John 9,12).

Jude

Jude spoke of a body of truth that Christians believed.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3).

Revelation

John, the writer of the Book of Revelation, makes his authority clear.

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John (Revelation 1:1).

He also wrote.

I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, saying, "Write in a book what you see, and send [it] to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea" (Revelation 1:10,11).

John closes his book with the following warning.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book (Revelation 22:18.19).

Summary

We find that each of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament has some type of claim in it. Matthew claims to record fulfilled prophecy, Mark calls his work the "good news of Jesus Christ," Luke claimed to be recording the truth about Jesus and John claimed to be an eyewitness and faithful writer of the events of the life of Christ.

The Book of Acts continues to tell the story about Jesus after His ascension. In each of Paul's writings he asserts his authority. Peter also claims apostolic authority in his two letters. The writer to the Hebrews issues commands to believers. James also gives commands to believers while Jude urges his readers to contend for the faith. The three letters of John have authoritative commands as does the Book of Revelation.

Consequently each book of the New Testament has some type of truth claim connected to it.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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