The Bible is NOT the Final Authority!

By Dr. Ken Matto

(Psa 119:89 KJV) LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

This verse is one of the most popular verses in the Scriptures. It states that the Word of God is settled in heaven. That word “settled” is an interesting word as it means “to take a stand or to govern.” The word of God continues to take a stand on this earth and it governs the life of the believers and gives the destiny and description of the unbelievers.

The reason for the title of this article is that since I became a Christian I have heard many people use it, plus I have said it myself, that “the Bible is the final authority.” Just today on January 5, 2004 I was doing my laundry and was pondering that saying. Then the Lord made it clear to me that His Word is not the final authority, it is THE AUTHORITY, in fact, THE ONLY AUTHORITY.  If you have something in its final stages, then you must have something preceding it. For example, you bring your car to a detailer and he tells you to come back at 5 PM, well you arrive at 4:30 PM and he says, “it will be done shortly, I am putting the final touches on it.” Well to put the final touches on it, he had to go through a lot of work to get to that final stage.

When we say that the Bible is the final authority in our lives, how many authorities do we go through before we get to the final one? How many times a biblical subject is being discussed and before we get to what God has to say about it, we go through our authorities. We may call a friend, we may go to the commentaries, we may ask our Pastor, we may pull a theology or prophecy book off the shelf and try to find the answer without really having to do much study. Whenever we adopt this type of interpretive methods, everything except the Bible is our authority. True Bible study is no longer the process of attaining Biblical truth. The way people are programmed to think today is that they have to go to some “expert” to get their opinion, and then the seeking person torpidly adopts that answer, even if it is in opposition to the Scriptures. The martyrs in the middle ages did not go to the stake because they held to the commentaries, it was because they refused to compromise the authority of God’s Word.

The word of God is to govern over the Christian and we are not to look to man as our authority. Everyone who teaches the Bible will have some type of predilection based upon some type of theological system. Whenever we look for Bible truth, we must avoid, at all costs, theological systems and preachers who just cloud the truth with their own opinions. Theological opinions can be so dressed up, you will think you are hearing the Bible alone, when in reality, you will be hearing someone’s opinion.

Whenever you have a biblical question, you need to approach the Bible first and foremost, because if the Bible is not your ONLY authority, then you have deified man by placing his writings on the par with Scripture. You need to study what God has to say about whatever subject you are seeking truth on. Be forewarned, if you take up the mantle of Sola Scriptura versus those who choose Sola Homo, you will face the wrath of the religious establishment. After all, how can you go against preachers who publish books and have 10,000 people in their congregation and are worshipped as God in their temples? You just do it! If God teaches something different than what the latest pop theologian is teaching, then you better stay with what God says and don’t be moved by their worldly, intellectual arguments from their NIV or ESV.

God’s Word has fallen in the background to preachers and teachers and their biased opinions. When you begin to study the Scriptures according to the Scriptures, you are going to find the majority of opinions held by church people are false. Keep in mind that anything outside of the truth of Scripture is nothing more than a false opinion. One great example of this is in the area of marriage and divorce. The majority of churches base their entire cleave and leave theology on the following verse:

(Mat 19:9 KJV) And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

But they pay no heed to the following verses:

(Mark 10:11-12 KJV) And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. {12} And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

(Luke 16:18 KJV) Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

(Rom 7:2-3 KJV) For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. {3} So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

(1 Cor 7:39 KJV) The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

So why then do pastors and theologians teach widely that divorce is acceptable for fornication while neglecting the other specific indictments of remarriage after divorce? One reason is so they can do it, and another reason is they don’t want to offend the good givers in the church, and the third and main reason is that the majority are biblically ignorant. They have traded the authority of Scripture for the pleasures of sin with a religious coating. If you have a pastor who advocates remarriage after divorce, then corner him and make him accountable. If he refuses to talk, then you have a right to confront him at the congregational meeting and force him to face his sinful tendencies, especially with these Scriptures. Now I am not saying that remarriage after divorce is adultery, GOD IS! Doesn’t God’s word count anymore? Unfortunately, in the majority of churches it does not. What counts is what the seminary professor taught your pastor or depends on who he is reading and following now. The bottom line is that when you are seeking truth, you go to the Bible first and you bypass all the works of men. If the Bible is only one of your authorities, then you will live a failed Christian life. Keep in mind the Christian life is not measured by how many doomed possessions you have but by your faithfulness to God, and you CANNOT be faithful to God by sidestepping His word in favor of the words of men. What will you do? Will you grow in Christ by keeping His word as your only authority or will you place man’s commentaries and theological opinions above the word of an infinite God?