Scripture: All or Nothing

In reading commentaries for lessons, preaching, or classes, it is not uncommon to find someone who doubts the originality, authority, or accuracy of some portion of Scripture. In New Testament studies it is all the rage to argue why this or that book wasn’t written by Paul. All sorts of arguments are made, “This piece of teaching doesn’t agree with what Paul says elsewhere,” “The words here are not like the words he uses elsewhere,” and for those who are most honest with themselves, “If this is true then it means radical things for me that I don’t like.” On these and other grounds they dismiss the portion of Scripture they don’t like.

In Old Testament studies, books are carved out based on countless reasons to be by different authors, written at later dates, and so on and so on… The gist of it all is that we don’t have to hold this or that piece of Scripture as authoritatively God’s word, but just a reflection of later redaction.

One example will suffice. A common argument is that the story of Genesis about creation is nothing more than a parable or idealized story, and not a true reflection of how the world really began.

Those who argue these points often make powerful, long-winded, and fancy arguments. But one problem exists with all of them. That problem is that no matter the final reason, determining that some portion of God’s word is somehow less authoritative, inaccurate, or flat out wrong undermines all of it. The one who argues in this way sets himself over the Word as its judge able to determine what thousands of believers before him were not and able to negate the very Scriptures themselves. And once in this position, what is to stop this person from declaring other parts of Scripture un-authoritative. Or for that matter, why not negate the whole thing? After all, isn’t that what they want in the end, to have their word taken as authoritative while discrediting God’s?

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