Why is it so important to submit to the authority of Scripture?

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Answer

One of the key reasons why we should submit to the authority of Scripture is simply this: because Jesus himself did. That is amazing. In Jesus' own ministry you see him saying time and time again, "It is written"; "It is written" That's how he answered Satan in the temptation narrative. He's still quoting Scripture on the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" So, out of the depth of Jesus' being, on that occasion, comes Scripture. His was a mind which was saturated with Scripture. He prayed to God using the words of Scripture. He allowed Scripture to dictate, if you like, the path of his own ministry. Now, if that was true for Jesus, how much more it should be true for us? And when you think of who Jesus is, Jesus is, if you like, the subject matter of Scripture. He is that about which the Scripture is written. These things point to him. More than that, he's actually the subject of Scripture. He's the one who creates it, who writes it, who inspires it. I believe that Christ stands behind all of Scripture. And if that's the case, he himself submitted to Scripture, how much more should we? Think about it. Jesus also described himself the "Word of God," John 1. The Word of God? He himself submitted to the written word of God. Well, this is amazing. We can't understand it in a sense. But it just shows how important Scripture is. And I'm really impressed by the fact that in Luke 24, when the risen Christ is there with those Emmaus disciples on the road, what does he do? He gives them a glorious Bible study, and he takes them back and says, "It was written." It is written that this is would happen, and now I have fulfilled it. And I think there's a very important lesson there. Jesus is, if you like, saying, "don't make the mistake of thinking, 'hey, we've got the risen Christ, we've got the Holy Spirit, who needs a dusty old book like that?'" Instead, he's saying, even though I'm arisen from the dead, even though you can have a personal relationship with me, you need a book to guide you. And I'm giving you this book. You've got the Old Testament already. "I'm going to give out my Spirit and enable the New Testament writers to write about me," to write an authorized biography of Jesus. They're going to do that. You need the book. And if Jesus says that, then we do indeed need it.

Answer by Dr. Peter Walker

Dr. Peter Walker has served as Professor of Biblical Studies at Trinity School for Ministry and as Associate Vice-Principal at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He is currently an instructor with Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies.