By Andrew Davis, Senior Pastor
This is now the fourth post in our series on Christ’s view of the Scripture. I hope this series has been helpful so far. The basic purpose of these posts has been: (1) to encourage faithful Christians to remain committed to the Bible despite the world’s attacks; and (2) to provide helpful medicine to any Christians who feel harassed by doubt due to Liberal attacks on the Bible. My basic persuasive argument has gone like this:
Premise 1: What Jesus believes should be what Christians believe;
Premise 2: Christ’s view of Scripture is that it is the perfect Word of God;
Conclusion: Therefore, all Christians should have the same view of Scripture as Christ’s
In what ways did Christ teach that Scripture’s nature is unbreakable? In the midst of Jesus’ claim that he and the Father are one, Jesus makes the statement that the “Scripture cannot be broken” in John 10:35. Quite literally, Jesus means that it is impossible to destroy the Scripture. Created man can try his hardest to destroy the Word of God, but he will fail. That is an important and encouraging truth in the face of the world’s attacks against the Bible, and it can help Christians withstand and combat the devilish claims that are made in an effort to undermine its authority.Here in today’s post, I want to show that Christ believed and taught the unbreakable authority and permanence of Scripture. This gets to the heart of Christ’s understanding of the nature of Scripture.
In addition, Jesus taught extensively on the permanence of Scripture’s authority. Sometimes Liberal Christians try to claim that the Bible’s historical interpretation or intent is something that needs to be left behind as culture and society has progressed beyond the primitiveness of the ancient world. But Jesus totally disagrees with such arrogant reasoning. In Matthew 5, Jesus declares to his listeners, “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:18–19). In this confident statement, Jesus is claiming that Scripture will outlive heaven and earth. And, the inference he makes as a result of the reality of the lasting permanence of Scripture’s authority is that those who “relax one of the least of these commandments” are doing violence to the Scripture, and will suffer consequences for their mistaken relaxing of its authority in their application of its commands. Conversely, those who continue to submit to the authoritative commands of Scripture “will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
In Matthew 24, Jesus makes a similar statement—not about Scripture in general—but about his own words as Scripture, thus linking his own views of Scripture to the future New Testament writings as well. As he taught concerning the lesson of the fig tree, he says this to his disciples: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matt 24:35).
Not only that, Christ also showed the authority of the Old Testament when he resolved difficulty after difficulty by resorting to scriptural arguments. For example, when the Pharisees questions him about divorce, he answered them, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt 19:4–6). So, Christ’s response to their questioning was to ask them if they have ever read the authoritative teaching of Genesis 2 on the topic.
In a similar encounter with the Sadducees, who didn’t believe in the resurrection, Jesus responds to their question with this statement in Matthew 22: “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living” (Matt 22:29–32). In other words, in every matter that came to Christ, he sought to answer by Scripture—day after day. For Christ, the authority of Scripture was final, and settled all controversies. And, as that was Christ’s attitude toward the Scripture, so it should be ours.
Editor’s note: The previous posts in this series on Christ’s view of the Bible can be found by clicking the following links: (1) What is Christ’s View of the Bible?: An Introduction; (2) Christ Would Rather Die than Disobey Scripture; and (3) Christ Taught that He Fulfilled Scripture.
Image credit: Authority.