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Drollinger: What Does the New Testament Have to Say About... Itself?

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Many years ago, I attended a conference where the speaker boldly pronounced, “You only need to read the book of Mark.”

This book of the Bible stresses Jesus’ humanity versus his deity and the necessity of trusting him for salvation. The speaker was attempting to dumb down the authority of the remainder of the New Testament.

Is his view a correct one? Are only Jesus’ words worth reading? Should followers of Christ mind only his words spoken while he was on earth? What about the writers who authored the books of the New Testament? Are their books inspired and authoritative? I wrote this study to examine what the Scriptures say about this very important matter.

Keep in mind that the outcome of this study is extremely important relative to our biblical convictions. The person who sides with the idea that only Jesus’ words need to be studied need not interest himself in the writings of the apostles and all that they instruct about the Christian life. However, what Jesus mentions, the apostles spell out in detail. This includes matters such as the believer’s commitment to a Bible-teaching local church; steadfastness in missions, evangelism and discipleship; and growth in knowledge and understanding of the Word, among other important issues.

Accordingly, the purpose of this study is to build our passion regarding the inspiration and authority of the whole of the NT’s 27 books. Holding to or rejecting the conviction that the NT is inspired will drastically impact your life.

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If the whole of the NT is to be taken as the authoritative, infallible, inerrant, inspired oracle of God, then it would follow that the writers through whom God spoke would testify to their being used in that way, and they did.

“If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment” (1 Corinthians 14:37; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:13, 16; 2 Corinthians 2:17). The Apostle John affirmed, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw” (Revelation 1:1-2; cf. Revelation 1:10-11; 21:5; 22:6; 22:18, 19).

The apostles also testify of each other. Peter testifies of Paul in 2 Peter 3:15-16, and Paul testifies of Peter in 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

In a broader sense, both Paul and Peter attest to the total inspiration of Scripture in their writings, including, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), and, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

Yet another affirmation that the NT was inspired by God comes from the church. By the middle of the second century, the authority of the apostles was accepted as equal to that of the Old Testament. Apostolic writings were read in church services along with those of the OT.

What is especially important about the aforementioned is the acceptance and adherence of the second-century church leaders and believers to the scriptural authority of the apostolic writers.

Looking back, they could see the beginning through their binoculars. The second-century church had a much better vantage point than we do. Their assent to apostolic authorship and scriptural authority carries much more sway than the present-day deviations of wayward liberal theologians commenting some 2,000 years later. In comparison, these later attempts to superimpose personal ideas on apostolic authority are almost laughable.

The canonization of Scripture did not occur until the early fourth century. From A.D. 200 to 300, everyone in the church knew of the basic contents of the NT and continued to view them as authoritative (although precise limits had not yet been defined).

To say that only the book of Mark is worth reading is to starkly and blindly obliterate the testimony of the NT writers, the testimony of the third-century church, and the testimony of the canonization process. It is to commit intellectual sin to side with liberal theologians, and it will surely lead to an immature Christianity, if not heresy.

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Are the Christian leaders you follow — including the pastor of your church — in compliance with Paul’s conviction? “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God” (Acts 20:27).

Please click here to read the full study.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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