Authority of Truth (Acts 17:1-4)

And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.”” (Acts 17:2-3, ESV)

When I had my consulting business, a company called me to investigate a problem they had with a particular printing press. Their contention was that it was designed incorrectly. After examining the machine, I concluded that they were correct. Some of the rollers in the machine were undersized for the job and this made it impossible to produce a satisfactory print. They went to the manufacturer of the machine with the results but the manufacturer was unwilling to resolve the problem. So, I was called to be an expert witness in the dispute.

I spent days writing the expert witness report. It included my engineering calculations, the results of press trials that I ran in the factory, and physical measurements of the machine. However, the thing that settled the dispute without question was not these things alone, it was something written in the printing industry’s technical manual for this particular process. The manual included the industry standards for this type of a machine and the standards absolutely confirmed that the rollers were undersized. As a result, the case was settled out of court. Certain types of written documents carry great authority.

Here Paul goes to the Synagogue and reasons with the Jews that Jesus is their Messiah. The basis for Paul’s teaching on this is the Scriptures. The Scriptures are our solid doctrinal foundation. They are the word of God and the word of God is the absolute truth (John 17:17).

The words contained in the Bible are truth. Yet, it is amazing to me that so many professing believers base their theology and actions on something other than the Bible. A Barna research study done some years ago discovered that only 40% of born-again believers used the Bible to make moral and ethical decisions. This means that 60% use something other than the Bible for this purpose.

I often hear people say, God told me to do this or that. After close investigation, I find that they have no biblical foundation for their choice. They chose to do something based upon a feeling, dream or vision, never having examined the Scripture to see if their actions aligned with God’s Word. This is dangerous.

The problem is not just with moral choices. Many have no real theological foundation. If you would ask them why they hold a theological position, they cannot present a Scriptural argument. For instance, if you ask them, “Why do you believe that Jesus is God?” they might say because the Bible says so. Ask them to show you in the Bible where they find any teaching on this and they cannot.

The problem in Christendom today is that too much reasoning is void of the Scripture. The Scriptures are our authoritative and soul source of faith and practice. For people to call themselves Christians, and not base their theology and conduct on the Scriptures is an example of the grossest oxymoron.

Therefore, from a positive standpoint, get into God’s Word and study it (2 Timothy 2:15). Examine your theology from the Scriptures. When you seek the counsel and teaching of others, make sure that they are validated in the Scriptures and not from personal opinions, feelings, of experiences alone.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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