ORANGE DAWN

Finding Truth | The Authority of Scripture

Mark 7:13

Finding truth in the authority of Scripture instead of the traditions of men.

thus making void the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.”

Mark 7:13

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Section One

Introduction

Many of my friends claim to follow the Scriptures, but they actually follow the traditions of men instead of the Scriptures. They also tend to exalt men above God and the Scriptures. The Scriptures provide the final authority of all spiritual matters because God breathed them out and they provide everything we need for life and Godliness (2 Timothy 3:14-16; 2 Peter 1:3).  Let me provide a few examples of finding truth from the authority of Scripture. 

Section Two

The Popular Preacher Problem

Jesus confronted the Pharisees and Scribes about their traditions. Jesus criticized them for placing the traditions of men, particularly the traditions of their elders, above the Scriptures (Mark 7:1-11). Today, I see many Christians placing traditions of men above the Scriptures. They tend to follow the teachings of popular preachers and never search the Scriptures for themselves to see if the popular preacher is actually telling the truth. Believing what popular preachers say often means you are following the traditions of men and not the Scriptures.

One friend of mine followed a popular preacher and believed everything he said because he said it. No matter what the Scriptures said, my friend always took the word of the popular preacher as the truth. Many popular preachers today proclaim salvation by works mixed with faith. They claim you need a lifestyle of righteousness in order to go to heaven. They mean that your works either get you into heaven or your works keep you saved. Actually, God said that works play no part in salvation, because salvation is by grace through faith as a gift of God, not of works so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). Believing what popular preachers say often means you are following the traditions of men and not the Scriptures.

Two other friends of mine said that they followed another popular preacher who taught that salvation for the Gentiles will always be different from salvation for Jews. No matter what the Scriptures provide, they will always believe the popular preacher. The Scripture provides that Abraham, David and everyone else saved in the Old Testament were saved only by faith in the same Savior, Jesus Christ (Romans 4:1-25). Keeping the Law of Moses could never save anyone (Galatians 2:21). Likewise, all the Gentiles are saved by faith in the same Savior, Jesus Christ. God said that with respect to salvation, there is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles (Galatians 3:28; see also Acts 10:44-48 and Acts 15 on the conversion of the Gentiles by faith alone). Believing what popular preachers say often means you are following the traditions of men and not the Scriptures. 

Finding Truth | The Authority of Scripture

Section Three

The Family Problem

A young woman told me that she could not accept the doctrine of eternal security because her grandfather said it was not true. She did not want to search the Scriptures to see if God taught eternal security in the Scriptures because she had already made up her mind by talking with her grandfather. People often tell me that they follow the Bible, but what they really mean is that they rely upon other people to tell them what they should believe. They turn to grandfathers, brothers, sisters, mothers, pastors, professors, and others to find the truth. Of course, people can help us find the truth, but spiritual truth comes from the Bible. When people read the Bible with us and help us understand the Scriptures, we may benefit. When people teach us the traditions of men, which contradict the Bible, then they have opposed the Scriptures for the sake of human traditions. Believing what family members say often means you are following the traditions of men and not the Scriptures.

Finding Truth | The Authority of Scripture

Section Three

The Seminary Problem

Another friend of mine said that he must follow the traditions of the Jews and never say the Name “Yahweh” out loud. He said he consulted his brother, who went to seminary, and his brother said we must follow the traditions of the Jews and never say “Yahweh” out loud. Of course, in my seminary training, I too was taught to read “Adonai” out loud instead of “Yahweh” in the text. By reading the Scriptures, however, I understood that everyone refusing to say “Yahweh” out loud was quick to say the Names Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They were actually implying that Yahweh is more holy than Jesus or the Holy Spirit. In fact, Yahweh was a title applied to both God the Father and God the Son (Psalm 110:1; John 8:58). My friend had embraced the traditions of men and specifically invalidated the word of God by changing the Scriptures to follow the traditions of men. Consider Exodus 3:16 where God told Moses to tell the people of Israel that Yahweh (“יְהוָ֞ה) sent him. Likewise, Yahweh instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh that Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, has sent Moses to him (Exodus 7:16). Therefore, because God chose the Name Yahweh to make Himself known to the people of Israel and to Pharaoh, no one can argue we should not say the Name of Yahweh today. Pharaoh even used the Name Yahweh after Moses used the Name Yahweh with Pharaoh many times (Exodus 10:16, for example). When people cite human traditions for not saying the Name Yahweh, they actually oppose the use of the Name Yahweh in the Scriptures. In fact, Jesus used that Name Yahweh to identify Himself to unbelievers intending to kill Him (John 8:58). Believing some seminary traditions means you are following the traditions of men and not the Scriptures.

Finding Truth | The Authority of Scripture

Section Four

The Authority of Scripture

When I ask my friends to show any Scripture supporting the traditions of men they follow, they invariably turn back to men and say the matter is closed. Actually, they have closed their minds to the truth. They refuse to examine the Scriptures. God promised that every believer has an anointing that leads them into the truth, provided they search the Scriptures and rely upon the Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth (Acts 17:11; John 16:13; 1 John 2:27). God’s word is truth and sanctifies believers in the truth (John 17:17). The Bible constitutes the authority of God for finding spiritual truth and the Scriptures alone provide the standard for judging the traditions of men.

People tend to confuse spiritual truth found in the Bible with traditions of men. Once people have been doing things for a while, they tend to keep on doing them. When someone else comes along and asks them to read the Bible, they say that they have always done it that way and nothing in the Bible will change their minds. When I ask my friends for any Bible verses that support their positions, they have nothing to say, except my grandfather or my brother told me it was true. In this case, Jesus said that traditions which make void the Scriptures are handed down from generation to generation. Jesus also said that very religious people do many such things to exalt traditions of men over the Scriptures (Mark 7:13). 

Finding Truth | The Authority of Scripture

Section Five

Conclusion

People mistakenly rely upon many traditions of men, claiming they are the truth. Actually, many traditions of men make void the word of God. Jesus warned very religious people to abandon their traditions of men and follow the Scriptures as their final authority on all matters of faith and Godliness. When we embrace the teachings of family, friends, preachers and teachers that oppose the Scriptures, we have joined the Pharisees and Scribes which Jesus urged to abandon such practices. We must learn about God and His ways from the Scriptures, not from the traditions of men which oppose the Scriptures.

HALLELUJAH !