The term biblical authority refers to the extent to which commandments and doctrines within the Old and New Testament scriptures are authoritative over human belief and conduct, as well as the extent to which their propositions are accurate in matters of history and science. Biblical authority stems from the fact that God has revealed himself in written form through human authors and that the information contained in the canonical books is not of human origin. It entails, but is not exhausted by, questions raised by biblical inerrancy, biblical infallibility, biblical interpretation, biblical criticism, and Biblical law in Christianity.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, a debate over biblical authority arose between Jack B. Rogers and Donald K. McKim, on the one hand, and John D. Woodbridge, on the other. Rogers and McKim, in their 1979 book, The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible: An Historical Approach, advanced the view that the Bible has authority over social endeavors, such as imperatives for conduct, for church organization, and for the articles of faith, but isn't necessarily reliable in its reportage of historical events and scientific facts. The belief that Scripture is "inerrant" in matters of history and science, argued Rogers and McKim, constituted a 19th-century innovation. Woodbridge challenged this thesis in his 1982 book Biblical Authority: A Critique of the Rogers/McKim Proposal, arguing that for each of those categories, God's Word has authority and is without error. Moreover, Woodbridge asserted that this particular rendering of biblical authority had been the normative, orthodox position throughout the history of Christianity.
- biblical inspiration, biblical inerrancy, biblical interpretation, biblical infallibility, biblical criticism
- Clarity of scripture, Sola scriptura
- How Can The Bible Be Authoritative? by N.T. Wright
- How Does “Biblical Authority” Affect Your Everyday Life? by Don Landis
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