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Patterning Your Preaching with God’s Authority

By Ken Burge

There is a pattern of preaching worth imitating today. This model of proclamation was practiced by Jesus and His apostles and continues presently. It consists of heralding God's eternal Word with the authority of the triune Godhead. How can the modern messenger of this sacred duty be assured he is shaping his sermon to reflect this essential paradigm?

First, know that God's Word carries His authority when preached accurately, because it is inspired and inerrant. Second, refer to the following survey of pulpitry and how these pulpiteers viewed the Word of God. This overview will reveal authoritative and non-authoritative examples of preaching. Finally, a model for preaching with God's authority will be put forth.

Before probing the authority of preaching, a caveat should be given. Preaching with God's authority is based on the inherent power of the Bible and not the tone of the courier. Robinson aptly said, "an authoritative tone without genuine biblical authority is sound and fury signifying nothing." Furthermore, Chapell's words should be heeded, "Preaching with authority relates more to the confidence and integrity with which the preacher expresses God's truth rather than to a specific tone or posture the preacher assumes."

Inspiration and Inerrancy Ensures Authority

The Bible carries God's authority because it is inspired and without error in the autographs. Ryrie argued, "Obviously, inerrancy can be asserted only in relation to the original manuscripts because only they are the original record of what came directly from God under inspiration." 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God." The Greek word for inspiration is theopneustos, which means "God-breathed." The renown Princeton scholar Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield asserted, "the Scriptures are declared to be the Word of God in such a sense that God is their author; and they, because immediately inspired by God, are of infallible truth and divine authority, and are to be believed to be true by the Christian man, in whatsoever is revealed in them, for the authority of God Himself speaking therein."

God's Holy Word intrinsically relays His authority; it does not need man to grant it authority. 2 Peter 1:21 reveals "for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." Stonehouse cogently contended this point when he wrote, "the divine authority of the Bible as Scripture is an intrinsic authority rather than one superimposed upon it, and that, therefore, possession of the attribute of divine authority does not have to wait upon the recognition thereof to be valid."

Scripture is self-authenticating. Agur declared in Proverbs 30:5, "Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him." On top of that, the writer of Hebrews 3:12, "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Stibbs concurred that God's Word is self-confirming when he wrote, "if the Bible is from God, and therefore possesses supreme authority among men in what it says, it cannot be other than self-authenticating. Truth is settled by what it says rather than by what others may say about it, or in criticism of it."

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