It is not a question of what I think, or of what any one else thinks -- it is, What saith the Scriptures? It is not a matter of what any church or creed teaches -- it is, What teaches the Bible? God has spoken, and that ends the matter: |Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven.| Therefore, it is for me to bow to His authority, to submit to His Word, to cease all quibbling and cry, |Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.| Because the Bible is God's Word, it is the final court of appeal in all things pertaining to doctrine, duty, and deportment.
This was the position taken by our Lord Himself. When tempted by Satan, He declined to argue with him, He refused to overwhelm him with the force of His superior wisdom, He scorned to crush him with a putting forth of His almighty power -- |It is written| was His defense for each assault. At the beginning of His public ministry, when He went to Nazareth where most of His thirty years had been lived, He performed no wonderful miracle but entered the synagogue, read from the Prophet Isaiah and said, |This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears| (Luke 4:21). In His teaching upon the Rich Man and Lazarus, He insisted that |If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead| (Luke 16:31) -- thus signifying that the authority of the written Word is of greater weight and worth than the testimony and appeal of miracles. When vindicating before the Jews His claim of Deity (John 5) He appealed to the testimony of John the Baptist (vs.32), to His own works (vs.36), to the Father's own witness -- at His baptism (vs.37), and then -- as tho they were the climax -- He said -- |Search the Scriptures ** they are they which testify of Me| (vs.39).
This was the position taken by the Apostles. When Peter would justify the speaking with other tongues, he appealed to the Prophet Joel (Acts 2:16). When seeking to prove to the Jews that Jesus of Nazareth was their Messiah, and that He had risen again from the dead, he appealed to the testimony of the Old Testament (Acts 2). When Stephen made his defense before the |counsel| he did little more than review the teaching of Moses and the prophets. When Saul and Barnabas set out on their first missionary journey they |preached the Word of God in the synagogues of the Jews| (Acts 13:5). In his Epistles, the Apostle continually pauses to ask -- |What saith the Scripture?| (Rom.4:3, etc.) -- if the Scripture gave a clear utterance upon the subject under discussion that ended the matter: against their testimony there was no appeal.
If the Bible is the Word of God then --