Meditating on the Word
“In His law he meditates day and night” Psalm 1:2
“Meditating on the Word,” edited by Wayne Burger, is a work of the church of Christ, which meets at 11873 Springs Rd. Unit #250, Conifer, CO 80433. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org – Website: coniferchurchofchrist.com
Vol. 15 No. 8 February 22, 2015
A creator has authority over whatever he creates. The Creator of humanity and the universe has authority over all because He is the creator. He has the right to tell His creation how to live. But, God is in heaven and His creation is on earth. How has God transferred His authority to us so that we know how to serve Him?
His creative power was manifested through the word He spoke. “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” Hebrews 11:3. The breath that spoke things into existence also brought man into existence. “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” Genesis 2:7. God’s power and authority rest in His breath or in His words. His word is authority.
The Father’s Authority Given to the Son
God, the Father, transferred His authority to His Son. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” Matthew 28:18. That authority was transferred to the Son through the word God the Father gave to the Son. While on earth Jesus said, “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak” John 12:49 (See also John8:28).
Son’s Authority Given
To the Apostles and Prophets
Just before Christ’s death He prayed to His Father and said, “The words which You gave Me I have given to them” John 17:8. Thus, the authority of God, manifested through His word, has gone from Himself to His Son, to the apostles whom Jesus chose. The apostles gave that authority to prophets through laying hands on certain men (Acts 18:8). Thus, the church was “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone” Ephesians 2:20.
Apostles and Prophets’ Authority Written
The apostles and prophets put God’s authority into written form as they wrote the books of the New Testament. They wrote by the guidance of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13) so that they would not leave out anything or make any mistakes. Therefore, Paul said, “All Scripture is inspired by God” II Timothy 3:16.
Churches Received God’s Authority
As the apostles and prophets wrote the New Testament books (letters), they sent them to various churches or individuals. When a church received one of these letters they made a copy of it and sent it to another congregation. We see this principle mentioned when Paul said to the Colossian brethren, “When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans” Colossians 4:16. Soon, all the congregations had all the letters that had been written by the apostles and prophets.
Through the process of transferring the authority of God by means of transferring His word, we have God’s authority today. That authority went from the Father to the Son, to the apostles and prophets, to a written form and that written form came to each congregation. No council gave us the Bible. It came to the church as each of the books circulated among all the congregations.
Next Week: “Interpreting God’s Word”
What American Leaders Have Said
George Washington: “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports.”
“Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” Farewell Address — September 17, 1796.
John Adams – “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” Address to the Officers of the Massachusetts militia – 1798.
Daniel Webster – “To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper.” July 4, 1800 Oration.
“If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper, but if we and our posterity neglect its instruction and authority, no man can tell how suddenly a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury us.”
“If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If the truth be not diffused, error will be: if God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy; if the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will; if the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end” Daniel Webster, 1823 A Faith Built on Sand By Phil Sanders, p. 43.
Abraham Lincoln: “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book.”
“I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this book upon reason that you can, and the balance on faith, and you will live and die a happier man.” Remark to Joshua F. Speed, 1864, from The Soul of Abraham Lincoln by William E. Barton – Abraham Lincoln His Essential Wisdom Edited by Carol Kelly-Gangi, p. 99.
Andrew Jackson: “The Book (the Bible), Sir, is the rock on which our Republic rests.”
- S. Grant: “Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet-anchor of your liberties; write its precepts in your hearts, and practice them in your lives. To the influence of the Book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization and to this we must look as our guide in the future.”
Benjamin Franklin – “Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure, than they have it now, they may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty.” – Letter to Zabdiel Adams, (First cousin to President John Adams) June 21, 1776 – The Works of Ben Franklin, Vol. 10, p. 297.
Calvin Coolidge – “We do not need more intellectual power, we need more moral power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character. We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen…. If the foundation is firm, the superstructure will stand.”
Tom Clark, associate Supreme Court Justice – “The state may not establish a ‘religion of secularism’ in the sense of affirmatively opposing or showing hostility to religion, thus preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe”, America’s God and Country, Federer, William J. ed., p. 605.
Warren Burger, Supreme Court Justice – “There is an unbroken history of official acknowledgement by all three branches of government of the role of religion in American life…The Constitution does not require a complete separation of church and state. It affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions and forbids hostility towards any.” America’s God and Country, Federer, William J. ed., p. 608.
William Rehnquist, Chief Justice Supreme Court – “It is impossible to build sound constitutional doctrine upon a mistaken understanding of constitutional history…The establishment clause has been expressly freighted with Jefferson’s misleading metaphor for nearly forty years….There is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the framers intended to build a wall of separation [between church and state]…the recent court decisions are in no way based on either the language or intent of the framers.” America’s God and Country, Federer, William J. ed., p. 608.