Sunday, March 17, 2024

What was the Attitude of Christ Toward the Scriptures?

By Bob Prichard

    The attitude of Christ toward the scriptures was one of complete trust, knowing that He relied on His heavenly father completely. He said, “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me” (John 7:16). He astonished the people because He spoke with authority, by appealing to the scriptures (Matthew 7:28-29). He warned that it was by his words that all will be judged:  “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).
    Christ’s teaching was filled with quotations of and allusions to scripture. He spoke of the creation, the institution of marriage, Noah, Sodom, Abraham, Elijah, Zechariah, and a host of other Bible characters and events. He spoke of these people and events as being historical. Modern “scholars” frequently deny that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, but Jesus upholds Mosaic authorship (John 7:19).  When Satan came to test Him at the beginning of His ministry, He answered each challenge by quoting scripture: “It is written … it is written … it is said” (Luke 4:4, 8, 12). Even in death, He quoted scripture. When He cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), He was quoting from Psalm 22:1, and thus calling attention to the fact that He was fulfilling many prophecies in that very psalm. Even as He made His way to the cross, He submitted to the scripture, knowing that all must be fulfilled. “For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end” (Luke 22:37).
    The very basis of Christ’s teaching was the written word. “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:3-6). Not only did Jesus appeal to the scriptures for authority, but He counted them as the final authority in debate. When the Pharisees sought to entrap Him concerning marriage, Jesus asked, “Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:31-32). God spoke in words that could be read, and Jesus counted them as the final authority.
    Jesus came to fulfill scripture, upholding its authority to the smallest detail. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17-18). We can do no less than to uphold and defend the authority of the written Word.

- Bob Prichard serves as an elder and evangelist for the Hillview Church of Christ in Birmingham, Alabama, since 2016. In his forty-five years of preaching he has served churches in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Alabama.

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