AUTHORITY

In some English versions of the Bible the two words ‘power’ and ‘authority’ are used to translate what is one word in the Greek. In such cases ‘power’ means ‘the right to exercise power’, and this is the aspect of power that is the subject of the present article. Concerning power in the sense of strength or might, see POWER. God is the one who has absolute authority (Ps 93:1-2; 115:3; Isa 40:20-23; Rom 9:20-24; 13:1; see GOD, sub-headings ‘Eternal and independent’, ‘Majestic and sovereign’). Jesus Christ, being God, also had absolute authority, though he chose to exercise that authority in complete submission to his Father (John 5:19).

He had the same authority on earth as he had in heaven, the same authority in time as he had in eternity (Matt 21:23-27; 28:18; John 5:27; 10:18). By his authority Jesus Christ released sick and demonized people from the power of Satan (Matt 8:8- 10; Mark 1:27) and instructed people in the truth of God (Matt 7:29). By that same authority he forgave people their sins (Matt 9:6), gave them eternal life (John 17:2), made them children of God (John 1:12), and gave them the authority and the power to carry on the work of his kingdom (Matt 10:1; 28:18-20; 2 Cor 13:10; see KINGDOM OF GOD; APOSTLE). As the words that the Son of God spoke carried with them God’s authority, so did the words that the Spirit of God inspired the authors of the Bible to write. The Scriptures, Old and New Testament alike, are God’s authoritative Word to the human race (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21; see INSPIRATION). God wants every community of people be properly ordered for the well-being of all. Therefore, he has given authority to civil administrators to govern society (Jer 27:5; John 19:11; Rom 13:1-4; see GOVERNMENT), to parents to govern the family (Eph 6:4; 1 Tim 5:14; see PARENTS), and to elders to govern the church (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2; see ELDER).

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