N.T. Wright (1989) from a lecture on “authority” and Scripture:
“Our generation has a problem about authority. In church and in state we use the word ‘authority’ in different ways, some positive and some negative. We use it in secular senses. We say of a great footballer that he stamped his authority on the game. Or we say of a great musician that he or she gave an authoritative performance of a particular concerto. Within more structured social gatherings the question ‘Who’s in charge?’ has particular function. For instance, if someone came into a lecture-room and asked ‘Who’s in charge?’, the answer would presumably be either the lecturer or the chairman, if any. If, however, a group of people went out to dinner at a restaurant and somebody suddenly came in and said, ‘Who’s in charge here?’ the question might not actually make any sense. We might be a bit puzzled as to what authority might mean in that structure. Within a more definite structure, however, such as a law court or a college or a business, the question ‘Who’s in charge?’ or ‘What does authority mean here?’ would have a very definite meaning, and could expect a fairly clear answer. The meaning of ‘authority’, then, varies considerably according to the context within which the discourse is taking place. It is important to realize this from the start, not least because one of my central contentions is going to be that we have tended to let the word ‘authority’ be the fixed point and have adjusted ‘scripture’ to meet it, instead of the other way round.”
Journal Entry Prompt:
Instructions: Read the prompt and respond to one or more of the questions listed below. Your journal entry should be about 200-300 words (which is about one page in length).
The Bible has many things to say about many different topics. What does it mean to you for God and His Scripture to be an “authority” in your life? Are there ever times when you intentionally do not give God and His Scripture “authority” in your life because you disagree with Scripture? If so, when are those times? (In other words, are there ever times when you know what Scripture says, but you don’t do it because you think there is a better way?) What other things do you give “authority” to in your life? In your life, what has been the result when you gave the authority to something other than God and His Scripture? What are good things to give “authority” to in our world? When should we stop giving “authority” to someone or something else?