Why We Can Still Say “The Bible Says”
By: Dr. Dillon Burroughs
A popular pastor has made national headlines for his comment that he no longer says, “The Bible says…” when preaching. While the pastor argues he still believes the Bible is perfect, he notes the phrase no longer “works” with those he seeks to reach.
Does this mean we should consider no longer using the phrase, “The Bible says”? While this minister’s motives may be well-intended, a look at Scripture itself reveals five reasons we can still confidently say, “The Bible says.”
The Bible Is Our Only Perfect Authority for Morality
Many people have good advice. However, only the Bible claims to offer perfect wisdom. Psalm 19:7 declares, “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.”
In Proverbs 30:5 we read: “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” Scripture is noted as a refuge or place of safety to pursue, not as a weakness to avoid.
Jesus Referred to Scripture as His Authority for Teaching
In John 17:17, Jesus said the Father’s word (Scripture) is what sanctifies or sets believers apart from others: “Sanctify them in your truth; you word is truth.” If Jesus declares the Word of God as divine truth, why would we shy away from referring to it by name?
In Matthew 4:4, Jesus spoke of God’s Word as life: “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” These very words were used by Jesus to overcome Satan’s temptations. Even Jesus relied on Scripture during spiritual battle, using, “It is written…” as His defense.
The Apostles Used Scripture as Their Authority
The apostle Peter held a high view of Scripture’s authority: “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 2:20-21).
The apostle Paul shared, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
In John 14:6, the apostle John records Jesus saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The words of Jesus, found in the Gospels, declare Christ as the one whose authority we should follow and speak to others.
People Come to Faith Through Scripture, Not Apart from It
In Acts 2, Peter and the other apostles preached the message of Jesus as Lord. In doing so, they also quoted prophecies from the Old Testament with authority. More than 3,000 people came to faith in Jesus that day.
In Acts 17:2 Paul reasoned “from the Scriptures” to evangelize those in the Jewish synagogue, their local place of worship. He did not hold back from using Scripture to reach those who had not believed in Jesus, but rather depended on it as his source of authority to bring people to faith.
Jesus Commands His Followers to Teach His Words to All Nations
Jesus concluded His earthly life with a final challenge to His followers to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). This included “teaching them everything I commanded you.” The words of Jesus found in the Gospels provide the very words we are told to use to share Christ with others.
While the Bible may lack the popularity it once held in our society, this is no reason to abandon using it—or referring to it. Scripture offers our only perfect authority for morality as believers, a practice used by Jesus and His apostles that leads people to faith in Christ and is commanded by Him. We claim, “The Bible says,” because, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
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Dr. Dillon Burroughs
Dillon Burroughs serves as senior writer at The John Ankerberg Show and has written nearly 40 books on issues of faith and culture. He is also an associate editor for The Apologetics Bible for Students and has contributed to many works on apologetics and Christian worldview. Dillon is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and holds a PhD in Leadership from Piedmont International University. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his wife, Deborah, and their three children.