Apostolic Authority

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Last time we looked at what it took for a book to be included in the Old Testament.  This time let’s examine what the rules were for inclusion in the New Testament.

The basic factor for inclusion in the New Testament was divine inspiration, and the primary test for this was what has come to be known as “Apostolic Authority”.  Most often this meant that a book was written by a man whom the church world considered an “Apostle”.  What did it take to be recognized as an apostle?  Well, in the New Testament world, most often it included only those who…

1. Had been with the Lord (Acts1:21, 22)

2. Had been a witness of the Resurrection (Acts1:22)

3. Those who had seen the Lord (1 Cor. 9:1)

4. Those who had wrought signs, wonders and mighty deeds (2 Cor.12:12).

The foundational Apostles were a fixed number of twelve, but later others were also given the authority and position of apostles such as:

1. Paul, who was given a vision of the Lord and called personally by Jesus to be the apostle to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13; 1 Cor. 9:1), who twelve times declared himself to be an apostle

2. James, the brother of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:7)

3. Barnabas (Acts14:14)

Let’s consider a little more of the book of Mark…

Consider Mark 2:13-22

13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” 18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?” 19 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. 21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”

Answer these questions:

  1. Who did Jesus spend time with? (Mark2:15)
  2. Who did Jesus compare sinners to? (Mark2:17)
  3. Who did Jesus compare himself to? (Mark2:17)
  4. Who else did Jesus compare himself to? (Mark2:19)

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