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Bible Concordance
Authority (326 Occurrences)

Matthew 7:29 for he taught them with authority, and not like the scribes. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Matthew 8:9 For I am also a man under authority, having under myself soldiers. I tell this one,'Go,' and he goes; and tell another,'Come,' and he comes; and tell my servant,'Do this,' and he does it." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Matthew 9:6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins..." (then he said to the paralytic), "Get up, and take up your mat, and go up to your house." (WEB WEY ASV BBE NAS RSV NIV)

Matthew 9:8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such authority to men. (WEB ASV BBE NAS RSV NIV)

Matthew 10:1 He called to himself his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every sickness. (WEB WEY ASV NAS RSV NIV)

Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus went on to make clear to his disciples how he would have to go up to Jerusalem, and undergo much at the hands of those in authority and the chief priests and scribes, and be put to death, and the third day come again from the dead. (BBE)

Matthew 20:25 But Jesus summoned them, and said, "You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Matthew 21:23 When he had come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority do you do these things? Who gave you this authority?" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Matthew 21:24 Jesus answered them, "I also will ask you one question, which if you tell me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Matthew 21:27 They answered Jesus, and said, "We don't know." He also said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Matthew 23:2 The scribes and the Pharisees have the authority of Moses; (BBE)

Matthew 26:47 And while he was still talking, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a band armed with swords and sticks, from the chief priests and those in authority over the people. (BBE)

Matthew 26:57 And those who had made Jesus prisoner took him away to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and those in authority over the people had come together. (BBE)

Matthew 27:1 Now when it was morning, all the chief priests and those in authority took thought together with the purpose of putting Jesus to death. (BBE)

Matthew 27:12 But when the chief priests and those in authority made statements against him, he gave no answer. (BBE)

Matthew 27:20 Now the chief priests and those in authority got the people to make request for Barabbas, and for Jesus to be put to death. (BBE)

Matthew 27:41 In the same way, the chief priests, making sport of him, with the scribes and those in authority, said, (BBE)

Matthew 28:12 And when they had come together with those in authority, and had made their decision, they gave much money to the watchmen, saying, (BBE)

Matthew 28:18 Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. (WEB ASV BBE YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 1:22 They were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as having authority, and not as the scribes. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 1:27 They were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching? For with authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him!" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 2:10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" -he said to the paralytic- (WEB WEY ASV BBE YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 3:15 and to have authority to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: (WEB WEY ASV NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 6:7 He called to himself the twelve, and began to send them out two by two; and he gave them authority over the unclean spirits. (WEB WEY ASV BBE NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 8:31 And teaching them, he said that the Son of man would have to undergo much, and be hated by those in authority, and the chief priests, and the scribes, and be put to death, and after three days come back from the dead. (BBE)

Mark 10:42 Jesus summoned them, and said to them, "You know that they who are recognized as rulers over the nations lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 11:27 And they came again to Jerusalem: and while he was walking in the Temple, there came to him the chief priests and the scribes and those in authority: (BBE)

Mark 11:28 and they began saying to him, "By what authority do you do these things? Or who gave you this authority to do these things?" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 11:29 Jesus said to them, "I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 11:33 They answered Jesus, "We don't know." Jesus said to them, "Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 13:34 "It is like a man, traveling to another country, having left his house, and given authority to his servants, and to each one his work, and also commanded the doorkeeper to keep watch. (WEB KJV ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT)

Mark 14:43 And straight away, while he was still talking, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great band with swords and sticks, from the chief priests and the scribes and those in authority. (BBE)

Mark 14:53 And they took Jesus away to the high priest; and there came together with him all the chief priests and those in authority and the scribes. (BBE)

Mark 15:1 And the first thing in the morning the chief priests, with those in authority and the scribes and all the Sanhedrin, had a meeting, and put cords round Jesus, and took him away, and gave him up to Pilate. (BBE)

Luke 1:2 on the authority of those who were from the beginning eye-witnesses and were devoted to the service of the divine Message, (WEY)

Luke 4:6 The devil said to him, "I will give you all this authority, and their glory, for it has been delivered to me; and I give it to whomever I want. (WEB WEY ASV BBE YLT RSV NIV)

Luke 4:32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word was with authority. (WEB WEY ASV BBE DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 4:36 Amazement came on all, and they spoke together, one with another, saying, "What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 5:24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" (he said to the paralyzed man), "I tell you, arise, and take up your cot, and go to your house." (WEB WEY ASV BBE YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 7:8 For I also am a man placed under authority, having under myself soldiers. I tell this one,'Go!' and he goes; and to another,'Come!' and he comes; and to my servant,'Do this,' and he does it." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 9:1 He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 10:19 Behold, I give you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will in any way hurt you. (WEB ASV YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 12:5 But I will shew you whom ye shall fear: Fear him who after he has killed has authority to cast into hell; yea, I say to you, Fear him. (DBY YLT NAS)

Luke 12:44 I tell you truly that He will put him in authority over all His possessions. (WEY)

Luke 19:17 "He said to him,'Well done, you good servant! Because you were found faithful with very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.' (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Luke 20:2 They asked him, "Tell us: by what authority do you do these things? Or who is giving you this authority?" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 20:8 Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 20:20 They watched him, and sent out spies, who pretended to be righteous, that they might trap him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the power and authority of the governor. (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 22:25 He said to them, "The kings of the nations lord it over them, and those who have authority over them are called'benefactors.' (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 22:53 When I was in the Temple with you every day, your hands were not stretched out against me: but this is your hour, and the authority of the dark power. (BBE)

Luke 23:7 And when he saw that he was under the authority of Herod, he sent him to Herod, who was in Jerusalem himself at that time. (BBE)

Luke 23:50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a man of authority and a good and upright man (BBE)

John 1:12 but as many as did receive him to them he gave authority to become sons of God -- to those believing in his name, (YLT)

John 2:18 So the Jews asked Him, "What proof of your authority do you exhibit to us, seeing that you do these things?" (WEY BBE NAS NIV)

John 5:27 He also gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 5:30 I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is righteous; because I don't seek my own will, but the will of my Father who sent me. (See RSV)

John 5:43 I have come in my Father's name, and your hearts are not open to me. If another comes with no other authority but himself, you will give him your approval. (BBE)

John 7:17 If anyone desires to do his will, he will know about the teaching, whether it is from God, or if I am speaking from myself. (See RSV)

John 7:18 He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. (See RSV)

John 7:28 Jesus therefore, while teaching in the Temple, cried aloud, and said, "Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. And yet I have not come of my own accord; but there is One who has sent me, an Authority indeed, of whom you have no knowledge. (WEY)

John 8:28 Jesus therefore said to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and I do nothing of myself, but as my Father taught me, I say these things. (See RSV)

John 10:18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have authority to lay it down and I have authority to take it again. I have received this commandment of my Father. (DBY YLT NAS NIV)

John 12:49 Because I have not spoken on my own authority; but the Father who sent me, Himself gave me a command what to say and in what words to speak. (WEY BBE RSV)

John 14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me? The things that I tell you all I do not speak on my own authority: but the Father dwelling within me carries on His own work. (WEY RSV)

John 16:13 However when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth, for he will not speak from himself; but whatever he hears, he will speak. He will declare to you things that are coming. (See RSV)

John 17:2 even as you gave him authority over all flesh, he will give eternal life to all whom you have given him. (WEB WEY ASV BBE DBY YLT NAS NIV)

John 19:10 Pilate therefore says to him, Speakest thou not to me? Dost thou not know that I have authority to release thee and have authority to crucify thee? (DBY YLT NAS)

John 19:11 Jesus answered, Thou hadst no authority whatever against me if it were not given to thee from above. On this account he that has delivered me up to thee has the greater sin. (DBY YLT NAS)

Acts 1:7 He said to them, "It isn't for you to know times or seasons which the Father has set within his own authority. (WEB WEY ASV DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Acts 4:5 And on the day after, the rulers and those in authority and the scribes came together in Jerusalem; (BBE)

Acts 4:8 Then Peter, being full of the Holy Spirit, said to them, O you rulers of the people and men of authority, (BBE)

Acts 7:39 "Our forefathers, however, would not submit to him, but spurned his authority and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. (WEY)

Acts 8:19 saying, 'Give also to me this authority, that on whomsoever I may lay the hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit.' (YLT NAS)

Acts 8:27 He arose and went; and behold, there was a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was over all her treasure, who had come to Jerusalem to worship. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE WBS)

Acts 9:14 Here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name." (WEB KJV ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Acts 17:7 Jason has received them into his house; and they all set Caesar's authority at defiance, declaring that there is another Emperor-- one called Jesus." (WEY)

Acts 25:5 So, he said, let those who have authority among you go with me, and if there is any wrong in the man, let them make a statement against him. (BBE DBY RSV)

Acts 25:10 And Paul said, I am before the seat of Caesar's authority where it is right for me to be judged: I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you are well able to see. (BBE)

Acts 26:10 This I also did in Jerusalem. I both shut up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, and when they were put to death I gave my vote against them. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Acts 26:12 "Whereupon as I traveled to Damascus with the authority and commission from the chief priests, (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Acts 26:18 to open their eyes, to turn 'them' from darkness to light, and 'from' the authority of the Adversary unto God, for their receiving forgiveness of sins, and a lot among those having been sanctified, by faith that 'is' toward me. (YLT)

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, an Apostle by the selection of God, given authority as a preacher of the good news, (BBE)

Romans 6:15 Are we therefore to sin because we are no longer under the authority of Law, but under grace? No, indeed! (WEY)

Romans 7:1 Or don't you know, brothers (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man for as long as he lives? (See NIV)

Romans 9:21 Or has not the potter authority over the clay, out of the same lump to make one vessel to honour, and another to dishonour? (DBY YLT)

Romans 12:3 For through the authority graciously given to me I warn every individual among you not to value himself unduly, but to cultivate sobriety of judgement in accordance with the amount of faith which God has allotted to each one. (WEY)

Romans 12:8 The teacher must do the same in his teaching; and he who exhorts others, in his exhortation. He who gives should be liberal; he who is in authority should be energetic and alert; and he who succours the afflicted should do it cheerfully. (WEY)

Romans 13:1 Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who exist are ordained by God. (WEB BBE DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Romans 13:2 Therefore he who resists the authority, withstands the ordinance of God; and those who withstand will receive to themselves judgment. (WEB BBE DBY YLT NAS NIV)

Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same, (WEB BBE DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Romans 13:5 So put yourselves under the authority, not for fear of wrath, but because you have the knowledge of what is right. (BBE)

Romans 13:6 For the same reason, make payment of taxes; because the authority is God's servant, to take care of such things at all times. (BBE)

Romans 15:15 But I write to you the more boldly--partly as reminding you of what you already know--because of the authority graciously entrusted to me by God, (WEY)

1 Corinthians 4:20 For Apostolic authority is not a thing of words, but of power. (WEY)

1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful to me, but all things are not profitable; all things are lawful to me, but I -- I will not be under authority by any; (YLT)

1 Corinthians 7:4 The wife doesn't have authority over her own body, but the husband. Likewise also the husband doesn't have authority over his own body, but the wife. (WEB DBY YLT NAS)

1 Corinthians 7:37 But he who stands firm in his heart, having no need, but has authority over his own will, and has judged this in his heart to keep his own virginity, he does well. (DBY YLT NAS)

1 Corinthians 9:4 have we not authority to eat and to drink? (YLT)

1 Corinthians 9:5 have we not authority a sister -- a wife -- to lead about, as also the other apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? (YLT)

1 Corinthians 9:6 or only I and Barnabas, have we not authority -- not to work? (YLT)


Authority (326 Occurrences)
... a right to command or to act; power exercised buy a person in virtue of his office
or trust; dominion; jurisdiction; authorization; as, the authority of a ...
/a/authority.htm - 69k

Conception (6 Occurrences)
... which was read in Peter's in the presence of over two hundred bishops, is expressed
in the following words: It is proclaimed "by the authority of our Lord ...
/c/conception.htm - 19k

Elder (34 Occurrences)
... A name frequently used in the Old Testament as denoting a person clothed with authority,
and entitled to respect and reverence (Genesis 50:7). It also denoted ...
/e/elder.htm - 27k

Exercise (35 Occurrences)
... (vt) To put in practice; to carry out in action; to perform the duties of; to use;
to employ; to practice; as, to exercise authority; to exercise an office. ...
/e/exercise.htm - 22k

Doest (53 Occurrences)
... And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people
came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou ...
/d/doest.htm - 22k

Magistrate (9 Occurrences)
... A public civil officer invested with authority. The Hebrew shophetim, or judges,
were magistrates having authority in the land (Deuteronomy 1:16, 17). ...
/m/magistrate.htm - 15k

Sceptre (20 Occurrences)
... As a symbol of authority, the use of the sceptre originated in the idea that the
ruler was as a shepherd of his people (Genesis 49:10; Numbers 24:17; Psalm 45:6 ...
/s/sceptre.htm - 17k

Authorized (6 Occurrences)
... 1. (imp. & pp) of Authorize. 2. (a.) Possessed of or endowed with authority;
as, an authorized agent. 3. (a.) Sanctioned by authority. Int. ...
/a/authorized.htm - 8k

Command (442 Occurrences)
... Noah Webster's Dictionary 1. (vt) To order with authority; to lay injunction
upon; to direct; to bid; to charge. 2. (vt) To exercise ...
/c/command.htm - 36k

Dominion (72 Occurrences)
... 1. (n.) Sovereign or supreme authority; the power of governing and controlling;
independent right of possession, use, and control; sovereignty; supremacy. ...
/d/dominion.htm - 30k

1850. exousiazo -- to exercise authority over
... to exercise authority over. Part of Speech: Verb Transliteration: exousiazo Phonetic
Spelling: (ex-oo-see-ad'-zo) Short Definition: I exercise authority ...
/greek/1850.htm - 7k

1849. exousia -- power to act, authority
... power to act, authority. Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine Transliteration: exousia
Phonetic Spelling: (ex-oo-see'-ah) Short Definition: power, authority, weight ...
/greek/1849.htm - 8k

2715. katexousiazo -- to exercise authority over
... to exercise authority over. Part of Speech: Verb Transliteration: katexousiazo Phonetic
Spelling: (kat-ex-oo-see-ad'-zo) Short Definition: I have power over ...
/greek/2715.htm - 7k

3980. peitharcheo -- to obey authority
... to obey authority. Part of Speech: Verb Transliteration: peitharcheo Phonetic Spelling:
(pi-tharkh-eh'-o) Short Definition: I obey one in authority Definition ...
/greek/3980.htm - 7k

831. authenteo -- to govern, exercise authority
... to govern, exercise authority. Part of Speech: Verb Transliteration: authenteo Phonetic
Spelling: (ow-then-teh'-o) Short Definition: I domineer over Definition ...
/greek/831.htm - 6k

3686. onoma -- a name, authority, cause
... a name, authority, cause. Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter Transliteration: onoma Phonetic
Spelling: (on'-om-ah) Short Definition: name, character, reputation ...
/greek/3686.htm - 7k

2011. epitrope -- authority
... authority. Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine Transliteration: epitrope Phonetic Spelling:
(ep-ee-trop-ay') Short Definition: commission, full power Definition ...
/greek/2011.htm - 6k

2012. epitropos -- an administrator (one having authority)
... an administrator (one having authority). Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Transliteration: epitropos Phonetic Spelling: (ep-it'-rop-os) Short Definition: ...
/greek/2012.htm - 6k

2003. epitage -- a command
... Noun, Feminine Transliteration: epitage Phonetic Spelling: (ep-ee-tag-ay') Short
Definition: instruction, command, order, authority Definition: instruction ...
/greek/2003.htm - 7k

5247. huperoche -- a projection, eminence
... huperoche Phonetic Spelling: (hoop-er-okh-ay') Short Definition: superiority,
excellence Definition: superiority, excellence, preeminence, authority. ...
/greek/5247.htm - 7k

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

o-thor'-i-ti rabhah; toqeph; exousia; exousiazo; katexousiazo; epitage; huperoche; authenteo; dunastes


1. Of Two Kinds

(1) External

(2) Internal

2. Universal Need of Authority

3. Necessity for Infallible Criterion of Truth

4. Ultimate Nature of Authority

5. It Is God

6. Different Ideas of God and Different Views of Authority

7. A Problem of Knowledge for Christians


1. In Old Testament

2. In New Testament

3. Common Elements in their Meaning


1. Old Testament Teaching

(1) Earliest Form Patriarchal

(2) Tribal and Personal Authority

(3) See rs and Priests

(4) Kings and Established Religion

(5) The Great Prophets

(6) The Canon and Rabbinical Tradition

2. New Testament Teaching

(1) Jesus Christ's Authority (a) His Teaching

(b) His Works

(c) Forgiving and Judging

(d) Life and Salvation

(e) Derived from His Sonship

(f) In His Ascended State

(g) Christ and the Paraclete

(2) The Disciples' Authority

(a) Derived from Christ

(b) Paul's Authority

(c) Authority of All Believers

(d) Authority over the Nations

(3) Church's Authority Moral and Personal

(4) Authority of the Bible


1. Appeal to Reason as Logos

2. Orthodox Dogma

3. Scholasticism

4. Ecclesiastical Absolutism

5. Reformation Principles

6. New Scholasticism

7. The Inner Light

8. Back to Experience

9. Distrust of Reason

10. Christian Skepticism


1. External

(1) Incipient Catholicism

(2) General Councils

(3) Romanism

(4) Papal Infallibility

(5) Inerrancy of Scripture

(6) Anglican Appeal to Antiquity

(7) Limitations of External Authority

(a) Not Infallible (b) Rests on Personal Authority

(c) No Apostolical Tradition Extant

(d) No Consensus of Fathers

(e) Bible Needs Interpretation

(f) Authority Necessarily Spiritual

2. Internal Authority


I. General Idea.

1. Of Two Kinds:

The term is of manifold and ambiguous meaning. The various ideas of authority fall into two main classes: as external or public tribunal or standard, which therefore in the nature of the case can only apply to the outward expressions of religion; and as immanent principle which governs the most secret movements of the soul's life.

(1) External.

A characteristic instance of the former idea of authority is found in A. J. Balfour's Foundations of Belief: "Authority as I have been using the term is in all cases contrasted with reason, and stands for that group of non-rational causes, moral, social and educational, which produces its results by psychic processes other than reasoning" (p. 232, 8th edition). The bulk of men's important beliefs are produced and authorized by "custom, education, public opinion, the contagious convictions of countrymen, family, party or church" (p. 226). Authority and reason are "rival claimants" (p. 243). "Authority as such is, from the nature of the case, dumb in the presence of argument" (p. 234).

Newman makes a kindred distinction between authority in revealed religion and conscience in natural religion, although he does not assign as wide a sphere to authority, and he allows to conscience a kind of authority. "The supremacy of conscience is the essence of natural religion, the supremacy of apostle or pope or church or bishop is the essence of revealed; and when such external authority is taken away, the mind falls back again of necessity upon that inward guide which it possessed even before revelation was vouchsafed" (Development of Doctrine, 86, edition 1878). From a very different standpoint the same antithesis appears in the very title of Sabatier's book, The Religions of Authority and the Religion of the Spirit. He knows both kinds of authority. "The authority of material force, of custom, tradition, the co de, more and more yields place to the inward authority of conscience and reason, and in the same measure becomes transformed for the subject into a true autonomy" (p. xxxiii, English Translation).

(2) Internal.

Martineau distinguishes the two types of authority to reject the former and accept the latter. "The mere resort to testimony for information beyond our province does not fill the meaning of `authority'; which we never acknowledge till that which speaks to us from another and a higher strikes home and wakes the echoes in ourselves, and is thereby instantly transferred from external attestation to self-evidence. And this response it is which makes the moral intuitions, started by outward appeal, reflected back by inward veneration, more than egoistic phenomena, and turning them into correspondency between the universal and the individual mind, invests them with true authority" (Seat of Authority, Preface, edition 1890).

Confusion would disappear if the fact were recognized that for different persons, and even for the same persons at different times, authority means different things. For a child his father's or his teacher's word is a decree of absolute authority. He accepts its truth and recognizes his obligation to allow it to determine his conduct. But when reason awakes in him, he may doubt their knowledge or wisdom, and he will seek other guides or authorities. So it is in religious development. Some repudiate authorities that others acknowledge. But no one has a monopoly of the term or concept, and no one may justly say to Dr. Martineau or anybody else that "he has no right to speak of `authority' at all."

2. Universal Need of Authority:

All religion involves a certain attitude of thought and will toward God and the Universe. The feeling element is also present, but that is ignored in theories of external authority. All religion then involves certain ideas or beliefs about God, and conduct corresponding to them, but ideas may be true or false, and conduct right or wrong. Men need to know what is true, that they may do that which is right. They need some test or standard or court of appeal which distinguishes and enforces the truth; forbids the wrong and commands the right. As in all government there is a legislative and an executive function, the one issuing out of the other, so in every kind of religious authority recognized as such, men require that it should tell them what ideas they ought to believe and what deeds to perform.

In this general sense authority is recognized in every realm of life, even beyond that which is usually called religious life. Science builds up its system in conformity with natural phenomena. Art has its ideals of beauty. Politics seeks to realize some idea of the state. Metaphysics reconstructs the universe in conformity with some principle of truth or reality.

3. Necessity for Infallible Criterion of Truth:

"If we attach any definite intelligible meaning to the distinction between things as they really are, and things as they merely appear to be, we must clearly have some universal criterion or test by which the distinction may be made. This criterion must be in the first place infallible; that is, must be such that we cannot doubt its validity without falling into a contradiction in our thought... Freedom from contradiction is a characteristic that belongs to everything that is real. and we may therefore use it as a test or criterion of reality "(Taylor, Elements of Metaphysics, 18-19). A more skeptical philosopher writes:

"That the truth itself is one and whole and complete, and that all thinking and all experience moves within its recognition, and subject to its manifest authority, this I have never doubted" (Joachim, The Nature of Truth, 178). It is only a thoroughgoing skeptic that could disp ense with authority, a "Pyrrho," who holds suspense of judgment to be the only right attitude of mind, and he, to be logical, must also suspend all action and cease to be. There can be no question, therefore, except in total nescience, as to the fact of authority in general; and the problem to decide is, "What is the authority in religion?"

4. Ultimate Nature of Authority:

It is a problem involved in the difficulties of all ultimate problems, and all argument about it is apt to move in a circle. For the ultimate must bear witness of its own ultimacy, the absolute of its own absoluteness, and authority of its own sovereignty. If there were a court of appeal or a standard of reference to which anything called ultimate, absolute and supreme, could apply for its credentials, it would therefore become relative and subordinate to that other criterion. There is a sense in which Mr. Balfour's saying is true, "that authority is dumb in the presence of argument." No process of mediate reasoning can establish it, for no premise can be found from which it issues as a conclusion. It judges all things, but is judged of none. It is its own witness and judge. All that reason can say about it is the dictum of Paxmenides: "it is."

5. It Is God:

In this sense, there can be no question again among religious people, that the authority is God. The one idea involves the other. He alone is self-existent and supreme, who is what He is of His own right. If God exists, He is the ultimate criterion and power of truth and reality. All truth inheres in Him and issues from Him. The problem of authority thus becomes one with the proof and definition of God. These questions lie beyond the purpose of the present article; (see GOD). Their solution is assumed in this discussion of authority, although different theories of authority no doubt involve different ideas of God.

6. Different Ideas of God and Different Views of Authority:

External theories generally involve what is called a deistic conception of God. Spiritualistic theories of authority correspond to theistic views of God. If He is immanent as well as transcendent, He speaks directly to men, and has no need of intermediaries. Pantheism results in a naturalistic theory of truth. The mind of God is the law of Nature. But pantheism in practice tends to become polytheism, and then to issue in a crude anarchy which is the denial of all authority and truth. But within Christendom the problem of authority lies between those who agree in believing in one God, who is personal, transcendent and to some extent immanent. The differences on these points are really consequences of differences of views as to His mode of self-communication.

7. A Problem of Knowledge For Christians:

It is, therefore, a problem of epistemology rather than of ontology. The question is, in what way does God make known Himself, His mind and His authority to men generally? The purpose of this article is the exposition of the Biblical teaching of authority, with some attempt to place it in its true position in the life of the church.

II. The Biblical References.

1. In the Old Testament:

Only for

(1) rabhah (Proverbs 29:2): "to be great" or "many." "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice." So the King James Version and the Revised Version, margin, but the Revised Version (British and American) "When the righteous are increased" (so BDB). Toy in the place cited remarks, "The Hebrew has: `When the righteous increase,' the suggestion being that they then have control of affairs; the change of a letter gives the reading `rule' which is required by the 'govern' of the second line."

(2) toqeph (Esther 9:29): "Esther the queen. wrote with all authority to confirm this second letter of Purim" (Revised Version margin "strength" [so BDB]).

2. In the New Testament:

(1) Most frequently for exousia; exousiazo; and katexousiazo:

(a) of God's authority (Acts 1:7): as the potter's over clay (Romans 9:21, right; Jude 1:25, "power"; Revelation 9, "power");

(b) of Christ's teaching and works (Matthew 7:29; Matthew 21:23, 24, 27 = Mark 1:22, 27 Mark 11:28, 29, 33 = Luke 4:36; Luke 20:2, 8 John 5:27, authority to execute judgment. The same Greek word, translated "power" in the King James Version but generally "authority" in the Revised Version (British and American) or the Revised Version, margin, appears also in Matthew 9:6, 8, to forgive sins: Matthew 28:18; Mark 2:10 Luke 4:32; Luke 5:24 John 10:18; John 17:2 Revelation 12:10);

(c) of the disciples, as Christ's representatives and witnesses (Luke 9:1, the twelve; 2 Corinthians 10:8, Paul); also of their rights and privileges; (the same Greek word in Matthew 10:1 Mark 3:15; Mark 6:7 Luke 10:19 = the Revised Version (British and American) "authority"; John 1:12 Acts 8:19 2 Corinthians 13:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:9 Hebrews 13:10 Revelation 2:26; Revelation 22:14 = the Revised Version (British and American) "right");

(d) of subordinate heavenly authorities or powers (1 Corinthians 15:24 1 Peter 3:22; and the same Greek word in Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12 Colossians 1:16; Colossians 2:10, 15 Revelation 11:6; Revelation 14:18; Revelation 18:1);

(e) of civil authority, as of king, magistrate or steward (Luke 7:8 = Matthew 8:9 [centurion]; Mark 13:34 Luke 19:17; Luke 20:20; Luke 22:25 = Matthew 20:25 = Mark 10:42; and Acts 9:14; Acts 26:10, 12 [of Saul]; and the same Greek word in Luke 12:11; Luke 23:7 John 19:10, 11 Acts 5:4 Romans 13:1, 2, 3 Titus 3:1 Revelation 17:12, 13);

(f) of the powers of evil (Revelation 13:2, "the beast that came out of the sea"; and the same Greek word in Luke 4:6; Luke 12:5; Luke 22:53 Acts 26:18 Ephesians 2:2 Colossians 1:13 Revelation 6:8; Revelation 9:3, 10, 19; 13:4, 5, 7, 12; 20:6).

(g) of man's inward power of self-control (the same Greek word in 1 Corinthians 7:37; 1 Corinthians 8:9, "liberty"; 1 Corinthians 6:12; 1 Corinthians 7:4; 1 Corinthians 9:4, 5, 6, 12, 18, the Revised Version (British and American) "right"; 1 Corinthians 11:10).

(2) For epitage: commandment, authority to exhort and reprove the church (Titus 2:15).

(3) For huperoche: "for kings and all that are in high place" (Revised Version (British and American) 1 Timothy 2:2).

(4) For authenteo: "I permit not a woman. to have dominion over a man" (Revised Version, 1 Timothy 2:12).

(5) For dunastes: "A eunuch of great authority" (Acts 8:27).

3. Common Elements in Their Meaning:

Of the words translated "authority," exousia, alone expresses the idea of religious authority, whether of God, of Christ or of man. The other uses of this word are here instructive in as bringing out the common element in secular and religious authority.

The control of the state over its subjects, whether as supreme in the person of emperor or king, or as delegated to and exercised by proconsul, magistrate or soldier, and the control of a householder over his family and servants and property, exercised directly or indirectly through stewards, have some characteristics which also pertain to religious authority; and the differences, essential though they are, must be derived from the context and the circumstances of the case. In one passage indeed the civil type of authority is mentioned to be repudiated as something that should not obtain within the religious community (Matthew 20:25-27 = Mark 10:42-44 = Luke 22:25, 26). But although its principle and power are so entirely different in different realms, the fact of authority as determining religious thought, conduct and relations permeates the whole Bible, and is expressed by many terms and phrases besides those translated "authority."

III. Biblical Teaching.

A summary of the Biblical account of authority is given in Hebrews 1:1; "God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in a Son [RVm]." Behind all persons and institutions stands God, who reveals His mind and exercises His sovereignty in many ways, through many persons and institutions, piecemeal and progressively, until His final revelation of His mind and will culminates in Jesus Christ.

1. Old Testament Teaching:

(1) Earliest Form Patriarchal

The earliest form of authority is patriarchal. The father of the family is at once its prophet, priest and king. The consciousness of individuality was as yet weak. The unit of life was the family, and the father sums up the family in himself before God and stands to it as God. Such is the earliest picture of religious life found in the Bible. For whatever view may be taken of the historicity of Genesis, there can be little doubt that the stories of the patriarchs represent an early stage of religious life, before the national or even the tribal consciousness had developed.

(2) Tribal and Personal Authority

When the tribal consciousness emerges, it is clad in a network of customs and traditions which had grown with it, and which governed the greater part of the life of the tribe. The father had now become the elder and judge who exercised authority over the larger family, the tribe. But also, men of commanding personality and influence appear, who change and refashion the tribal customs. They may be men of practical wisdom like Jethro, great warriors like Joshua, or emergency men like the judges. Moses stands apart, a prophet and reformer who knew that he bore a message from God to reform his people's religion, and gave Israel a knowledge of God and a covenant with God which set them forever apart from all other peoples. Other tribes might have a Jethro, a Joshua and a Jephtha, but Israel alone had its Moses. His authority has remained a large factor in the life of Israel to the present day and should hereafter be assumed as existing side by side with other authorities mentioned.

(3) See rs and Priests

In our earliest glimpses of Hebrew life in Canaan we find bands of seers or prophets associated with religion in Israel, as well as a disorganized priesthood which conducted the public worship of Yahweh. These features were probably common to Israel and neighboring Semitic tribes. Here again the individual person emerges who rises above custom and tradition, and exercises an individual authority direct from God over the lives of the people. Samuel, too, was a prophet, priest and king, but he regarded his function as so entirely ministerial, that God might be said to govern His people directly and personally, though He made known His will through the prophet.

(4) Kings and Established Religion

In the period of the kingship, religious authority became more organized, institutional and external. The occasional cooperation of the tribes developed into nationality, and the sporadic leadership of emergency chieftains gave way to the permanent rule of the king. Priests and prophets became organized and recognized guilds which acted together under the protection and influence of the king, along the lines of traditional morality and religion. The Hebrew church in its middle ages was an established church and thoroughly "Erastian." We know very little of the details of its organization, but it is clear that the religious orders as a rule offered little resistance to the corrupting influences of the court and of the surrounding heathenism.

(5) The Great Prophets

Opposition to corruption and advance to higher levels of religious life invariably originated outside the recognized religious authorities. God raised for Himself prophets such as Elijah, Amos, Isaiah and Jeremiah, who spoke out of the consciousness of an immediate vision or message or command from God. In turn they influenced the established religious authorities, as may be seen in the reformations of Hezekiah and Josiah. All that is distinctive in the religion of Israel, all revelation of God in the Old Testament, proceeded from the inner experiences of the irregular prophets.

(6) The Canon and Rabbinical Tradition

In the Judaism of the post-exilic period, the disappearance of the kingship, and the cessation of prophecy produced new conditions which demanded a readaptation of religious authorities. The relative position of the priesthood was greatly enhanced. Its chiefs became princes of Jerusalem, and exercised all the powers of theocracy that remained under foreign rule. And new developments emerged.

The formation of the canon of the Old Testament set up a body of writings which stood as a permanent and external standard of doctrine and worship. But the necessity was felt to interpret the Scriptures and to apply them to existing conditions. The place of the old prophetic guilds was taken by the new order of rabbis and scribes. Gradually they secured a share with the priests in the administration of the law. "In the last two pre-Christian centuries and throughout the Talmudic times, the scribes tsopherim, also called the wise chakhamim, who claimed to have received the true interpretation of the Law as `the tradition of the Elders and Fathers' in direct line from Moses, the prophets, and the men of the great synagogue,. included people from all classes. They formed the court of justice in every town as well as the high court of justice, the Sanhedrin in Jerus" (Kohler in Jew Encyclopedia, II, 337). In the time of Christ, these courts were the recognized authorities in all matters of religion.

2. New Testament Teaching:

(1) Jesus Christ's Authority.

When He began to teach in Palestine, all knowledge of God, and all exercise of His authority were mediated through the priests and scribes, who however claimed the Old Testament as their source. Christ was neither the destroyer nor the creator of institutions. He never discussed the abstract right or capacity of the Jewish orders to be religious teachers. He enjoined obedience to their teaching (Matthew 23:2, 3). Still less did He question the authority of the Old Testament. He came not to destroy, but to fulfill the law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17). But He did two things which involved the assertion of a new and superior authority in Himself. He repudiated the scribes' interpretation of the law (Matthew 23:13-16), and He declared that certain of the provisions of the Mosaic law itself were temporary and tentative, and to be replaced or supplemented by His own more adequate teaching (Matthew 5:32, 34, 39, 44; Matthew 19:8, 9).

In doing this, He was really fulfilling a line of thought which permeates the entire Old Testament. All its writers disclaim finality and look forward to a fuller revelation of the mind of God in a day of Yahweh or a new covenant or a Messiah. Jesus Christ regarded these expectations as being realized in Himself, and claimed to complete and fulfill the development which had run through the Old Testament. As such, He claims finality in His teaching of the will of God, and absolute authority in the realm of religion and morals.

(a) His Teaching

His teaching is with authority. His hearers contrast it with that of the scribes, who, with all the prestige of tradition and establishment, in comparison with Him, entirely lacked authority (Matthew 7:29 Mark 1:22 Luke 4:32 John 7:46).

(b) His Works

His authority as a teacher is closely associated with His works, especially as these revealed His authority over that world of evil spirits whose influence was felt in the mental disorders that afflicted people (Mark 1:27 Luke 4:36).

(c) Forgiving and Judging

In His claim to forgive sins, sanctioned by works of healing, He seemed to exercise a Divine prerogative (Matthew 9:6, 8 Mark 2:10 Luke 5:24). It implied an infallible moral judgment, a power to dispense with the recognized laws of retribution and to remove guilt, which could only inhere in God. All these powers are asserted in another form in the statement that He is the final judge (John 5:27).

(d) Life and Salvation

He therefore possesses authority over life and salvation. The Father gave Him authority over all flesh, "that whatsoever thou hast given him, to them he should give eternal life" (John 17:2 the American Revised Version, margin). This authority begins in His power over His own life to give it in sacrifice for men (John 10:18). By faith in Him and obedience to Him, men obtain salvation (Matthew 10:32; Matthew 11:28-30). Their relation to Him determines their relation to God and to the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 10:40 Luke 12:8).

(e) Derived from His Sonship

When challenged by the chief priests and elders, the established religious authorities, to state by what authority He taught, He gives no categorical reply, but tells them the parable of the Vineyard. All the prophets and teachers that had come from God before Him were servants, but He is the Son (Matthew 21:23-27, 37 Mark 11:28-33; Mark 12:6 Luke 20:2, 8, 13). The Fourth Gospel definitely founds His authority upon His sonship (John 5:19-27). Paul deduces it from His self-sacrifice (Philippians 2:5-11).

(f) In His Ascended State

In His ascended state, all authority in heaven and on earth is given unto Him (Matthew 28:18). It is not only authority in the church, and in the moral kingdom, but in the universe. God has set Him "far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come" (Ephesians 1:21; compare Colossians 2:10 1 Peter 3:22 1 Corinthians 15:24 Revelation 12:10).

(g) Christ and the Paraclete

His authority in the church as revealer of truth and Lord of spirits is not limited or completed within His earthly life. By His resurrection and exaltation He lives on in the church. "Where two or three are gathered. in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20). Greater works than He did in the flesh will be done in the church, because of His exaltation: (John 14:12); and by His sending the Paraclete, "Comforter" (American Revised Version) (John 14:16). The Paraclete, which is the Holy Spirit, will teach the disciples all things, and bring to their remembrance all that He said unto them (John 14:26).

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o-thor'-i-ti. See AUTHORITY IN RELIGION, sec. I.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) Legal or rightful power; a right to command or to act; power exercised buy a person in virtue of his office or trust; dominion; jurisdiction; authorization; as, the authority of a prince over subjects, and of parents over children; the authority of a court.

2. (n.) Government; the persons or the body exercising power or command; as, the local authorities of the States; the military authorities.

3. (n.) The power derived from opinion, respect, or esteem; influence of character, office, or station, or mental or moral superiority, and the like; claim to be believed or obeyed; as, an historian of no authority; a magistrate of great authority.

4. (n.) That which, or one who, is claimed or appealed to in support of opinions, actions, measures, etc.

5. (n.) Testimony; witness.

6. (n.) A precedent; a decision of a court, an official declaration, or an opinion, saying, or statement worthy to be taken as a precedent.

7. (n.) A book containing such a statement or opinion, or the author of the book.

8. (n.) Justification; warrant.

Strong's Hebrew
4896. mishtar -- rule, authority
... << 4895, 4896. mishtar. 4897 >>. rule, authority. Transliteration: mishtar
Phonetic Spelling: (mish-tawr') Short Definition: rule. Word ...
/hebrew/4896.htm - 6k

8633. toqeph -- power, strength, energy
... toqeph. 8634 >>. power, strength, energy. Transliteration: toqeph Phonetic Spelling:
(to'-kef) Short Definition: authority. ... authority, power, strength. ...
/hebrew/8633.htm - 6k

4474. mimshal -- dominion, ruler
... << 4473, 4474. mimshal. 4475 >>. dominion, ruler. Transliteration: mimshal
Phonetic Spelling: (mim-shawl') Short Definition: authority. ...
/hebrew/4474.htm - 6k

4915a. moshel -- dominion
... dominion. Transliteration: moshel Short Definition: authority. Word Origin from
mashal Definition dominion NASB Word Usage authority (1), dominion (1). ...
/hebrew/4915a.htm - 5k

7981. shelet -- to have power, rule
... << 7980, 7981. shelet. 7982 >>. to have power, rule. Transliteration: shelet
Phonetic Spelling: (shel-ate') Short Definition: authority. ...
/hebrew/7981.htm - 6k

7990. shallit -- having mastery, ruling
... Word Origin (Aramaic) corresponding to shallit Definition having mastery, ruling
NASB Word Usage allowed (1), authority (1), commander (1), governing (1 ...
/hebrew/7990.htm - 6k

3678. kisse -- seat of honor, throne
... Word Origin from the same as kese Definition seat of honor, throne NASB Word Usage
authority (1), chair (1), official seat (1), seat (6), sworn* (1), throne ...
/hebrew/3678.htm - 6k

7989. shallit -- having mastery, domineering
... Word Origin from shalat Definition having mastery, domineering NASB Word Usage
bold-faced (1), has authority (1), ruler (2), rulers (1). ...
/hebrew/7989.htm - 6k

6586. pasha -- to rebel, transgress
... A primitive root (identical with pasa' through the idea of expansion); to break
away (from just authority), ie Trespass, apostatize, quarrel -- offend, rebel ...
/hebrew/6586.htm - 6k

7235. rabah -- to be or become much, many or great
... A primitive root; to increase (in whatever respect) -- (bring in) abundance (X
-antly), + archer (by mistake for rabab), be in authority, bring up, X continue ...
/hebrew/7235.htm - 6k



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