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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 5216 authority, nature of
5216 authority, nature of

5216 authority, nature of

The God-given freedom of action expressed in rightful power to control the actions of others.

Ultimate authority belongs to God, who does as he pleases

Ps 115:3 See also 2Ch 20:6; Job 9:12; Job 23:13; Job 42:2; Ps 135:6; Isa 14:27; Isa 43:13; Isa 45:9; Isa 46:10; Da 4:35 Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges God’s authority; Ro 9:19-21; Eph 1:11 God’s authority is demonstrated in election.

Human authority

All human authority is given and established by God Ro 13:1 See also Da 2:21; Da 4:17; Da 5:18-21; Jn 19:11

It involves the rightful freedom to give orders Mt 8:9 pp Lk 7:8 The centurion to Jesus Christ. See also Ge 41:35; Nu 27:20; Dt 1:15 Moses delegates authority; Jdg 9:29; Ezr 7:24; Ne 3:7; Est 9:29; Isa 22:21; Jer 38:10; Mt 25:23 pp Lk 19:17 the parable of the talents; Mk 13:34; Lk 20:20; Lk 23:7; Jn 19:10 Paul had the authority of the chief priests to arrest believers: Ac 9:14; Ac 26:10,12
1Pe 2:13

It is limited, unlike God’s authority Jn 19:10-11

Responsibilities of those with authority

They are to act as servants, not lording it over people Mt 20:25-28 pp Mk 10:42-45 See also Jn 13:4-15

Their authority is to be used for the benefit of others 2Co 10:8 See also 2Co 13:10

It is sometimes necessary to withhold exercising authority for others’good 1Co 9:4-18 See also 1Co 6:1-7; 1Co 8:8-13; 1Co 10:23-24

Examples of the authority of believers

Authority over possessions Ac 5:4 Peter to Ananias regarding the land he sold.

Authority over the will 1Co 7:37 Paul on marriage.

Authority to become children of God Jn 1:12

The authority of the law over believers during their lifetime

Ro 7:1

See also

1130God, sovereignty
1610Scripture
2012Christ, authority
2345Christ, kingdom of
3045Holy Spirit, sovereignty
4110angels
4120Satan
5452power
6658freedom
7706apostles
7733leaders

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