by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
I. Do we really need book, chapter, and verse?
A. Frequently practices are justified by the absence of Scripture. “It doesn’t say not to.”
B. The argument is taken so far as to say, “There is no book, chapter, and verse for having book, chapter, and verse.”
C. The point of saying we need book, chapter, and verse is an emphasis on finding God’s authority for the things we say and practice.
II. We need authority to establish doctrine
A. Jesus used book, chapter, and verse to prove the doctrine of resurrection
1. Matthew 22:23-33
2. Christ proved his resurrection by Scripture - Luke 24:44-46
B. The apostles used book, chapter, and verse to prove Jesus was the Christ
1. In Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:14-39, Peter makes three direct quotes and alludes to at least two Old Testament passages.
2. In Paul’s sermon in Acts 13:16-41, Paul makes five direct quotes and alludes to at least four Old Testament passages.
3. Acts 17:2-3 - Paul reasoned out the Scriptures
4. I Corinthians 15:3-4 - Christ died according to the Scriptures
C. Early Christians proved their points with book, chapter and verse
1. Apollos showed Jesus was the Christ from the Scriptures - Acts 18:24-28
2. The Bereans searched the Scriptures daily - Acts 17:11
D. We are commanded to use book, chapter, and verse to establish doctrine
1. Speak as the oracles of God - I Peter 4:11
a. Teachers need to know the oracles of God - Hebrews 5:12-13
b. Otherwise the teacher will not be consistent with God
2. It is the Scriptures that contain the form of doctrine that saved us - Romans 6:17
3. The Scriptures are profitable for doctrine - II Timothy 3:16
4. We are to hold on to the these teachings
a. Hold fast the form of sound words - II Timothy 1:13
b. Teach no other doctrine - I Timothy 1:3-11
c. Mark those who do not live in accordance with the doctrine - Romans 16:17
III. We need authority to establish the conditions of salvation
A. Jesus used the Scriptures to answer the question of gaining eternal life - Luke 10:25-28
B. Paul believed the Scriptures can bring salvation
1. The Scriptures can make you wise unto salvation - II Timothy 3:15-16
2. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation - Romans 1:16-17
C. Paul proved the steps of salvation by book, chapter, and verse - Romans 10:8-17
1. He proved the gospel needed to be preached by citing Isaiah 52:7
2. He proved that it was for Jews and Greeks by citing Joel 2:32
3. That same passage showed the need for belief and confession
4. Paul showed by citing Isaiah 53:1 that the word has to be obeyed.
D. The Scriptures show we must obey - Romans 16:26
E. Philip used the book, chapter, and verse to teach about Jesus leading to understanding the need to be baptized - Acts 8:30-36
F. James used book, chapter, and verse to prove that we need works and not faith only - James 2:21-24
IV. We need authority to establish practice
A. Jesus used book, chapter, and verse to prove his right to cleanse the temple - Matthew 21:12-13
B. The disciples used Scripture to settle a dispute over doctrine and practice - Acts 15:13-19
C. Paul used Scripture to prove the right of ministers to receive wages - I Corinthians 9:6-14
D. Paul also used Scripture to show how benevolence was to be accomplished
1. Equality in sharing - II Corinthians 8:14-15
2. The need to share - II Corinthians 9:9-13
E. Can we do no less than they? When we have a practice, does it not need to be proven by book, chapter, and verse?
1. Teach them to observe all things - Matthew 28:20
2. Walk according to the commandments given - I Thessalonians 4:1-2
3. Do all with the Lord’s permission - Colossians 3:17
F. A story is told about an elderly American Indian who attended a church service one Sunday. The preacher’s message lacked real spiritual foundation, but he made up for the lack with much shouting and pounding of the pulpit. In fact, some commented that he preached up a storm that day. After the service, someone asked the elderly Christian what he thought of the preacher’s message. Thinking for a moment, he summed up his opinion in six words: “High wind. Big thunder. No rain.” When the Scriptures are neglected, there is no rain. Only when the message is based on God’s Word are His people blessed and refreshed.
V. We could continue with many more examples, but before we conclude it is necessary to point out that simply citing book, chapter, and verse is not enough.
A. It is easy to pull statements out of context. “A text without a context is a pretext.”
1. Satan cited book, chapter, and verse, but he abused the meaning of the passage - Matthew 4:5-7
2. Peter warns of those who will distort the Scriptures - II Peter 3:15-16
3. Some tried to get Jesus to give them free food by citing Scripture - John 6:28-32.
B. Some religious groups, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, cite abundant Scripture with no regard to context. Their very name is based on Isaiah 43:10 which is addressed to the nation of Israel.
C. How do we insure our book, chapter, and verses are handled properly?
1. Remove pride in your belief that keeps you from seeing the teachings of God - I Corinthians 4:6
2. Put effort into learning and handling God’s Word - II Timothy 2:15
3. Consider all that God has said on a matter
a. The sum of God’s words is truth - Psalm 119:160
b. This is how Jesus rebuffed Satan - Matthew 4:7
4. Understand who is speaking, who is addressed, when a passage was written, where it was written, and why it was written.
a. This error that people in John 6 made.
D. God told Joshua - Joshua 1:7-8. We can do no better with our law of liberty in Christ.