Bible authority is a fitting and necessary place to start our study. A standard to which we can look for direction is needed in every walk of life. In government the standard is the Constitution. In writing it's the law of grammar. What is the standard for religion? Have you wondered why religious people call themselves by different names? Have you ever questioned if God wants people to worship Him in all the diversity we see today? Isn't there a standard by which we all may be united in one body? Our study will show that not only does God want Christians to be of one mind religiously, He demands it (1 Corinthians 1:10–13). Christians are not to be divided. This study will help us find the standard by which all people can and must be united.
- We offer this illustration to help you see the necessity of a standard of authority is in order. Let's consider "Grandma's cooking." Oh, how good it is! We ask grandma for the recipe. When we get it home it reads, "a pinch of oregano, a smidgen of garlic, a dash of pepper and a handful of flour." Why doesn't our casserole taste like grandma's? Obviously, we followed the recipe, but our standard of measurement is not the same! How much is a handful? My hand is much larger than grandma's. How much is a smidgen? Grandma knows what her standard means, but we do not. We need grandma to standardize her measurements into "cups, tablespoons, etc.". The same is true in religion. We find Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians only because of their differing standards of authority, resulting in different worship and modes of membership. Contrary to what many people think, the Bible doesn't cause division. Division is caused by the standards (creeds and ecclesiastical laws of men) accepted as authority along with the Bible. However, God's will is not found in man's authority and writings, but in His own writings. It is here that we must search to find His will.