How Can the Bible Be Authoritative?

Originally published in Vox Evangelica 1991, 21, 7–32. Reproduced by permission of the author.

The question before us, then, is: how can the Bible be authoritative? This way of putting it carries deliberately, two different though related meanings, and I shall look at them in turn. First, how can there be such a thing as an authoritative book? What sort of a claim are we making about a book when we say that it is ‘authoritative’? Second, by what means can the Bible actually exercise its authority? How is it to be used so that its authority becomes effective?