Is it in the Bible? No. Though it is one of the most popular sayings in Christianity, the English phrase “God helps those who help themselves” was first popularized by Benjamin Franklin in his 1736 Almanac.
However, even then, it was not a new idea. Mohammed is reported to have said something similar and several ancient Greek philosophers published variations on the idea that could be translated in to English as “God helps those who help themselves.”
Before we explore how the idea could be useful, let’s consider the obvious side issue that much of modern Christianity has no basis in the Bible, such as Santa Claus. So, that brings up a question that many may fear to even recognize: where does scriptural authority come from? Scriptural authority cannot come from written scriptures, since virtually all written scriptures are identified as transcriptions of oral teachings given long prior to the recording of those teachings in to writing. Further, if scriptural authority only comes from scripture, than what about conflicting claims to authority amongst the scriptures of various religious traditions and translators? King James may have authorized a particular translation of the Bible in to English, but based on what did he claim any authority to authorize a particular translation?
Well, he was simply a ruler with an enormous concentration of military threat behind him. Considering that many other versions of the Bible have been historically attacked by rulers as heresy, we can recognize that popular authority influences public perception. In fact, in many cases, rulers have declared that all versions of the Bible are banned under threat of criminal punishment.
Logically, scriptural authority cannot come from rulers later authorizing those particular transcriptions or translations. Further, if the sequences of words have authority when written down, there is no additional authority than when those sequences of words were passed down by oral tradition.
When exactly did spiritual authority begin? With Moses? With Abraham? Thousands of years prior to them?
There is no beginning to spiritual authority. That is a fundamental aspect of the idea. If an authority never ends and never begins, that could be called an eternal authority, not just a remnant of some old cultural tradition or an authorized translation.
If God is the source of the eternal authority in the Bible, then did God’s eternal authority end when the Bible was written down? No. Further, God’s eternal authority did not begin with any particular revelation to any prophet (Mohammed, Jesus, Isaiah, Noah, Moses, Abraham, etc).
God’s authority is not limited to a particular time period, to a particular language, or to a particular religious tradition. God’s authority is not limited to a particular species or to a particular geographical boundary.
God’s authority is not limited. It is not authorized by a particular king or by any higher authority. Relative to God’s authority, all other authority is just a small branch extending from a larger trunk.
The authority of God has been compared to the authority of a mustard seed. Just as a mustard seed produces all of the branches of a mustard tree, so is all authority a branch of God’s authority.
(Note that many translations reference the Kingdom of God rather than the Authority of God. That is probably just because of a lack of direct comprehension by translators, who would probably not be studying scriptures of foreign languages if they understood the simplicity and power of the Authority of God. In fact, someone who has a direct experience or awareness of the Authority of God operating within them is not likely to spend a lot of time studying ancient scriptures to figure out what they might mean and how they might be useful, right? Did Jesus go around carrying a copy of the Old Testament? Did Isaiah go around carrying a copy of the sayings of Prophets prior to him? Those with direct revelation may say some radical things about old scriptures such as “”Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” http://bible.cc/matthew/5-17.htm)
There is no authority beyond God’s authority. If there is a temporary authority who has any authority, it is only as a subsidiary authority of God. If there is a devil who has any authority, it is only as a subsidiary authority of God.
God’s authority is the only authority. If we even remove the word God, then we could say that authority is the only authority. All forms of authority are just forms of authority. Authority is a larger linguistic category than any particular instance of authority.
Claims of authority are fundamentally claims. Claims are constructed in language. The root of the word authority is author. An author is one who constructs sequences of words.
God gives authority to those who claim authority. Those who reject authority (their own or that of anyone else) may not exert authority.
Did King James have the authority to authorize a particular translation? He allegedly claimed to authorize that translation, right? What other popular authority is there but an authority claimed in language?
God by grace reveals to some the nature or source of authority. The nature or source of popular authority is through the activity of language, through the claiming or exercising of authority.
Action is the exercise of authority. The future capacity to act is the result of prior activity.
Without language, there is no claiming of authority nor any labeling of one as having authority and another as a subject or agent or instrument. However, sequences of words flow as the revelation of God‘s eternal authority through God’s human instruments.
Which sequences of words are not branches of God’s authority? All sequences of words are branchings of God’s authority! What other authority could there be?
If God claims that there is some other authority external to God, then that is what God is claiming. If God claims to be in a struggle with some conflicting authority external to God, then that is what God is claiming. If God claims to be the victim of some unjustified external authority, then that is what God is claiming. If God claims to need some savior to come and rescue God from the problems and torments of a hell that has been imposed on God by some isolated distant oppressive authority as a punishment for shameful sinning, then that is what God is claiming.
This is the activity of God’s authority. All activity is the activity of God’s authority.
When an instrument of God speaks of what is to come and then that speaking is consistent with what actually arises, then we can call that speaking authoritative or faithful or credible or consistent with what actually is happening. When an instrument of God speaks of what has been, then we can call that speaking reflective or interpretative.
Many of God’s branches claim confusion about recent developments in human civilization such as the changing of economic trends and of changing social values that are measured in changing prices of various things. That would be an instrument of God claiming to have no authority.
God can claim authority or God can claim resentment and victimhood and helplessness or God can claim innocent curiosity. In fact, God claims all of these through the many instruments or branches of God.
- Flashback Friday: My Bible translators can beat up your Bible translators. (reneamac.com)
- Going Global (manifoldgreatness.wordpress.com)
- MUST-READ: “Why I Will Not Divorce the Bible” by Jared Byas (paulburkhart.wordpress.com)
- The Translators to the Reader (bltnotjustasandwich.com)
- Jason Stellman Resigns from the Presbyterian Church in America (apologus.wordpress.com)
- Review: The Bible (beneaththetangles.wordpress.com)
- New Modern Translation Bible Omits the Term “Christ” (wdednh.wordpress.com)
- The Sufficiency of Scripture (part one) (mindrenewers.com)
- Living Life Fully… without a bucket list (ptl2010.com)
- Is the Bible your puppet? Exegesis vs. Eisegesis (anchorforthesoul.org)
- The Attributes of Scripture (pjcockrell.wordpress.com)
- The Unity of Scripture (mindrenewers.com)
- Why Read the Bible? Day 22 of 32 “Explaining the Word” (christlikeministriesnwa.wordpress.com)
- Is the Bible True? (ptl2010.com)
- “God Helps Me Bible” by Juliet David and Clare Caddy (Illustrator) from Kregel Publications (onedesertrose.wordpress.com)
- Catch A Tiger by its Toe (writingbypaul.wordpress.com)
- Answering Objections (str.typepad.com)
- Are Mormons Christians? The answer in this article by CARM. It will open your eyes. (pastormikesays.wordpress.com)
- Where does the Quran say the Holy Bible corrupted (paulmarcelrene.wordpress.com)
- Elisha, the boys and the bears (thesaltlick.tv)
- The Decree of God (keyword-power.com)
- Excuses (denimdevotion.wordpress.com)
- Ananda Rose: Faith, Politics and the Undocumented: Can the Bible Inform the Illegal Immigration Debate? (huffingtonpost.com)
- The Power of God’s Word (mattjschell.wordpress.com)
- It Seemed Right – Judges 21:25 (dianneguthmuller.com)
- Chad Docterman: Why the Christian God is Impossible (k1nsey6.com)
- My Atheist Aha! Moment (toomuchpathos.wordpress.com)
- What the Bible really says – LETTER (saultstar.com)
- Daily Devotional | The Power Of Your Testimony (thelivingwordministries.wordpress.com)
- The Purity of the Word of God (evangelist91.wordpress.com)
- Is the Devil real? Yes. The Bible says so! (ptl2010.com)
- Matthew 19:24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (tribuneofthepeople.com)
- The Gospel is about God’s justice (markkelly.wordpress.com)
- Kingdom of God Bible Seminars, hosted by the United Church of God, Will Explore Biblical Teachings about the Future of Humanity in 100 Nationwide Presentations in Sept. (prweb.com)
- They questioned his authority (pjgracecommunity.wordpress.com)
- Why Do I Believe in Jesus? – Part 5 (citizentom.com)
- Can I Trust the Bible?–Question 4 (pastorjeffcma.wordpress.com)
- God is looking for someone who will GET UP! (leighcranefreeman.wordpress.com)
- boldness, needed for every christian yesterday and today (rambosbikerministry.wordpress.com)
- Your Vision: You are a Citizen of Heaven (justonetouchfromtheking.wordpress.com)
- Why Read the Bible – Day 17 of 32 – Studying of the Word (christlikeministriesnwa.wordpress.com)
- Daily Devotional | You Must Be Born Again! (thelivingwordministries.wordpress.com)
- Sharing Some Uplifting Thoughts from Dr Norman Vincent Peale (sharefaith.wordpress.com)
- The Mathematics of Christianity (almostanythinggoeschristianity.wordpress.com)
- Why Read the Bible? – Day 21 of 32 – Understanding of the Word (christlikeministriesnwa.wordpress.com)
- Heaven On Earth- Are You IN? (jeanniescrossroad.wordpress.com)
- Sermon Notes: Luke 9:1-20 – Who Do You Say that I Am? (firstbaptistscottcity.wordpress.com)
- God’s Role in Salvation: God Awakens Sinners (gracesatisfies.wordpress.com)
- God Hardens Us to Difficulties (shareaverse.wordpress.com)