Why Is Scripture the Ultimate Standard for Morality and Ethics?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Morality and Ethics, Part 1

by Erik Lutz on March 22, 2011

Erik Lutz, AiG–U.S., shows why only the Bible provides an absolute standard for morality.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16–17)

Today’s big question: why is Scripture the ultimate standard for morality and ethics?

According to Merriam-Webster’s, ethics is “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation.” In the upcoming devotionals, we will consider what Scripture states about various ethical issues.

But why start with Scripture? Although humans are given an inherent sense of good and evil (Romans 1:32, 2:15), that cannot ultimately be our guide for ethics. Without an absolute standard, morality would be relative and dependent on each individual. But morality is not a human invention; it flows from the nature of God, who is eternal and unchanging. Therefore, as much as we may want to, we cannot determine what is right and wrong on our own. Our Creator, the Source of all truth, has revealed what we need to know of right and wrong in His Word.

Many secularists and liberal scholars acknowledge that the Bible is full of excellent moral teaching, yet ultimately they reject the inspiration or inerrancy of Scripture. This is just another example of how people want to pick and choose what parts of God’s Word they think are true and apply that to their lives as they see fit.

However, if Scripture were not “God-breathed” truth and 100 percent reliable, how could we trust anything written in it? If any part of Scripture were false, then the whole would be suspect—especially since the Bible claims to be truth without error!

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, regarded Scripture as the ultimate standard. He claimed, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17) and “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Today’s passage shows us all Scripture is truth from God and therefore must be our foundation in every area, “that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The Bible is our basis for ethics.

Psalm 119 is devoted to extolling the greatness of the Word of God and makes these claims of absolute, unchanging truth:

The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. (Psalm 119:160)
My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness. (Psalm 119:172)

The writer of Psalm 119 explained how to live a moral life. He wrote, “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word” (Psalm 119:9).

Have you been taking heed according to His Word lately, or are you relying on your own standard of “truth”?

Today’s big idea: the Word of God is truth—the only foundation for right and wrong.

What to pray: ask God to cleanse your heart according to His Word.


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