Scriptural Examples Of Authority


 By Don McDaniel

Authority Defined

Webster’s Dictionary: opinion, decision, power: 1 a: a citation used in defense or support; also: the source from which the citation is drawn b (1): a conclusive statement or set of statements; also: a decision taken as a precedent (2): TESTIMONY c: an individual cited or appealed to as an expert 2 a: power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior b: freedom granted: RIGHT 3 a: persons in command; specific: GOVERNMENT b: a governmental agency or corporation to administer a revenue-producing public enterprise 4 a: GROUNDS, WARRANT b: convincing force syn see INFLUENCE, POWER.

Strong’s (1849) Exousia (ex-oo-see’-ah) Definitions: from (1832) (exesti) (in the sense of ability); privilege, i.e. (subject) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (object) mastery (concrete magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence: -- authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.

Examples Of Authority

  • Esther 9:29 – “Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim.”  (All Authority, or with the authority of the King behind her?)
  • Proverbs 29:2 – “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”  (Authority wielded by the righteous leads to rejoicing, authority is not bad because it is authority, it is bad when misused)
  • Matthew 7:29 – “For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”  Mark 1:22 – “And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.”  (Authority can be recognized; Christ was recognized as one that taught with authority.)
  • Matthew 8:9 & Luke 7:8 – “For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.”  (Different levels of authority; The centurion was under the authority of another, he in turn was in authority over soldiers)
  • Matthew 20:25-28 & Mark 10:42-45 – “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.  But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”  (Authority may be misused, but being a servant does not lessen authority.  Christ came as a servant, but he was, and is, God will all authority)
  • Matthew 21:23 – “And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? And who gave thee this authority?”  Mark 1:27 – “And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.”  (Authority may be recognized yet questioned.  The authority of Christ was obvious by his teaching, yet the Jews wanted proof of his authority)
  • Matthew 21:27, Mark 11:33, & Luke 20:8 – “And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.”  (Legitimate authority does not have to answer every question or accusation)
  • Mark 13:34 – “For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.”  Luke 9:1 – “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.”  Luke 19:17 – “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.”  (Authority can be delegated)
  • Luke 20:20 & 25 – “And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.” “And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's.”  (There are different types of authority; these are examples of civil authority)
  • Acts 8:27 – “And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship.”  (Delegated civil authority)
  • Acts 9:14 – “And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.”  Acts 26:10 – “Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.”  Acts 26:12 – “Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests.”  (Paul was delegated authority to pursue Christians)
  • 1 Corinthians 15:24 – “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.”  (In the end, all authority and power on earth will cease; they are temporary)
  • 2 Corinthians 10:8 – “For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed.”  (Some had delegated authority, given by the Lord, to be used for edification)
  • 1 Timothy 2:12 – “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”  (The man has authority or it could not be usurped; yet the Bible does not use the word “authority” when stating “wives submit yourselves to your own husbands (Ephesians 5:22).”  Authority can be implied)
  • Titus 2:15 – “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”  (Titus was to speak, exhort, and rebuke with “all authority” that is with the complete authority of the Lord supporting him)
  • Revelation 13:2 – “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”  (An example of worldly authority, great authority, but not all authority such as that of Christ)

Christ Has All Authority, But The Examples Above Show:

  1. Authority may be in Civil Government                       
  2. Authority may be delegated                
  3. Authority may be implied
  4. Authority may be good or abused                   
  5. Authority may be usurped                  
  6. Authority may be by degree

Do The Following Terms Imply Authority?

  • Obey               
  • Rule Over                   
  • Submit                        
  • Watch For                   
  • Accountable               
  • Lead
  • Feed                
  • Shepherd                    
  • Pastor                          
  • Bishop                        
  • Overseers                    
  • Honor
  • Guide              
  • Decrees                                   
  • Ordained

DO ALL OF THESE TERMS APPLY TO ELDERS?  Yes!  Look up these terms in your Bible.  Remember the authority of elders as we search out and qualify men to be elders.