Is the New Testament Authoritative?

By Frank Brown

(Written May 8, 2000. The problem is much worse now, so beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing who would love to “enlighten” you)

Dear Brethren:


ver the course of the past four or five years I have noticed a disturbing trend arising among some Believers, and it is growing. There are newsletters, booklets, tapes, internet web pages, sermons, etc. which are sowing seeds of doubt among some brethren about the authenticity of Scripture, particularly the section we call the New Testament.

It generally begins with doubt being expressed about whether or not the writings of the Apostle Paul are inspired. Doubt soon turns to denial. Then from there it is easy to begin to deny the authority of the whole New Testament, and eventually in some cases, the entire Bible, Old and New.

Some declare that, since there are a few mistranslations and errors in the New Testament, the whole thing is therefore unreliable. It is true that Yahweh has allowed some errors to creep in, during hundreds of years of man's translation and copying. However, virtually all of these errors are known, and have been corrected in various versions. What they fail to tell us is that there are also errors of translation in a few places in the Old Testament. But again, most if not all of these errors are known and duly noted in Bible concordances, Bible commentaries, etc.

Yahweh inspired His writers, prophets and apostles to write and speak the original versions correctly, just as He inspired them. The fact that Yahweh has allowed some human error to creep in since then does nothing to dilute the overall authenticity. He said His Spirit would guide us into all truth. By simple research, comparing the plain, simple Scriptures with Scriptures that are not so clear, letting the clear ones interpret the less-clear ones, we can know whether or not they are authentic. Yahweh has not allowed a single Scripture to be obscured beyond understanding, especially those that bear directly on our salvation. He has not and never will make salvation so difficult that we cannot understand, if His Spirit is leading us.

It has been said by some that, in their view, only the Old Testament has authority, and therefore, unless a New Testament doctrine is also recorded in the Old Testament, it is not valid. Yet, most of these teachers do observe some things that I have never seen in the Old Testament. For example, at Yahshua's memorial supper, the night before Passover, He instituted the rite of foot washing to show humility, and said we should do likewise. He also gave the symbols of bread and wine to represent His body and blood, for us to partake of henceforth in place of the actual slaughter of a lamb. He became our Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7-8).

Another example is to be found in the difference between the rites signifying acceptance of the Old Covenant and the New. While physical circumcision was required to become a full-fledged male Israelite, the rite of baptism (for purification) was also known back then. Now, baptism in Yahshua’s Name upon repentance is the specified New Covenant requirement.

But this does not mean that physical circumcision is no longer required. When we are baptized at repentance, we are considered to be circumcised in heart. Acts 15 explains that physical circumcision is not required before baptism. Notice verse 20:

Acts 15:20 KJV)  "But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.”

It is obvious that these are not ALL the duties of a new convert. Nothing is said about Sabbath keeping; nothing about clean and unclean meats; nothing about honoring parents; nothing about not murdering, etc. etc. These four things were especially odious to Yahweh, and only what they should understand and stop doing before baptism. How do we know this? By the very next verse:

{21}For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day."

Ah, yes- they would learn the rest of the Torah after baptism, and after beginning to attend weekly Sabbath services, where the “law of Moses” was still being taught. We know of course that this is the Law of Yahweh, given to and through Moses, and it is still being taught today in Yahweh’s True Assemblies (Matthew 5:17-20).

We must remember that Abraham, the “father of circumcision,” was circumcised in heart by his obedience before he received the command to be circumcised in the flesh (read Romans 4:3-13). In an ancient prophecy for the end-time we are now in, Yahweh inspired the prophet Ezekiel to write the following:

(Ezek 44:6-9 KJV)  "And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, Thus saith Adonai YHWH; O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations, {7} In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations. {8} And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves. {9} Thus saith Adonai YHWH; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel."

The Melchisedek priesthood replaced the Levitical, Yahshua becoming its High Priest. Along with the Levites went the law of animal sacrifices. The book of Hebrews has a great deal to say about this, but suffice it to quote only a small part:

(Heb 7:12 KJV)  "For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law."

There is nothing in the Old Testament directly specifying that any of these changes were to be made, yet they are the heart and soul of Yahweh's plan of salvation. Without the New Testament and the testimony of Yahshua the Messiah, the plan of salvation is incomplete.

We also find that the Apostle Peter referred to Paul's writings as “Scripture” in 2 Peter.

(2 Pet 3:15-16 KJV)  "And account that the longsuffering of our Master is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; {16} As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."

Some say that the word here translated "scriptures" is a different word than used elsewhere. This is not so. The word "scripture" is used in the Bible 32 times, once in the Old Testament (Daniel 10:21), and 31 times in the New Testament. In every instance, the Greek word is "graphe," pronounced graf-ay and means "holy writ."

124. graphe, graf-ay'; from G1125; a document, i.e. holy Writ (or its contents or a statement in it):--scripture. [from Strong's Greek New Testament Dictionary]

The word "scriptures" is used 21 times, all in the New Testament, and all are also from the Greek word "graphe," except the one in 2 Timothy 3:15. That word is gramma, but it is also derived from the same Greek word as graphe, and means essentially the same thing.

1121. gramma, gram'-mah; from G1125; a writing, i.e. a letter, note, epistle, book, etc.; plur. learning:--bill, learning, letter, scripture, writing, written. [Strong's]

In every instance, these 52 usages in the New Testament of Scripture and Scriptures are referring to the Old Testament writings with the lone exception of the Apostle Peter’s reference to the Apostle Paul’s writings, in which Peter equated them to the Old Testament writings, both being “holy writ.” Following is a complete list of occurrences so you can check this out for yourself.


Matthew 21:42, 22:29, 26:54 & 56. Mark 12:24 and 14:49. Luke 24:27, 32, 45.

John 5:39. Acts 17:2 & 11, 18:24 & 28. Romans 1:2, 15:4 and 16:26.

1 Cor. 15:3 & 4. 2 Tim. 3:15, 2 Peter 3:16.


Mark 12:10 and 15:28. Luke 4:21. John 2:22, 7:38 & 42, 10:35. 13:18, 17:12, 19:24, 28, 36 & 37, 20:9.

Acts 1:16, 8:32 & 35, Romans 4:3, 9:17, 10:11, 11:2. Galatians 3:8 & 22, 4:30.

1 Tim. 5:18, 2 Tim. 3:16, James 2:8 & 23, 4:5. 1 Peter 2:6, 2 Peter 1:20.

While it is generally true that New Testament doctrines will be found in the Old Testament, it is not a hard and fast rule. Conversely, the absence of an Old Testament law being repeated in the New Testament, does not mean that that law is invalid. The entire Bible must be taken as a whole. Both Old and New are Spirit-breathed Scripture. Yahshua said the Scripture cannot be broken. That means all parts of the Old harmonize together; all parts of the New harmonize together; and all parts of the Old and New harmonize with each other. There can be no contradictions in either, else His words would be a lie.

Perceived contradictions stem from misunderstandings. And, as Peter said, some of Paul's writings, as well as others, are hard to understand. That's all the more reason to spend time and effort studying out the true meanings of what is being taught.

This is being written as a warning and admonition to guard your mind against being deceived by those who would weaken your faith with these baseless allegations about Paul's writings being without inspiration, or that the New Testament is not Scripture. It simply is not so. Once a doubt is planted it will take root and grow. I have seen honest, sincere people taken out of the faith, denying that Yahshua is the Messiah, or that Paul was inspired, or that the New Testament has relevance, as a result of reading or listening to these kinds of undermining messages.

For those of you who might harbor such beliefs, I encourage you to study the Scriptures with an open mind and a willing heart to be corrected, if you find yourself in error. ~

2 Tim. 3:16 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of Yahweh, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”