Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. (Matthew 22:29 KJV)
I see the Bible as the final authority on questions of faith. I see both the Old Testament and the New as scripture. Although I'm not alone in this, many others do not.
Differences within the early church are evident in the New Testament. Putting Jesus' teachings into written form as well as applying them to daily living quickly became arguments within the church. While some look upon this as a reason to doubt, I find a sentence from a look at Marcionism to be of interest:
"Marcion forced more orthodox Christians to examine their own presuppositions and to state more clearly what they already believed”I would paraphrase that to my own thought process:
Questions about Christianity allow me to examine my own presuppositions, assumptions and to state clearly what I believe along with the source of my information.I ran across Marcionism during a look at the history of the New Testament. There were considerable dissenters during the process of determining which writings could be considered inspired, and which were not. Differences of opinions were not new, even then.
Peter and Paul are considered top of the line resources. They were undisputed leaders in the new church, with differing views in some areas and without concern about pointing them out. Both men stood before church leaders in Jerusalem and explained what they believed and gave the source of that belief. We should be able to do the same.
As Paul prepared to go to Jerusalem to answer questions, he told the Elders at the Ephesus church that he had kept nothing from them. That what he preached was what God gave him to preach – all of it:
For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (Acts 20:27 KJV)
Paul knew scripture, there is no doubt of that. He encouraged others, as he wrote to Timothy the source of scripture:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
But he also told him why we should be using it:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV)
I was reminded of one story in the Bible, Philip and the Ethiopian in Acts 8:26-40, as I said my prayers last night. There are several loved ones who have rejected God’s existence and I prayed for them, asking God to send them a Philip who could answer their questions. One very important aspect of that story was:
And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? (Acts 8:30 KJV)
The Ethiopian was reading scripture. He did have questions. God sent Philip to answer someone who was seeking Him.
I encourage reading the Bible. When questions arise, ask God for a Philip, please.