There are four authorities to which we can turn to establish the truth about God and how he wants us to live. They are the Bible; the church; experience; and, reason.
Of course, we cannot read the Bible apart from our experience and reason. And we are wise to listen to the voices of history and the church as we understand scripture. Often there is no conflict between the conclusions each of these ‘authorities’ lead us to, but when there is we must choose which ‘authority’ will win.
This is especially true when our culture is heading in a direction that takes us away from Biblical teaching. When it comes to issues such as the exclusivity of Christ as the way to relationship with God, the teaching role of women in church, marriage, family etc, there is a strong push to either reject the Bible’s teaching or to reinterpret it to fit what our culture is advocating.
In the end there are really only two authorities,
it’s God’s authority in the Bible against human authority in three forms (human experience, human institution and human reason). We are fighting one battle, on three fronts. It’s the assertion of God’s final and complete authority, against the desire of humanity to shrug off his rule and determine our own path.
So the Christian can’t (and doesn’t) blindly follow the Bible. We use all our abilities and knowledge and experience to come to the best understanding of the Bible we can. And we trust the Bible not despite facts but because of them and because of our experience of God’s salvation. But at the same time, having come to Christ in trust and obedience we do just that—we trust and obey his word. And when his word conflicts with the world we must choose. Will we listen to God and his Son the Lord Jesus Christ? Or will we listen to the world?