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Book review:Authority by Dr D Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Thursday February 21, 2013 20:27

Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn. (1997) Authority. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth. 94p


Reviewed by Stephen Smith


Dr Lloyd-Jones is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century’s greatest expository preachers. All his books are transcripts of his sermons or lectures. This book, Authority, is based on three lectures he gave to a student conference in Canada in 1957.


This issue of authority is important because man is constantly searching for ultimate truth – ultimate authority. Humans do this through various religions and cults, and philosophy and reason. However, one cannot arrive at this ultimate knowledge by ones own efforts. The apostle Paul stated that the world did not know God through wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:21). Lloyd-Jones adds “the world by wisdom still does not know God!” (P12 Emphasis by Lloyd-Jones).


The three lectures cover the following topics:

  • The Authority of Jesus Christ
  • The Authority of the Scriptures
  • The Authority of the Holy Spirit


The New Testament shows a clear witness to Christ’s authority. The gospels show the authority of our Lord in His baptism where the Holy Spirit descends upon Christ and a voice from heaven says “This is my beloved Son”. (Matthew 3:17). Similar words are uttered at the Transfiguration, but an extra note of authority is sounded “listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5). Christ claims to be “the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Christ also demonstrated His authority in His death, resurrection and ascension.


The Scriptures themselves attest to their own authority. Our Lord accepted the authority of the Old Testament  and testified that they spoke of Him (Luke 24:44). Although there are many arguments that verify the authority of the scriptures, in the final analysis the truths of the Scripture are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). It is the preached word and the work of the Spirit that ultimately convinces a person of the authority of Holy Scripture.


Dr Lloyd-Jones explains how the authority of the Holy Spirit shows itself in the life of our Lord. God gave Christ the Spirit in complete fullness for the task (John 3:34). Next, Dr Lloyd-Jones explains how the Holy Spirit shows authority in the life of the believer. The Holy Spirit alone can open the heart and enable one to receive truth. He then gives understanding and assurance to the true believer. Finally, Dr Lloyd-Jones teaches on the work of the Spirit in the church and especially the importance of revival.  


This is a very helpful small book. It is especially helpful as an aid to defend the faith while evangelising or to strengthen the faith of a believer.