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Matters, The Sufficiency of Scripture: What It is and Why It Matters, Servants of Grace
The Sufficiency of Scripture: What It is and Why It Matters

Posted On July 28, 2019

The sufficiency of Scripture is a fundamental tenet of the Christian faith. When we talk about the sufficiency of Scripture, we are speaking about how the Scriptures are all the Christian needs to equip them for a life of faith and service to God. The sufficiency of Scripture also helps readers understand how it has always been the Lord’s intention to reconcile humanity to Himself through the Lord Jesus. No other writings are necessary for the Good News of the gospel to be understood other than the Scriptures, nor are any other writings required to equip God’s people for the life of faith.

The Importance of the Sufficiency of Scripture

As we begin to discuss the sufficiency of Scripture, it’s essential to explain that we are talking about the 66 canonized books that constitute the whole Word of God—both the Old and New Testaments. The Apostle Paul said (in 2nd Timothy 3:15-17), “…And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

 Paul here uses a word that means “God-breathed”, which means Scriptures are not man-breathed (spoken by man). With that said, the Scriptures are penned by men, For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2nd Peter 1:21). No man-made writing is sufficient to equip man for every good work; only the Scriptures can do this particular—and special—work, because only the Holy Spirit equips man to do it. Since the Scriptures are sufficient to equip God’s people thoroughly, nothing else is needed beyond the Word of God.

Paul, in Colossians 2, deals with the dangers local churches face when the sufficiency of the Bible is challenged and merged with non-biblical writings, which are full of false doctrine. In chapter 2, verse 8, Paul warned the church in Colosse, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

Jude is much stronger when he states, Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).

No other writing, no matter how godly the pastor, theologian, Bible teacher, or denomination they may come from, are to be seen as equal to—or  competing with—the Word of God. The Bible is all that is necessary for the Christian to understand the character of God, the nature of man, and the doctrines of sin, heaven, hell, and salvation through the Lord Jesus alone. Paul, when writing to the Galatians, indicates the seriousness of delivering a message outside of Scripture when he says (in Galatians 1:8), But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” One of the most potent verses on the topic of the sufficiency of Scripture comes from Psalm 19:7-14, where David rejoices in the Word of God—declaring it to be perfect, trustworthy, right, sure, and altogether precious.

A Hunger for More of the Word of God

Sadly, such attacks come from inside our local churches, through management techniques, worldly methods of attracting a crowd, entertainment, extra-biblical revelation, mysticism, and some forms of psychological counseling that declare that the Bible and its precepts are not adequate for the Christian life. Jesus said in John 10:27, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

What we need a recovery of today is a hunger and thirst for what the Scriptures say. When you open your Bible to read it, you are opening the very Word of God. God speaks today through His Word. He uses faithful pastors and Bible teachers, who expose the meaning of the text, to help people grow in the Word of God. Jesus says in John 10:27 that His sheep hear His voice and He knows them and they follow Him. The people of God are to be captivated with the voice of God contained in the 66 books of the Bible. The Scriptures are the voice of God, and they alone are completely and utterly sufficient.

All around us are people who are clamoring for attention. They want their voice to be heard and their teaching to be known. The sufficiency of Scripture instructs us that the Bible alone is sufficient for the Christian. As the Word of God is preached from the pulpit, and people gather around the Word, they are hearing the voice of God through the biblical text. God uses the preaching of His Word to confound the wise and to expose the foolishness of man by pointing them to Christ alone.

Our great need today is not for more self-help thought, but instead for more of a hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God. God has provided the means of His Word via the Old and New Testament. The Bible is not a “church growth” manual, nor is it a self-help book. God uses the Word to open the eyes of the blind and to bring eternal life into the hearts of the lost. Even so, God also uses His Word to equip the Church.

Our great need in the Church today is not more programs, etc. Our great need in a biblically illiterate age is to become well versed in the Bible. In America, we have treasure after treasure of great biblical resources, and yet we are spiritually poor and lethargic. We are tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, and yet we have more sound biblical resources than anywhere else in the world. The people of God in America have access to Bibles nearly everywhere—at our local churches, in bookstores, on the internet, and more. Yet, statistics teach us that people are biblically illiterate. They don’t know who preached the Sermon on the Mount, nor do they know the Ten Commandments.

How the Sufficiency of Scripture Challenges Christians Today

It is into the present age of the Church that the sufficiency of Scripture confronts and challenges us. If we say we believe the right things about the Bible itself, then we will do what Scripture teaches. The sufficiency of Scripture challenges the need for continued revelation because it teaches that the Bible alone is sufficient for faith and practice.

If you were to but pick up the Scriptures and daily read, God would use the Scriptures in your life to address problem areas that you may not even be aware of, and yet the Lord does. The Lord knows the exact condition of your heart today. There is nothing hidden from Him. Even so, the Lord also longs to provide mercy and grace for you that He has accomplished for you through Christ today.

Whether you open your Bible daily or not is not the issue. At the root of daily Bible reading is to see the Bible as the very Word of God. Only then will you see that, in the pages of the Bible, is the very food your soul longs for. When you don’t open the Word of God, and don’t have any hunger for it, what you are showing is that you have no hunger for God, nor to grow in the grace of God. That reveals a heart that is decaying and apathetic about God Himself and is one that doesn’t desire to honor God.

The sufficiency of Scripture challenges us at precisely this point. The Bible alone is sufficient for the faith and practice of the people of God. The Scriptures are sufficient for our lives and ministries. The sufficiency of Scripture matters because it helps us to see our great need of Christ and His greatness to meet our need.

Wherever you are at today, the sufficiency of Scripture matters. For in the Scriptures, God has chosen to reveal Himself fully; it is through these 66 books that God Himself chooses to speak, and does for the glory of His great name, to a world that believes its own truth matters more. Only the voice of God thundering from the Scriptures can pierce through the fog of a post-truth world. This is precisely what the sufficiency of Scripture does—it pierces through the fog of our need today—despite the fact that many in the church are saying today that we need to have visions, dreams, or more revelation from God to make this decision or that. But God has said His Word alone is enough for all of faith and all practice for the Christian life and ministry.

As Christians, we are to trust the Word, because behind it is the character of a holy, just, omnipotent, and omnipresent God. The Word of God will never change, but the hearts of men change as they respond rightly it. The only proper response to the Word of God is repentance, faith, and obedience because of the grace of God. What is your response the sufficiency of the Scriptures? Will you repent of your apathy, dear Christian, towards the Word of God? Do you long for more of the righteousness of God? Do you long for God to grow you in His grace? God knows, and He sees the condition of your heart today.

My plea is that you, dear reader, will trust Him who is utterly sufficient in and of Himself. He has revealed Himself in the Word for you, and He alone is enough for you. That is why the sufficiency of the Scriptures not only matters to understand, but it’s critical to understand in the present times in which we find ourselves.

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