Have you ever wondered if the Bible is really able to help you with your deepest problems? Have you ever desired a specific “word from the Lord?” Maybe for a job, relationship, big life decision? These questions are concerned with the sufficiency of Scripture.
Does the Bible have everything you need to know God and to live a life that pleases Him?
What is the sufficiency of Scripture? One way to explain it is that the Bible contains everything we need for knowledge of God, salvation, and godly living. A more concise definition is God’s Word is enough.
The Testimony of the Bible
There are multiple places in Scripture we could look at to understand this doctrine but two will be a good starting point.
First, let’s look at 2 Tim 3:16-17.
“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.”
Where is the sufficiency of Scripture in these verses? We see it in the word “every.” Scripture equips Christians for every good work. We can view the implications of this in two ways. First, we can look at it negatively. Without Scripture, we will not be equipped for every good work. Second, we can look at it positively. The Christian only needs Scripture to be equipped for every good work because Scripture is sufficient.
The second passage where we see the sufficiency of scripture is Psalm 19:7-11
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”
Where do we see sufficiency? It is at the beginning of verse 7, “the law of the LORD is perfect.” “The law of the LORD” is a way to describe the word of God. It is perfect and because it is perfect it is sufficient.
The Bible is sufficient for the Christian to know God, salvation, and how to live a life that pleases Him.
Quick to Doubt
The sufficiency of Scripture is the attribute most believers are quick to doubt.
Kevin DeYoung explains why this can happen, “Scripture doesn’t tell us everything we may want to know about everything. It tells us everything we need to know about the most important things.” (Taking God at His Word, p54)
There are many things we wish the Bible would tell us plainly. For example, the young man and woman in a relationship would like to know clearly from Scripture if this particular person is who they should marry. If we are not careful since Scripture does not speak to us in this way we can come to the conclusion that it is not sufficient. Scripture may not tell us exactly who to marry but it does describe for us the type of person we should marry.
As one theologian puts it Scripture gives us all the divine words needed for life. What is important for us to know as children of God is found in the Bible. Nothing needs to be added to or removed from Scripture.
We do not need anything else to help us in matters of faith and practice. The Bible contains everything we need to live a godly life. Believer, if you would believe this and build your life upon it– that you need nothing else– this would bring great comfort to your life.
God’s Word is sufficient because, ultimately, God is sufficient. God’s word has the same attributes as God because He inspired it. The Bible was not man’s idea, it was God’s. (2 Pet. 1:19-21).
“And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,”
Go and study and be transformed by the Word as the Bible contains everything we need for knowledge of God, salvation, and godly living. God’s word is enough.
In our next lesson, we’ll look at the clarity of scripture and see how every believer can read and study the Bible on their own and benefit. The main things we need to know, believe, and do can be clearly seen in the Bible.
May God open our eyes to behold wondrous things in His Word.
Reflection and Application Questions
- According to 2 Timothy 3:17 do we need anything other than the Bible to be equipped for every good work?
- According to Psalm 19:7 is there anything in Scripture that needs to be added? What about removed?
- What ways have you doubted the sufficiency of Scripture?
- What are some other examples of ways that we doubt that God’s Word is enough?