Scripture: Sufficient For You

The sufficiency of Scripture is a crucial tenet of the Christian faith. By Scripture, we mean the sixty-six canonical books that constitute the whole Word of God—both the Old and New Testaments. By sufficiency, we mean that the Scriptures are all the Christian needs in order to be equiped 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

The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy,

“…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” (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

Paul here uses a word that means “God-breathed,” which means Scriptures are not man-breathed (spoken merely 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” (2 Peter 1:21). No man-made writing is sufficient to equip 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 Colossae, “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.

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. 

We need to recover our 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. As Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” The people of God are to be captivated with the voice of God contained in the Bible. The Scriptures are the voice of God, and they alone are completely and utterly sufficient.

The fact that you open your Bible daily (or don't) is not the root issue; it is whether you see the Bible as nothing less than the Word of God. Only then will you see that the very food your soul longs for lies in the pages of the Bible. When you don’t open the Word of God, when you lack hunger to read it, you show a lack of hunger for God Himself, and for your own growth in the grace of God. That reveals a decaying, apathetic heart towards God, a heart that doesn’t desire to honor God.

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 sixty-six 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. 

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.

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. 

Dave Jenkins (MAR, MDiv, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary) is the executive director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the executive editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and the host of the Equipping You in Grace Podcast and Warriors of Grace Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter (@davejjenkins), Facebook (Dave Jenkins SOG), and Instagram.

Related Links

"Calvin contra Rome on Scripture" by Aaron Denlinger

The Sufficiency of Scripture, edited by Jeffrey Stivason [Booklet]  [Download]

PCRT '16 — How Firm a Foundation: The Bible's Authority, Sufficiency, and Clarity, with Michael Kruger, Derek Thomas, and Philip Ryken  [Audio Disk]  [MP3 Disc]  [Download]

God Has Spoken, with Gregory Beale, Carl Trueman, and Jonathan Master  [Audio Disk]  [MP3 Disc]  [Download]