See chapter 8 Systematic Theology
God has granted us sufficiency of His word throughout history. Man has enough in God’s word in order to learn and understand what God desires of us and we have enough information how to live the Christ following life we need. Furthermore, there is sufficient information for each of us to hear the word of God, understand we are sinners, to confess our sins before God, and be saved unto Christ! What is the legitimate definition of “The Sufficiency of Scripture”?
What is the purpose of scripture? Well, in the second letter to the Apostle Timothy by the Apostle Paul it was stated:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.~2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV
Hence the purpose of scripture is to teach those who already believe and have accepted Jesus as the Son of God, who rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Now, can it be used by those who do not believe? Yes, yet we do not even need the bible, or scripture, to prove the existence of God.
We can find everything that God has spoken on, ultimately, any given topic; either directly or indirectly or inferred. For example, in the sixth commandment “You shall not murder.” (Deuteronomy 5:17 NIV) Blatantly states that we are not to murder anyone. But what is murder?
But by way of inference we can deduce that we are not to harm another in any physical way. Jesus spoke on this, in fact, Jesus stated emphatically that we are subject to judgement if we are angry with our brother. Furthermore, we are subject to the fire of hell if we even say, “You fool!” to our brother. (ref: Matthew 5:20-22 NIV) This is but one example of inferring from scripture and all we can learn from the same.
The sufficiency of scripture also promises us that the amount of scripture given to us at each stage in our history is and was sufficient for us to learn what was being taught to us and that it is proper and sufficient for our redemption through Christ. We learned in the Mosaic teachings this basic understanding:
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. ~Deuteronomy 29:29 NIV
God has this tendency to reveal to some people more than the rest of us. Just look throughout history and this will be an understood fact. You may be one of those who believe that the bible, while being canonized was a severe censure of the word of God, but in reality, if you believe God is all powerful, all knowing and all present…then He has the ability to protect His message to all the world from the likes of those who believe they must control the thoughts of men. And in so doing, those same men will change the contents of the books of sacred scripture, but God will get His message through to all His children.
God gave each of us the same brain, but it is up to each of us to love God with all of our minds. And how do we do such? Great question…and here is an answer! We must take charge of our mind and subject our thoughts to godly things, subject our eyes to godly things, and subject our bodies to godly things. We must bask in God’s word by learning all we can, we must also subject our minds to understand the godly words and understanding all that is good. Reading good books, wholesome and truthful. We must subject ourselves to those who have studied God’s word before us and learn what they have had to say in order to understand. Of course, that does not mean that we must agree with their assessments but it will help us to be of one mind and heart!
There is the problem of those who are health and wealth preachers who tend to preach heretical teachings. They tend to obfuscate the true word of God through smoke and mirrors allowing you to misunderstand the true nature of God through the all deceptive pattern of wealth…that always catches a person’s attention. Because if they believe that God truly wants us to be rich and wealthy…they are hooked and are in for the long haul.
Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.~Deuteronomy 4:2 NIV
See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.~Deuteronomy 12:32 NIV
Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. ~Proverbs 30:5-6 NIV
Does God desire us to be rich? Yes, but He wants our wealth to be in His kingdom. We were warned by Jesus not to be so attached to wealth and riches on this earthly plane. Jesus was very clear on this. God does want us to be rich and many who do great things are rewarded in earthly riches. But we all need to remember that:
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.~Matthew 5:44-45 NIV
We are equal in God’s eyes, in that, not one of us is righteous. But getting back to the point is we are not to add to scripture, nor take anything away from it. By doing so you clearly intend to mislead those you are teaching and you will be held accountable for such teachings. The prophet Ezekiel warned us:
When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.~Ezekiel 3:18-19 NIV
We are reminded throughout, that we are not commanded to believe in anything outside of the scriptures about God Himself or His redemptive works. Everything is within the confines of the 66 books of the bible. We are also taught that there is nothing sinful that is not forbidden by the scriptures. As written by the Apostle Paul, on the Believer’s Freedoms:
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. ~1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NIV
We can do all things, but is it wise to do all that we desire to do? As children of God we should be desires and have a passion for those around us. Helping and aiding all those near us…our neighbors! Our brothers and sisters in Christ!
We are also reminded that God does not command any of us to do anything that is not explicitly in the biblical text, or implied by the same! Because God is all good, He will not command us to do what is evil. He will not guide us to lie. Because the seed of God is truly righteous.
We are taught, implored to do really, that we should emphasize what the scriptures tell us and to be content with what God has told and taught us within the scriptures. We are to touch the lives of those around us with God’s word, because God desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. And more often than not, we are the only connection that others will have to God. Trust me, God will open those opportunities to you to touch the life of another.
Until We Meet Again, Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ!
MK Murphy, PhD, DD