The Sufficiency of Scripture and Concluding Thoughts on Inspiration

The final doctrine on the inspiration of Scripture is discussed briefly here in the form of the Sufficiency of Scripture. The conclusion ties the last few posts up and discusses the overarching theme on the importance of the inspiration of Scripture.

Doctrine of Sufficiency

The third doctrine that resulted from the doctrine of inspiration is that of the sufficiency of Scripture. This doctrine affirms that Scripture is enough. The Belgic Confession says that, “we believe that the Holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God and that whatsoever man ought to believe onto salvation is sufficiently taught therein.”[1] Inside the pages of Scripture lies everything that is needed for the follower of God to be “…thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17, NIV); it provides all that is necessary for the Christian to live a godly life. “The written Scriptures were the statute-book by which God instructed, warned, and judged his ancient people.”[2] Henry concludes that the stated purpose of the biblical writings is to “give man all that is necessary and sufficient for his redemptive rescue and obedient service of his Maker.”[3] Scripture is sufficient in that it is practical because it is worthy to be taught, studied and obeyed.

God, in His infinite wisdom, gave us everything He wanted us to know in His inspired Word. He gave us what we needed and because it is from God, He gave us enough. If He wanted us to know more, He would have provided that to us. Sufficiency doesn’t mean that the Bible contains all the truths of this world or all that we need to live as obedient stewards of this world. It also doesn’t mean that all of God’s revelations were or are included in the Bible. There are truths outside of the Bible, like science and economics for example. “The sufficiency of Scripture means that we don’t need any more special revelation. We don’t need any more inspired, inerrant words. In the Bible God has given us, we have the perfect standard for judging all other knowledge.”[4]

The doctrine of sufficiency is that God has thoroughly, competently and completely provided all that is necessary in His Word for His believers to obey Him.

Conclusion

God has provided all mankind a true and accurate account of Him and His redemptive works that comes with His authority, been He has preserved and collected through all the ages and has equipped those who read this book everything they will need to listen and obey Him. This all started by God breathing out the very words that we can read today. It all started with inspiration when God breathed out these trustworthy words that came with His authority to be preserved so that His people may be equipped for obedience. “For the Bible is God’s Word now. It is his authoritative Word, in and through and by which the Spirit addresses us today….Scripture is indeed what God himself would have us know and would have us obey in the church as the Word of God.”[5] John Piper sums it up nicely saying, “the Scriptures are sufficient in the sense that they are the only (‘once for all’) inspired and (therefore) inerrant words of God that we need, in order to know the way of salvation (‘make you wise unto salvation’) and the way of obedience (‘equipped for every good work’).”[6]

The doctrines of authority, canonicity and sufficiency are all derived from inspiration. When God gave us His inspired works and these doctrines came to be, He provided the Christian examples of how God has worked in history, how He is working today and how He is equipping us for the future. He has provided us a profitable collection that is trustworthy and more than enough.

[1] Guido de Bras, “The Belgic Confession,” Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics, Internet, available from http://www.reformed.org/, accessed 20 April 2014.

[2] Henry, 10.

[3] Ibid, 27-28.

[4] John Piper, “Thoughts on the Sufficiency of Scripture,” Desiring God, Internet, available from http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/thoughts-on-the-sufficiency-of-scripture, accessed 20 April 2014.

[5] Henry, 10-11.

[6] Piper, “Thoughts on the Sufficiency of Scripture.”

Bibliography

de Bras, Guido. “The Belgic Confession.” Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics. Internet. Available from http://www.reformed.org/, accessed 20 April 2014.

Erickson, Millard J.. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983.

Geisler, Norman. “Canonicity of the Bible.” Internet. Available from http://www.pinpointevangelism.com/ The-Canonicity-of-the-Bible.pdf, accessed on 20 April 2014.

Henry, Carl F.. “The Authority and Inspiration of Scripture.” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank Gaebelein, vol. 1, 2-35. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979.

McGrath, Alister E.. Christian Theology: An Introduction. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Piper, John. “Thoughts on the Sufficiency of Scripture.” Desiring God. Internet. Available from http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/thoughts-on-the-sufficiency-of-scripture, accessed 20 April 2014.

“The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy,” in Inerrancy, ed. Norman Geisler, 493-502. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980.

Warfield, Benjamin B.. “Inspiration 1-7.” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Internet. Available from http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Def.show/RTD/isbe/ID/ 4618/Inspiration-1-7.htm, accessed 13 April 2014.

Warfield, Benjamin B.. “Inspiration 8-18.” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Internet. Available from http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Def.show/RTD/isbe/ID/ 4618/Inspiration-8-18.htm, accessed 13 April 2014.

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