The Sufficiency of Scripture

Joshua West

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12-13 (ESV)

As a follower of Christ in a world that loves darkness, sin and stands opposed to God, it is very important to know what ground is solid and unfailing and what we can hold fast to. For Christ followers that solid ground is the Scripture. 

Many people are willing to say that they believe in the inerrancy of scripture, which is good, but most in the church don’t view the scripture as sufficient. If they did, we would see a lot less gimmicks and manmade methods and a lot more gospel proclamation and expository preaching. The two most important things we have in this life as disciples of Jesus are the Spirit of God and the Word of God.  

The Spirit of God 
There is no greater gift than the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, the third person of the triune Godhead. The Spirit has many functions and roles in the world and also in the life of the believer. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of our sin and draws us to repentance.  

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.  And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” John 16:7-11 (ESV) 

It is through regeneration that we respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit regarding our sin and are saved. In salvation we are sealed with the Spirit, which is confirmation of God’s pledge that we are his children and that in the end he will save us from judgement. 

This is very important because without the Spirit of Christ living in us, we do not belong to God. This is one reason why the gospel must be the focal point of all we do as disciples because without the gospel there can be nothing else—and honestly, nothing else matters. 

Jesus also said that the Spirit of God would be our Comforter, our Helper and our Guide. Jesus said that he was going back to the Father but that it was better for us that he did because he promised to send the Helper, which is another name for the Spirit. 

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.” John 14:16 (ESV) 

It’s through the Spirit of God that we bear outward fruit as evidence of who we are inside and of the sanctifying work God the Spirit is doing in us. This evidence will manifest in our lives with a spiritual harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). 

The Spirit of God will also equip us with spiritual gifts as he sees fit, meant for edifying the body of Christ, the believer and forwarding the gospel of Jesus Christ in the earth (1 Corinthians 12). But Jesus also said the Spirit of God will be the revealer of truth, namely the truth of God’s Word. One of the Holy Spirit’s main functions in the life of a believer is to help us understand and interpret the Bible. Jesus told his disciples that when the Spirit of Truth comes that he will guide us into all truth. 

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:13 (ESV) 

It is through the Word of God that the Spirit leads us into all truth regarding proper worship, doctrine and living as disciples of Jesus. The Spirit opens our eyes and helps us perceive the truth of God’s Word, enabling us to live spirit-led lives. 

God’s greatest revelation comes to us through the Spirit of God and his greatest revelation is the revelation that Jesus Christ is who he claimed to be: Eternal God, Son of God, the Messiah. Where do we find this revelation? In the sacred, inerrant words of scripture. 

The Word of God 
When we talk about the sufficiency of scripture, we are saying that Scripture is sufficient—the only inspired, inerrant, and therefore, final authority for Christians for faith and godliness. All other authorities are subservient to Scripture. I have heard people argue against this point in subtle and even in very direct ways. Often people who are obsessed with signs, wonders and manifestations think that this view of the Bible is too restrictive. 

I heard a pastor who is famous for his teachings on healings, signs and wonders once say, “We believe in the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, not the Father, Son and the Holy Bible”. What a foolish and unnecessary thing to say, unless you sought to undermine the authority of scripture. The Spirit of Truth and the Word of Truth will never contradict or undermine each other. Don’t we know that the scriptures were inspired and God-breathed through the Spirit. He is perfect and so is his Word. 

“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 3:16-17 (ESV) 

The Bible is God’s eternal and established Word. Scripture is God’s unified, consistent and primary means of speaking to us and leading us into all truth. All other things are subject to the authority of God’s Word. This is why it is constantly under attack by people outside the church and, more dangerously, people inside the church. 

If we truly view scripture as God’s authoritative Word, then we will subject everything else to it. If we are truly Christians, that means that we have come to terms with the fact that we have been corrupted by sin and once saved we are in the process of being sanctified, conformed and transformed into the image of Christ. 

So how foolish is it for us to think we can rightfully judge what is right and wrong without the Word of truth. How much more foolish is it to believe we can make moral judgements about the righteousness and justice of God and his Word? 

When we try to judge the validity of God’s Word with secondary or outside sources, we are setting those things up as the judge of God himself, which shows that we don’t really believe in God. You cannot reject the scriptures and be a Christian! 

I’m not saying that misunderstanding a detail of the Bible means you are not a Christian or that you must have an exhaustive knowledge of the Bible to be saved, or that true Christians do not disagree on many secondary issues. I am saying that you cannot willfully reject something the Bible clearly teaches and that you understand and decide you reject that part. I have studied the Bible for years and there are many subjects and doctrines that I don’t fully understand. Even ones I have been wrong about and later changed my mind about. 

But the true Christian knows that God’s Word is true, established and unchanging, and that even if we don’t completely understand it all we accept it as completely true and authoritative, as we humbly study and seek to know God.

In Christ,

Pastor Joshua 

Joshua West is a pastor, evangelist, and author. He is also director of the World Challenge Pastors Network.


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