The Doctrine of Sufficiency
The doctrine of sufficiency in the Bible teaches that the Scripture is all we need to equip us for a life that is pleasing to God. The apostle Paul declared that the holy Scriptures “are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15–17). Only those, who sincerely choose to be known as God’s children, will seriously allow the Scriptures to perform their fourfold function as set forth in 2 Timothy 3:16.
The most important purpose of the Bible is not only to narrate history, nor even to reveal the nature of God. The Bible was given to show men how they may be saved from their sins. There are many religious books in the world, but only the Bible gives the path to eternal life and the means to achieve that.
The great world religions, such Mohammedanism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, have “holy scriptures,” but these cannot make its adherents “wise unto salvation.” For only the Bible solves the problem of sin judicially. It shows the plan of salvation that satisfies both the mercy and justice of God which was revealed at the cross. It shows how people may be both forgiven and also transformed by the power of God.
As a result, man’s first obligation should be to study the Bible. The knowledge of the Scriptures alone is not sufficient to obtain salvation. The “devils also believe” (James 2:19), but their knowledge does not make them righteous, nor does it redeem them from their sins. Therefore, the faith that saves is not merely intellectual; the faith that saves is the one that changes the life.
The Inspiration of the Bible
The reason for the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture is that it is God inspired. “…holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). True prophecy is a revelation from God. It originates from God. The Lord decides what shall be revealed and what shall remain concealed. Unless the Holy Spirit impresses the mind, men can’t prophecy—of speaking forth for God—no matter how hard they may try to do so.
The Lord admonishes us through the apostle Paul to guard ourselves against extra-biblical revelation, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8). Paul stresses the authority of the word of God as greater than his own by saying: “If we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:8). The Scriptures are the test of true doctrine. “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there[a] is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).
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In His service,