Monday, May 05, 2008

The Word is All-Sufficient

So much of the disputes of our day center around Biblical authority. The questions of inspiration and inerrancy have much to do with what we think the character of Scripture is. The question of all-sufficiency, however, leads to many more issues.

It has been some time since our pulpits and lectureships have sounded out a cry that the word of God is all-sufficient. So much error stems from a belief that the Word somehow does not measure up to God's desired will for our faith and practice.

The challenge of "living church tradition" and papal decrees said that the Scriptures were not enough to teach us, that we needed church officials to give us the right and true interpretation to God's Word.

The challenge of the Apocrypha that intertestamental, Judean beliefs could be inserted into the Old Testament, in spite of the lack of recognition by the Jews, Jesus or the apostles.

The challenge of creeds and denominational dogmas was that we needed human authorities to direct us in addition to the Scriptures. We must be able to see the Scriptures through their lens.

The challenge of tongue-speaking in the 70s argued that we needed gifts beyond the teaching of the Scriptures.

The challenge of the Crossroads/Boston cult was that the word was not sufficient to mentor us in Christian living, we needed a personal leader to control our daily lives with guilt and manipulation.

The challenge of modern day prophets who speak messages beyond the teaching of the New Testament.

The challenge of postmodernism is that truth is so diverse that there are no absolutes or final revelations from God which cannot be dismissed or set aside for the current cultural dictates.

Scripture, however, claims for itself finality and sufficiency. There is no other revealed truth from God beyond the 66 books of the Bible. Jesus promised to reveal to the apostles of the first century "all truth" (John 16:12-13). The "faith" was once for all time "handed down" in the first century. No one was to abide outside the words of Jesus. There was a finality not to be transgressed. It is a salvation issue (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 John 9; Rev. 22:18-19).

We need nothing more than Scripture, and humanly-designed religious beliefs and practices beyond the Scripture are broad ways and sand theology. We need the Lord and His teaching, not the presumptuous traditions of men. We need Bible, not cultural solutions, to save us and to show us what is pleasing to God (Acts 20:32).

The Word of God is final and sufficient. That is where we go to build our houses on rock. All else is sinking sand.



Dell Kimberly said...

Thanks Phil. May we always accept Scripture as God's inspired Word. May we never worship Scripture but always stand firm in It's message.

Anonymous said...

Just curious, what about the millions of believers who lived before there was anything called the Bible, Im so thankful we have it, but they lived without any written word. Do you think they had any chance if they just followed the simple commands, repented, were baptized and called on the name of Jesus?

Phil Sanders said...

In the days of the patriarchs, Jethro the father-in-law of Moses served as a priest, as did Melchizedek. Before Moses God dealt directly with the fathers, and judged them accordingly.

In the days of Seth, people began to call upon the name of the Lord (Gen. 4:26).

When Jonah preached, the people of Nineveh repented and God relented from the evil He planned to bring upon them. God cares for all.

Romans 1:19-32 perhaps gives us the clearest picture of the world that knew God but rejected Him.

The message preached is necessary for people to come to a full knowledge of God (1 Cor. 1:21). One would not know he need baptism without the preaching of the gospel.

Before there was a Bible, God gave apostles and prophets who taught them the truth. These inspired and gifted men preached the message that was later written into the New Testament. Once the faith was written, there was no longer any need for apostles or prophets (1 Cor. 13:8-13).


Douglas Brackbill said...

Thank you for that excellent post Brother Phil. I know the consequences of the error of human interference in God's plan. We all must remember
2 Peter 1:20-21 ESV knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 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.
May we always proclaim the Word of more...NO LESS

Matthew said...

Amen, I finally graduated on Saturday, and I have a few book possibilities. Also, I am working on an article too, good suggestion.

Guy said...

Are you familiar with Curt Niccum's position on the nature of scripture? i still don't understand precisely what Niccum means to say about the reliability or inerrancy or sufficiency of scripture; i was hoping maybe you could explain.

Phil Sanders said...


Curt Niccum is a professor at Oklahoma Christian, my alma mater. Of course, I predate him by a number of years. I heard him speak once but do not know his views on Scripture. You will have to ask others who are better informed than I. I am convinced, however, of the need to revisit the sufficiency and the perspicuity of Scripture.