Monday, November 21, 2011

The Bible Alone is Sufficient

Isaiah 41:23 Declare the things that are going to come afterward, That we may know that you are gods; Indeed, do good or evil, that we may anxiously look about us and fear together.

In this final installment on our blog series: "Defining God's Word", we will consider the issue of sufficiency.  We have considered three tests thus far in defining the marks of Divine authorship: inerrancy, infallibility and clarity.  When we consider all three of those headings, they come together under this last heading of sufficiency.  If a book can lead me into all truth, is free from error in all things and is clear in all of its meaning, then it demonstrates the qualities of divine inspiration and thus is sufficient for every rule and standard of faith and practice. 

Again we compare other would-be holy books to the Bible and ask the question: Which is the word of God.  In this final test, we are wanting to know whether or not any of these books are sufficient enough to live by, since Isaiah's final statement here has to do with actually living one's life by God's word in light of eternity. 

The insufficiency of other religious writings
When it comes to the Hindu writings for instance, Hinduism and all other forms of Eastern thought advocate conflicting ideas as part and parcel of understanding the meaning of life.  The concepts of "absolute morality and truth" are not prized in much of Eastern thought, since many versions teach for instance that evil is an illusion, and that we must escape consciousness of ourselves in order to achieve inner illumination. 

Islam claims that one cannot truly know who God ultimately is, even though in much of its teaching it claims to be the fullest revelation of God.  Now which is it?  

Mormons claim that God was once a man like we are, since we someday will be our own gods, having our own planets.  They also, every year, have statements coming from their leadership concerning God's will for their lives.  Jehovah Witnesses have a similar set up.  Even though they claim to believe in the Bible, yet much of what they believe comes from their head quarters in New York called "The Watch Tower and Tract Society."  In many cases, the proof that a religion's book is not the word of God or that a religion has added to or deleated from the scripture is when it has leadership adding statements to supplement already existing documents. 

Even many of the books written today that claim to be written by people that have seen visions of heaven or hell differ in their details.  Furthermore, such books are not authoratative for all people in all ages.  Sufficiency covers so much area that quite frankly - only one book has demonstrated that it alone is sufficient.

Only the Bible is sufficient
When it comes down to it, the Bible alone is sufficient. It alone tells me all I need to know about Heaven, Hell, God, Christ, salvation, man, life, marriage, children, church, government, science, philosophy and everything else.  Though it may not be a specific textbook about science for instance, yet every major assumption upon which science rests (belief in an objective, measurable world; belief in cause and effect) comes straight from the Bible. 

Unlike other would be contenders - the Bible alone tells me that it is not from good behavior that one is made right with God, rather it is by grace alone through faith alone. (Ephesians 2:8-9).  When I preach on Sunday, I don't bring a commentary (although they are helpful in studying the Bible) nor do I bring anything else.  I have my Bible.  And that is enough. 

I have seen the Bible heal marriages, convert sinners to salvation and prevent people from committing suicide.  I gave just one verse to a friend who owned a small business, and he learned how to run his business from that one verse.  Imagine what would happen if we took to heart the over 31,000 verse in the Bible.  The Bible is sufficient enough to run a church, run a business, talk to your teenager and revolutionize your prayer life.  It is enough. 

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