In today's post, we want to briefly consider a key characteristic of the Bible that marks it as the unique revelation of God to man - namely its sufficiency. One could certainly focus attention on many such qualities, however, for this post, we will restrict ourselves for the time-being to this particular quality of scripture. The sufficiency of scripture comprises one of four main qualities that theologians call “the attributes of scripture”: sufficiency, necessity, authority and necessity. Each of these characteristics are precious in their own turn and all four rise and fall together.
To aid us in our reflections on this subject of the Bible's sufficiency, three resources will be mentioned. First, author Kevin DeYoung has suggested a helpful way to remember the attributes of scripture by the acrostic “S.C.A.N” in his book “Taking God At His Word”. DeYoung puts "sufficiency" at the head of his discussion on the doctrine of scripture, and thus we will utilize his order of presentation. Secondly, we will consider some observations from author Wayne Grudem, whose book “Systematic Theology” references these same four attributes of scripture and provides helpful insights. Then finally, the doctrinal statement of the SBC, The Baptist Faith and Message 2000, will round out our brief exposition on the sufficiency of the scriptures.
Sufficiency of the Bible
What is meant when we speak of the sufficiency of scripture? In Kevin DeYoung’s book, the following definition is offered: “The scriptures contain everything we need for knowledge of salvation and living. We don’t need any new revelation from heaven.”
Dr. Wayne Grudem notes further about the sufficiency of scripture:
“it (the Bible) contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting Him perfectly, and for obeying Him perfectly.”
The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 offers this short description of Biblical sufficiency under its article on the Bible: “the true center of Christian union.”
Near the end of the Bible we find an example of the Bible’s own statement on its own sufficiency in Revelation 22:18 – “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book.” Other similar cross references that emphasizes this attribute of scripture are: Deuteronomy 4:2; 5:22; 12:32 and Proverbs 30:6.
If we were to put into our own thoughts the life-practical importance of Biblical sufficiency, it would be this: God’s Word is the basis for providing what we need to live life, grow in the Christian life, carry-on church-life and prepare for the life to come.