Is the Bible Sufficient?
by Wayne Chamberlain
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and said, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16-17). In a word, Paul is saying, "The Bible is sufficient." It is all we need.
People indicate their lack of faith in this passage when they say such things as, "Well, my church teaches...", or, "In our last council, our church decided to allow...", and, "We follow the Bible and our church traditions." In dealing with the Pharisees on one occasion, Jesus addressed such attitudes when he said, "... you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'" (Matthew 15:6-9).
Either God's word (the Bible) can equip man with all he needs for "every good work" -- or we need modern-day revelations; and, therefore, God's word is not sufficient. If God's word is not sufficient -- then neither can it be trusted. WHY? Because the Bible tells us that it is sufficient. Therefore, if it is in error concerning that issue -- it will certainly be in error on many other issues.
If one believes the Bible is sufficient, they will then believe that creeds and man-made doctrines are prohibited. Where is the justification for them? Can you find justification for creeds in Galatians 1:6-9, "... if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed"? Can you find justification for creeds in II John verse 9, "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God"? What about Deuteronomy 4:1-2, "... listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live...You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it ..."? If creeds just restate what the Bible says, why have them? If they say more, or less, than what the Bible says -- they are condemned by God's word (II John 9, et. al.).
Yes, the Bible teaches that it is sufficient. If we believe the Bible, then we must also believe its claim of sufficiency. If a child is obedient only when the parents' rules are suitable to the child -- the child is not obedient at all. If we believe the Bible only when it suits our purpose -- we don't really believe it at all. If that is true of us, we must realize that we are cheating ourselves out of the very thing we desire. In John chapter 6, we have a record of many disciples turning away from Jesus because of a difficult teaching He was presenting. Jesus then turned to His twelve apostles and said, "Do you also want to go away?" Peter's answer was what ours should be, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:66-68).
It is only those who believe and respect God's word enough to abide in it, who will have a hope of heaven (Matthew 7:21-27; John 8:32).