t{squared}: Is the Bible enough for the Christian Life?

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theology

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The Sufficiency of Scripture

Bible StudyLast week we discussed our need for the Bible in order to know the Gospel, grow spiritual, and learn God’s will for us. Now let’s consider: Is the Bible ALL we need to accomplish these things? In other words, is the Bible itself sufficient for these tasks?

Grudem defines the sufficiency of Scripture as meaning “that Scripture contained all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains everything we need God to tell us for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly” (127).

The emphasis here is that the ONLY place we are to search for God’s words to us are in the Bible. He has supplied everything we need for salvation, spiritual growth, and discerning His will within the pages of Scripture.

  1. Salvation: The words found within Scripture are all we need to find salvation in Christ. So yes, if you were on a desert island all alone with only a Bible (supposing you could read it…), you would have all you needed to find salvation in Christ. (2 Tim. 3:15, James 1:18, 1 Peter 1:23)
  2. Spiritual Growth: Paul writes to Timothy that Scripture will equip us for “every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). From this we can reasonably conclude that Scripture informs us of how God wants us to live. If we have a question about God’s commands in a given area, Scripture is the only place to look to find that answer.
  3. Discerning His will: Situations inevitably arise in our lives where we are presented with choices. This happens daily. We wonder what God’s will for us is. How can we find God’s will? Read Scripture. The Bible informs us about how to live a life that is “blameless” before God. His Word tells us exactly His will on how we should live. (Psalm 119:1) I’m about to say something daring: If your choice is value neutral (meaning it does not violate the teachings of Scripture but is simply a choice between A and B), pray for God to give you direction, and then go with your desired choice. Trusting that He placed those desires in your heart.

The sufficiency of Scripture allows us to search the Bible alone for God’s words rather than all Christian writings throughout history. While these writings may helps us better understand Scripture, they will never add anything that God requires us to do or believe.

Application (131-134)

  1. There is rest in the knowledge that everything we need to know to live the Christian life is found in Scripture. There will be no surprises.
  2. No religious book is the be held to equal or greater value than Scripture. None. Zero. Nada. Zilch. What are you spending most of your time reading? Scripture or books about Scripture? <— Click to Tweet!
  3. If it’s not in Scripture, we are not required to believe it about God or the Gospel.
  4. If Scripture doesn’t declare something a sin (either explicitly or implicitly), then it is not a sin. (Big exhale there. Just because Aunt Suzy says its a sin, doesn’t make it so.)
  5. If God does not command us to do something in Scripture, then we don’t have to do it. Always confirm a message or command through the teachings of Scripture.

Clarification: Please do not read that I am saying the use of Bible study materials is wrong or bad. That is not at all what I am saying. I use them, and they can be great tools in understanding Scripture. The problem arises when we are reading ONLY study materials or religious books. Go straight to the Source. Read the Bible. <—Click to Tweet

If you are new to t{squared}, I am using Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine to guide this study! The numbers you see in parenthesis refer to page numbers in this text.

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Photo Credit: Melissa

Comments

  1. Sisterlisa says:

    I get what you’re saying. My thoughts here are kinda continuing from my comment on the last lesson. Sola Scriptura meaning..no other book is needed. However, we have the freedom to read what others have to say about how God reveals himself to them. And then it all comes back to us hearing from the Lord, because we can’t rely on fallible men to tell us what God wants for our personal lives. For ex: when Paul said not to judge another person based on their feasts, new moons, or sabbaths. What is permitted for one in their freedom, may not be permitted for another. Sometimes God wants to teach us lessons about self control, therefore admonishes us to not do certain things. And for others, God may have given more freedom to, because they were found trustworthy to exercise self control and temperance. Anyway..that’s a bit more than you asked about. Good article.

    • I definitely agree that we have the freedom to read other texts. I read a lot of them. (Obviously, I’m using Grudem to guide this study). However, I believe that the Bible is the ULTIMATE standard for Truth. If something contradicts the Bible, it isn’t True. It isn’t from God. When I read other texts, I weight them against the Biblical standard to determine what to accept and what to reject.

  2. “I’m about to say something daring: If your choice is value neutral (meaning it does not violate the teachings of Scripture but is simply a choice between A and B), pray for God to give you direction, and then go with your desired choice.Trusting that He placed those desires in your heart” Perfect dear! Love the tweets too! So much truth here! Thank you for sharing your heart and God’s Will through His Word! Blessings friend!

  3. An excellent study, Mary Beth :-)

  4. “Go straight to the Source. Read the Bible.” Amen!

  5. I have read most of Grudem’s book and highly recommend it.

  6. Sylvia R @ sylvrpen.com says:

    Lots of good stuff here, Mary Beth! But for us, Christian women of our time, I wonder if this isn’t the biggie: “If God does not command us to do something in Scripture, then we don’t have to do it.” So many of us are utterly overwhelmed, some even burned out emotional wrecks, from trying to do so many “shoulds” that aren’t. in. the. Bible — and running so hard on the gerbil wheel that we don’t find enough time to check out the Word and see what it really says about an issue.

    I’m so thankful for the varied Christian writings I can access (like this blog post, and books like Wayne Grudem’s), mainly if they point me to scriptural truth and to Christ. But you are so right: they should never take the place of scripture, and we should know and use the Bible thoroughly enough that we can evaluate and filter everything else we read through it, instead of the other way around.
    As for determining God’s will in choice-making, I think some people can go ahead with confidence just following their hearts after consulting some scripture and praying once, but I’m a little Much Afraid who doesn’t trust her heart, so I need further assurance, from Himself, to proceed with confidence. I know my heart can twist scripture, that I’ve made errors *of judgment* in the past, and that all things that are permissible are not beneficial… but oh, hmm, I got that from scripture, didn’t I? (1 Cor 10:23).
    Thanks for this post. Rich blessings to you!

    • I really think that is one of the biggest things Christian women struggle with: “shoulds” that are not Biblical commands. We put so much pressure on ourselves to do what “she” is doing, but God didn’t create us to be just like “her” or to do the same things.

      I almost put a caveat in about permissible/beneficial but I was aiming to keep it as simple as possible!
      I do think sometimes we need to change our thinking: Just because a choice (from value neutral options) doesn’t turn out well or the way we’d hoped doesn’t make it a “failure” or “wrong/bad choice”. Maybe it was just a growing experience.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

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