“If you abide in my word…” (John 8:32) The living Word is the Word in which we must live and move and have our being. In his word we abide, that is, we stand firm. His word is sufficient for us to stand throughout time and eternity. His Word is enough!
Some of you may take supplements or the like as part of your daily dietary regimen. The purpose of these supplements serves as preparation intended to supplement the diet and provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, that may be missing or may not be consumed in sufficient quantities in a person’s diet. But doctors also say that if our diet is healthy diet—because all of those supplements are contained in the healthy foods that contain what these supplements ultimately contain.
In Southern Baptist life, we spent a great deal of time dealing with the nature of Scripture. Words were used such as infallible (it will never fall), inerrant (as God’s Word, it has no error in the original), and authoritative. But do we see this book as sufficient? Do we abide it in—or just use it as a dietary supplement to fill in the spiritual nutrients that are missing in our lives?
When God speaks, he never intended the Bible to simply fill in the holes of our otherwise self-constructed life. Hebrews 4:12-13 says,
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
Notice that this does not say that a psychologist performs the function of understanding the heart. A gifted counselor is not the ultimate arbiter of understanding all which we’ve hidden. Not even preachers can do this. It’s only the God of the Word and the Word of God that plunges in so sharply. But the Scriptures pierce us! Expose us! Compel us! Counsel us! Convict us! And transform us! We need nothing else! No wonder the Psalmist could say in 19:7-10:
The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
You may say, “Well, the Bible is not sufficient! The Bible doesn’t tell me how to pass my test in school, where to find work, or even what time church should start. It doesn’t get into the details of my life. How can you say it’s sufficient?”
We must remember that the Bible is not about us! The Bible is not simply a manual for living. The Bible is about Christ and how we are not living unless we abide in Him. The Pharisees were not abiding in the Word. A.W. Tozer once said, “The modern scientist has lost God amid the wonders of His world; we Christians are in real danger of losing God amid the wonders of His Word.”
John Piper helps us understand an aspect of the sufficiency of Scripture:
The sufficiency of Scripture does not mean that the Scripture is all we need to live obediently. To be obedient in the sciences we need to read science and study nature. To be obedient in economics we need to read economics and observe the world of business. To be obedient in sports we need to know the rules of the game. To be obedient in marriage we need to know the personality of our spouse. To be obedient as a pilot we need to know how to fly a plane. In other words, the Bible does not tell us all we need to know in order to be obedient stewards of this world.
The sufficiency of Scripture means that we don’t need any more special revelation. We don’t need any more inspired, inerrant words. In the Bible God has given us, we have the perfect standard for judging all other knowledge.