The Sufficiency of Scripture
A pastor friend told a group of elders recently that he believes Reformed Christians have a high view of the authority of Scripture, but a low view of the sufficiency of Scripture. Here’s what he means. We believe the Bible is God’s Word and it is authoritative for our life and conduct. We believe it tells us what we are to believe, and how we are to behave as those who are in relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In fact, Reformed Christians defend its authority with vigor. But, his point was, that when it comes to communicating the gospel, believing that God’s Word has the ability to change people’s hearts and minds, we have a low view of its effectiveness. We don’t really believe that God’s Word is sufficient to do the work of convincing and converting sinners.
Now granted, you theological types out there, I know that God does this by the work of His Holy Spirit. I’m not suggesting that the Bible has some supernatural power of its own. Nonetheless, the Spirit operates through the words that have been given to us in the Bible to convict us of sin and encourage our hearts to the ultimate hope we have in Christ. The Word of God actually changes us by the Spirit and transforms an unbeliever to a believer. It is more than sufficient to do so.
Isaiah 55:10-11 says 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” What God is saying is that His Word will accomplish what he sets it out to do. It never fails.
I want you to think about that for a second and ask yourself do you really believe what its saying. It’s saying that God’s Word NEVER FAILS to accomplish what God has desired for it to do. Anytime the Bible is read, preached, or communicated, God is working through it, and he is accomplishing what he purposed.
This encourages me as a pastor because what God is promising is that when I preach the Bible, his work is being done, no matter what. This should encourage the Christian in that when you read God’s Word, it is accomplishing in you what God has set it forth to do. When you teach the Scriptures to your children, it is accomplishing God’s purposes in them, even if doesn’t look like they fully understand. God’s Word is not only authoritative, it is sufficient for all. It teaches us what we are to know about God, his plans of salvation, and by His Spirit, the Word of God brings men, women, and children to a saving knowledge of God through Jesus Christ. Have you any other books like this one on your shelf?