Discipleship Must be Based Solely on the Bible

Most believers in Christ would agree, at least in theory, that Christ-honoring discipleship is based solely on the Bible. In practice, however, it is another matter. Surprisingly, true believers who trust the Bible completely regarding eternal salvation do not always trust the Bible’s sufficiency to deal with challenges of everyday life. Yet, if the Bible is not adequate or applicable to address all of life’s situations, where are answers to be found? The only alternative is worldly wisdom, which is folly with God (1 Corinthians 3:19-20).

1 Corinthians 3:19-20 (NIV), For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”


Some believers try to legitimize using worldly wisdom (especially psychotherapy and humanistic psychology) because the Bible is supposedly not comprehensive enough to address all aspects of life and relationships. Those denying the Bible’s sufficiency believe that the Bible deals effectively with “spiritual matters” but lacks insight to help people face and deal with “real life issues.” Yet another worldly perspective believes that we have made such progress in understanding human behavior over the last century that the Bible is no longer relevant to deal with life’s problems. (See Counseling Must be Based Solely on the Bible )

When any aspect of worldly wisdom is used in place of or equal to God’s Word, one must assume that this extra “authority” produces a better outcome than using only the Bible.

Any excuses or assumptions used to augment God’s Word with worldly wisdom are without merit. Scripture is completely sufficient to deal with every aspect of life and relationships apart from worldly wisdom.

There are numerous examples of Satan’s power to blind people so that they accept a lie as truth. A prime example of such blinding delusion is the belief that worldly wisdom is necessary to deal with life’s challenges instead of relying solely on the all-powerful and all-sufficient Word of God.

Before considering any other supposed authority outside of the Bible, take time to review the many characteristics of God’s Word that demonstrate its power and sufficiency to deal with all matters of life and conduct.



Permanent and eternalIsaiah 40:8

  1. It will all be fulfilled – Isaiah 40:8
  2. Heaven and earth shall pass away but God’sWord will not pass away – Matthew 24:35
  3. It will abide forever – 1 Peter 1:25
  4. It is everlasting and forever – Psalm 119:89, 160

Inspired by God for our training and equipping2 Timothy 3:16-17

  1. Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit – 2 Peter 1:21
  2. God’s Word provides a new pattern of living – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
    • It teaches you (commands and guidelines)Psalm 25:4-5; 94:12
    • It reproves you (identification of error)Hebrews 4:12
    • It corrects you (change/repentance)Psalm 25:8-9; 119:9
    • It trains you in righteousness(growth and stability through practice)Hebrews 5:13-14
    • It will make you adequate
      (ready and able to do God’s work), and – 1 Peter 1:22-23; 2 Peter 1:3-4
    • It will equip you for every good work(used by God in this world)1 Thessalonians 2:13

TruthJohn 17:17

  1. All of God’s Word is truth – Psalm 119:151, 160
  2. The gospel of salvation is truth – Ephesians 1:13
  3. You are brought forth by the Word of truth – James 1:18
  4. You are to handle accurately the Word of truth – 2 Timothy 2:15

A powerful, spiritual forceJeremiah 23:29

  1. It is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword – Hebrews 4:12
  2. It is a weapon against spiritual forces of wickedness – Ephesians 6:11-17
  3. It is to be used to resist Satan’s wiles – Matthew 4:4-10; Ephesians 6:11, 17
  4. It makes you wiser than your enemies – Psalm 119:98
  5. It can make you tremble – Ezra 10:3; Isaiah 66:2, 5

Cleansing to your waysPsalm 119:9

  1. You are cleansed through God’s Word – John 15:3; Ephesians 5:26
  2. You are sanctified by the truth of God’s Word – John 17:17
  3. You are purified by obeying the truth – 1 Peter 1:22

A source of grace that builds you upActs 20:32

  1. It strengthens in grief – Psalm 119:28
  2. It sustains you – Psalm 119:116
  3. It comforts in affliction – Psalm 119:50, 92
  4. It is a comfort and consolation – Psalm 119:52
  5. It gives hope – Psalm 119:49; Romans 15:4
  6. It provides peace – Psalm 119:165
  7. It produces a reverence for God – Psalm 119:38
  8. It gives freedom – Psalm 119:45; John 8:32

A testimony to its own sufficiency2 Peter 1:3-4

  1. It is a reproach to those who do not listen – Jeremiah 6:10
  2. You must not add to it or subtract from it – Deuteronomy 4:2
  3. You are in peril if you take anything away from or add anything to God’s Word – Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:19
  4. You are accursed if you preach a different gospel – Galatians 1:8, 9
  5. Distortion of Scripture brings about destruction – 2 Peter 3:16
  6. It contains examples for our instruction – Romans 15:4, 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11
  7. It is foolishness to those who are perishing – 1 Corinthians 1:18
  8. It is not to be used deceitfully nor taken lightly – 2 Corinthians 2:17, 4:2
  9. It is pure and refined – Psalm 12:6, 19:8
  10. It has been tested – 2 Samuel 22:31; Psalm 18:30; Proverbs 30:5
  11. It is perfect – Psalm 19:7
  12. It is fully confirmed – Psalm 93:5

Always effective in accomplishing God’s purposeIsaiah 55:11

  1. The Scriptures bear witness of Jesus Christ – John 5:39
  2. It is used to bring a person to faith in Jesus Christ – Romans 10:17
  3. It performs its work in you who believe – 1 Thessalonians 2:13

The standard for judgmentJohn 12:48

  1. Your acceptance of God’s Word determines your eternal destiny – John 5:24, 38; 8:47, 51
  2. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart – Hebrews 4:12

To dwell within youColossians 3:16

  1. It helps to keep you from sinning – Psalm 37:31, 119:11
  2. It helps you meditate biblically – Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; 119:15, 23, 48

To be obeyed, not just heardMatthew 7:24-27

  1. You should be a doer, not just a hearer – James 1:22-24
  2. You are blessed when you observe God’s Word – Luke 11:28; John 13:17; James 1:25
  3. You have greater spiritual discernment through obedience to God’s Word – Hebrews 5:14

Food—man lives not only by bread but by God’s WordDeuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4

  1. God’s Word is more treasured than necessary food – Job 23:12
  2. God’s Word is sweeter than honey – Psalm 19:10
  3. You grow on the milk of God’s Word – 1 Peter 2:2
  4. God’s children are delighted when they partake of His words – Jeremiah 15:16
  5. His servants are nourished by words of faith – 1 Timothy 4:6

A light to guide your wayPsalm 119:105

  1. It gives light and understanding – Psalm 19:7; 119:99, 104, 130
  2. It is able to keep you from stumbling – Psalm 119:9, 165
  3. It is a light shining in a dark place – 2 Peter 1:19
  4. It provides the light of instruction – Proverbs 6:23


Hopefully, you recognize that God’s Word is changeless and is as powerful and applicable to every person and circumstance today as it was to those living thousands of years ago. When you recognize the timeless sufficiency and power of biblical truth, it becomes clear that mixing God’s Word with any supposed “truth” outside of Scripture cannot improve the effectiveness of God’s Word. Worldly wisdom that is integrated with God’s Word does not reveal or release the powerful truth resident in Scripture. Instead, it dilutes it—much like the way that water dilutes the effectiveness of gasoline. Rather than searching elsewhere for help to deal with any aspect of life and relationships, remember 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”


1 Scripture is Your Authority is from Self-Confrontation, A Manual for In-Depth Biblical Discipleship, 19th printing, pages 50-52, published by the Biblical Counseling Foundation, 42550 Aegean St., Indio, CA 92203 USA – Phone: 760.347.4608 and email address – admin@bcfministries.org – website: http://www.bcfministries.org/


Discipleship Must be Based Solely on the Bible © 2012 WordTruth, Inc—http://www.wordtruth.net
Verse quoted is from The Holy BibleNew International Version, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.TM