Sufficient Scripture, Sufficient God or Deficient Scripture, Deficient God
Do you trust the Bible as the authority for all spiritual matters and also believe that the Bible is more than sufficient to deal with all aspects of life and relationships? If you answer “yes,” then you are on solid biblical ground as the following passages demonstrate. (Psalm 119, a chapter that focuses on the total sufficiency of God’s word, is printed at the conclusion of this study).
Psalm 19:7-11, 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, enduring forever; 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. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
Isaiah 55:10-11, 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.
Mark 13:31, Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
John 17:17, Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
Romans 15:4, For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
1 Thessalonians 2:13, And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
2 Timothy 3:16-17, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Hebrews 4:12, 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.
2 Peter 1:2-4, May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
With such a resounding endorsement of Scripture for its own power and sufficiency, it is sad that many believers trust the Bible to be authoritative for salvation and eternal life but do not believe it is sufficient to face and deal with all aspects of life and relationships. If a person does not believe in the complete sufficiency of Scripture to face all challenges and situations in life, then there is only one other alternative to provide “insight and guidance” for daily life. That alternative is worldly wisdom, which is folly with God (1 Corinthians 3:19-20).
1 Corinthians 3:19-20, For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”
THE BATTLE BETWEEN TRUTH AND ERROR
Some believers try to legitimize using worldly wisdom (especially psychotherapy and humanistic psychology) because of their illusion that God’s Word is not comprehensive enough to address all aspects of life and relationships. Believers who deny the Bible’s sufficiency in this regard believe that the Bible deals effectively with “spiritual matters” but lacks enough insight to help people face and deal with “real life” issues.
Closely aligned with this misperception about scriptural sufficiency is the erroneous belief that human behavior in this day and age can be diagnosed and understood to such a degree that the Bible is no longer relevant to deal with life’s problems. When any aspect of worldly wisdom is used in place of or equal to God’s Word, however, one must assume that this extra “authority” produces a better outcome than using only the Bible. Nothing could be further from the truth. (See Counseling Must be Based Solely on the Bible )
ONE’S BELIEF IN THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE PARALLELS ONE’S BELIEF IN THE SUFFICIENCY OF GOD
If God’s Word is not sufficient to deal with all aspects of life and relationships, then a logical corollary is that God Himself is similarly deficient. Author Jonathan Leeman makes this observation, “You can measure a person’s opinion of God by his or her opinion of God’s Word. That’s why a person who loves God loves His Word, and the person who hates God rejects what God has spoken. God’s Word is an extension of Himself – His identity, purposes, affections, and power.” A
One could also say that those who are ambiguous about God are also ambiguous about His Word. Any doubt from a believer about God’s sufficiency, power, knowledge, etc. is unfounded in light of Who He is and what He does.
Consider the following—
The immensity of God is declared in 2 Chronicles 6:18 . . . “Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you.” In addition, Almighty God can speak things into existence, as Hebrews 11:3 states, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” God provides detailed oversight of His creation in ways that are beyond comprehension as Psalm 147:4 illustrates, “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.”
For you personally . . .
God formed you in your mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:13, For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. God knows all about your actions, thoughts, and words, even before they occur.
Psalm 139:1-4, O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
God knew how long you would live before you were born
Psalm 139:16, Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them)
God knows your needs before you ask.
Matthew 6:8b, … your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Do you think that the all-powerful Creator of the universe would provide His created beings with a deficient instruction manual for life? If so, then God either lacks knowledge, which is impossible since He is the Source of wisdom … or God lacks integrity, which is impossible since He is Truth.
Reviewing the truth of the verses on page one, how could God and His Word ever be considered deficient in dealing with life and relationships? The Bible repeatedly proclaims the sufficiency of God’s Word and, thus, the sufficiency of God Himself in so many ways.
For example, the definition of truth is “bringing everything to light.” (See Truth – The Measurement for All Aspects of Life and Relationships ) When all of God’s Word is added together, the result is total sufficiency.
Psalm 119:160, The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
God places His Name (who He is) and His Word (what He says) above all things. This divine exaltation proclaims the total sufficiency of God and His Word.
Psalm 138:2, I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. [Emphasis added]
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.
SCRIPTURE IS YOUR AUTHORITY 1
GOD’S WORD IS:
Permanent and eternal – Isaiah 40:8
- It will all be fulfilled – Isaiah 40:8
- Heaven and earth shall pass away but God’sWord will not pass away – Matthew 24:35
- It will abide forever – 1 Peter 1:25
- It is everlasting and forever – Psalm 119:89, 160
Inspired by God for our training and equipping – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
- Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit – 2 Peter 1:21
- 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
Truth – John 17:17
- All of God’s Word is truth – Psalm 119:151, 160
- The gospel of salvation is truth – Ephesians 1:13
- You are brought forth by the Word of truth – James 1:18
- You are to handle accurately the Word of truth – 2 Timothy 2:15
A powerful, spiritual force – Jeremiah 23:29
- It is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword – Hebrews 4:12
- It is a weapon against spiritual forces of wickedness – Ephesians 6:11-17
- It is to be used to resist Satan’s wiles – Matthew 4:4-10; Ephesians 6:11, 17
- It makes you wiser than your enemies – Psalm 119:98
- It can make you tremble – Ezra 10:3; Isaiah 66:2, 5
Cleansing to your ways – Psalm 119:9
- You are cleansed through God’s Word – John 15:3; Ephesians 5:26
- You are sanctified by the truth of God’s Word – John 17:17
- You are purified by obeying the truth – 1 Peter 1:22
A source of grace that builds you up – Acts 20:32
- It strengthens in grief – Psalm 119:28
- It sustains you – Psalm 119:116
- It comforts in affliction – Psalm 119:50, 92
- It is a comfort and consolation – Psalm 119:52
- It gives hope – Psalm 119:49; Romans 15:4
- It provides peace – Psalm 119:165
- It produces a reverence for God – Psalm 119:38
- It gives freedom – Psalm 119:45; John 8:32
A testimony to its own sufficiency – 2 Peter 1:3-4
- It is a reproach to those who do not listen – Jeremiah 6:10
- You must not add to it or subtract from it – Deuteronomy 4:2
- You are in peril if you take anything away from or add anything to God’s Word – Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:19
- You are accursed if you preach a different gospel – Galatians 1:8, 9
- Distortion of Scripture brings about destruction – 2 Peter 3:16
- It contains examples for our instruction – Romans 15:4, 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11
- It is foolishness to those who are perishing – 1 Corinthians 1:18
- It is not to be used deceitfully nor taken lightly – 2 Corinthians 2:17, 4:2
- It is pure and refined – Psalm 12:6, 19:8
- It has been tested – 2 Samuel 22:31; Psalm 18:30; Proverbs 30:5
- It is perfect – Psalm 19:7
- It is fully confirmed – Psalm 93:5
Always effective in accomplishing God’s purpose – Isaiah 55:11
- The Scriptures bear witness of Jesus Christ – John 5:39
- It is used to bring a person to faith in Jesus Christ – Romans 10:17
- It performs its work in you who believe – 1 Thessalonians 2:13
The standard for judgment – John 12:48
- Your acceptance of God’s Word determines your eternal destiny – John 5:24, 38; 8:47, 51
- It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart – Hebrews 4:12
To dwell within you – Colossians 3:16
- It helps to keep you from sinning – Psalm 37:31, 119:11
- It helps you meditate biblically – Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; 119:15, 23, 48
To be obeyed, not just heard – Matthew 7:24-27
- You should be a doer, not just a hearer – James 1:22-24
- You are blessed when you observe God’s Word – Luke 11:28; John 13:17; James 1:25
- 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 Word – Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4
- God’s Word is more treasured than necessary food – Job 23:12
- God’s Word is sweeter than honey – Psalm 19:10
- You grow on the milk of God’s Word – 1 Peter 2:2
- God’s children are delighted when they partake of His words – Jeremiah 15:16
- His servants are nourished by words of faith – 1 Timothy 4:6
A light to guide your way – Psalm 119:105
- It gives light and understanding – Psalm 19:7; 119:99, 104, 130
- It is able to keep you from stumbling – Psalm 119:9, 165
- It is a light shining in a dark place – 2 Peter 1:19
- It provides the light of instruction – Proverbs 6:23
THE BOTTOM LINE
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.”
Prior to reading Psalm 119 (below), consider the following “words associated with The Word” C that are mentioned in this chapter that is devoted exclusively to extolling the Word of God.
Preserves my life…I find comfort in them
Your laws are righteous…your statutes are my delight
Teach me knowledge…I have put my hope in your Word
All your commands are trustworthy…your Word, O Lord, is eternal
Your statutes are my heritage forever…they are the joy of my heart
I have more insight that all my teachers…how sweet are your words to my taste
Your Word is a lamp to my feet…and a light for my path
All your commands are true…great peace have they who love your law Strengthen me according to your word . . . may your laws sustain me For your laws are good…your promises have been thoroughly tested Your statutes are forever right…your commands are boundless
1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!
2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,
3 who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!
4 You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.
5 Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
6 Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules.
8 I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!
9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O LORD, teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
17 Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word.
18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
19 I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me!
20 My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.
21 You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones, who wander from your commandments.
22 Take away from me scorn and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies.
23 Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes.
24 Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.
25 My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!
26 When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes!
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28 My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!
29 Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.
31 I cling to your testimonies, O LORD; let me not be put to shame!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!
33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared.
39 Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good.
40 Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!
41 Let your steadfast love come to me, O LORD, your salvation according to your promise;
42 then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me, for I trust in your word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in your rules.
44 I will keep your law continually, forever and ever,
45 and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.
46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame,
47 for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.
48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.
49 Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope.
50 This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.
51 The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law.
52 When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O LORD.
53 Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked, who forsake your law.
54 Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.
55 I remember your name in the night, O LORD, and keep your law.
56 This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept your precepts.
57 The LORD is my portion; I promise to keep your words.
58 I entreat your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies;
60 I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments.
61 Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me, I do not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to praise you, because of your righteous rules.
63 I am a companion of all who fear you, of those who keep your precepts.
64 The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes!
65 You have dealt well with your servant, O LORD, according to your word.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.
68 You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.
69 The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts;
70 their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law.
71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
72 The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
73 Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
74 Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word.
75 I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight.
78 Let the insolent be put to shame, because they have wronged me with falsehood; as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me, that they may know your testimonies.
80 May my heart be blameless in your statutes, that I may not be put to shame!
81 My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word.
82 My eyes long for your promise; I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
83 For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
84 How long must your servant endure? When will you judge those who persecute me?
85 The insolent have dug pitfalls for me; they do not live according to your law.
86 All your commandments are sure; they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
87 They have almost made an end of me on earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88 In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.
89 Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91 By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants.
92 If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life.
94 I am yours; save me, for I have sought your precepts.
95 The wicked lie in wait to destroy me, but I consider your testimonies.
96 I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad.
97 Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts.
101 I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word.
102 I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules.
107 I am severely afflicted; give me life, O LORD, according to your word!
108 Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O LORD, and teach me your rules.
109 I hold my life in my hand continually, but I do not forget your law.
110 The wicked have laid a snare for me, but I do not stray from your precepts.
111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.
112 I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end.
113 I hate the double-minded, but I love your law.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.
115 Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God.
116 Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope!
117 Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually!
118 You spurn all who go astray from your statutes, for their cunning is in vain.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross, therefore I love your testimonies.
120 My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments.
121 I have done what is just and right; do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Give your servant a pledge of good; let not the insolent oppress me.
123 My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
124 Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes.
125 I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies!
126 It is time for the LORD to act, for your law has been broken.
127 Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold.
128 Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way.
129 Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments.
132 Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name.
133 Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
134 Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts.
135 Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.
136 My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.
137 Righteous are you, O LORD, and right are your rules.
138 You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness.
139 My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words.
140 Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it.
141 I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true.
143 Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight.
144 Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live.
145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD! I will keep your statutes.
146 I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.
148 My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.
149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O LORD, according to your justice give me life.
150 They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law.
151 But you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true.
152 Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever.
153 Look on my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law.
154 Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to your promise!
155 Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes.
156 Great is your mercy, O LORD; give me life according to your rules.
157 Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not swerve from your testimonies.
158 I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commands.
159 Consider how I love your precepts! Give me life according to your steadfast love.
160 The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
161 Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words.
162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.
165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.
166 I hope for your salvation, O LORD, and I do your commandments.
167 My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly.
168 I keep your precepts and testimonies, for all my ways are before you.
169 Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word!
170 Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word.
171 My lips will pour forth praise, for you teach me your statutes.
172 My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right.
173 Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.
A Quoted from Eternal Perspectives, Spring issue, 2013, page 11
B 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 – email@example.com – website: http:// www.bcfministries.org/
C Quoted from Eternal Perspectives, Spring issue, 2013, page 11
Sufficient Scripture, Sufficient God or Deficient Scripture, Deficient God © 2013 WordTruth, Inc—http://www.wordtruth.net
Verses from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version © 2001Version by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publisher