D. The Bible is Sufficient (pt. 5)
Following on from the Bible’s authority and clarity is its sufficiency. In one of the texts quoted above, we read in 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, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Whereas we earlier focused our attention on the divine origin and production of Scripture. We now turn our attention to the end of the verse, which speaks to the Bible’s sufficiency. The “man of God” is language from the Old Testament to speak about a preacher, an authoritative messenger sent by God. Paul was telling Timothy that the Scripture was all he needed for his ministry to be faithful and successful. In other words, did not need ecclesiastical tradition or a papal hierarchy for his ministry to be faithful. If God were speaking outside Scripture, Timothy would need that message, since his ministry would be impoverished by its absence. God’s messenger needs to know His message, after all!
But we can rest assured that the full message we need to hear is contained in the Bible. Everything that God desires that we believe is in Scripture. And everything that we are to do in obedience to Him is there, as well. This is why the Apostle John could tell the churches in his first epistle, “Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.” (1 John 2:7) His writing did not differ from his earlier message to them, which did not differ from Christ’s message. “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.” (1 John 2:24) That apostolic message, that old message that he was writing down, brought fellowship with the Triune God. In contrast to false teachers, John speaks of the Apostles, saying, “We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us.” The church has “knowledge” and the fullness of God’s “anointing” (2:20,27), since the Apostles have written down all that they saw, heard, and touched concerning the gospel message (1 John 1:1-4).
We should not go beyond that Apostolic word. Indeed, we must not! God has given us a text to direct our beliefs, our worship, and our obedience. Yes, God still speaks – and we find that message in the sufficient word, in the Bible.