James also gives testimony to the sufficiency of Scripture. James 1:25 says, “one who looks intently at the perfect law.” What’s another word for perfect? Complete. Is the Bible incomplete? Not hardly. In fact, at the end of Revelation it says, “If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book.” No, the Bible is the complete law.
He calls it the “royal law” in the second chapter. And he says, “Anyone who obeys the perfect law” – James 1:25 – “shall be blessed.” Again, bliss, satisfaction, fulfillment, all that pertains to life and conduct for a believer is bound up in the Word of God. Our spiritual sufficiency comes from God, is ministered from the Word by the Spirit to the heart of a believer.
Listen to the testimony of Luke in the book of Acts. Luke identified the most noble Christians in Greece in a little town called Berea. And this is what he said: The saints in Berea were the most noble of all the saints, Acts 17:11, “because they received the Word with readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily.” What a great statement. Spiritual nobility belongs to those who receive the Word of God with readiness of mind, with acceptance, with faith, with eagerness.
Beloved, the key to adequate living is not the Bible plus a lot of stuff. It is the Word of God pursued with readiness and eagerness and searched out every day of one’s life. Noble spirituality is tied to a daily diet of the Word of God. That’s where the strength comes to deal with life.
People, sadly, are chasing their sufficiency — not finding it — in psychology and in science of the mind and mysticism and ecstatic experiences and the supernatural and in entertainment and management techniques for the church. All of that pursuit is running in the wrong direction. Instead of bringing what they think they need, it will bring them the very opposite.
The ticket to the Spirit-filled life is the Word-controlled mind which leads to sufficiency and adequacy. Listen to the words of Peter in 1 Peter 2:2. “As babes, desire the pure milk of the Word that you may grow by it.” Spiritual growth, spiritual maturity, spiritual strength, moving toward Christlikeness, is tied to your desire for the Word of God.
A baby grows by drinking milk. And that’s what Peter is saying. With that same strong singular desire that a baby desires milk, a believer should long for the Word of God. When your heart seeks that on a daily basis, you’ll find all the spiritual resources for strengthening.
And then Peter added this in his second epistle, 2 Peter 1:3, one of the great statements on this subject in all of Scripture. He says, “According as God’s divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” What a statement. God’s divine power has given us not some things, but “all things.” Then he says, “Through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue.” When we come to know Him and He is revealed through His Word, we are cashing in on the resources that allow us to be able to face anything.
You ask, why do you always teach the Bible? Why do we always study the Word of God? Because where else do we go for spiritual sufficiency? Everything else is superfluous. It grieves me no end when people come up with this idea that the Bible is not enough. The Word of God energized by the Spirit of God is sufficient for life and godliness.
Even more direct and comprehensive is the statement of Paul in Acts 20. When he was meeting with the Ephesian elders, he said to them, reciting a little bit of the history of his ministry, “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you.” Paul didn’t hold anything back. He gave them everything. And they were just like us. They had all the problems, all the life struggles, all the spiritual needs we have. He said, “I didn’t hold anything back that was profitable, but I have shown you and I have taught you.” Then down in verse 27 he tells us what that was. “I have not failed to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” Not “all the counsel of God and some of the counsel of men.” He saw in the revelation of God total sufficiency. And then later on, in verse 32, he says, “So I commend you to God and the Word of His grace which is able to build you up.”
Is the Bible sufficient to build us up? Is it sufficient to meet every vicissitude, struggle, need, and anxiety of human life? Of course it is. And anyone that says it isn’t, whether by explicit statement or by implication, sins against God, for he calls God a liar. And that’s no small act but indeed an act of serious treachery. The Word is all you need. The Word is what is profitable. The Word will strengthen.
This post is based on a sermon Dr. MacArthur preached in 1985, titled “The Sufficiency of Scripture, Part 1.” In addition to serving as the pastor of Grace Community Church and the voice of Grace to You, Dr. MacArthur is the chancellor of The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, California. You can learn more about TMU at www.masters.edu.
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