Scripture regularly testifies to its sufficiency.
To the Colossians, Paul gave a statement that we all ought to remember. Colossians 2:3 says that in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” That’s unqualified. Everything you need to know about wisdom and knowledge, you find in Christ. So no believer should be looking elsewhere. In Colossians 2:4, he says, “I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.” Don’t let the world beguile you.
“And we are,” verse 7, “rooted and built up in Him.” It’s almost like Paul’s message for the Galatians: “Having begun in the Spirit, are you going to be perfected in the flesh?” No. You were rooted in Him and you’ll be built up in Him and established in the faith, as you’ve been taught out of the Word. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found in the Christ who is revealed in the Word.
1 Thessalonians 2 also has a powerful statement on behalf of the adequacy of Scripture. In verses 11-12, Paul says, “We were exhorting and encouraging and bearing witness to each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you.”
So Paul is saying, “Look, we really wanted you to get your life together and live the way you ought to live and have all the resources you needed.” And then in verse 13, “And for this reason we also thank God without ceasing that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but for what it really is, the word of God.” He said, “You received the Word of God as the Word of God.” Then he adds, “which also is at work in you who believe.” It works. You committed yourselves, he commends them, to the Word of God. And it is doing its work — the work of maturing, of strengthening, of building, of growth — in you. And the work it does is indeed sufficient.
Job, the noble saint, gives an inspiring testimony to the Word of God and its sufficiency. Here is a man who lost everything. The devil took away all of his possessions, his land, his crops, his animals, his family, and his own health. He was a man in absolute deprivation and destitution. In Job 23:12, he says, “I have not departed from the command of His lips.” I didn’t stop obeying His Word. “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my portion of food.” What a statement. The Word of God has a higher priority to me than eating.
How about you? People struggle with all kinds of problems in life, and it may be something as basic as figuring out, “What’s the priority of your life?” Do you, like the noble Bereans, search the Scriptures every day? Like Job, is it more important for you to feed on the Word of God than it is on earthly food? And what do you esteem most highly? Your own comfort, or the Word of God? Is it self-esteem you’re after, or the esteem of the Word of God?
Oh, if only people could come back to this very basic reality. We get into emotional problems because we focus on ourselves rather than on the Word of the living God. Job esteemed the words of the mouth of God more important than anything in his life. And that’s why he could endure what he endured, and at the end, give God the glory.
One final passage sums it all up. 2 Timothy 3:15-17 is the greatest single New Testament testimony to the sufficiency of Scripture. Paul says to Timothy, “From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
They are sufficient to save. Further, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness.” It can turn people around to the right path. But how sufficient is it?
Look at the last verse: “That the man of God may be equipped” — complete — “having been thoroughly equipped for every good work.” What a comprehensive statement. The Bible is sufficient to make you wise unto salvation. It is sufficient to give you the doctrine, the reproof, the correction, and the instruction needed for righteousness. It is sufficient to make a man of God perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works, lacking nothing.
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, Calif. You can learn more about TMU at www.masters.edu.