Approaching Scripture, part 5
Note: This post is part five of a six-part series.
- Part One – Introduction
- Part Two – Inspired
- Part Three – Inerrant and Infallible
- Part Four – Authoritative
- Part Five – Sufficient
- Part Six – Clear and Unified
Over the past few weeks, what we have seen in this blog series has been the truth that God’s word is inspired (that is, it is breathed out by God, it is the very word of God), it is inerrant and infallible (it is without error and incapable of error), and it is therefore authoritative (to disbelieve Scripture is to disbelieve God; to disobey Scripture is to disobey God). All of that is gloriously true. But the question for today—not just for this blog, but also often the question for our lives—is this: Is it enough?
Is Scripture enough, or do we need to look for something more?
Is Scripture enough, or should we look for something else?
Does God’s word really have all that we need for living life in 2022?
And to put my cards on the table, the answer is Yes, Scripture is enough. The answer is, we don’t need to look for anything else. The answer is, Scripture is sufficient. And to see that, we’re going to look at two passages from the pen of Peter. In the first chapter of 2 Peter, we see that Scripture is all that we need, and therefore that we don’t need to look for anything else.
ALL THAT WE NEED
In 2 Peter 1:3–4, the apostle Peter writes this:
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, 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.2 Peter 1:3–4, ESV
The key phrase, of course, is in verse 3: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” All things that we need for life. All things that we need for the goal of our life—to grow in godliness. (Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4 that this is God’s will—our sanctification. See 1 Thessalonians 4:3.) All that we need for life, all that we need for godliness, God has granted to us by his divine power.
But imagine you have a rich uncle. You receive word that he has granted you one million dollars. You’re now a millionaire! You’ve received word of this, but you haven’t yet received the money. You don’t have the money in hand. What’s your next question? How do I access it? How do you access that million dollars? That’s the key question.
And the key question here is this: How are these things made available to us? His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. How do we access it?
What does the text say? We find life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence (LIFE!), by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises—through them (God’s promises) we become partakers of the divine nature (GODLINESS).
Where do we find the knowledge of him? By what means has he given us his precious and very great promises? In Scripture. In his word. All that we need for life and godliness is found in his word.
SOMETHING MORE SURE
But, some would say, his written word isn’t enough. We need a fresh word from God, they argue. We need a new word for today. Others would say we’re looking for an experience. To grow in godliness, we need new fresh experiences of his presence, a second blessing of his Spirit, they say. We need visions. We need experiences. We need personal words, God speaking directly to us for life and godliness.
But again, we should ask, what does the Scripture say?
Before we read the next passage, it’s important for us to remember who wrote this. It is God’s word, of course, but God’s word through man. And this passage came through the pen of the apostle Peter. Peter, who lived in close proximity to Jesus. Peter, who walked on water with Jesus. Peter, who with his very eyes saw Jesus transfigured into the full display of his divine glory. And that latter issue is what he’s going to refer to in the passage below. Consider Peter’s words:
“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”2 Peter 1:16–21, ESV
Here again we see that Scripture comes from God through man. But notice also the weight that Peter gives to Scripture.
Peter is recalling, I saw the honor and glory from God. I heard the audible voice of God on the mountain. If anyone had an experience, if anyone knew what it was to hear a direct word from God, it was Peter!
And, reminding us of that background, Peter goes on to say this: “And we have the prophetic word (that is, the Scriptures) more fully confirmed.”
The King James records it like this, we have “a more sure word of prophecy” in the Scriptures.
The point is, the message of Scripture is something more sure than any experience or any voice we may think we have heard. The point is, the prophetic word that we have in Scripture is “more fully confirmed” than any voice heard from heaven, than any ecstatic experience. Our recollection of what was said may fade, but God’s word never fades. Our memory of any given experience will diminish, but God’s word remains. We may mistake our inner thoughts as if they were God’s word to us when in fact they were only our own fallible thoughts, but Scripture is unmistakably God’s infallible word. What we need to seek is not our own private experience or a vision from God, we need to seek God through his word.
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE WORD OF GOD
All this means that we don’t need any further revelation. We don’t need to look for anything else. God’s word is enough.
Pastor and author Kevin DeYoung, who has a wonderful chapter on the sufficiency of Scripture in his book Taking God at His Word, says it like this:
“You do not need another special revelation from God outside the Bible. You can listen to the voice of God every day. Christ still speaks, because the Spirit has already spoken. If you want to hear from God, go to the book that records only what he has said. Immerse yourself in the word of God.”(Kevin DeYoung, Taking God at His Word)
What does the psalmist say? “You make known to me the path of life” (Psalm 16:11), and the Psalms later affirm that God does that through his word: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
God’s written word is enough.
That doesn’t mean that God answers every question we will ever have in Scripture; but it does mean that he tells us all that we need to know for a life of following Him by faith.
The Scripture is enough, so don’t follow philosophies or worldviews or teachers that oppose it; don’t try to find life in paths that contradict it; don’t assume it’s not relevant to your life today. The Scripture—God’s written word—is sufficient for life and godliness. Immerse yourself in it.
Bert Watts has served since December 2016 as the Senior Pastor at Mountain Creek Baptist Church, where he has been on staff since 2012.