Column: Scripture Is Sufficient 

Published 1:07 pm Monday, July 17, 2023

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By April J. Buchanan | Community Religion Columnist

“Whenever a man takes upon him to make additions to the Scriptures, he is likely to end with valuing his own additions above Scripture itself.” J.C. Ryle

When we say, “Scripture is Sufficient”, is it just heart felt words that we think ourselves genuinely believing? When what we live out is tested by scripture and found contrary to it, do we then argue from some standard outside of scripture to defend what we believe or do we test our beliefs and practices against scripture and submit to Gods Word?

What is our standard of truth? Is it Gods Word or is it something else? Do we submit to scripture or take liberties with it, twisting and manipulating scripture to agree with what we feel or believe or our long held traditions that are contrary to it? Do we really believe that Scripture is God-breathed and sufficient?

When we read of Gods created order and His purpose in creating all as He did, we often find today, not only in the world, but in the church, a wrestling against Gods order and a desire to tear down and reconstruct a new order. This isn’t new for man to think we know better than God. Though not new, it is sinful, dangerous and destructive.

Where the sufficiency of scripture is neglected or abandoned, we see evidence in our personal lives, homes and churches where there will be varying kinds of confusion and disorder. The claim is often always that “we believe in the sufficiency of scripture” but the evidence is often contrary to Gods Word and the defense for many beliefs and practices are often reasoned by something “beyond scripture”.

I’ve had recent conversations with professing Christian’s of whom when asked how they can explain or defend some of their beliefs and practices, and reasoning with them with what scripture says, they have then conceded that scripture doesn’t teach what they believe and are practicing and will then appeal to subjective experiences, feelings and claims that they “know it’s of God because He told them”. But, the test for all things is Gods Word, not our subjective feelings, experiences and belief that God spoke to us outside of scripture.

Many heretical and dangerous sects have come from those who claim, “God told me”. Many have made major life decisions that have caused them a lot of grief and loss based on hyper-emotional pursuits of extra-Biblical revelation from God, because for many today, in practice, scripture isn’t sufficient and they need something “more”.

But scripture is sufficient! It’s our own desires that lead us to be dissatisfied with the God-breathed scripture.

Many claim to believe that “Scripture Is Sufficient”, but in practice and application we see otherwise. Today, many pastors come to the pulpit, week after week, claiming special revelation from God, outside of scripture. This gives the impression that what God has spoken in His Word isn’t sufficient for us today and we need new revelation, special revelation just for us. Why would we want to dust off our Bibles and read holy script when we could just seek those who claim that God is continually giving them new revelation? And if this is new revelation and it’s from God, how is it that we are not adding these words to the Bible? After all, it is claimed to be God speaking new revelation.

Often we don’t consider what is really being claimed because such claims make us feel special and constantly desiring some special word just for us and seeking some emotional experience and the next emotional high. It’s never enough and there’s always a desire for more. So, I ask, in practice, do we really believe in the sufficiency of scripture?

If we desire a god that always agrees with us and tells us everything we want to hear then we do not desire the holy, just, righteous, gracious, merciful, sovereign, one true God as He has revealed Himself in scripture and therefore our desire leads us to create a god in our image and this god is a god of self.

If our desire is truly to know God, then we will labor in His Word and desire to know Him as He has revealed Himself in scripture.

Many today are creating their own version of who God is. Many well meaning Christian’s are caught up in various practices and beliefs that go beyond scripture and have yet to understand what is really meant when we say, “Scripture is Sufficient“. It’s not just words we say. And many who repeat them, really believe they believe what they are saying, while in practice pursuing that which is outside of scripture to satisfy, and in application, standing contrary to the Word of God while appealing to subjective experiences, feelings and claims of extra-Biblical revelation to validate their beliefs and practices.

Scripture is our standard for truth and for testing all things. Not our feelings. Not our experiences. Gods Word is sufficient!