Sufficiency of Scripture

Bible Book: Psalms  19 : 7-11
Subject: Scripture, Sufficiency of; Bible, Value of

Someone has written “Coupled with our ignorance of the word (of God) is a pervading rejection of authority at all levels, including spiritual. The Scriptures are no longer considered binding or even relevant. For some, the Gospels contain principles, not commands. The writings of Paul are 'love letters' and not doctrine to be followed.”

“Since we argue that the Word is not binding on us today, there is no reason for us to submit ourselves to the authority of Christ. If pastors admonish or discipline us, we immediately rebel, claiming that they have no right to do so. Instead of accepting their role as pastors of the flock, we launch a campaign to discredit them, move on to another congregation or drop out entirely.”

“We have bought into the idea that everyone has a right to his or her own opinion. The doctrinal uniqueness of the church is no longer accepted, appreciated, or for many, understood. As a result, we have begun to drift. We have lost our identity.” For some this means that the church is no longer relevant.

I would have to agree with this author that because we are ignorant of the Word of God, and the doctrinal uniqueness of the church is no longer “accepted, appreciated, or for many, understood.” In one church where I served as pastor, I had a deacon’s wife who wanted to go to another church where her friends attended. When I pointed out that the beliefs of this particular church were quite different than ours, she indicated that it did not matter what they believed. She wanted to go to church with her friends.

One reason I am a Baptist is because of what we believe about Scripture. Robert G. Torbet is the author of the History of the Baptists, the textbook I used in seminary. In the final chapter of his book which dealt with doctrinal contributions, Torbet noted, “Baptists, to a greater degree than any other group, have strengthened the protest of evangelical Protestantism against traditionalism. This they have done by their constant witness to the supremacy of the Scriptures as the all-sufficient and sole norm for faith and practice in the Christian life.”

An examination of the earliest confessions of English Baptists reveals reliance upon the Holy Scripture alone. John Smyth, the first Baptist, stated that Scriptures are the fountain of all truth and are the ground and foundation of our faith. In one of the early confessions of faith (2nd London Confession, 1677), the section on the Bible begins, “The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving Knowledge, Faith, and Obedience;” This confession contains 10 paragraphs on the doctrine of the Bible.

The latest Baptist Faith and Message (2000), a confession of our faith, reads, “The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.”

As you can see Baptists have very strong convictions about the authority and the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures. Many of our forefathers were severely persecuted because of their public stance on the Word of God. Some lost their lives because of this stance. David understood the importance of God’s Word.

He talks about the sufficiency of Scripture in Psalm 19:7-11. Why is the Word of God so important?

I. It Revives our Innermost Being (19:7)

God’s Law is perfect—blameless—stable like a rock. The word “perfect” means “whole or complete”. One Old Testament scholar says, “It is all-sided so as to completely cover all aspects of a thing.” It lacks nothing. It is all a person needs to live successfully in this world and to have true spiritual life. The Word of God revives our innermost being. The word “revive” means to restore, refresh, and transform.

If you will wholly follow the Scriptures, it will completely transform your life. In a Bible Study Magazine article about Beth Moore, she indicated that the Bible literally saved her life. She had suffered sexual abuse as a child and found herself plunging into emotional darkness. In her darkest moment God assured her that he was going to heal her. From that moment on she slept             with the Bible wide open on top of her. She began to memorize large amounts of Scripture. She stated, “He absolutely saved my life and mind.” (BSM, Ju-Au, 2010)

God’s Word restores our spirits when we are depressed, when we face adversity, when we hunger and thirst for righteousness, when we grow faint. Psalm 119:165 states, “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”

The Word of God is music to our ears and food for our souls. Some insects get their color from the color of the leaves upon which they feed. A person who feeds upon the Word of God will have the very core of his or her being colored by it. Peter tells us, “As newborn babies, desire the sincere milk of the Word that you may grow thereby” 1 Peter 2:2. The Bible is entirely sufficient to revive our innermost being.

II. It Makes us Wise (19:7-8)

Max Born, close friend of Albert Einstein, a nuclear physicist, and one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century, was interviewed shortly before his death. Born commented, “I’d be happier if we had scientists with less brains and more wisdom.” (Encyclopedia of Illustrations, 7373) We are without a doubt the most educated generation, but many lack wisdom. People in our government can figure out a way to build a stealth helicopter than can fly a group of Navy seals into another country and kill the number one terrorist in the world, but they cannot figure out how to fix our economy.

In contrast to this lack of wisdom, the Word of God can make us wise. One commentator indicated, “David uses the word “testimony” or “statutes” which looks at God’s Word as divine witness. It is God giving testimony to who He is and what He requires. In contrast to the unsure, insecure, wavering, changing, shifting, untrustworthy, unreliable notions of men, the Word of the Living God is sure.” The Bible is not something that changes. In our morally loose society we have tried to reinterpret the Word of God to make it flexible, but God’s Word never changes. Murder, adultery, lying, gossip, and divorce are just as wrong today as they always have been.

Scripture takes the one who does not know right from wrong and brings to that individual the wisdom of God. The word “wise” in the Hebrew language means “to be skilled in the art of godly or practical living”. The people who live their lives based on the Word of God are very sure-footed in life, while those who argue about or explain away the Bible, flounder.

III. It Brings Joy to our Hearts (19:8)

Peterson paraphrases this verse, “the life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy.” What do people really want out of life? They want a sense of wholeness, of contentment, and of belonging. So many people do not enjoy life. They are always searching for something that will bring them peace and contentment. God’s “life-map” brings joy to life.

How many self-help books have you read in your lifetime? Only one book will bring you true joy. Nathanael Hardy lived from 1618 to 1670. He said, “other books may bring delight and pleasure but only one book brings true joy.” Jeremiah the prophet understood this truth. He wrote, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name Jer. 15:16.”

Why does it bring us joy? It is because it tells us about God’s great love and great redemption. It tells us of the Savior’s love. It tells us that God will go to any length to restore us to a right relationship with himself.

IV. It Gives us Guidance (19:8)

The commandments of the Lord give light to our darkened understanding. They give guidance. David refers to the Word of God as “commandments.” The Bible is not full of suggestions, but authoritative commandments. These truths are not negotiable, and not approved or unapproved by popular vote. God tells clueless people what he expects of them.

Men and women are the most intelligent of all God’s creation, but we act foolishly. For example, a fox will not return to the same snare or a wolf to the same pitfall, but people return to the same sins over and over until they are ruined. God’s Word provides all we need to break this cycle.

People who go climbing in the Alps for the first time are usually fastened by a rope to their guide so they won’t get lost. The guide goes before them, and they follow wherever he leads. If a person will fasten himself to the unerring Word of God, he or she will be led over the highest mountains and through the darkest caves. As David said, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path Ps 119:105.”


A 2009 survey conducted by LifeWay found that 65% or young adults from the age 18 to 29 rarely attend church and rarely pray. 67% indicated that they never read the Bible. Is it any wonder why so many in our country lack wisdom and why ethics have all but vanished? God’s Word is more desirable and more valuable than gold. If we would spend the kind of time in God’s Word that we spend trying to get rich, how different would our lives be?

God’s Word is sufficient. It revives us. It makes us wise. It brings joy to our heart. It gives us guidance. The Bible is all that is needed for life in this crazy mixed up world. May we be like the old African who said, speaking to the missionary Robert Moffat, he pointed to his Bible and said, “This is the fountain where I drink and this is the oil that makes my lamp burn.”