All That Is Necessary
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
A frequently asked question by Christians is, “What do I need to live as a Christian?” All too often the search begins without first looking for the God-given answer. We often get bogged down by the details of life, albeit challenging or dire. God has provided all that His people need to live in Christ.
God revealed His sovereign grace in making a people for Himself. God calls, regenerates, converts, adopts, sanctifies, and promises to bring His people to glory. Romans 8:28-30 clearly reveals God’s sovereign actions in making a people for Himself. Therefore, Christians know that God has provided every means by which believers are brought to glory. Jesus said that God knows our needs and He will provide everything we need for this life (Matthew 6:25-34).
Yet, many Christians are ill-informed concerning the means that God has given for everyday life in Christ. The basic yet complete answer to the question, “What do I need to live as a Christian?” is the doctrine of the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures.
The Bible is God’s word to Man. The Apostle Paul said all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). The Apostle Peter equated Paul’s writing with the whole of Scripture (2 Peter 3:16). God warned His people in Deuteronomy and Revelation not to add to or subtract from His word. The Psalmist declared that all of God’s words are true.
Creation testifies to the existence of God. And the Bible gives saving knowledge of God in Jesus Christ.
The Bible is more than an ancient book. In fact, it is a collection of 66 books. Each one was written by a human author by the inspiration of God, the Holy Spirit.
Four words are used by the Christian Church to describe the Bible: inerrant, infallible, perspicuous, and sufficient. Each word points to the nature and essence of its ultimate author, God.
The Bible is inerrant because God is truth, and He has revealed the truth. The church has understood that the Bible is without error in the original autographs. The autographs were the actual writings of the human authors in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Skeptics say at this point, “We don’t have any of the original autographs.” True, but we have thousands of ancient manuscripts for the New Testament and the extremely precise oral tradition copied by Hebrew scribes. The Dead Sea Scrolls supported the oral tradition almost exactly. By using all that is available, the original texts of the Bible were reconstructed.
Next, the Bible is infallible in that it is always reliable. Everything taught in the Bible can be relied upon to give good guidance for life. This doctrine of infallibility rests upon the previous doctrine of inerrancy. We can have confidence in the reliability of the Bible to guide us in the right path because it is inerrant.
Third, the Bible is called perspicuous. Perspicuity is an unusual word, even hard to pronounce. But its meaning is simple. Perspicuous means clear. The Protestant Reformers recaptured the ancient church’s doctrine that light is shed upon the hard parts of Scripture by the clearer parts. In other words, because the Bible is perspicuous, it interprets itself. As the doctrines of inerrancy and infallibility rest upon the character of God, so too does the Bible’s perspicuity. God, the one true God, is a God of revelation. He gave us the Bible so that we might come to know Him. No man can know all of God. He is infinite and we are finite. But we can know what God has revealed about Himself.
Finally, because the Bible is sufficient, we may apply it with confidence knowing that the word of God will “light our path” (Psalm 119:105). The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy not only declaring the nature of Scripture but also its efficacy. It was the Scriptures that would make him and every Christian complete (2 Timothy 3:17).
Most evangelical churches hold to the first three doctrines of Scripture. Yet, by the tremendous and unending list of church programs, the insufficiency of Scripture is demonstrated. Christians seem more concerned with meeting “felt needs” or life-situations than learning to apply the Bible to live wisely. Now more than ever we need to major on the sufficiency of the Bible, learning sound doctrine for God’s glory and our enjoyment of Him. Therefore, know that the Bible is all that is necessary to live in Christ for His glory! Christians hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest God’s word!
All That Is Necessary