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The indispensable Book: Bible and Its Sufficiency June 4, 2007

Posted by moverstreet in Bible & Theology, Books, Campus, Church, Culture/Society, Missions/Evangelism/Apologetics.
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What happens in our churches when we disregard the sufficiency of Holy Scripture? Confusion, sermons stripped of all but praxis, doctrinal error, and evangelism without power or effectiveness—the situation we see commonly today.

The Bible is indispensable to Christianity. From Pentecost to the present, no period in the history of the church has seen any substantial work of God without the powerful preaching and teaching of Christ through the Scriptures. The New Testament records a time when churches developed around the foundation laid on the teaching of the apostles and prophets.  But beyond simple history, the Bible provides formative and principled instruction on the establishment of simple bodies that bear the mark of Christ.

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History is filled with men distracted from God who trusted in traditions and the teachings of men, ignoring the Bible and its divine sufficiency. A great crisis in our churches today lies in our ever-increasing desire to exchange the eternal Word for human creativity and innovation.  In doing so, the church forgets that the sole source God has given us for our life and church is his Word.

From the seed of salvation to practical beliefs and actions of the Christian’s daily walk, the Bible is adequate to meet every need.

Paul explains Scripture’s sufficiency as he counsels young Timothy. In 2 Timothy 3:15, he argues that the “sacred writings” are “able to give the wisdom that leads to salvation.” In the following verse, he clarifies the “Scriptures” as the source of that wisdom and salvation. For Paul, it is imperative for his protégé to understand that Scripture alone is the source of salvation.

Beyond salvation, the apostle goes on to assert that God has provided all Scripture for our profit. Beyond the initial work of salvation, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 explains that the word of God is the “complete” source of “equipping” for “every good work.”  Paul’s teaching to Timothy plainly states that every teaching, preaching, instruction, and encouraging word from the Bible is the beginning of “every good work.”

The church will only thrive when we remember that the Bible is something more than a collection of great stories or human writings, even revealed truths. Scripture is the voice of God.

The Reformation revitalized this call to a Scripture-dependant church through the basic principle of sola scriptura (Scripture alone). This teaching fought against the traditions of men and toward a recovery of the biblical church. Similarly, a recovery of this principle in our churches today can restore new life and health that honors God and exalts Christ.

Early in their history, Baptists affirmed their dependence upon the Bible by identifying the canon of Scripture as “the only authoritative source of God’s revealed truth.” Baptist churches exist today because Bible-believing Christ-followers sought to conform the practice of every local church to the New Testament. This practice does not include mere social customs and culturally bound actions, but the church’s faithful commitment to the Bible as the sole ground of authority in determining the basis of how we “do” church.

For preachers, it means moving beyond heart-warming stories and punchy anecdotes to standing on Scripture alone as the revelation of the One who ransoms sinners to build his church. For churches, sola scriptura means that the Bible contains the only model and prescription of the body Christ died to redeem. For denominations, the doctrine means that God’s word stands alone as the source of authority and instruction given by Christ to his bride.

To be true, churches must therefore reach back to the Bible to reach out effectively. The Bible stands alone as the only authoritative source of God’s revealed truth, and from this we make several observations.
-First, since Scripture is God’s Word written, it must affect the way we live out our lives. The Bible should affect the way we think every thought, solve every problem, and answer every question.

From the mind of God through the hands of men, the Scriptures tell us who we are, how our sin offends an infinitely Holy God, and how Jesus came as the God who speaks (Hebrew 1:1-3). From him and his word, we learn that all of creation groans for the redemption that is found only in Christ (Romans 8:22). From it we learn that no man, nor invention of man, is good, but God made himself a man and became the Word of God incarnate (John 1:1-5).

From Scripture we learn everything he requires us to know about man and God (2 Timothy 3:15-17). For every individual from every age, the Bible is the sole and ultimate standard of truth (John 17:17).

-Second, since Scripture is God’s word written, then it must affect the way we worship. When God created the cosmos, he did so by his word. Likewise, when he established the church, he created it in Christ, the living Word (Ephesians 2:10).

If the church is to flourish, then the church must demand absolute confidence in the sufficiency of the word to instruct Christians to gospel-driven, Christ-centered, God-exalting worship. Creativity, technology, and innovations must yield themselves to the authority of God’s word and its power to define what he wants in his body, the church. More than just a gathering, the church defines herself through the proper practice of faithful, powerful preaching from the Bible. As a result, faithful preaching through the Scriptures reveals a proper understanding of ordinances, evangelism, church leadership, and proper growth and discipleship.

As Baptists, churches remain faithful to the Lord by remaining faithful through the written word of God, the Bible.

Finally, if Scripture is God’s word written, then it must affect the way we fulfill the Great Commission. With Scripture as our authority, a clear and perfect guide in all things, then we should trust it with absolute reliability to be our guide as we partner together to expand the kingdom of Christ on earth. As we faithfully follow the path lit by Scripture, we will see Christ nourish and grow his church.

As Southern Baptists, we must associate ourselves together around his word, submitting ourselves to it as the guide for Christ’s kingdom on earth.

With God as the author and salvation for its end, we would do well to trust the principles of Scripture, always carefully following his judgments, focusing on his ends, and serving his kingdom with great boldness as Baptists until the Word of God (John 1:1) returns and gathers together all of those who follow him. Until then, let’s remain people of the Book.

 

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Comments»

1. undergroundreformation - June 4, 2007

Great post. The neglegent nature by which Scripture is handled at times is frightening. The Word of God is completely sufficient, just as It’s Author is.


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