Formal Sufficiency of Scripture: The Testimony of Scripture (Guest Series)

Formal Sufficiency of Scripture
Stated and Examined from Scripture and the Fathers, with scholarly confirmation regarding the Fathers’ views.

In the introduction (link), we began with some of the testimony of Scripture regarding its own sufficiency. In this section, although our Roman challenger has not requested it, we will discuss what the Bible has to say about its own sufficiency. Formal sufficiency, as understood by the Reformed churches and set forth in the introduction, is an attribute of Holy Scripture that it predicates of itself:

Deuteronomy 30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.

2 Corinthians 1:13 For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;

God’s word is written for the investigation of all:

John 5:39 (NKJV) “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

God’s inscripturated word is written for the explicit purpose of communicating faith, endurance, hope, consolation, teaching, and to keep us from deception, and that we may persevere…

John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

1 John 2:26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

And we are encouraged to pray to God to lead us to the truth and light:

Psalm 25:5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

Psalm 43:3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.

That light is God’s word:

Psalm 19:8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Psalm 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

2 Peter 1:19-21
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

And the Spirit illuminates us not only by shining the light of His Word on us, but also by opening our eyes to see it:

Psalm 119:18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

Ephesians 1:15-18
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints …

Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Isaiah 42:7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

Isaiah 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

Psalm 146:8 The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous:

Isaiah 29:18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.

As hinted at in those last few verses, this inward illumination of the Holy Spirit is necessary, because men have become blind:

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

2 Corinthians 3:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.

Romans 11:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded

John 12:40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

From these passages, we can see that the purpose of Scripture is that it be read and understood, and we can see that although a full and saving understanding of Scriptures may elude fallen men who wander about in blindness, with the Spirit’s healing of that blindness, the light of Scripture can illuminate men, making wise unto salvation even those who are intellectually unsophisticated. We also see that men are exhorted and encouraged to resort to the Scriptures to judge teachers.

(to be continued)

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10 Responses to “Formal Sufficiency of Scripture: The Testimony of Scripture (Guest Series)”

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