Forty years ago, a war raged for the very soul of Southern Baptists. This war was not fought for riches or fame, but instead for the truth once delivered for all the saints – the iner-rancy and sufficiency of Scripture. This doctrinal war is best remembered as the Conservative Resurgence, which resulted in Southern Baptist churches and institutions returning to and treasuring biblical truth.
And yet, while many Southern Baptists believe the Bible is without error (inerrancy), many struggle to truly believe that God’s Word is applicable enough for all of life (sufficiency of Scripture). This doctrine teaches that while the Bible isn’t a textbook for subjects such as geometry or engineering, it does speak to the most vital aspects of life and humanity. Nothing else but the Word of God speaks sufficiently of the character of God, the brokenness of man, and the only hope for complete restoration and salvation. The sufficiency of Scripture claims that the Bible is enough to address, admonish, and edify every area of the Christian’s life. Therefore, Scripture must be the primary source of instruction when dealing with interpersonal relationships, ministering to those in grief, making decisions, and so on. Instead of beginning with human wisdom, the believer ought to search Scripture for discernment when giving advice, comfort, or counsel. Essentially, the sufficiency of Scripture believes that God’s Word is not restricted solely to “moral” issues, but instead is applicable for the everyday decisions and interactions of life.
In fact, the sufficiency of Scripture speaks of the Bible the same way that God does. Second Timothy 3:16-17 not only details God’s method of producing His Word, but also explains the full purpose of Scripture: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Scripture sufficiently equips believers for every God-given work. The Psalmist also describes Scripture’s application to life by claiming it as “right, sure, enduring forever, perfect, and true” (Psalm 19:7-9). Perhaps most clearly, Peter boldly declares “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3).
Historical Christianity has also subsequently taught the full sufficiency of Scripture as well. Martin Luther, wrote, “[Scripture] teaches and supplies all that is necessary, both for this life and that which is to come”. Charles Spurgeon further described Scripture as “unfailing in all periods of life, in all circumstances, in all companies, in all trials, and under all difficulties.” Throughout the cen-turies, Christianity has undoubtedly understood Scripture as completely sufficient for all of life.
Therefore, the sufficiency of Scripture should give the believer great confidence in knowing God’s Word is truly enough for all of life’s concerns, and is eternally “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). Scripture not only speaks to every area of life, but also contains the power to change, heal, and grow Christians throughout all of life. May the word of the Lord not return void, but instead prove sufficient so that every Christian rejoices along with the prophet, “Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart!” (Jeremiah 15:16)