Last Wednesday, we began our new series "Essentials". To begin looking at our essential beliefs, we started with the basis for all our beliefs: God’s Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “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” (ESV). There were three truths we took away from from these verses.
1) God’s Word is the Authority
Verse 16 says that “all Scripture is breathed out by God.” The Greek word for “breathed out” is theópneustos. The word literally means breathed out or inspired by God. The author here, the apostle Paul, explicitly tells us that the Bible comes from the mind of God. The actual words were physically written down by man, but the words did not come from the mind of the man. A finite man, existing only for a set period of time, cannot write about an infinite God who has existed eternally outside of time itself. Rather, the words came from God to the mind of the author, from the author to the page, from the page to the reader. Therefore, all the words of the Bible are God’s words. Since they are God’s words, they are the authority on life. R.C. Sproul said, “It is fashionable in some academic circles to exercise scholarly criticism of the Bible. In so doing, scholars place themselves above the Bible and seek to correct it. If indeed the Bible is the Word of God, nothing could be more arrogant. It is God who corrects us; we don’t correct Him. We do not stand over God but under Him.” Who are we that we might place ourselves above the sovereign creator God of the universe? We question His authority, His judgment, and His will with the very brain He gave us to think with. We curse Him with the very mouth He gave us to speak with. We use the very breath of life that He gave us to live our life against His will and for our own glory. This is the great blasphemy of the entire universe and this ought not to be so. Man is not the authority. God’s word is the authority.
2) God’s Word is Necessary
Let me first state this: while the Bible is necessary for many things, it is not needed for knowing some things about God, His character, and His moral laws. Psalm 19 says that the heavens declare the glory of God. The apostle Paul even says of the wicked that what can be known about God is plain to them because God has shown it to them (Romans 1:19). Everyone has a conscience and some understanding of God’s moral laws. This general revelation about God’s existence, character, and moral law can be seen through nature, God’s historical works, and an inner sense that God has placed in everyone.
With that said, verse 17 says that the all Scripture was breathed out by God so that the man of God may be made complete. When we come to the Bible and hear God speak to us, it changes us. It makes us complete. All things necessary to become a Christian, live as a Christian, and grow as a Christian are clearly presented in the Bible. It is also true that without the Bible we could not know these things. Therefore, God’s word is necessary if we are going to know God personally, have our sins forgiven, and know with certainty what God wants us to do. The Christian life does not only start with the Bible, it also thrives through the Bible. Just as our physical bodies are maintained by daily food and water, so our spiritual lives are maintained by daily nourishment with the Word of God. The word of God is like oxygen to the Christian. God’s Word is necessary.
3) God’s Word is Sufficient
Verses 6-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God […], that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” The Bible contains all the words of God that a person needs to become a Christian, live as a Christian, and grow as a Christian. And in the Bible, God has given us instructions that equip us for every good work that he wants us to do. Therefore, God’s word is sufficient. It is in Scripture alone that we search for God’s word to us. The sufficiency of Scripture should encourage us to search through the Bible to try and find what God would have to think about a certain issue or do in a certain situation. When we do not find specific answers in the Bible, we are not free to add to the commands of Scripture. There are issues and situations for which God has not provided the precise direction or rules that we sometimes desire. But we do not have the right to add to God’s word. Like we stated earlier, God’s word is the authority, we are not. While the Bible may not directly answer every question we can think up, it has been promised to us by God to provide us with the guidance we need for every good work.
Do you remember when Jesus was tempted in the by Satan? Jesus destroyed every single one of Satan’s onslaughts with three little words: "It is written." Jesus went back to Scripture again, again, and again. If Jesus believed in the authority of Scripture, the necessity of Scripture, and the sufficiency of Scripture, how much more should you and I? God’s word is the authority, necessary, and sufficient. Take comfort in that truth. “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.” God’s word is the authority. God’s word is necessary. God’s word is sufficient. These are essential beliefs. If you call yourself a Christian, these are convictions that must take root in the deepest parts of your soul. Trust God. Trust His word.