“God told me that I was …..” “God told me that he would….” “I will wait until the Holy Spirit tells me….”
Unless, we are referring directly to the Word of God, we are saying that the Word of God is not sufficient. I so often hear this, and am usually amazed. Not that I believe that they hear an audible voice and I do not, but that they actually believe that they do.
This has always been disconcerting to me. Some have even shared back and forth conversations. I remember hearing one preacher say – “What does his voice sound like?”
I am prompted to write this as I have just come upon a quote by Puritan theologian, Jonathan Edwards, from blogger Faith Unlocked – Quotes on God’s Promises page.
“And yet some people actually imagine that the revelation in God’s Word is not enough to meet our needs. They think that God from time to time carries on an actual conversation with them, chatting with them, satisfying their doubts, testifying to His love for them, promising them support and blessings. As a result, their emotions soar; they are full of bubbling joy that is mixed with self-confidence and a high opinion of themselves. The foundation for these feelings, however, does not lie within the Bible itself, but instead rests on the sudden creations of their imaginations. These people are clearly deluded. God’s Word is for all of us and each of us; He does not need to give particular messages to particular people.” –Jonathan Edwards
God has revealed in the Bible all we need to know.
The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV
Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 ESV
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7 KJV
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 thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 KJV
I believe that the Bible is sufficient. God has given us all we need. The Holy Spirit within opens up the Word to us. We need to take God at his word, and rely on it for direction.
So what does that look like? Let’s say there is a brother or sister who gossips, or commits fornication, or some other known sin. What shall we do? The Bible clearly tells us what to do. We do not have to wait for the Holy Spirit to tell us what to do. The Bible instructs us on how to handle this.
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye who are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Galatians 6:1
What if a Christian says that they believe that they have married the wrong person because they are not compatible, and they no longer love them. The Bible tells us except for sexual immorality or abandonment, we are to remain married until death. Matthew 19:1-12 I Corinthians 7:10-16 .
What if a Christian wants to date and marry a non-Christian? 2 Corinthians 6:14
This is just a sampling of situations showing that God’s Word does give direction.
Yes, there are some situations when you clearly don’t know which way to turn, like which job to take, who to marry, and you cannot find your answer in the Bible.
The following scriptures have helped me.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way. Psalm 37:23
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. Proverbs 12:15
When we are in a Bible-believing church, we are able to look to other believers and the elders of our churches who will help us to rightly divide the word of truth in its application to our lives. I do this to ensure I’m not off base. That is why it is important for us to be plugged into a local church.
Back to the quote by Jonathan Edwards, he describes the foundation for our beliefs that we are having actual conversations and direct input from God rests on the creations of our imaginations. We need not create nor imagine. God has already provided.
The Bible is sufficient. Let’s learn to look to it for direction.
20 thoughts on “God’s Word Really is Sufficient”
Perhaps I quibble over words, Barb, but when someone else says “God’s Word is sufficient”, what I hear is, “God does not speak outside of his word.” And some theologians really do go to that extent in an excessive pushback against the Pentecostals.
So I appreciate your clarifications that you’re speaking to people who operate without Scripture. That’s a crucial caveat. I wholeheartedly believe that God does continue to speak into our lives but that Scripture remains our inerrant truth check and can answer a lot of questions even without prayer.
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Brandon – When and if you have opportunity, watch that movie Come Sunday. I really do mean that God’s word is sufficient. God’s Spirit illumines the word of God for us. In my younger Christian life, I begged God to make my decisions plain for me, to tell me which way to go. But nothing but the word. So, I employed Proverbs 3:5-6 and then trust him as I lean on the guiding of his word through the Spirit.
This is apparently no new phenomena. Jonathan Edwards from the 1700s noted the same thing, which is the quote I inserted in the post. He was a Puritan, a theologian.
So, I guess we differ on this. I was just reading some of the old comments and I just may be alone in this forum.
But that’s in contradiction to your above comments, which seem to validate “dream or vision, or supposed answer to prayer” as long as they are run through Scripture. The Bible does not give us specific guidance on which job to take or who to marry or how to handle a particular friend’s wounds; it tells us to listen to the Shepherd’s voice, which implies ongoing personal revelation. Would you interpret that differently?
Yes. I believe that the Shepherd’s voice is heard through the illumination of the word by the Spirit. II Corinthians 3:18
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So I guess I’d ask again…does the text of Scripture provide comprehensive guidance to each of our everyday situations like where to live or who to choose for a ministry outreach?
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No, the Bible does not tell me which dress to wear, which job to take or even which church? But it does give me principles. I believe that because God is sovereign over all things. I believe that my steps are ordered by him. “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” Proverbs 16:33
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And Amos 3:6 says, “When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?”
But nobody was arguing anything after the last two sentences. Whether God has already made the decision doesn’t imply passivity on our part. We still have to cast the lot, and principles are invaluable, but we still need a practical basis for decisions where principles can’t get the job done, like what you’ve mentioned above. I’d think that after all the Bible’s promotion of “inquiring of the Lord”, he would be happy to see me doing so in my own life.
Yes, we are to pray for guidance. That’s trusting in him with all our hearts and leaning not to our own understanding. Acknowledge him and he will direct our paths.
Brandon, how I wish that God would tell me take this job, not that one, or remain here don’t leave. I lived my twentys and thirtys there.
I had to learn to trust him. Seek him, and go. Sometimes it may not have come out the way I thought, but I find comfort in knowing my steps are ordered by him and that ALL things will work out for good. Sometimes, I had to seek counsel among other saints to ensure that I was not leaning upon my own understanding.
One of our elders said in a sermon one night in addressing singles who want to marry: “If you see someone going the same way as you, pick one.”
God only tells us through the scriptures that we must marry believers. So picking one is the only biblical criteria.
This was much more difficult, as I stated, when I was younger. I know, people believe they need a sign or something, I did too at one time.
Also, this is not a pushback against any group, but a push for the word.
Don’t misunderstand me as a cynical disbeliever. (ie I have more than three years of lectionary sermons on my web site together with articles on many of the standard Christian issues On the other hand I run the web-site under the rubric “Making you Think” because I believe that unless we are continually challenged to learn from others and continually adjust the limits of our understanding we will stand still in our faith.
So…… You say be plugged into a Church. The most recent figure I came across is that there were something like 32,000 different Churches with distinctly different denominations.
Are you advocating a millennial type church, a Bible belt protestant type Church, a male dominated Church, a Catholic Church (because the majority of Christians in the world are Catholic), a social action Church, an end times Church, sects like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the SDAs, the Latter Day Saints – or what about the liberal type Churches eg Progressive Christianity, Unitarians – or the Eastern Orthodox Churches etc etc Does it matter which Church?
While I agree the Bible has to be central for most Christian faiths I don’t think it is correct to lump Bible literalists with those who see the Bible as a collection of emerging ideas many of which require much more work before they can be applied today.
I also note you think the Bible contains all the answers. Very well then – take a cross section of important issues for today and give me a quick set of references to help me with the moral judgements.
Should Christians support euthanasia for those on life support?
Should Christians support blood transfusions ?(cf the readings about abstaining from blood)
Should Christians ever go to war (or does the sermon on the Mount instruct otherwise)?
Since where you are born determines your faith does it matter if Muslims, Buddhists etc retain their faith?
What does the Bible teach about the use of Genetic engineering for developing new treatments for serious illness?
If the Bible proscribes treatments for leprosy, should we ignore these and use modern medicines?
The Bible (and followers of literalist versions of Christianity) imply separate creation for humans, yet a majority of scientists (and many of the more liberal Churches) accept evolution and an ancient earth and Universe. How do we decide?
These are just some of the easier ones.
Hi Again. I don’t know whether you read my About Me page, but I am a Christian, and yes, I do believe the Bible and that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father, that there is no other way. God calls all men everywhere to repent and believe in his Son, Jesus Christ. And while we like to be inclusive, Christianity is exclusive. I believe the Bible is inerrant. I believe we are under a New Covenant, that Jesus Christ fulfilled the law. The laws were to point to our need for a Savior. Only Jesus was able to keep the law without sin, which is why there are no more sacrifices, burnt offerings for sin. He was the ultimate, perfect sacrifice. I am not the judge. God is. He gives his Word to us to reveal himself and how we should live.
I am not a theologian, nor do I have any degree or have I been seminary trained. My blog site is my personal opinions, observations though I see it is through my biblical worldview. Medically-assisted suicide goes against the value of life: Thou shalt not kill. Exodus 20:13 I don’t believe there is anything wrong with blood transfusions. The Bible only refers to eating blood. War is a function of the government that God has ordained. Romans 13, Deuteronomy 24:5, I Corinthians 9:7. Christians are being made all over the world because Jesus commanded the gospel be propagated everywhere making men disciples. God ordained where people lived. Acts 17:24-28. there are .Buddhists and Muslims have been have been converted to Christianity. God ordained medicine. Luke 4:23 The Bible says that God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1,2,3 and Acts 17:24. I believe science really confirms creation, not evolution. There are many mysteries in the Bible and some things I will never be able to explain nor understand because I am a finite being and God is infinite. Now, as I stated above, the Bible determines my worldview, and fully understand that not all can accept my view. Thanks for reading my post.
Thanks for the prompt reply. Although I can accept that what you write is consistent with your notion that the Bible is inerrant, I am wondering if you would be prepared to check out one of my posts “The Shaping of God” which shows why I have come to a different view. If nothing else it might help you understand why liberals think the way they do. (I do not expect you to agree with me, but I do think you should at least be familiar with what most people like me seem to agree are errors in the Bible)
I will look at it, but know that I was not born a Christian but born a sinner who also was blind and could not see. Although, I grew up in church and became a Christian at an early age, I know why we think the way we do.
Well said! I do believe God reveals Himself to and moves us in many ways, such as in dreams, in answer to prayer, healing, through study, I believe we encounter angels and may not even know it, and he continues to perform miracles. As scripture says, we plan our course but God determines our steps. So I don’t think He communicates with us only through scripture. But I do believe that scripture holds all the Truth we need–so there I agree it is sufficient. But without the Holy Spirit’s regeneration and guiding hand, scripture would be meaningless to me, just as atheists laugh at it and call it a fairy tale.
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Yes, my point is reliance on something other than the Word of God. Yes, we seek wise counsel, but the Bible is our base, our plumb line. Any dream or vision, or supposed answer to prayer will not be in conflict with the Word of God. Therein, lies the danger to which Jonathan Edwards was speaking, and I hear regularly, people waiting for God to tell them which way to go, what to do. I almost quoted the scripture you cited above too because I take comfort in that along with knowing my steps are ordered by the Lord. I really appreciate your input!
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Isnt there a danger that we will be quite selective about which parts of the scriptures we want to live by. There are great pieces of advice about keeping and disciplining slaves, what to eat (ie no shell fish or bacon for starters), how not to shave, about which races are to be shunned, about approving of episodes of genocide, about getting rid of priests of other faiths, how a man has to marry the girl he rapes etc. etc. Yes it is in there. (Google “The Shaping of God”)
And actually the Bible has absolutely nothing to say about many modern issues eg genetic engineering, euthanasia, the arms race, AIDS, overseas aid and the fact is that it also contains misinformation eg prophecies that turned out wrong, science that is wrong etc etc.
Thanks for reading my post! Actually, you are correct, anyone can misapply the Word which is why I pointed out the importance of being plugged in a church. But I also disagree, the Bible does speak to modern issues as there is really nothing new under the sun, only different means of accomplishments. The Bible is foolishness to those whose eyes and ears have not been opened. This post is intended for those who can see, and hear, and my prayer is that eyes will be opened to the light of the gospel.
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Awesome word, the Bible is actually God speaking to us. When we pray and ask God for directions His Holy Spirit directs us to His Word, all we have to do is LOOK, IT’S IN THERE!
That’s funny. That song was in my head as I ended it. Thanks for reading my post, Bill!