Some of the most powerful words regarding the Bible are found in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “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.” Needless to say, we live in a broken world. As Luther stated in his hymn, “A Mighty Fortress,” the Christian must approach life with the mindset that Luther puts on display in verse 3:
And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us
God’s truth, revealed to us specifically in the pages of Scripture, will triumph in the end.
The Sufficiency of Scripture: Knowing and Worshipping God
The Scriptures are sufficient to provide us the revelation of God, the diagnosis of man, and the hope of the gospel. Apart from the Scriptures, we only see the evidence of God. Although the general revelation of creation shines like a bright light in a dark world, it’s dim compared to the bright light of Scripture. It is through the special revelation of Scripture that we are introduced to who God is and come to know him as he has revealed himself to his creation in a personal way.
This is why the church is to make the preaching of Scripture the central act of worship. From the opening call to worship to the closing benediction, Scripture is to speak with clarity through the entire worship service. It is through the primary ordinary means of grace that God’s preached Word drives us to worship, adore, and submit ourselves to God week-by-week.
As we come to know God, we turn to the Scriptures to see how God has called us to worship him. Therefore, when we look at the deficiencies of modern evangelicalism in the areas of worship, much of those controversies would be solved overnight if we had a resurgence on the doctrine of Scripture’s sufficiency.
Today, it’s not uncommon to hear of churches employing various methods such as:
*Having indoor fireworks in July
*Inviting Women to preach the Lord’s Day sermon
*Holding rock concerts by over zealous praise bands during worship services
*Replacing preaching with short snippy religious TED Talks
The question remains, what does God’s Word say about worship? Paul addressed Timothy in his second letter and directed his attention to the inerrancy and authority of Scripture (all Scripture is God breathed) in 2 Timothy 3:16, but then he moves on to point out the sufficiency of Scripture at the end of verse 16 and through verse 17. As Timothy served as the pastor of the church at Ephesus, Paul understood that he would need a firm commitment to the absolute sufficiency of Scripture in order to successfully pastor in such a wicked urbane city. That same lesson must be learned once more in our present age. Times may change, but God’s Word remains the same.
The Sufficiency of Scripture: Guarding the Church and Defending the Faith
In Acts 20, when Paul departed, he called the elders to meet with him prior to his departure. It was during the meeting that Paul provided a vivid warning regarding the wolves who would seek to destroy the church. Paul charged them to be ready.
By the time Timothy received this second letter the attacks were pounding the foundation of the church of Ephesus like a massive Tsunami tidal wave.
- The heretics had come into the church.
- The false teachers had started leading people astray.
- The wolves had entered the church in sheep’s clothing.
- Enemies of the cross were hindering the work of the gospel.
Timothy, a young and often timid man by nature, was being charged by Paul to remain steadfast in the faith while opposing the heretics. How was Timothy to stand firm in the trial? How was Timothy to pastor the church of Ephesus and stand against the heretics? How was Timothy to wage war on the false teachers? Paul made it abundantly clear, “Preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4:2).
What lessons can we learn from this exhortation? I believe it’s abundantly clear. We must not give an inch to the encroaching world around us. We must go forward in confidence that we have a sufficient Word that transcends culture and geographic boundary.
In an age of confusion on many different levels pertaining to social justice, we don’t need identity politics or critical race theory. We don’t need diversity, equity, and inclusion manuals. We don’t need intersectionality. We need the Word of God. Our culture is confused on matters of anthropology, but we don’t need sociologists or genealogists to direct our paths. Ultimately, we need the sufficient Word of God.
In a day when confusion abounds on matters of human sexuality, our hope is not found in psychologists or the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a manual published by the American Psychiatric Association. We need the Word of God!
We live in a broken world, but the Word of God is not broken. While it may profit us to see how the Hegelian dialectic is being used to deconstruct the world around us in order to create a “Third Way” forward, our ultimate weapon against such wicked schemes, devilish plans, and new world religions is the sufficient Word of God. R. C. Sproul once said, “I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a technique, in anything and everything except where God has placed it: His Word.”