This is the last in a series of columns on the inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility, and sufficiency of Scripture.
When Christians say the Bible is true, we often use terms to describe the manner in which God has spoken to us through His written Word.
One such term is “sufficient.” But what does that mean?
All the words God intended
“The sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contained all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly,” writes Wayne Grudem in Systematic Theology.
By sufficient, we mean the Bible is the supreme authority in all matters of doctrine and practice. It’s what the Reformers called sola scriptura – by Scripture alone.
In practical terms, this means the Bible answers life’s most important questions, such as: Is there a God? What’s wrong with the world? And what happens when I die?
Not that Scripture is an exhaustive catalogue of everything God knows, for omniscience cannot be confined to a single set of divinely inspired writings.
Equally important, sufficiency does not prevent God from speaking to us today through Spirit-filled leaders, dreams and visions, or even an audible voice if He so chooses, although these forms of communication are better classified as illumination, not revelation, and they must conform to Scripture.