By Dr. Ron Rhodes
Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries
Is the Bible Alone Sufficient?
That the average person can understand Scripture without having to rely upon a church for the "authoritative teaching" is evident in the fact that Jesus taught openly and with clarity, and expected His followers to each understand His meaning. Recall that following His arrest, Jesus was questioned by the High Priest about His disciples and His teaching. Jesus responded:
I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said (John 18:20-21).
According to Jesus, those who heard Him would be able to clearly enunciate what He had openly communicated. There were no confusing or obscure meanings in His words that required an "authoritative interpretation" by a church.
In keeping with this, the apostle Paul instructed young Timothy:
"From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15).
This verse points to the complete sufficiency of Scripture in the life of a believer.
Jewish boys formally began studying the Old Testament Scriptures when they were five years of age. Timothy had been taught the Scriptures by his mother and grandmother beginning at this age. Clearly, 2 Timothy 3:15 indicates that the Scriptures alone are sufficient to provide the necessary wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ. The Scriptures alone are the source of spiritual knowledge.
Then, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that all Scripture is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." This verse does not say that Scripture as seen through the lens of the Mormon church is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof," and so forth. It is Scripture that does these things. And the reason Scripture can do these things is that all Scripture is inspired by God (vs. 16a).
The word inspired means "God-breathed." Scripture is sufficient because it finds its source in God. It is noteworthy that the phrase thoroughly furnished ("that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished") means "complete, capable, fully furnished, proficient in the sense of being able to meet all demands." Scripture alone makes a person complete, capable, and proficient. Scripture furnishes all that one must know to be saved and to grow in grace.
Correctly Handling the Word of Truth
Jesus said His words lead to eternal life (John 6:63). But for us to receive eternal life through His words, they must be taken as He intended them to be taken. A cultic reinterpretation of Scripture that yields another Jesus and another gospel (2 Corinthians 11:3-4; Galatians 1:6-9) will yield only eternal death (Revelation 20:11-15).
- Rightly Interpreting the Bible (Part 1) • BPB (Ron Rhodes)
- Rightly Interpreting the Bible (Part 2) • BPB (Ron Rhodes)
- Rightly Interpreting the Bible (Part 3) • BPB (Ron Rhodes)
- Rightly Interpreting the Bible (Part 4) • BPB (Ron Rhodes)
- The Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture • Southern View Chapel