22. The sufficiency of the word of God

Is what is written in the Holy Bible, sufficient and enough for us to know God eternally?

Is what is written in the 66 books we call the Bible: enough to show us the way to God; all we need to believe to be saved for eternity; sufficient to know how to be united with God and how we should live our lives to please God? Do we need any other books to add to Biblical knowledge in order to find salvation (unity with God)? The answer to this question is more important than you think. If we say we need more books to establish our understanding for our eternal security with God, then we are not letting the Bible have the final say. This implies that God has spoken in other books in the same life-giving, authoritative way as in the Bible, but He has not! (Proverbs 30:6; Deuteronomy 30:11-14; Psalm 119:89; 2 Timothy 3:16).

If we believe that what is written in the Bible comes from God and is enough and sufficient to teach us what we should believe about Him, and how we should live a life pleasing to Him, then we have a standard, a source and measuring-stick by which we can judge right from wrong, truth from falsehood. God has a certain character and has established moral absolutes in the universe based on His character and nature, whereby He rules the universe, His creation and His creatures (Psalm 98:9; Jeremiah 9:24). That is why He gave us a book to help and guide us, so that we may know Him as He really is. What we must realize is that God is a God of order (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40), that He is a just (Psalm 96:10) and holy God (1 Peter 1:16). God wants us to know Him personally – He wants us to believe (Romans 8:29) and behave (Ephesians 4:1-6:9) in a way that corresponds with His divine nature.

Exodus 34:6 states: ‘The Lord God is merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty…’ (See also Jonah 4:2; Psalm 103:8; Nahum 1:3). There is a way God wants us to behave (1 Peter 1:16; 1 Corinthians 13:1-7) and a belief He wants us to hold to (1 Timothy 4:12-16). God wants us to have such a measuring-stick, such a Canon (Rod to measure) and standard whereby we can order, plan and evaluate our lives and know what He wants from us. It’s almost like buying a new smart phone or complicated machine. In order to know how to operate the machine or cell-phone you need to read through the manual. You might figure out some of the functions by yourself or by learning from your friends, but if you really want to operate it to its fullest capacity you need the manual.

God wants to live in us for eternity. You might figure out some of God’s purposes and will for your life on your own and by learning from others, but in order for you to know how to live with Him to the fullest capacity and savingly (2 Timothy 3:15), you and I need a manual. The manual God gives us is the Bible. The Bible contains God’s instructions for us to know more about Him and how to live a life pleasing to Him (Psalm 19:7-14; Psalm 119). If we obey His commands and believe His promises (2 Peter 1:3-4), especially those concerning His Son Jesus, then we will know what He expects of us and we will be blessed in everything we do (Psalm 1:1-4).

Many Christians and even unbelievers long for God to ‘speak’ to them audibly or in their thoughts. Some long and seek after visions and dreams and they are convinced that if God doesn’t speak to them in this way, that there is something wrong with their relationship with God. It is true that the Bible says in Acts 2:16-21 that in the latter times ‘your young men shall see visions, and your old men dream dreams and that God will pour out His Spirit, and they shall prophesy’, but God speaking in visions and dreams is not the normal way He speaks to us today. In Biblical times, while the Old and New Testaments were still being written, God spoke in these ways, but now that we have the Canon, the full revelation of God in the Old and New Testaments we do not need anything else to guide us.

If you think that God speaks to you in a dream, a vision or audibly, you must check your ‘impression’ with the revealed word of God. If this contradicts the words of God found in the Bible, you should reject it. The fact is that many people who claim to be getting ‘visions’ or ‘dreams’ and ‘words’ from God are actually just concocting things in their own minds and following their own fleshly desires. We have ENOUGH of God’s revealed will in the Bible to keep us busy until God’s Kingdom comes. Many people taken up with these things are not diligently studying the word of God and delving into the treasures which God preserved for us through the centuries. There are too many false prophecies going around, too many people claiming to speak for God, too few people actually expositing the revealed and authoritative word of God.

It can be extremely dangerous for your spiritual life to rely on ‘voices’, ‘dreams’ and ‘visions’ from God, not wanting to do and believe the obvious things God commanded us in Scripture. We do not need fresh revelation from God! We need God to illuminate our minds and spirits to what He has already given us in the Scriptures. We need to study, obey and believe the special revelation God has given us in the Old and New Testaments and then proclaim this to the needy world around us. What God said in Deuteronomy 18:22 should alarm us: ‘when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.’ Let us take heed that we are not be found to be false prophets!  

Reality to consider: Are you letting the revealed word of God have the final say in what you believe about God and in your behavior?

Read: Proverbs 30:6; Deuteronomy 30:11-14; Psalm 119:89; 2 Timothy 3:16; Psalm 98:9; Jeremiah 9:24; 1 Corinthians 14:33, 40; Psalm 96:10; 1 Peter 1:16; Romans 8:29; Ephesians 4:1-6:9; 1 Corinthians 13:1-7; Exodus 34:6, 7; Jonah 4:2; Psalm 103:8; Nahum 1:3; 1 Timothy 4:12-16; 2 Timothy 3:15; Psalm 19:7-14; Psalm 119; 2 Peter 1:3, 4; Psalm 1:1-4; Deuteronomy 18:22

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