The Scriptures are Sufficient

Last Sunday I preached on various attributes of  God’s Word. Here are some quotes down through centuries from theologians, confessions, and pastors about the sufficiency of Scripture.

“The sacred and divinely inspired Scriptures are sufficient for the exposition of the truth.” (St. Athanasius in Against the Pagans)

“Among the things that are plainly laid down in Scripture are to be found all matters that faith and the matter of life-to wit hope and love.” (St. Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, 2.9)

“The Scripture contains a perfect rule [for] a good and happy life…He who knows who to use the Scriptures properly, is in want of nothing for salvation, or for a holy life…for [Paul] asserts absolutely, that the Scripture is sufficient for perfection. Accordingly, he who is not satisfied with Scripture desires to be wiser than is either proper or good.” (John Calvin, Commentary on II Timothy 3:15-17)

“Holy Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.” (Thirty-Nine Articles, Article VI)

“We believe that this Holy Scripture contains the will of God completely and that everything one must believe to be saved is sufficiently taught in it.” (Belgic Confession, Article 7)

“The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.” (Westminster Confession of  Faith, Chapter 1, Article VI)

“The question then amounts to this-whether the Scripture perfectly contains all…necessary to salvation…as to leave no place for any unwritten word containing doctrinal or moral traditions. Is the Scripture a complete and adequate rule of faith and practice or only a partial and inadequate rule? We maintain the former…We give to the Scriptures such a sufficiency and perfection as is immediate and explicit. There is no need to have recourse to any tradition independent of them.” (Francis Turrentin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, II:16:IX, XII)

“For our salvation Scripture is sufficient; we do not need any more documents, even if they came from Jesus himself…The work of Christ does not need to be supplemented by the good works of believers, and the word of Christ does not need to be supplemented by the tradition of the church.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume I, p, 491 and 492)

“My basic definition [of sufficiency] is: Scripture contains all the divine words needed for any aspect of human life.” (John Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God, p. 220)

“I would define the sufficiency of Scripture this way: Because of the ways in which God has chosen to relate himself to Scripture, Scripture is sufficient as the means by which God continues to present himself to us such that we can know him, repeating through the Scripture the covenant promise he has brought to fulfillment in Jesus Christ.” (Timothy Ward, Words of Life, p. 113)

“The Scriptures contain everything we need for knowledge of salvation and godly living…To affirm the sufficiency of Scripture is not to suggest that the Bible tells us everything we want to know about everything, but it does tell us everything we need to know about what matters most.” (Kevin DeYoung. Taking God at His Word, p. 44 & 54)