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The Sufficiency of Scripture

The Sufficiency of Scripture

Read 2 Timothy 3:10-17

“All Scripture is inspired by God…so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”


Where can we turn when life seems so confusing, and answers remain allusive? When we look at all the events of life, the challenges we face, and the difficulties we encounter, we feel overwhelmed. It seems that the more we try to understand how to live, the more complex life becomes. Consequently, we are on a continual search for answers. However, even as we search for answers, the more questions we have.

Paul is at the end of his life and ministry, and he pens one of his final letters to his protégé. He had been a mentor to Timothy and had identified him to be his successor in ministry. However, Paul was now confronted with the reality that his time on this earth was ending, and this death was now imminent (4:6). Yet Paul did not approach his death with fear and trepidation. Instead, he accepted his fact as part of God’s sovereign plan for his life. Thus, as he reflects on his life and ministry, he does so with a sense of accomplishment (4:7) and anticipation of the eternal life that he has in store (4:8).

In this final letter to Timothy, like a father writing his last letter to his sons, Paul wants to encourage Timothy to remain faithful in his ministry (2:15) as well as avoid the pitfalls that can derail his life and disqualify him from his service to God (2:22-26). Therefore, it is no wonder that Paul writes to remind Timothy to remain steadfast in his faith, a faith developed early in Timothy’s life through his mother and grandmother (1:5; 3:14-15).

In verses 3:16-17, Paul states the focal point of his letter and reminds Timothy of the foundation of his life, and that is the sufficiency of scripture to provide us with all the answers of life. Because the Bible is inspired by God, it gives the basis for making correct decisions in every situation in life. The phrase “So that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” is far more focused than our English translation seems to imply. In English, the word “adequate” appears to mean “a quality that is acceptable but not better than acceptable.” However, the Greek word is far more encompassing. The term refers to that which is complete, furnished, or equipped with every necessary component. In other words, the Scriptures do not just give us what is acceptable but equips us completely and entirely with everything we need to fulfill God’s purpose and will in our life. God has not left us to flounder in life without a proper foundation for every decision and issue we confront. Instead, in this one book, we find the instruction manual that is completely sufficient for making every moral decision in every situation. As Wayne Grudem points out in his book, Systematic Theology, “The sufficiently of Scripture means that Scriptures contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly.” Because of this, we “may we love our Bibles more, and keep closer to them than ever! And then we shall find the benefit and advantage designed thereby, and shall, at last, attain the happiness therein promised and assured to us” (Matthew Henry). Do you find yourself struggling in life and in finding answers to the complex moral and personal issues you are facing, then turn to the one source that will provide you everything you need to respond rightly—turn to the Bible.

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