More about Biblical Sufficiency

posted in: Blog, My Blog | 1
Theme: Doctrine
‘Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.’ John 20:30-31
The young student looked earnestly into my eyes, her brow furrowed with concentration and concern. “But Doctor Chris”, she asked, “The Bible says nothing about the internet, genetic engineering, cloning or any other twenty-first century issues, so how can you say that it is sufficient for faith and life?” This is a fair question.
The Bible was written in the days (or a time) when humans did not even dream of the things that we have to deal with in our age. However, it contains principles, values and models that have guided each generation for thousands of years. It does not address genetic engineering or cloning, for what use would that be to any generation other than the current one? But, it has much to say about the value of human life, the composition of each person, how we reflect the image of God and so on. We can deduce ethical standards and norms from what the Bible has to say about such things. No, it has nothing to say about the internet, but much about communication, what we see and hear, and how we should evaluate all the inputs we receive.
Most of all, the Bible reveals Jesus to us. By reading, studying and meditating on the scriptures, we can not only learn what Jesus said and did, but we can encounter Him in a very real way. It is in our relationship with Him that we chart our life through the complexities of the twenty-first century.
Another question the young student might have asked is, “What about the things that the Bible doesn’t address, even in principle?” Well, the claim I, and most Evangelical scholars, make is that the Bible is sufficient but not exhaustive. The Bible itself does not claim to be a record of all that is real, only an account of all that is truly important. When we get right down to it, the only truly important thing in life is our relationship with Jesus Christ. Second in importance is our relationship with others. Everything else is of passing and relative importance. What do you think? Is this true for you?

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One Response

  1. Keith Haines

    I find it helpful to view the Bible as, firstly, a book about God, not man; secondly a book about man and his relationship with God. (Through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Dr Peppler alluded to the importance of relationship with Jesus in his article.) In adopting this position, I come to the realisation about who God is – His known characteristics, expectations of me and His ‘nature’ – which, in turn, enables greater fellowship with Him and, subsequently, a sense of security in the truth of His word.

    Why is this important? Perhaps the single, most important reason to know The Lord and have fellowship with Him is to get our perspective of The Lord correct. There is a common, scripturally unfounded misconception that The Lord is ours and not we, his; that He exists for our benefit mainly and that some form of acknowledgement or worship of Him will bring about a happy life (of sorts) through His accession to our demands, masquerading as requests..

    In my experience, when I come across a dilemma requiring a decision in the face of scriptural silence on the exact matter, I look for GOD in the scriptures, not the exact answer to my question. In communion with The Lord (prayer, fasting maybe, talking to brothers/sisters who I believe are surrendered to The Lord etc), I wait on Him. (Waiting on the Lord means to me not so much waiting FOR the Lord but waiting in service of Him) In waiting on Him, though I may struggle at times, I try and keep my attitude as one of obedience and surrender i.e. I try and accept that if the Lord should reveal an alternative answer to the one I most desire, I will not argue but accede to His will. What right do I have to argue with such a great Deity, Our Lord Jesus Christ? …and do I really expect to win a battle of the wits with The Lord?
    Why would I surrender to His will? Because, as I learn from the scriptures, His ways are greater than my ways. I learn that the “I am” speaks the truth and is not given to offering men (humans) mere recommendations. So, while matters of stem cells, the death penalty, democracy and an ungodly form of government and many other conundrums are debated in our liberal society, including many church congregations, we may be more at peace – perhaps less happy at times – if we choose to seek His will in matters such as these, with an attitude that is committed to obey and with reliance on Him for the wisdom, which will be given if we ask – without mischievous intent. Keith

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