Scripture’s Sufficiency to What End?
Before going further, (again, if you haven’t already, see the introductory post before reading on) space must be given to define clearly what is, and what is not, meant by the sufficiency of Scripture as some may reject or struggle with the doctrine due to a misunderstanding of its meaning and misapplication of its claims.
To rightly grasp sufficiency one must first understand its intimate relationship with intended purpose. The claim that something is “enough” only has meaning relative to that for which it was provided.
A teacher’s salary may be adequate to meet the economic needs of a family in urban North America (that for which it was purposed) but, at the same time, be hugely inadequate to deal with the national debt of Italy. Similarly, a hammer is all one needs to drive nails into lumber but not all one needs to make a sandwich. Both the salary and the hammer are sufficient to accomplish the purposes for which they were designed and not necessarily outside of that arena.
You see, a claim of sufficiency is always linked to an intended purpose. When these two concepts are divorced from one another, the result can be confusion, disappointment, or wrongful dismissal of the claim itself.1
So, when it is claimed that the Scriptures are sufficient, a necessary follow-up question should be, Sufficient for what? or Sufficient to what end? or For what purpose were they given?
In God’s wisdom and providence, he has not left us guessing as to how to answer the above questions and, while space does not permit an exhaustive examination of Scriptures’ self-attestation to its nature and purposes, a few key passages will be briefly considered in the posts that follow.
1 For example, if a high school student understands claims of scriptural sufficiency erroneously, their inability to find insights within its pages regarding modern chemistry or economics may lead them to reject the doctrine outright.