Our response to the Word of God has been the central issue from the beginning of history. At the beginning of Genesis 3, God has already made Adam from the dust of the ground, and made Eve from Adam’s rib. God’s perfection is completely reflected in a perfect world. Then Satan, an angel who had rebelled against God and become a demon, comes to Eve. The first words out of his mouth set the stage for the same spiritual war that rages today.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden?’” —Genesis 3:1
First words are important. They set the stage for what is to come. Satan leads with his primary strategy to lead people into sin, which is to make them doubt the words of God. Did God actually say? This is the first line of almost every demonic temptation. “Don’t trust God’s Word. God doesn’t care about this. God hasn’t spoken to this, and if He has, you don’t need to listen to what He thinks. What do you think?” The central question facing the church today is whose authority, thoughts, words, and wisdom will we stand on?
How did Satan attack Jesus in the wilderness? He twisted and distorted the written Word that God had spoken through the prophets. How did Jesus defend Himself? He took up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. He would not allow the devil to twist and misuse even one word of the Bible. Jesus understood this was a battle for truth, who gets to define it, and whether or not he would live by it.
Jesus knew His Bible. Not only was He the divine author, but as a man He carefully studied it. The doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture from 2 Timothy 3 is repeated through the Old Testament.
“And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.” —Deuteronomy 4:1-2
“Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.” —Deuteronomy 12:32
“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.” —Proverbs 30:5-6
In these texts, God is proclaiming to us the doctrine of sufficiency. Not only is His Word true, it is enough. God gives us a strong warning not to take away from His words. We need all of them! Then on the other side, we have the divine warning not to add to His words. We don’t need any more divine revelation than what we have. We must never be so arrogant as to mix our wisdom with God’s. His Word is sufficient. He has declared it to be enough.
God provided each era of the Church with all the revelation it needed at that time. The Torah was completely sufficient for the Israelites in the wilderness. God then added to His revelation through the prophets, forming the entire Old Testament, which was sufficient for God’s people until the time of Christ. With the work of Christ, new Scripture was given, completing the New Testament. What a blessed age we live in to have so many words from God! We can eagerly look forward to the expansion of divine revelation when Christ returns!
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