Mister Richardson's
Bible Doctrine Class


Chapter 3: The Clarity, Necessity, and Sufficiency of Scripture


These words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. - Deuteronomy 6:6,7

A. The Clarity of Scripture
Clarity of Scripture means that the Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who will read it seeking God's help and be willing to follow it.

  1. The Bible affirms its own clarity - Psalm 19:7; 119:130, Matthew 12:3.
  2. Moral and spiritual qualities are needed for right understanding - 1 Cor 2:14.
  3. Why do people misunderstand Scripture?
  4. Practical encouragements
  5. The role of scholars.

B. The Necessity of Scripture
The Necessity of Scripture means that the Bible is necessary for knowledge of the gospel, for maintaining spiritual life, and for certain knowledge of God's will, but is not necessary for knowing that God exists or for knowing something about God's character and moral laws.

  1. The Bible is necessary for knowledge of the gospel - Romans 10:13-17. One must either read the gospel message for oneself or hear it from another person.
  2. The Bible is necessary for maintaining spiritual life - Matt 4:4.
  3. The Bible is necessary for certain knowledge of God's will - Deut 29:29; Psalm 1:1,119:1, 1 John 5:3.
  4. The Bible is not necessary for knowing of God's existence, character, or morality.

C. The Sufficiency of Scripture
Sufficiency of Scripture means that the Bible contains all the words of God that He intended His people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains everything we need God to tell us for salvation, for trusting Him perfectly, and for obeying Him perfectly. - 2 Tim 3:16

  1. We can find answers to our questions
  2. The amount of Scripture has been sufficient at each stage of redemptive history
  3. Practical applications

The ultimate reason why Scripture is clear, necessary, and sufficient is because Jesus Christ Himself is clear, necessary, and sufficient.


REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why do people sometimes misunderstand Scripture?
2. Name and describe three things for which the Bible is necessary.
3. What can people know about God apart from the Bible?
4. Did the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture apply to people in the Old Testament? Explain.
5. Is there anything required of us by God or forbidden to us by God that is not commanded or forbidden in Scripture? Explain.

PERSONAL APPLICATION QUESTIONS
1. Why is there so much disagreement among Christians if the Bible is clear in its teaching?
2. Do all passages of Scripture have a right or wrong interpretation? Are there any parts of Scripture that are unclear to you? Which ones?
3. Do you know of anyone who has been saved without the Scripture?
4. Do God's principles in Scripture ever conflict with feelings, conscience, society, or friends?

TERMS
Blameless, clarity of Scripture, exegesis, general revelation, hermeneutics, natural revelation, necessity of Scripture, special revelation, sufficiency of Scripture.

CATECHISM
Q3: What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A: The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.

Q39. What is the duty which God requireth of man?
A39. The duty which God requireth of man is obedience to His revealed will.

LINKS
The Scripture Sufficient Without Unwritten Traditions by Thomas Manton
The Sufficiency of Scripture by John MacArthur
The Bible's Sufficiency - Tim Challies

RECOMMENDED READING
The Sufficiency of Scripture - Noel Weeks

QUOTES
"Our Lord did not come to tell us that there is a God (the devils know this, and tremble), but to reveal to us such knowledge of God as may stand with our comfort; to teach us how poor, guilty, hell-deserving sinners may draw near to God with hopes in His mercy, and call Him their Father and their Friend." - John Newton

"The assurance of God's guidance is one of the characteristics of the Christian. It marks him out from his fellow men. Why should this be so? Because the very idea that God guides us implies that we live according to the path which he has laid down, that our lives have a purpose in the present, as well as a destiny for the future. As a result, many young converts are struck by the fact that, whereas before they wandered aimlessly through life, now it is full of direction and significance." - Sinclair Ferguson


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