Friday, October 29, 2010

Formal Sufficiency of Scripture: The Testimony of Scripture (Guest Series)

Formal Sufficiency of Scripture
Stated and Examined from Scripture and the Fathers, with scholarly confirmation regarding the Fathers' views.

In the introduction (link), we began with some of the testimony of Scripture regarding its own sufficiency. In this section, although our Roman challenger has not requested it, we will discuss what the Bible has to say about its own sufficiency. Formal sufficiency, as understood by the Reformed churches and set forth in the introduction, is an attribute of Holy Scripture that it predicates of itself:
Deuteronomy 30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.

2 Corinthians 1:13 For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;
God’s word is written for the investigation of all:
John 5:39 (NKJV) “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
God’s inscripturated word is written for the explicit purpose of communicating faith, endurance, hope, consolation, teaching, and to keep us from deception, and that we may persevere…

John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

1 John 2:26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
And we are encouraged to pray to God to lead us to the truth and light:
Psalm 25:5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

Psalm 43:3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
That light is God's word:
Psalm 19:8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Psalm 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

2 Peter 1:19-21
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
And the Spirit illuminates us not only by shining the light of His Word on us, but also by opening our eyes to see it:
Psalm 119:18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

Ephesians 1:15-18
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints ...

Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Isaiah 42:7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

Isaiah 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

Psalm 146:8 The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous:

Isaiah 29:18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.
As hinted at in those last few verses, this inward illumination of the Holy Spirit is necessary, because men have become blind:
2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

2 Corinthians 3:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.

Romans 11:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded

John 12:40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
From these passages, we can see that the purpose of Scripture is that it be read and understood, and we can see that although a full and saving understanding of Scriptures may elude fallen men who wander about in blindness, with the Spirit's healing of that blindness, the light of Scripture can illuminate men, making wise unto salvation even those who are intellectually unsophisticated. We also see that men are exhorted and encouraged to resort to the Scriptures to judge teachers.

(to be continued)


Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"In this section, although our Roman challenger has not requested it, we will discuss what the Bible has to say about its own sufficiency."

Thank you for providing this section.

And for this series.

Anonymous said...

To reference just one previous testimony from the introduction, linked,

Dear brother Francis writes:

The question then comes to this—whether the Scriptures are so plain in things essential to salvation (not as to the things delivered, but as to the mode of delivery; not as to the subject, but the object) that without the external aid of tradition or the infallible judgment of the church, they may be read and understood profitably by believers. The papists deny this; we affirm it.
Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, trans. George Musgrave Giger, ed. James T. Dennison, Jr., Vol. 1 (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1992), 2.XVII.vii, p. 144.

You see, [I suppose some don't, because of the very truth that lies withing Turretin's words], I came to church gatherings as a little boy from time to time and heard the Word of God spoken on Sundays in children Sunday School. I am sure the Word of God was planted within my soul as a young boy then, when listening to the Old Testament Bible stories I listened to; or at a minimum, then God's Words were at least laid into my cave like the kernels of corn found almost a thousand years later once archeologists opened up the graves of the Aztec ruins, then finding kernels of corn in pots of clay among the corpses which they then planted in fertile soils so that once the kernels died they too sprouted and grew and produced heads of corn kernels anew.

It was about 15 years later at the age of twenty-one that I happened to read these Scriptures:

Mat 1:19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
Mat 1:20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
Mat 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

There was no one in the trailer where I read those Words from a King James Bible. No person opened up my mind to understand the Scriptures. Yet I cried out to God in a spirit of repentance asking for the gift of the forgiveness of my sins, too!

At that moment I also became as some, that Pearl of value, so great a value is this Pearl I learned of as I grew up in Him, Christ, with others, all learning that He gave His very Soul for our wretched selves!


What is true is true, even to this day, about both me and you.

It is a wonderful thing to be married and then to bring forth children into this devilish world and then endeavor to bring these souls up in the learning and admonition of the Lord just as the Scriptures teach it should be so.

It is not this though, though it is a material blessing for them of sufficiency, that is the subject of such a debate as is this debate. It is still the formal sufficiency, nothing more or less! This knowledge one learns as well by regeneration and renewal in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Having wrote this, now I will continue reading this second part of this guest series written by Pastor King and TurretinFan,"Formal Sufficiency of Scripture: ...!"

I anticipate learning nothing new? :)

Anonymous said...

Just a couple of things.

First I would publish the Greek words for the word "throughly" found in the King James version at 2 Timothy 3 from the citation above incorporated into the Scriptural references that make up this thread:

2 Tim. 3:17, throughly furnished

From G1537 and a derivative of G739; to finish out (time); figuratively to equip fully (a teacher): - accomplish, thoroughly furnish.

Notice the two Greek words that make up exartizō:

ἐκ, ἐξ
ek, ex
A primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence motion or action proceeds), from, out (of place, time or cause; literally or figuratively; direct or remote): - after, among, X are, at betwixt (-yond), by (the means of), exceedingly, (+ abundantly above), for (-th), from (among, forth, up), + grudgingly, + heartily, X heavenly, X hereby, + very highly, in, . . . ly, (because, by reason) of, off (from), on, out among (from, of), over, since, X thenceforth, through, X unto, X vehemently, with (-out). Often used in composition, with the same general import; often of completion.


From G737; fresh, that is, (by implication) complete: - perfect.

Now in light of the origin of the Scriptures that are illuminated within one's spirit and soul, I would offer an additional portion of Old Testament Scriptures that seems apropos to me that in my judgment, private and public as it is and establishes the good will of the great Reformation of the Word that was rediscovered by the likes of Luther, Calvin and others, including our beloved dearly departed brother Francis Turretin.

Here are the verses I offer to the thread:

Psa 143:5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.
Psa 143:6 I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
Psa 143:7 Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
Psa 143:8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Psa 143:9 Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge!
Psa 143:10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
Psa 143:11 For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
Psa 143:12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.

Coram Deo said...

Sola Scriptura!

Turretinfan said...


One of your problems here is that you've got the wrong standard of what constitutes sufficiency. That discussion belongs under the introduction post, not this post.