By Reed Swindle
Some say that the Bible is an antiquated book: a book that may have adequately met the needs of people living a few thousand years ago but which is inadequate to address the needs of modern man. Some say that the Bible is ill equipped to address many of the moral issues facing society today (i.e. abortion, reproductive choices, drug use, homosexual marriage, etc.). After all, where does the Bible talk about Internet pornography, the prom, or in vitro fertilization from today’s culture?
While it’s true there are many modern moral issues that are not explicitly named in Scripture, that is not to say that God does not understand us and has failed to give us adequate information to correctly stay on the path of righteousness.
When I hear people claim the Bible is insufficient to meet modern man’s needs, my first response is to say, “Are you sure? Have you even looked?” While certain moral issues may not be explicitly mentioned in the Bible by name, God has in fact addressed them in principle.
The Bible contains Truths that stand as pillars for morality and doctrine. These Truths are obvious and decisive. While there are many explicit commands given in the New Testament, many more truths are taught by principle. Jesus, who came to fulfill the Old Law and begin a New (Matt. 5:17; Heb. 9:15), taught using a balance of command and principle. Consider the Sermon on the Mount. As Jesus sets the stage for conceptual learning, He repeats the phrase, “You have heard that it was said to them of old” as reminder of the Old Testament commands not to murder or commit adultery. He then adds, “But I say to you…” and broadens the specific command by making it a principle. These first century Jews had been taught all their lives not to murder, but Jesus wanted them to broaden that command to include the principle of not even being angry with someone without a good reason. They had been taught not to commit adultery, but He wanted them to go further and understand the principle of not even looking at someone with lustful thoughts. In the Old Testament, how can one miss the obvious force and application of the Ten Commandments? Those commandments left no “wiggle room” enabling one to get around what God was trying to communicate. Those commandments were cut and dried.
Further, the parables that Jesus taught laid another paver in the road of conceptual decision assistance. When asked by the disciples why He chose this form of teaching, His response showed His desire for us to look for answers and demonstrate our diligent quest for Truth. He quoted Isaiah and showed there are people who will hear and see the Truth but will not understand or perceive the correct answer. God wants people who will choose to seek correct answers.
The question may still remain: Even though God wants me to understand both commands and principles, how do I know the Bible can answer all my questions? While it is true you will not find answers to questions such as, “How much does an iPhone cost?” “What is the answer to #6 on my math test?” and “Is Pluto a planet or not?” the Bible does, in fact, provide answers to all questions that pertain to life and godliness. Please watch the “all inclusive” words used in the following passages. “As His divine power has given to us all things pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). God has given us everything we need in the Bible to live our lives and live them correctly.
Hebrews 1:1-2 shows that God spoke in the past to His people in different ways, but now speaks to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. How does He do that, exactly? Jesus does not whisper in our ears to give us guidance when we need it. He speaks to us through the Bible. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide the thoughts and words of the Apostles (2 Peter 1:21, John 14-16). The Apostles wrote those words down and we have them. These words tell us “all things that pertain to life and godliness.” These words are “all truth” (John 16:13)..
“All Scripture has been 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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Rest assured, you have been given everything you truly need in the pages of God’s Word.
The All-Sufficiency of the Bible
By Reed Swindle