Yours in Christ: Pastoral Letters from Resurrection, State College

The Bible Is … Indispensable (The Necessity of Scripture)

Dear Resurrection,

The second attribute (essential characteristic) of the Bible you need to know as a Christian is that the Bible is necessary—necessary for a saving knowledge of God and for a clear understanding of how He is to be obeyed and worshiped.

The Bible is not the only way God has revealed things to people. Romans 1:19-20 explains that “what can be known about God is plain to” all people, “because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”

There is also a sense in which everybody knows something about God’s law, even without reading the Bible. Romans 2:14-15 says that when people “who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires … they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts.” Their conscience “bears witness” inwardly either to “accuse” or “excuse” them. Even people who have never heard of the Bible have an inward sense of right and wrong that corresponds to some degree with the law of God.

This revelation of God’s existence, glory, and law in nature and in our hearts we call general revelation. As Romans 1:20 says, this general revelation of God is enough to leave people with no excuse for rejecting God and disobeying His will. However, this general revelation is not enough to show people the way back to God. It is enough to tell us we are guilty. It is not enough to tell us how to be forgiven.

That is why the Bible is necessary. The Bible shows us that God is gracious, that He has moved towards sinful, broken, disobedient people in love, and that He has provided a way for us to be forgiven and reconciled to Him through His Son, Jesus. Nature doesn’t tell us anything about the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ. People don’t naturally “just know” that by repenting and turning to Jesus in faith they can have their sins blotted out and receive the gift of eternal life. We only know this because God has made it known to us in the Scriptures.

The Bible also tells us a lot more about God’s will for our lives than nature does. It comes naturally for people to know that things like murder, stealing, and adultery are wrong. But only Scripture can tell us how God wants us to worship Him and what a life truly pleasing to Him looks like. It was the living experience of the Lord Jesus that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3).

Grace-Based Action Point

Does your life show that you believe God’s word is necessary—that it’s something you cannot live without? Let’s seek to cultivate hearts like Job’s, when he said, “I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12, NKJV).

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Simmons