By Derek Elles
Last week we started a three-part series on the characteristics of Scripture: clarity, necessity, and sufficiency. We began with clarity and today we will mention necessity. The necessity of the 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 it is not necessary for knowing that God exists or for knowing something about God’s character and moral laws. (Grudem, Bible Doctrine) Read Romans 10:13–17.
This characteristic is both noticeably simple while apparently complex at the same time. It is simple in the fact that without Scripture we cannot develop the relationship with our God that He desires us to have with Him. He gave us the Scriptures for this very reason. This goes back a couple weeks in our discussion of relationships; we need to put forth the effort to develop our relationship with Yahweh that we do with others, if not all the more.
It also shows us that Scripture is necessary for maintaining our spiritual life. This can be likened to maintaining our physical life as well in that it is necessary to feed ourselves throughout the day; breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a few snacks here and there. It stands therefore that the same is necessary to feed our spirit throughout the day as well; breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a few snacks. As we continue to feed our spirit with the necessary Scripture, we develop a closer relationship with our God.
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This spiritual maintenance also develops within us a sense of discernment when we are exposed to Biblical teachings. I believe it was C.S. Lewis who said something to the effect “that to determine if a stick is crooked, one only need to set a straight stick alongside it.” Spiritual maintenance through regular reading of Scripture will provide us with the straight stick we need to identify the crooked ones.
The complexity is in that Scripture “is not necessary for knowing that God exists”. Romans 1:18-20 reveals this to us that Yahweh has made Himself know to all creation through His creation and in the hearts of men leaving no excuses. This gives light to the fact that it is inherent in human nature to seek out reasons for why things happen in nature all around us. This is also why we see so many cultures assigning a god to most every element in nature; sun, moon, stars, trees, wind, water, etc. It is also evident when Paul speaks to the Ephesians regarding their statue to the “unknown god” and explains who He is. This aspect of necessity would need much more time than allowed here and perhaps could be picked up in discussion through comments, feedback, and questions.
Don’t forget to tune in next week for the final characteristic – sufficiency.
Until next week. Blessings in Yahweh’s grace, mercy, and peace.
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