The Bible is Perfect and Sufficient

Posted by Ian Rush on March 26, 2023
The Bible is Perfect and Sufficient

Recently in Faith Weekly I wrote about the necessity of the Bible, which is based upon its origin and delivery: It comes to us from God; and He delivered it in a trustworthy way, through His Holy Spirit.

Our conclusion in understanding both of these truths is that every word of the 66 books of the Bible carries the full authority and autograph of God. Man did not mess any of it up when he wrote it down, because he was carried along by the Holy Spirit.

In this article, we will explore the perfection and sufficiency of the Bible, which are the natural conclusion when we understand its origin.

“All too often, we trust our own strength or faculties above God’s. We ‘live by bread alone’ instead of ‘every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’ (Matthew 4:4).”


The perfection of God's Word is described by the terms inerrancy and infallibility. Inerrancy means it contains no errors; infallibility means it is unable to err and it is not misleading. Because God is true and perfect, everything that comes from Him is also true and perfect.

Theologian John Frame points out that “error comes from one of two sources: deceit or mistake. God never deceives (Num 23:19; 2 Tim 2:13; Titus 1:2; Heb 6:18) and he is never mistaken (Ps. 33:13-15; Heb 4:12-13)” (Systematic Theology, page 598). So we can logically conclude that God's Word is inerrant.

Scripture plainly attests to its own inerrancy: “Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true” (Psalm 119:142). And Jesus attests to the truth of God's Word: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).

Greg Allison writes, 

“The church has historically acknowledged that Scripture in its original manuscripts and properly interpreted is completely true and without any error in everything that it affirms, whether that has to do with doctrine, moral conduct, or matters of history, cosmology, geography, and the like” (Historical Theology, page 99).

This was the unchallenged view of the church for the first 17 centuries of church history. Only in the last 400 years have people begun to question the inerrancy of God's Word.

The Bible is inerrant in every detail. This does not mean that normal laws of language are not used. For example, I tell people I am 39 years old, though in reality I am 39 years plus a certain number of months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds! This is the normal way people speak to one another, and the same is true in the Bible. The Bible also has different genres which allow for different uses of language.


Because all Scripture comes from God, and it was written down by men who were carried along by the Holy Spirit, we should expect that its words are inerrant and infallible. The result of this is that the words of the Bible are what we need for every aspect of our lives. This is called sufficiency.

Paul provides a Biblical description of the sufficiency of Scripture in 2 Timothy 3:15-17. Writing to Timothy, he says, 

“from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

First, Paul says the Bible is “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Simply put, everything someone needs to be saved is contained in God's Word. It is through God's Word that we know we are rebellious sinners against our Creator, and as such exist under His judgment; His Word also reveals that He has made a way for us to be forgiven, saved, and to inherit eternal life through faith in Christ who died and was risen.

Any “salvation” other than what is revealed in the Word of God is false: It is insufficient because it does not come from God. We must ensure that all of our evangelistic endeavors are grounded in Biblical truth, not man's ideas.

Next, because the Bible has been “breathed out by God,” Paul says it is therefore profitable for the man (or woman!) of God. It provides all of the tools necessary to be able to live in the “good” way God has saved us to live. The Bible does this through:

  • Teaching: revealing things to us that we did not previously know, instructing us.
  • Reproof: By providing us with the truth, the Bible identifies false teaching for us. Anything that teaches differently than the Word of God is false and must be disregarded and silenced. It also shows us particular sin areas that still exist in our lives.
  • Correction: Having identified our sin, God also instructs us how to correct it. Through His Word He points us in the right direction.
  • Training in righteousness: God doesn't just tell us what is wrong and where to go. He also instructs us about how to make this right practice the habitual pattern of our lives.

The Bible provides us with everything we need to understand how to be saved; for those who are saved, it provides everything we need to understand how to live rightly before God as one of His people.

More than a manual

It would be wrong to think of the Bible merely as some kind of spiritual instruction manual. It's not just a “how to be saved” guide or a righteous living textbook. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The word of God is living and active.” The Bible is a revelation of the character of God. In various instances it reveals His power, love, holiness, grace, mercy, compassion, wrath, righteousness, truth, faithfulness, steadfastness, sovereignty, and the list goes on and on!

The eternal God is revealed to us in the pages of His Word. This is the very best thing about the Bible: it is how we can come to know Him. Every time we read a passage we must ask ourselves, “What is God revealing about Himself here?” and then respond appropriately.

All too often, we trust our own strength or faculties above God's. We “live by bread alone” instead of “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We don't submit ourselves to His instruction because when we are making decisions we have not disciplined ourselves to think, “What does the Word of God say on this matter?” Or, we have some excuse of God's Word being archaic or irrelevant to our present situation.

The sufficiency of Scripture does not mean it answers every question we might ever have. But it does provide the principles to guide us to make decisions that will honor the Lord. For example, lying is a black-and-white issue: Colossians 3:9 says, “Do not lie to one another.” On the other hand, “which house should I move into?” is a different story. You're not going to find an address with your name on it in the Bible! But God has provided financial principles, instruction about caring for your family, being hospitable, stewardship, evangelism, commitment to a local church, etc. These principles should be brought into your decision-making. Often, when we have applied God's Word to the situation, we are still left with a few options, and in that case it's okay for us to simply choose one!

The Bible is an invaluable treasure that God has given us. We need it. We need more time in it. We need to think more about what we have read or heard taught from it. No wonder the Psalmist says, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth” and “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:103 and 105).

Ian Rush

Ian is the Youth Pastor of Faith Bible Church. He and his wife, Claire, have 5 kids and recently spent a few years serving in a small church in England.

View Resources by Ian Rush
Resource Tags
More From This Series