THE “INSUFFICIENCY” OF THE SCRIPTURES
A. The all-sufficiency of the Scriptures is an important doctrine
1. For the Scriptures are completely adequate – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
2. God has provided all that we need for life and godliness – 2 Peter 1:3
3. We do not need further revelation – we have the faith delivered “once for all” to the saints – Jude 3
4. Thus we have that which is able to build us up and give us our inheritance – Acts 20:32
B. Yet there can come a time when the Scriptures are insufficient
1. When despite its power, the Word of God is unable to save
2. When despite diligent study, it does not benefit those who search through it
3. There can be a time when the Scriptures are insufficient!
C. We find such an occasion in the gospel account of John
1. When Jesus was confronted by unbelieving Jews – John 5:16-18
2. These unbelieving Jews had rejected various sources bearing witness to Jesus – John 5:33-36
D. In what serves as our text (Jn. 5:37-40), we learn when and how the Scriptures can be insufficient, as it proved to be in the case of the Jews…
A. HOW THE SCRIPTURES PROVED INSUFFICIENT FOR THE JEWS
1. They Diligently Searched The Scriptures
a. As indicated in John 5:39
1) The KJV has Jesus commanding them to search the Scriptures
2) The ASV, NKJV, NASB has Jesus acknowledging their study of the Scriptures – which seems to be the sense here
b. The Jews were diligent students of the Scriptures
1) Moses was read in the synagogues every Sabbath (Acts 15:21)
2) “Hillel used to say, ‘More law, more life…He who has gotten himself words of law has gotten himself the life of the world to come’ (Talmud). In their zeal for the Scriptures the Jews had counted every letter of them, expecting to find life in the laws and precepts…” – McGarvey’s Fourfold Gospel
c. One could hardly be a more diligent student of the Scriptures than the Jews!
2. Yet The Scriptures Did Not Benefit Them
a. They were unwilling to believe in Him of whom the Scriptures testified – John 5:39-40
b. Failing to believe in Jesus led to the Father’s Word not abiding in them – John 5:38
c. Unwilling to believe in Him of whom the Scriptures testified, the Scriptures proved insufficient to be the Word of life for them!
3. How sad that many Jews who had the benefit of receiving “the oracles of God” (Rom. 3:1-2) and studied them so diligently fell short of receiving their true benefit. Yet the same occurs often today…
B. HOW THE SCRIPTURES CAN BE INSUFFICIENT FOR US TODAY
1. We May Be Diligent Students Of The Scriptures
a. Indeed we should be diligent students of the Word!
1) The gospel is God’s power to save – Romans 1:16
2) The Word of God is living and powerful – Hebrews 4:12
3) The Word is able to save our souls – James 1:21
4) The Word is able to make one born again – 1 Peter 1:22
5) The Word is able to help us grow – 1 Peter 2:2
6) The Word is able to give us that inheritance among those sanctified – Acts 20:32
b. Many people are diligent students of the Word!
1) Every denomination has its scholars, people well-versed in the Word
2) People read the Bible daily, study it in church frequently
3) Some can even quote entire sections from memory
c. Many are like the Berean Jews in their study of the Scriptures – Acts 17:11
2. Yet The Scriptures Will Not Benefit Us…
a. If we do not have faith – Hebrews 4:1-2
1) We may come short of our promised rest
2) Like the Israelites who fell in the wilderness
b. If we are not doers of the Word
1) If we are only hearers, we deceive ourselves – James 1:21-25
2) If we are only hearers, we will not stand in times of trial – Matthew 7:24-27
c. Unless we believe and obey the Word of God, it remains insufficient to save us!
A. The Word of God is truly all-sufficient
1. To do the work God designed it do – Isaiah 55:10-11
“For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, and giveth seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
2. To bear fruit in the noble and good heart – Luke 8:11, 15
B. Yet “people of the Book” (as the Koran calls Jews and Christians) should take heed…
1. The Word cannot bear fruit in some hearts – Luke 8:12-14
2. We must let the Word lead us to Him Who is the giver of life – John 5:40
C. Indeed, “the all-sufficiency of the Word” must be understood in its context, for the Word alone does not save.
1. To be saved we also need faith (Jn. 8:24), we need blood (Eph. 1:7), we even need water (Eph. 5:26), the last being an allusion to baptism where the Word, God’s grace, Christ’s blood and our faith comes together to provide remission of sins!
2. Acts 2:38
3. Acts 22:16