Lesson 7: Sufficiency of Scripture
“A Bible falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” – Charles Spurgeon
As with all areas of your Christian life, there will be days when you think you’ve got everything under control only to get hit with a financial situation you never saw coming. Some financial struggles will be so severe they will rock you to your very core and make you question everything you once held dear. It can make you question life decisions, relationships, work, and sometimes even your faith. If not prepared, severe trials can take you to the breaking point where you consider doing whatever it takes to make the pain stop. While we’re specifically addressing financial trials, this is true in all areas of our spiritual lives. Even though we can’t know in advance the trials that are coming our way, God knows, and He’s given us the ability to prepare for them.
All plans can seem good when life is going the way we planned it, but it’s when everything starts to unravel that we test whether or not we truly believe what we say we believe. As Mike Tyson famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” The question is whether or not we trust enough in our plan to stick to it after getting punched or will we abandon ship and go looking for something new? That boils down to conviction. If our plan was built on popular opinion that seemed good at the time, we will quickly start to have our doubts about its ability to sustain us. However, if our plan is built on truth we know will stand the test of time, we will cling ever more tightly to it when things get tough, like a life preserver on a sinking ship. Jesus prayed “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth”1 and that is what we are working to fulfill when we invest in the truth of God’s Word.
Fortunately, God has left us with an instruction manual that is not only sufficient to save the vilest sinner, but it is also sufficient for all of life and godliness.2 Our duty is to read and study His Word and to not just be hearers of the Word, but also doers of it.3 We’re living every day in a world that desperately wants to deny the very existence of God, the truth of His Word and the saving work of Christ. The danger of not taking in a regular diet of God’s Word and developing an intimate relationship with Him is that we’ll be more easily persuaded to fall for the myths and misdirection of a shrewd world. While secular advice may have the appearance of wisdom, it will ultimately lead to misery and death as it seeks to replace the worship of God with the worship of His creation.4
Pause for a moment to read Psalm 19:7-14.5 In this passage, God tells us why His Word is enough. As you read it, note the many words used to describe God’s Word (law of the Lord, testimony of the Lord, precepts of the Lord, commandment of the lord, etc.).
God’s Word is Sufficient for All of Life
Psalm 19:7a – “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;”
God’s Word is sufficient “to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”.6 His instructions are so perfect and so powerful they can revive or transform the soul of even the most hardened sinner. Not only is the Bible powerful, but it is also complete, containing all the wisdom we need to navigate this life. There is nothing we need to know during the course of our lives that is not found within the pages of scripture. While Scripture isn’t going to tell us how to fix a car or what investment to pick inside our 401k, it lacks nothing that we need to make wise decisions and perform the good works God has prepared for us beforehand.7
Psalm 19:7b – “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;”
Scripture is truth, “breathed out by God” Himself.8 It is His testimony. The Bible contains the truth that serves as the sure foundation on which we can build the rest of our lives. Even the person that lacks understanding can become wise and skilled for living a life of godliness through a knowledge of the Bible. We’ll be tempted to listen to those who claim to be wise, but God says the wisdom of man is foolishness before Him.9 Scripture helps us discern true wisdom from the self-proclaimed wisdom of man.
Psalm 19:8a – “the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;”
We all desire truth we can trust. From fad diets to get-rich-quick programs, the world is trying to sell us something new. Unfortunately, these programs are built around the ever-changing wisdom of this age that will fail to deliver what they promise. We need to remember that Scripture contains God’s plan for us and it serves as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.10 God’s Word is right and never returns empty. It also never leaves those having an encounter with it with the bitter taste of remorse. Instead of frustration and confusion, scripture provides deep and lasting joy that is able to make our hearts rejoice in praise to Him.
Psalm 19:8b – “the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;”
The commandments of God are the truths that must be followed. The world tells us to find enjoyment through sinful desires that end in lust, pride and anxiety. God’s commands are pure, for our own good, and will help keep us from stumbling. When we find ourselves trying to navigate a dark and difficult world, God’s Word is able to lead us through it and bring clarity out of confusion.
Psalm 19:9a – “the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;”
Scripture doesn’t need edited or updated because it consists of timeless truths that will endure forever.11 The Bible was sufficient for those reading it when it was recorded, it is sufficient and relevant for us today, and it will continue to be perfect and complete for those reading it until the end of time.
Psalm 19:9b – “the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.”
God’s Word is our absolute source of truth, producing righteousness in those who abide by it. Financial articles claim to have the secrets to life, wealth, love and happiness, but will always fail to deliver what they promise. They attempt to find pleasure in God’s gifts without consideration of the One through whom we can enjoy them. Only God’s Word is complete, true and righteous, containing all the knowledge we need for this life.
Psalm 19:10a – “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
God’s Word is living and active.12 It’s powerful and at work in the life of the person who reads and abides by it. While gold is attractive and we crave the sweetness of honey on our lips, those who interact with Scripture are satisfied, experiencing firsthand that it has value far beyond the greatest treasures on earth. Those who have tasted its goodness would gladly trade anything they have for it.
Study God’s Word for You and for Others
“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.” - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
We can stand firm and take confidence in God’s Word. It is valuable for all areas of life and will produce a harvest of righteousness when we sit under its teaching and strive to obey it. It teaches us what is right, helps us realize when we’re wrong, corrects our problems and makes us more faithful and equipped for all the good works God has prepared for our lives. We need to trust that God has provided us with all that we need and stop looking to add to it.
As the verse from 2 Timothy reminds us, God’s Word will teach us what is required, He will convict us when we’re wrong, but in His faithfulness, He corrects us and trains us to live in righteousness. As God conforms us to the likeness of Christ over time, He will use that process as a blessing not only to us but to everyone in our vicinity. Here are some examples:
- Our Marriage - If we’re married, our sanctification will be a blessing to our spouse. They will have a front-row seat to see us living out God’s Word in daily life, studying it, and ultimately sharing it with them. Finances are consistently at the top of the list of marital problems. It’s no surprise since our finances creep into every aspect of life and reveal the desires of a sinful heart. When spouses prioritize obedience to Scripture and seek to obey God’s plan for money, they stop fighting each other out of a sense of pride and instead come together to see what God has said. When they need additional help, they seek out other godly people to help them understand scripture. It’s a beautiful picture of humility based on a desire to be obedient.
- Our Children - Children imitate what they see more than what they hear. While you may be sharing your faith with them verbally, they’re learning from the way you’re living it out. If you want your children to be obedient stewards honoring God with their money, model it in your life and be quick to share how Scripture is guiding your financial decisions. They’ll not only learn what it means to be a faithful steward but will see firsthand how God’s Word is applicable to all of life and is their ultimate decision-making authority.
- Our Church - Christian community is where we see faith lived out on a daily basis. Unfortunately, too many Christians live out a secular lifestyle financially that is not consistent with their testimony. We need to reclaim the church, one life at a time, one wallet at a time. It begins with you. As you learn and grow through trial and triumph, you will have abundant opportunities to speak into the lives of others. When God provides those opportunities, pick up your Bible and show them what God has said. If you don’t know the answers, welcome them to study with you and find out together. If you need additional assistance, seek out other mature Christians who can also help you discern the counsel of God. Just as scripture tells us to imitate the example set by mature Christians,13 we need to put in the work and be prepared to let others do the same with us.
As we wrap up this course, we’re intentionally leaving you with the sufficiency of scripture. You’ve likely noticed that each lesson of this financial course was devoted to the truth of God’s Word rather than worldly advice. Scripture has the power to save us and transform the desires of our hearts. It reveals who God is and what He desires. And thankfully, it also contains all the wisdom we need to faithfully steward His gifts as we eagerly anticipate the return of our Master. Invest your heart and your mind in the truth of God’s Word and he will provide you with solutions you weren’t even aware you needed. Storing up the truth of scripture in your heart during the good times will have you prepared to endure the trials that will inevitably come later.
While we may be reading scripture in the hope of improving our finances, God will also be using His living and active Word to shape us into better spouses, parents, neighbors and church members as he conforms us into the image of Christ. As we grow in godliness, our focus will naturally shift away from a love of self to a love of God and others. The testimony of that transformation will be made obvious and evident in all of life, including our financial paper trail. I pray you will find joy and contentment in whatever situation the God of the universe has sovereignly placed you in during this season of life.
- How is it an encouragement to know that scripture contains all we need for life and godliness?
- What part of this course challenged your understanding of finances? How might this new understanding lead to change in the way you live?
Endnotes: Scripture References
1) John 17:17 - Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
2) 2 Peter 1:3 - His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
3) James 1:22 - But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
4) Romans 1:22-23 - Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
5) Psalm 19:7-14 - The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
6) 2 Timothy 3:15 - and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
7) Ephesians 2:10 - For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
8) 1 Corinthians 1:20 - Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
1 Corinthians 3:19-20 - For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness," and again, "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile."
9) Psalm 119:105 - Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
10) Mark 13:31 - Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
11) Hebrews 4:12 - For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
12) 2 Timothy 3:16-17 - 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.
13) 1 Corinthians 4:14-16 - I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me.
1 Corinthians 11:1 - Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
Philippians 3:17 - Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
Philippians 4:9 - What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 - And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
Hebrews 13:7 - Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.