Scripture Is the Definitive Authority

In this fifth of our 5-part series on the sufficiency of Scripture, we come full circle to where we began —to the divine source of the “precious and very great promises” of God from whom we have received “all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3–4). The Holy Spirit is the divine Author by whom the Scriptures were inspired, or breathed out, by God. This revelation of God, which explains the gracious provision of new life in Christ, is sufficient to be the authoritative filter for faith and life. In 2 Peter 1:16–21, the apostle Peter put forth the sufficiency of the Scriptures by exalting Jesus Christ and His words above human fables and experiences.

Peter asserted, “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:16). The apostles were eyewitnesses of the earthly ministry of Christ and, therefore, knew the Savior’s power firsthand (see also 1 John 2:1–3). Yet their faith was not in their experience, but in the written words of God. By virtue of its inspiration, Scripture, “the prophetic word more fully confirmed” (2 Pet. 1:19), is made more sure, more reliable than even the most enthralling spiritual experience — even the one they had on the Mount of Transfiguration. Although Peter, James, and John heard the very voice of the Father “borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain” (2 Peter 1:18), their confidence was in the Scriptures, not in their emotional experience.

The basis of the apostles’ confidence was the Holy Spirit’s revelation of God, which was preserved as He “carried along” the minds of the authors of Scripture so that the content of what they wrote was truly from God. “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:21). Therefore, those who “pay attention” to Scripture, rather than becoming self-appointed critics of it, “do well” (2 Peter 1:19). Charles Spurgeon had this to say:

If we doubt God’s Word about one thing, we shall have small confidence in it upon another thing. Sincere faith in God must treat all God’s Word alike; for the faith which accepts one word of God and rejects another is evidently not faith in God, but faith in our own judgment, faith in our own taste. . . .Let us hold fast, tenaciously, doggedly, with a death grip, to the truth of the inspiration of God’s Word. . . . Everything in the railway service depends on the accuracy of the signals: when these are wrong, life will be sacrificed. On the road to heaven we need unerring signals, or the catastrophe will be far more terrible.

What God wants us to know about living for Him, He has revealed in words, which are recorded for us as Scripture. The authoritative revelation of God in the Scriptures is sufficient to lead us to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer, and train us in all things pertaining to life and godliness.


This is the third of five posts which are brief excerpts/adaptations derived from the chapter that Steve Viars and I contributed to the Biblical Counseling Coalition’s book, Scripture and Counseling: God’s Word for Life in a Broken World, from Zondervan. Pastors, elders, counselors, small group leaders…anyone interested in growing in the personal ministry of the Word to one another would benefit greatly by reading this volume.

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