The Sufficiency of Scripture
What is the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture and how does today’s hymn, How Firm a Foundation, express this vital teaching? The sufficiency of Scripture means we don’t need additional special revelation. The Bible is the only unerring and inspired words of our God, given to us to know how to enter into a relationship with Him and live in obedience as His child. (See 2 Timothy 3:15-17 and Jude 1:3.)
Wayne Grudem describes the message of the hymn best in his extensive resource, Systematic Theology (page 137):
Few if any hymns deal specifically with the sufficiency of Scripture, perhaps because Christians have failed to realize the great comfort and peace that this doctrine brings to the Christian life. But the first verse of the following hymn contains a statement of this doctrine. It begins by telling us that God has laid a firm foundation for our faith in his Word. Then it says, “what more can he say than to you he hath said….?” The rich and full promises of God throughout Scripture are sufficient for our every need in every circumstance. This should be great cause for rejoicing! The subsequent verses contain questions, paraphrases, and allusions to promises of God that are scattered throughout Scripture [see notes]… Verses 2-6 are all written as sentences that are spoken by God to us, and when we sing them we should think of ourselves singing the words of God’s promises to others in the congregation for their comfort and encouragement.
Does this hymn encourage you because of a difficulty you’re going through now? Is your faith in God and in His Word strengthened, knowing that the Scriptures are sufficient to know and love God and to serve Him?
How Firm a Foundation
This Sunday’s video of How Firm a Foundation is performed by students from the Southern Baptist Seminary. To quote their site about The Norton Hall Band, their purpose “is to lead in worship that centers around the gospel and is birthed out of the Word of God.”
Lyrics of How Firm a Foundation (from CyberHymnal.org)
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?
“In every condition, in sickness, in health,
in poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth,
at home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
as days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.”
“Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed,
for I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.”
“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”
“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.”
“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!”
Knowing God through Hymns
Starting in 2017, join me once per month in praising God for who He is. For this series, I’m using each of the hymns at the ends of all the 57 chapters of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. Want to find more hymns from this Sunday hymn series? Click the hymn tag.
- Learn more about the Sufficiency of Scripture and what it does and does not mean in this article from John Piper.
- The following is a partial list of the Scripture references for How Firm a Foundation provided by Hymnary.org:
- Genesis 15:1-18
- Genesis 26:24
- Genesis 46:1-7
- Exodus 14:10-31
- Exodus 20:1-22
- Joshua 1:5-9
- 1 Kings 17:1 – 18:1
- Nehemiah 9:5-25
- Psalm 11
- Psalm 46
- Psalm 66
- Psalm 94
- Psalm 124
- Isaiah 25:4-7
- Isaiah 28:14-18
- Isaiah 46:4
- Isaiah 48:10-15
- Zephaniah 3:14-20
- Malachi 3:1-6
- Mark 4:35-41
- Mark 6:45-52
- Romans 8
- Hebrews 6:13-20
- 1 Peter 2:1-8
- The photo of the Parish Church of St Thomas the Martyr of Upholland is available on Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license. The photographer is Steve Gill.