Road maps. Encyclopedias. Rotary phones. Phone booths. Phone books. Cassette tapes. VCR’s. CD’s. To this list of once popular items now considered obsolete, some would add the Bible. Perhaps you have heard someone ask, “How can the Bible be relevant today when it was written so long ago?” or “How could the Bible be seen as an authority when it contains so much reprehensible behavior?” or “How could the Bible be the final authority when Christians think some of its laws no longer apply?”
These are all good questions. They are also old questions that the Book of Hebrews, written just three decades after Jesus’ rose from the dead, sought to address. As we consider what’s so special about the Bible, I want to lean on Hebrews to answer these questions and to highlight the Bible’s sufficiency.
The original readers of Hebrews were mostly Jewish people who had become Christians and were now facing challenges. Some were experiencing persecution and were tempted to abandon Jesus and return to Judaism. Perhaps some of us have felt tempted to return to our previous way of life before Jesus. Others were experiencing the temptation of believing Jesus and the Bible were needed, but insufficient. Essentially, they were saying, “Jesus is my Savior and the Bible is my book, but our neighbors have some ideas. If we synchronized our beliefs we could enjoy all the benefits and be more inclusive to our community.” Perhaps some of us have felt tempted to harmonize our faith with the faith of others.
The temptation to abandon or add to Jesus, is driven by the belief that Jesus and the Bible are deficient. If this is where you stand, I invite you to read Hebrews, which was written to show the supremacy of Jesus and the sufficiency of the Bible. Today we will examine just two portions. “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:1-3). “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. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:12-13). What then is so special about the Bible?
THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF THE GLORIOUS AND GRACIOUS GOD
Before we consider how and what God said, let’s examine what we see here in God’s Son. The author points to Christ, like a diamond spinning in the light, saying, “Look!” Christ is the “heir of all things.” On earth, He chose poverty. In death, He was naked. In burial, He laid in a borrowed tomb. After His resurrection He returned to heaven. In Revelation, we find God on a throne with a scroll containing the title deed to all things in His hand. An angel cries, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” Who is the rightful heir of all things? After a moment of silence, the Son of God appears, takes the scroll, and heaven erupts, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” This rightful Heir is the One who speaks to us in the Bible.
The Son of God also “created the world.” Christ is the heir of His own creation, which He designed for His own pleasure. “By him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”  All things—sun, stars, earth, light, water, wind, birds, beasts, fish, dirt, trees, natural laws—were created by Him. The Creator of all things is the One who speaks to us in the Bible!
Christ is also the “radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” He is the visible brightness of God’s glory, the ray of light from its source, the imprint of the Father’s nature. This is why Jesus said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” This is the One who speaks in the Bible.
Christ also “upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Our individual lives, the nations on earth, and all the planets in the universe are held together because Christ declares that they remain intact. His word holds us together. This is One who speaks to us in the Bible.
Our individual lives, the nations on earth, and all the planets in the universe are held together because Christ declares that they remain intact. His word holds us together.
The last facet of Christ that we see adds grace to glory. “He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high after making purification for sins.” Sin is not just an act, it’s a power. Sin takes hold, infects, and kills. God saw our problem and sent Christ to save. He lived without sin, died to make purification for our sin, and rose from the grave. Unlike the priests who sacrificed all day to cover sins, “When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.” He sat because the work was complete. If you feel guilty today, don’t run, redefine, or make sacrifice to atone for it; put your trust in Jesus! “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” We can be forgiven. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Why should this vision of His glory and grace plunge us into the Bible? It was breathed out by Him!
THE BIBLE IS THE FINAL WORD OF GOD
God is personal and relational. He creates us with relational capacity and speaks that we might know Him. “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets.” Visions, writings, and declarations were some of the “many ways” God spoke. The phrase ‘many times’ means ‘many portions or pieces.’ Like a puzzle that is finished piece by piece, each generation had a fuller picture, and they anticipated the day of completeness. This is why the woman at the well said, “I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will tell us all things.” This is why Hebrews says, “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” The verb tense of this word ‘spoken’ indicates single action, not in pieces but the whole. Jesus brought the final word because He is the final word. “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” Christ left the Father’s side to reveal God to man. He endorsed the Old Testament and authorized His apostles with the help of His Spirit to write the New Testament, which describes who He is and what He did.
Jesus is the Savior who ends the sacrificial system by His death and resurrection, and the Revealer who ends the incremental revelation of God by making Him known to the world. In the Bible, we have revelation as complete as His salvation. God continues to speaks through people and creation, but He never violates His Word. In the Bible, He has given us sufficient truth for life. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Let’s consider a few objections to the Bible’s sufficiency.
How can the Bible be sufficient authority if it approves of polygamy?
The Bible records several characters having multiple wives. They were miserable, especially the wives. They also lied, cheated, betrayed, sexually assaulted, and murdered, but the Bible never approves of any of these behaviors. It’s important to remember that the Bible is the story of God intervening in a sinful world. Neither the reprehensible behavior, nor God’s patience with it is to be seen as approval. God said, “Man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife.” Christ completed the revelation, saying, “Man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh.” In other words, God was patient with sinners but only approves a marriage between one man and one woman.
How can the Bible be sufficient authority and condone slavery?
When we think of slavery we quickly think of involuntary, race-based, chattel slavery in which a person is stolen, stripped of dignity, and owned. Both the Old and New Testaments condemn this practice. In Israel, slavery was a form of bankruptcy law. If you couldn’t pay your debt, you could voluntarily become a bond-slave until your debt was paid or you worked seven years, whichever was shorter. They didn’t own you. They owned your means of production. Was this God’s best? No. This was a merciful provision in a fallen world. God’s best was perfect peace. When sin entered the world, everything broke, which is why Jesus came, died, and rose to establish a new kingdom.
How can the Bible be sufficient authority when Christians think some laws no longer apply?
People get puzzled that they see Christians setting aside some laws (i.e. not eating pork) and holding on to others (i.e. not murdering). God’s incremental revelation in the Old Testament contained civil, ceremonial, and moral laws. While these laws were given, a better promise was made. “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant.” When Jesus died for sin and rose from the dead, this new covenant was ratified. Hebrews says, “In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete.” When we trust Christ, he makes us clean before God. Therefore, the regulations to make us clean become obsolete. In other words, it is the revelation found in the Bible that tells us which laws are obsolete because they have been fulfilled by Christ, and which moral laws we are to keep holding and practicing because they protect life, family, and culture.
THE BIBLE ENABLES A LIVING AND ACTIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
Sometimes I can look at Tabatha and without a word say something, but that happens because we have used words for 25 years. Similarly, the only way to have a relationship with God, one that includes wordless adoration, is to build a relationship with Him through His Word. What does Hebrews 4 teach us about God’s Word? “The word of God is living and active.” The Bible is God’s instrument to give life. If you say, “Let there be light,” you need to do something to have light. But God says, “Let there be light,” and there is light. It is through God’s Word that His power starts operating in your life. This is why Peter writes, “You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God…And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”
The Word of God is also “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.” The metaphor of the intricacies of the human body is used to show how precise the Bible is in cutting and cleansing. We can hide from our neighbors, friends, and spouse, but not from God. “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” In other words, God sees what we need to hear. There was a time when the Apostle Paul felt pretty confident about his heart. Then he read God’s Word about not coveting, and God’s Word pierced his heart. The only way to receive the good and bad news we need to read and accept the Bible as sufficient.
What is so special about the Bible? The Bible contains sixty-six books, written over 1500 years, that tell one coherent story of redemption that culminates in the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Bible is credible as it was written by eyewitnesses in accountable communities. The Bible is the ultimate authority inspired by our loving God. The Bible is enduringly sufficient as the complete revelation of God to man. Having full confidence that it is true, let me offer a few applications.
First, let me encourage you to read the Bible. The Bible is written by God who is both glorious and gracious. As the source of truth, He alone is worthy to declare what is right, noble, and good. We are not worthy for to make such declarations, but we can read and echo His words with confidence. Read the Bible to yourself and your kids. Enjoy the Bible. Struggle with the Bible. Grow wise in the Bible.
He alone is worthy to declare what is right, noble, and good.
Second, let me encourage you to trust the hero of the Bible. As the heir of all things, Christ has at His disposal everything needed to fulfill His promises. When Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” He can make good on that promise because He is the heir of heaven. Those who are poor in spirit are those who see that they can’t pay for their sin, so they are positioned to look for someone who can. In their humility, they see Jesus who died for their sin and rose from the dead. Jesus is the hero. He can be your hero. Would you trust Christ today?
Third, let me encourage you to hold fast to the Bible. This will become increasingly important as our culture grows more aggressive towards those who believe the Bible. Let me fortify your resolve by reminding us of Christ’s promise. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” For the good of your soul, hold fast to the Bible.
 Revelation 5:2
 Revelation 5:12
 Colossians 1:16
 John 14:9
 Hebrews 10:11-12
 Romans 10:9
 1 John 1:9
 2 Timothy 3:16
 John 4:25
 John 1:18
 Matthew 5:17; Ephesians 2:19-20; John 16:13
 Deuteronomy 29:29
 Genesis 2:24
 Matthew 19:5-6
 Deuteronomy 24:7; 1 Timothy 1:9-10
 Jeremiah 31:31-34
 Hebrews 8:13
 1 Peter 1:23, 25
 Romans 7:7-8
 Matthew 5:3
 Matthew 7:24-27