The Sufficiency of Scripture

“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

2 Tim. 3:15-17





Works Against the Roman Apologist Robert Bellarmine  (who argued against the Sufficiency of Scripture)



Order of Contents

Articles  22+
Books  10
Latin  1
Early Church
Reformed Confessions
Sufficient for Worship & Church Government  2





Musculus, Wolfgang – ‘Of Traditions’, fol. 362.b-366.a  in Common Places of the Christian Religion 1560  Extended table of contents to this section

Calvin, John

Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 4  d. 1564  trans. Beveridge

Ch. 8 – ‘Of the Power of the Church’  especially sections 5-9

Ch. 9 – ‘Of Councils and their Authority’  especially sections 2 & 8

Ch. 10 – ‘Of the Power of Making Laws’  especially sections 1-2 & 6-326-32

Vermigli, Peter Martyr – 1st Part, Ch. 6, ‘Of the Holy Scriptures, and of the dignity and profit of them, and of the means how to understand them’, pp. 39-44  in The Common Places of Vermigli  ToC  (1576)

Bullinger, Henry

The Decades (Cambridge: Parker Society, 1849), First Decade

Sermon 2 – ‘Of the Word of God; to Whom and to what End it was Revealed; Also in what Manner it is to be Heard; and that it doth Fully Teach the Whole Doctrine of Godliness’

Sermon 3 – ‘Of the Sense & Right Exposition of the Word of God, & by what Manner of Means it may be Expounded’

Whitaker, William

A Disputation on Holy Scripture, Against the Papists, Especially Bellarmine & Stapleton  (1588; Cambridge: Parker Society, 1849)

3rd Question – ‘Of the Authority of Scripture’

4th Question – ‘Of the Perspicuity of Scripture’

5th Question – ‘Of the Interpretation of Scripture’

6th Question – ‘Of the Perfection of Scripture, Against Unwritten Traditions’

Willet, Andrew

Synopsis Papismi (London, 1592), First Controversy, the Holy Scriptures

4th Question – The Authority of the Scriptures

5th Question – The Perspicuity & Plainness of the Scripture

6th Question – The Interpretation of Scripture

7th Question – The Perfection & Sufficiency of Scripture

3rd Part of the 7th Question – Whether there be any traditions, beside Scripture concerning faith and manners?



Synopsis of a Purer Theology  Buy  (1625; Brill, 2015), vol. 1

Walaeus, Disputation 2 – ‘On the Necessity & Authority of Scripture’

Polyander, Disputation 4 – ‘On the Perfection of Scripture & the Futility of Adding Unwritten Traditions to it’

Walaeus, Disputation 5 – ‘About the Perspicuity & the Interpretation of Holy Scripture’

Maccovius, John – Ch. 1, ‘Of the Word of God’, especially sections 15-21  in Scholastic Discourse: The Distinctions & Rules of Theology & Philosophy  Buy  (1644; Apeldoorn, 2009)

Maccovius was a Polish theologian.

Ussher, James – pp. 17-26 of ch. 1 of A Body of Divinitie, or, The Summe and Substance of Christian Religion Catechistically Propounded…  (London, 1645)  There is some controversy over the authorship of this work, as Ussher disclaimed some statements in it.

See also an 1800’s condensation of this work:

Ussher, James & Hastings Robinson – ‘The Properties, Sufficiency & Perspicuity of Holy Scripture’, pp. 21-27  in ch. 1 of A Body of Divinity, or the Sum and Substance of the Christian Religion  Buy  (1645; London, 1841)  This edition is highly edited, summarized and condensed by Robinson

White, Thomas – Pantheologia or the Sum of Practical Divinity Practized in the wilderness, and delivered by our Savior in his Sermon on the Mount…  To which is prefixed a prolegomena or preface by way of dialogue, wherein the perfection and perspicuity of the Scripture is vindicated from the calumnies of Anabaptists and Papists  ToC  1653

Leigh, Edward

A System or Body of Divinity  (London, 1654), First Book, ‘Of the Scriptures’

Ch. 2 – ‘Of the Divine Authority of the Scriptures’

Ch. 8 – ‘Of the Properties of the Scripture:  1. Of Divine Authority; 2. True and Certain; 3. The rule of Faith and Manners; 4. Necessary; 5. Pure and Holy; 6. Sufficient and Perfect; 7. Perspicuous and Plain’

Ch. 9 – ‘Of the Interpretation of Scripture’

Binning, Hugh – The Authority and Utility of the Scriptures  on 2 Tim. 3:16  in The Common Principles of the Christian Religion  in Works, vol. 1 (of 3)

Jacombe, Samuel – The Divine Authority of the Scriptures  in Puritan Sermons vol. 5

Manton, Thomas – The Scripture Sufficient without Unwritten Traditions  in Works, vol. 5 and Puritan Sermons, vol. 6

Turretin, Francis

Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. 1 (P&R, 1992), 2nd Topic

Question 16 – ‘The Perfection of the Scriptures’, pp. 134-143

Question 17 – ‘The Perspicuity of the Scriptures’, pp. 143-147

Question 20 – ‘The Supreme Judge of Controversies & the Interpreter of the Scriptures’, pp. 154-162

Question 21 – ‘The Authority of the Fathers’, pp. 162-168



Howe, John – The Divine Authority of the Scriptures, 5 Lectures  on 2 Tim. 3:16  53 pp.

Boston, Thomas

Works, vol. 1, An Illustration of the Doctrines of the Christian Religion

‘The Divine Authority of the Scriptures’  on 2 Tim. 3:16, pp. 19-37

‘The Utility of the Scriptures as a Rule’, pp. 37-41

Davies, Samuel – ‘The Divine Authority & Sufficiency of the Christian Religion’  in Sermons, vol. 1 (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1864), pp. 71-108



Cunningham, William

Theological Lectures on Subjects Connected with Natural Theology, Evidences of Christianity, the Canon and Inspiration of Scripture  (New York, 1878)

Ch. 37 – ‘Perfection & Sufficiency of the Scripture:  Scriptural Evidence for it, Popish Arguments Against it’

Ch. 38 – ‘Tradition: its Alleged Necessity Proved by Instances’

Ch. 39 – ‘Tradition: Positive Evidence Against it’

Ch. 40 – ‘Limitations of the Sufficiency of Scripture Stated in Confession – Perspicuity of Scripture’

Ch. 41 – ‘Alleged Obscurity of Scripture – Necessity of a Living Interpreter – Fitness of Scripture to be a Rule of Faith’

Spurgeon, C.H. – ‘The Sufficiency of Scripture’  in The Greatest Fight in the World

Peck, Thomas

The Sufficiency of the Scriptures – the Pharisees and Sadducees – Rationalism and Traditionalism  in Miscellanies, vol. 1, p. 281 ff.

2 Tim. 3:16  in Sermons Referred to in the Sermon Briefs on Acts  in Miscellanies, vol. 3, p. 262 ff.  American, southern presbyterian



Murray, John – ‘The Finality & Sufficiency of Scripture’  in Collected Writings, 1:16-22  Excerpt

Muller, Richard –

Ferguson, Sinclair – ‘The Authority, Sufficiency, Finality of Scripture’





Tilenus, Daniel – Positions lately held by the L. Du Perron, Bishop of Eureux, against the Sufficiency and Perfection of the Scriptures maintaining the necessity and authority of unwritten traditions. Very learnedly answered and confuted…  with a defence of the sufficiency and perfection of the Holy Scriptures  ToC  (London, 1606)

Tilenus (1563-1633) was a German-French Protestant theologian. Initially Reformed, he became a prominent and influential Arminian teaching at the Academy of Sedan.  He was an open critic of the Synod of Dort of 1618-9.

Twisse, William – The Scriptures’ Sufficiency to Determine all Matters of Faith, made good against the Papist: or, that a Christian may be infallibly certain of his Faith and Religion by the Holy Scriptures  (Dumfries, 1795)  d. 1646  95 pp.

Twisse was a moderator of the Westminster Assembly.

Ford, Thomas – Logos Autopistos, or, Scriptures’ Self-Evidence to prove its Existence, Authority, Certainty in itself, and Sufficiency (in its kind) to ascertain others that it is inspired of God to be the only rule of faith: published as a plea for Protestants in the defense of their Profession  (London, 1667)

Ford was a Westminster divine.

Bridge, William – Scripture Light the Most Sure Light: Compared with 1. Revelations & Visions, 2. Natural & Supernatural Dreams, 3. Impressions with and without the Word, 4. Light & Law within, 5. Divine Providence, 6. Christian Experience, 7. Human Reason, 8. Judicial Astrology; in Three Sermons  in Works 1.399-462

Bridge (c.1600-1671) was reformed and a leading English Independent minister, preacher, and religious and political writer.

Edwards, John – A Discourse Concerning the Authority, Style, and Perfection of the Books of the Old and New-Testament with a Continued illustration of several difficult texts of scripture throughout the whole work  (London, 1693)  Table of contents

Edwards (1637-1716) was a reformed Anglican.

Stanhope, George – The Perfection of Scripture stated, and its Sufficiency argued in a sermon preached at the public commencement at Cambridge, Sunday July 4, 1697  ToC  (London, 1697)

Stanhope (1660-1728) was an Anglican (not reformed).



Blackall, Ofspring – The Sufficiency of a Standing Revelation in General, and of the Scripture Revelation in Particular: Both as to the Matter of It, and as to the Proof of It…  in Eight Sermons  (London, 1709)

Blackall (bap.1655-1716) was an Anglican (not reformed).

De Moor, Bernard – Didactico-Elenctic Theology, ch. 2, Concerning the Principium of Theology, or Holy Scripture  Buy



Packer, J.I. – Beyond the Battle for the Bible  Buy  (Westchester, IL: Cornerstone, 1980)

“…deals with the sufficiency of Scripture in a lengthy chapter on how to use Scripture in public and private.  It also addresses the current debate on inerrancy.” – Joel Beeke, Reader’s Guide

Weeks, Noel – The Sufficiency of Scripture  Buy  (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1988)

“Numerous books touch on the sufficiency of Scripture, but none addresses both the long-standing and contemporary issues involved in such an able, engaging and readable manner as Noel Weeks, The Sufficiency of Scripture… 

The first part deals with basic issues such as authority, revelation, providence, inerrancy, and contextualization; the remainder of the volume addresses specific points of contention, such as creation, the interpretation of prophecy, women in church offices, psychology, and Bible translation.” – Joel Beeke, Reader’s Guide




Owen, John – Exercitations for the Sacred Scriptures Against the Fanatics  in Works, 16.424-476



Early Church

King – 3 vols.



Reformed Confessions

ed. Salvard, Beza, Daneau, Chandieu & Goulart – First Section , ‘Of the Holy Scripture’  in The Harmony of Protestant Confessions  Latin  (1581), pp. 1-18

In 1581, the first Harmony of Protestant Reformed Confessions of Faith was published in Geneva.  It was the result of a collaboration between the Huguenot ministers listed above.

They published it in response to the publication of the Lutheran Book of Concord in 1580.  It included a comparison of eleven Reformed confessions and the Lutheran Augsburg Confession.  In 1842, it was translated into English, reorganized and enlarged by Peter Hall.




The Sufficiency of Scripture for Worship & Church Government

Rutherford, Samuel – The Divine Right of Church-Government and Excommunication: or a Peaceable Dispute for the Perfection of the Holy Scripture in Point of Ceremonies and Church Government…  (London, 1646)

Thornwell, James H. – The Regulative Principle Applied to Church Government  from “Argument Against Church-Boards” (1841) & “The Argument For Church Boards Answered” (1842), in Collected Writings, vol. 4




Related Pages

The Inspiration & Authority of the Bible

The Canon of the Bible

The Inerrency of the Bible