By John MacArthur and originally published at gty.org
There is a direct parallel with advertisements for soft drinks and psychology—they both not only make promises they can’t keep, they actually leave people yearning for the real source of life, energy, and vitality.
In our last post we began to explore—through a study of Psalm 19—the reality of God’s Word as complete, trustworthy, and course-correcting. Those who trust in it find transformed lives, wisdom, and everlasting joy. We’ll now look at three more remarkable aspects of Scripture, and how it is sufficient for your life.
Scripture Is Pure, Enlightening the Eyes
Psalm 19:8 gives a fourth characteristic of Scripture’s utter sufficiency: “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” “Commandment” stresses the Bible’s non-optional nature. It is not a book of suggestions. Its divine mandates are authoritative and binding. Those who treat it lightly place themselves in eternal peril. Those who take it seriously find eternal blessing.
“Pure” could better be translated “lucid”—Scripture is not mystifying, confusing, or puzzling. The synonym “clear” is best. God’s Word is a revelation—a revealing of truth to make the dark things light, bringing eternity into bright focus. Granted, there are things in Scripture that are hard to understand (2 Peter 3:16). But taken as a whole, the Bible is not a bewildering book.
Scripture, because of its absolute clarity, brings understanding where there is ignorance, order where there is confusion, and light where there is spiritual and moral darkness. It stands in stark contrast to the muddled musings of unredeemed men, who themselves are blind and unable to discern truth or live righteously. God’s Word clearly reveals the blessed, hopeful truths they can never see.
Scripture Is Clean, Enduring Forever
In Psalm 19:9 David uses the term “fear” as a synonym for God’s Word: “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.” “Fear” speaks of the reverential awe for God that compels us to worship Him. Scripture, in this sense, is God’s manual on how to worship Him.
The Hebrew word translated “clean” speaks of the absence of impurity, filthiness, defilement, or imperfection. Scripture is without sin, evil, corruption, or error. The truth it conveys is therefore absolutely undefiled and without blemish. That truth is pictured in Psalm 12:6, where David calls the Word “flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times” (NIV).
Because it is flawless, Scripture endures forever (Psalm 19:9). Any change or modification could only introduce imperfection. Scripture is eternally and unalterably perfect. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Mark 13:31). That guarantees that the Bible is permanent, unchanging, and therefore relevant to everyone in every age of history. It has always been and will always be sufficient.
It must grieve God when people slander Him by claiming that the Bible is outdated or isn’t sophisticated enough for our educated society. Scripture needs no updating, editing, or refining. Whatever time or culture you live in, it is eternally relevant.
It needs no help in that regard. It is pure, sinless, inerrant truth; it is enduring. It is God’s revelation for every generation. It was written by the omniscient Spirit of God, who is infinitely more sophisticated than anyone who dares stand in judgment on Scripture’s relevancy for our society, and infinitely wiser than all the best philosophers, analysts, and psychologists who pass like a childhood parade into irrelevancy.
Scripture Is True, Altogether Righteous
Verse 9 gives the final characteristic and effect of God’s all-sufficient Word: “The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.” “Judgments” in that context means ordinances or divine verdicts from the bench of the Supreme Judge of the earth. The Bible is God’s standard for judging the life and eternal destiny of every person.
Unbelievers can’t know what is true because they are blind to God’s Word. Being deceived by Satan, they search vainly for spiritual truth. But aside from God’s Word they cannot discover ultimate truth about the things that really matter: origins, the purpose of life, morality, values, life, death, destiny, eternity, heaven, hell, true love, hope, security, and every other fundamental spiritual issue.
I once received a book on how to deal with depression, which was written by a psychiatrist. A section entitled “Reprogramming Your Conscious Mind” particularly caught my attention. The doctor’s first suggestion was to shout, “Cancel!” every time you have a negative thought. She also recommended sleep programming—playing a tape recording all night that contains lots of positive feedback. During the day she said you should listen to positive music.
The doctor also thought it would be helpful to cultivate a meaningful spiritual philosophy. She said to find a belief system that works for you—any will do—but be sure to avoid people who talk about sin and guilt. Her final point was that you are to find the light in yourself. Unfortunately, that is the best human wisdom can do. 
Jesus illustrated the desperate, hopeless search for truth in human wisdom when He said to a group of unbelievers:
Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. ... He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God. (John 8:43–47)
By way of contrast, believers have the truth about everything that really matters. What an enormous privilege to possess the Word of truth!
Because Scripture is true it is “righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:9). The implication of that phrase is that its truthfulness produces a comprehensive righteousness in those who accept it. And because it is a complete and exhaustive source of truth and righteousness, we are forbidden to add to it, take from it, or distort it in any way (Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18–19; 2 Peter 3:15–16).
Contrary to what many are teaching today, there is no need for additional revelations, visions, or words of prophecy. In contrast to the theories of men, God’s Word is true and absolutely comprehensive. Rather than seeking something more than God’s glorious revelation, Christians need only to study and obey what they already have!
More Than Much Fine Gold
David concludes that God’s Word is “more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold” (Psalm 19:10). Scripture is infinitely more precious than anything this world has to offer, perfectly sufficient for every need of life. Thus Scripture assesses its own immense value.
As for its ability to satisfy our spiritual appetites, David goes on to write that it is “sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.” To David, meditating on God’s Word was a source of great pleasure and enrichment. It meant more to him than the sweetest things in life.
Nothing this world has to offer is more precious than God’s Word. I have a friend who collects rare Bibles. He owns a wonderful collection, with one Bible dating back to the fourth century. But my favorite is a Bible from sixteenth-century England, one of the earliest printed copies of God’s Word. The top third of this Bible is covered with the blood of its original owner. My friend let me hold it in my hands, and tears came to my eyes as I leafed through it.
How did blood get on the pages of that Bible? When Bloody Mary ruled England, she terrorized Protestants, murdering as many as she could. Her soldiers would spill the person’s blood, then take his Bible and dip it deep into the blood. A few of those Bibles have been preserved and are known as Martyrs’ Bibles. Scientists have tested the paper and confirmed that the dark stains on every page of my friend’s Bible are human blood.
I examined that Bible carefully, page by page. I could see where it was well worn from being studied. There are water stains, as if from tears, and places where a thumb had frayed favorite pages. This was someone’s most valuable possession, and his or her blood is there to prove it.
In sad contrast, however, contemporary Christians tend to take their Bibles for granted, forgetting that many have given their lives just to own one copy. If the church today placed as high a value on God’s Word as those martyrs did, perhaps there would not be so many people running off to experts in human theory and seeking counsel other than the perfect wisdom God gives us in His Word.
I am convinced that many who submit to various kinds of extrabiblical therapy do so precisely because they are looking for a way of solving their problems without surrendering to what they know God’s Word requires of them.
Scripture hasn’t failed them—they’ve failed Scripture. Many have never learned to let the Word of Christ richly dwell within them, as Paul instructs in Colossians 3:16. They have treated Scripture in a cursory way and never plumbed its depths. Their sinful neglect inevitably bears the fruit of doctrinal confusion and spiritual impotence.
Because they never disciplined themselves to live according to biblical principles, they’re now abandoning Scripture for worldly alternatives. They turn to psychoanalysis to solve their problems, to science to explain the origin of life, to philosophy to explain the meaning of life, and to sociology to explain why they sin. Churches, schools, and seminaries have thus made themselves vulnerable to the influence of such teachings.
In Psalm 19:11 David concludes his hymn on the sufficiency of Scripture: “Moreover, by [Your judgments] Your servant is warned;/In keeping them there is great reward.” The warnings of Scripture help to protect us against temptation, sin, error, foolishness, false teachers, and every other threat to our spiritual well-being. And to heed those warnings brings great reward. It is not a material prize; the Hebrew word for “reward” speaks of a spiritual blessing, not temporal riches. It is the settled joy and rest that come to those who live by God’s Word.
There is no substitute for submission to Scripture. Your spiritual health depends on placing the utmost value on the Word of God and obeying it with an eager heart. If you think you can find answers to your spiritual problems through human counsel or worldly wisdom, you are forfeiting the most valuable and only reliable source of answers to the human dilemma. Don’t relinquish the sweet, satisfying riches of God’s Word for the bitter gall of this world’s folly.
David ended this psalm by praying, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart/Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” (v. 14). How can we be assured of having such acceptable thoughts and meditations? Joshua 1:8 gives us the answer and the results: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”
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How has Scripture proved itself valuable in your life in times of struggles with sin or suffering?
(Adapted from Our Sufficiency in Christ)