|Vol. 15 No. 6 June 2013||
In the last two hundred years, it has been far from unusual for a new religious body to appear. Most of these new groups have claimed that God has given them some new revelation, and it is their purpose to carry it to the world. Events such as these may cause one to question his own faith and wonder if he really does have the complete revelation from God in the Bible. In other words, does he have the essential ingredients necessary to form a belief that will bring about salvation?
The New Testament does not leave any indication that there is a revelation to follow. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correcting, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Peter plainly indicated that all of man’s spiritual needs are provided for in the Scriptures. If this were not the case, he could not have gone on to say, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble” (2 Peter 1:3-4, 10). John by inspiration said that we have all that is necessary to receive eternal life (John 20:30-31). Paul was convinced he had preached the Gospel and warned against anyone who preached anything contrary to it (Galatians 1:6-9). He also admonished the Corinthians to “stand fast in the faith” (1 Corinthians 16:13). All of these passages point strongly to the belief of the apostles in a complete revelation from God. It is no wonder that Paul warned Timothy against those who would turn away from the truth (2 Timothy 4:1-5).
The New Testament does have a claim to completeness. In speaking of Colossians 2:9, James D. Bales wrote, “Since in him ‘dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily’ there is no one who could bring a fuller revelation of God” (67). He went on to pen these words: “Immediately after saying that in Christ ‘dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,’ the apostle Paul said: ‘and in him ye are made full, who is the head of all principality and power’ (Colossians 2:10). Since in Christ there is nothing lacking in God’s revelation of himself to man, there is nothing lacking in Christ for man.” Further, “Christ did not prophesy that anyone would take his place. Who could supersede the Son of God? He is God’s spokesman to us today, and his word has been revealed and confirmed by the Spirit through the inspired men of the first century. (Hebrews 1:2; 2:3-4; John 16:12-14; Matthew 28:20; Acts 2:42)” (Bales 69). The apostle Paul said that the new covenant was to be everlasting (Hebrews 13:20-21).
While all of these verses show the Bible to be God’s complete revelation to man, I feel that a proper understanding of Jude 3 is the strongest argument of all. Jude wrote, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Vine said of the word here translated “faith,” “by metonymy, what is believed, the contents of belief, faith” (71). Of the words once for all he noted, “once for all, of what is perpetual validity, not requiring repetition” (Vine 137).
After observing the meaning of these words, one can easily see why Woods made the following comment: “The ‘faith’ for which Jude’s readers were thus earnestly to contend… is the sum of all that which Christians are to believe and obey” (385). Also, observe:
This faith has once for all (hapax) not simply formerly as the King James’ Version implies, but for all time been delivered to the saints. The meaning is that the truth is delivered for all time; it is a permanent deposit, it will never be superseded, amended or modified. As it now stands it is a perfect, adequate, complete and inviolable deposit of truth, providing the means with which to confute the gainsayer, and resist the advocate of false doctrine. This deposit of truth was infallibly delivered, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 1:11; II Peter 1:21), and no part of it is superfluous or unnecessary. (Woods 385)
While all of these new religions, to my knowledge, claim that the Bible is inspired, they attempt to hold to the inspiration of their new revelation. One can well see that this will not work. There is no mention of a new covenant that was to follow the one delivered by Christ. The Gospel is complete and was established to last forever. Finally, the faith was delivered to the saints during the lifetime of Jude, and that faith is complete, so that there is no need for any addition of it.
Bales, James D. The Finality of the Faith. Shreveport: Lambert, 1972.
Vine, W.E. An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Westwood: Fleming H. Revell, 1940.
Woods, Guy N. A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles of Peter, John, and Jude. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1955.