Question on the "Sufficiency" of the Scriptures

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Puritan Board Freshman
The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience..."

When our forefathers declared the sufficiency of the scriptures in chapter 1 on the confession (inscribed above), did they have in mind ONLY the understanding that
it was sufficient to save the believer unto whom it comes? There's no case of one believing who will not saved by it.

Or did they mean as well by the "sufficiency of the scriptures" that it was a resource GUARANTEED to reach God's elect in time for their subsequent conversion and final salvation? It's sufficient because God will ensure that it reaches His people before they depart this life.

I'm arguing once again with the Hardshell Baptists in their preposterous notion that most of God's elect spend their whole lives having never been exposed to the gospel in time, and want to know if I can use this excerpt from the Confession to prove this particular point.

Thanks a lot Brethren.

I believe that the starting point in the paragraph cited is the word RULE. There are, it may be, a number of “rules” which shed light upon the path of saving knowledge, of faith, and of obedience. There are the lights of nature, and the works of creation and providence which provide helpful guidance in our steps in the pilgrim’s pathway. There are the wise counsels of churches and the venerable writings of godly theologians which are of some value.
But valuable as these are, there is nonetheless but one RULE which is sufficient, certain, and infallible unto these ends and that rule is the Holy Scripture.
The statement, or concept, of "sufficiency" re. Scripture does not cover or directly point to (by itself, anyway) the issue of ensuring that the elect will receive that Source of saving knowledge.

In the WCF.1.1, we have this phrase, "...which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary..." for revealing the will of God to men (especially concerning salvation).

The term "necessary" is liberally salted throughout the first chapter of the WCF. Further, 1.8 contains concerning translations and the need to read and search the Scriptures: "that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they ... through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope." Or WSC.2, "The Word of God... is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him."

The gospel being necessary, God will see to it that in his ordinary providence his elect will obtain the means to salvation. WCF.5.7, "As the providence of God doth, in general, reach to all creatures; so after a most special manner, it taketh care of his church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof." Or 3.6, "As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto." And 3.8, "The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men, attending the will of God revealed in his Word... may... be assured of their eternal election." The ordinary means of salvation, and assurance of the same, is attending to the Word.

WCF.10.1 Of Effectual Calling. All those whom God hath predestined unto life... he is pleased... effectually to call by his Word and Spirit. And 8.8: "To all those for whom Christ hath purchased redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same; making intercession for them, and revealing unto them, in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation... in such manner, and ways, as are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation."


Bottom line: The Word is the key, and it is necessary to salvation, in all ordinary cases (but see WCF.5.3), that no one may presume on any other means which are not a promise revealed. "Sufficiency" most directly implies what is "enough," although if the modifier "ALONE" (as in, alone-sufficient) is added, one may draw out the implication that--again, ordinarily--negatively, nothing else (alone) possesses the sufficiency to grant the necessary faith (knowledge, assent, trust) for salvation. But that would leave open the question of whether some other combination of things could be sufficient.

So, the focus should be on the necessity of Scripture.
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