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Jesus on the Complete Sufficiency of Scripture

In Luke 16, Jesus told the story of the rich man and Lazarus. At the end of their lives, the rich man goes to Hell. Jesus taught or preached more about Hell than anyone in the Bible. One could call him the theologian of Hell. When the rich man died, Jesus said he opened his eyes in Hell.

On the other hand, Lazarus, who was a beggar in destitute poverty in his life on earth, when he died, went essentially to heaven, which is called Abraham’s Bosom. Among the things the rich man desires in Hell, it is for someone to testify unto his brothers, “lest they also come into this place of torment.” In Jesus’ story, Abraham replies to the rich man in verse 29: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” The rich man then answers, “Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.”

I have often heard from unbelieving people that they know or have met no one from Hell to come and give evidence for it’s existence. The rich man says the same. Someone going from Hell to warn his unbelieving family would provide the sufficient evidence for their repentance.

Jesus using the story, and Abraham in the story, refutes the notion of experience, saying in verse 31: “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Moses and the prophets is an expression that means “scripture.” If the rich man’s family will not hear scripture, they will not be persuaded. So saying this, Jesus elevates the authority and sufficiency of scripture above experience, even of someone testifying from Hell of its reality.

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