Posted in theology

When the Word of God isn’t Enough

By Elizabeth Prata

The scriptures say they are enough. To use a fancier word, the scriptures are sufficient.

All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; (2 Timothy 3:16)

That about covers all of life, doesn’t it? At least it does for the Christian. See Romans 15:4 also. Yet women believers in Christ are bombarded with testimonies from alleged ‘teachers’ of the Bible, and authors and speakers, who claim that the word is not enough. They want more.

But there is nothing more than the completely sufficient word of God. As Peter said in John 6:68, Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.”

Sarah Young is famous for starting her cottage industry of false devotionals and books for women and for children with the words “I yearned for more.”

Sarah wrote in the introduction to the original printing of her book Jesus Calling (which was scrubbed from subsequent editions)-

“During that same year (1992), I began reading God Calling, a devotional book written by two anonymous “listeners.” These women practiced waiting quietly in God’s Presence, pencils and paper in hand, recording the messages they received from Him. The messages are written in first person, with “I” designating God. … Six or seven years later, this little paperback became a treasure to me. It dovetailed remarkably well with my longing to live in Jesus’ Presence. The following year, I began to wonder if I, too, could receive messages during my times of communing with God. I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication: I did all the talking. I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day.” end quote, underline mine.

The ‘listeners’ Sarah referred to were two woman Catholic mystics.

The word of God was not enough for Beth Moore, either. When she was subbing for a female Sunday School teacher she realized she needed more training. She took “a doctrine class” but she was sure she would be “bored to tears.” The word of God already wasn’t enough for Moore, even though she has allegedly been saved since before she was 6 years old, attended church all her life, and was now 9 months into teaching other women His word. Bored with His word.

As she sat through the first class, Moore wrote-

“He taught us with such a passion that tears filled his eyes. I couldn’t take a single note. When it was over, I ran to my car and burst into tears. I don’t know what that was, I told God, but I want it.” … “I wanted to thrill to the Word of God with everything in me AND I wanted to experience the presence of Christ as palpably as He’d permit me.”

Moore admitted was sure she would be bored to tears in the doctrine class, she said, and it was only when she saw the emotional response of the teacher while he was teaching it, she then became interested. She wasn’t interested in Jesus first, only the passion.

The Holy Spirit dwells in us, there is nothing closer of an experience than God in us. His providential care is experienced through circumstances. Jesus’ prayers for us are experienced when we are convicted of sin, when prayers are answered, when our mind is transformed.

But people who want an “experience” or a “presence” are not satisfied with the slow burn of sanctification. They are not patient for the sure growth to come. It could be perhaps, that they are not saved and since they are not seeing holy growth, their prayers answered, or steady sanctification, they want a hot fiery experience in their bones. Pity these people.

The problem for us is that women follow their example. As Sarah Young yearned for more, she directly took the example of other listeners who had wanted more. As Beth Moore cried for passion (but not for Jesus), she developed a following that allowed a generation of women to believe it is normal to want more than the word of God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

Jesus IS the word. If you are not satisfied with His word, you are not satisfied with Him. That is a problem. Do a heart check, repent, ask for the Spirit to enliven your mind as you read His word. It is through the mind that we are transformed. We turn away from the world and toward Jesus in His likeness through this glorious transformation.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2).

It’s slow. It takes time. It’s unseen. But if you’re saved this ‘experience’ of transformation into His likeness is there. Trust the process. And don’t yearn for more, don’t cry out to God for passions and experiences besides what He has offered. His way will be worth it in the end. That’s not my promise, it’s His.

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:8).


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.