If you want a quick and easy way to memorize the traditional four attributes of Scripture, just put them in the order of S.C.A.N.:
- the Sufficiency of Scripture
- the Clarity of Scripture
- the Authority of Scripture, and
- the Necessity of Scripture
Below are some definitions and thoughts from Wayne Grudem (Systematic Theology) and Timothy Ward (Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God).
Ward: “Because of the ways in which God has chosen to relate himself to Scripture, Scripture is sufficient as the means by which God continues to present himself to us such that we can know him, repeating through Scripture the covenant promise he has brought to fulfillment in Jesus Christ.” (p. 113)
Grudem: “The idea that Scripture contained all the words of God he intended his people to have at stage of redemptive history and that it now contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly.”
Grudem: “The idea that the Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who read it seeking God’s help and are willing to follow it” (p. 108).
Ward: “Scripture is the written word of the living Word, God’s communicative act, and the Spirit who authored it chooses to continue to speak most directly through it. Therefore we are right to trust that God in Scripture has spoken and continues to speak sufficiently clearly for us to base our saving knowledge of him and of ourselves, and our beliefs and our actions, on the content of Scripture alone, without ultimately validating our understanding of these things or our confidence in them by appeal to any individual or institution” (pp. 126-127).
Grudem: “The idea that all the words in Scripture are God’s words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.”
“The phrase ‘the authority of Scripture’ must be understood to be shorthand for ‘the authority of God as he speaks through Scripture.’ . . . The authority of Scripture is a statement about what God did in authoring Scripture, and about how he continues to act in relation to Scripture” (p. 128).
Grudem: “The idea that the Bible is necessary for knowing the gospel, for maintaining spiritual life, and for knowing God’s will, but is not necessary for knowing that God exists or for knowing something about his character and moral laws.”
Ward: “Necessity sits right at the heart of the ways in which sola scriptura is explicated and defended. If Scripture alone is claimed to be the supreme authority in Christian thinking and living, that is because both its content (the verbal revelation) and its form (the written Scriptures) are indispensable” (p. 102).