We live in a world where God’s Word is seen as a good source of wisdom, but not as sufficient for life. Sadly, many Christians see the Bible as one of several good reference materials to find answers— just above Google and perhaps no better than many other Christian books. Is that okay? Does God want His Word to be seen as just a good encyclopedia of information to be added to our research list, or does He want us to view the Bible is sufficient for all that we face? I believe it is the latter.
God’s Word is necessary and sufficient for life and living
The Bible, along with the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit, co-exists as the final authority in the life of a believer. “The written Word, correctly interpreted, is the objective basis of authority. The inward illuminating work of the Holy Spirit is the subjective dimension.” The Bible is sufficient for all aspects of the Christian life. It is guidance for the believer, and not only sufficient but a necessary part of one’s sanctification. The Bible is essential to the growth of a Christian in their walk with God. His Word is the ‘light unto the path’ and a necessary part of the believer’s life so that they may understand God’s will and standard for them (Ps. 119:105). It is to be understood and followed, not only in letter but also in concept. No part of the Bible is irrelevant, unnecessary, or insufficient for the believer to apply to all parts of life. All sixty-six books of the Bible are the believer’s most prevalent and accessible way of knowing God and His will for their life.
The sufficiency of Scripture makes Biblical Counseling possible and powerful
Our experiences are framed by the human condition described in Scripture. The heart of man is desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). Our sinful nature is part of our “old self” and must be put off with the help of the Holy Spirit and the truth of God’s Word (Eph. 4:22-24). The only way we can know our need for Jesus Christ is by the Bible revealing it to us. The Bible places our issues and concerns in the context of God’s redemptive story and in contrast with God’s perfect nature. As our nature is revealed in light of God’s character through His Word; our hearts are exposed and the need for the Gospel of Jesus Christ becomes apparent. When we are counseling others, the Bible is all we need to reveal the need and define the solution.
When providing biblical counseling, our philosophy of counseling grows from Scripture as opposed to simply comparing outside results against Scripture. Because the Bible is sufficient for both the problem and the solution, we can depend on it fully to tell us how a counselee will act and think. This is different than how an integrationist counselor or Christian psychologist would provide care. Though they may agree with the basic principles of the Bible, they will rely on their own training or other secular psychology to “diagnose” a person and provide a solution. Although they may give some biblical advice, it will not be solely based on the Bible.
We must be cautious to accept teaching from those who present Scripture as insufficient
Henry Cloud is a best-selling Christian author and Ph.D. from Biola University in clinical psychology. In his book, 9 Things You Simply Must Do in Love and Life (Thomas Nelson 2004), he addresses the idea of “hate” in chapter 9 of his book. On page 141, Dr. Cloud gives a list of reasons why we hate. While they may be true, they do not address any of the reasons the Bible would say about harboring bitterness and growing hatred. He continues by saying that hatred is not a problem to be solved, but something to do correctly. He does not provide a biblical perspective of the idols of our hearts and the way we hate because we are striving to get something we do not have or keep something we do not want to lose. Hate is a result of the root of pride and sin. Rather, Dr. Cloud provides a simple and non-biblical solution by saying that we must ask, “Is our hatred constructive or destructive.” This is undermining to the sufficiency of Scripture. He gives advice for hating well rather than a biblical perspective on hatred and how we can use the truth of Scripture to transform our minds (Rom. 12:2). Therefore, changing our hearts to be more Christ-like. While Cloud’s message may be popular, it is problematic because it does not present Scripture as enough.
Let’s be cautious about adding to God’s Word or believing that human wisdom is equal to God’s wisdom. The Bible is sufficient to help us for all we face. Yes, it takes effort, prayer, and persistence in study, but it will never return void.
This article originally appeared here, and is used by permission.