The Sufficiency of Scripture and Counseling

In his call to obedience, Moses reminded Israel that “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:12). Similar words are in the book of Proverbs (Proverbs 30:6).  The sufficiency of Scripture is also discussed by Strong (1906) in his statement “But the person and words of Christ sum up and complete the revelation, so that, taken together and in their connection with him, the various parts of Scripture constitute an infallible and sufficient rule of faith and practice” (location 8976). In summary, God’s revealed Word gives us everything we need to know in order to live a morally perfect life in God’s sight. Unfortunately, due to our inherent sinful human nature this is unattainable. Fortunately, we can find solace in the fact that because of the sufficiency of Scripture we need not look anywhere else apart from the Bible to find what God requires of us (Grudem, 1998).

God’s Word is clearly deemed to be completely sufficient for all of our lives. This belief in sufficiency is an absolute requirement for biblical counselors and calls on any individual wishing to pursue this ministry to completely understand all Scripture related to a particular topic in order to be both effective and trustworthy.

Where secular counseling and some Christian counseling efforts become ineffective is due in large part to either not knowing in the sufficiency in the Scriptures or an outright unbelief in the practical use of Scripture in counseling an individual. In either case, a weak foundation in theology clouds the efforts of any counselor to appropriately apply the solution God has provided to a counselee’s problem. This same weak understanding of the sufficiency of Scripture and its practical use will limit the effectiveness of biblical counselors as well, regardless of intentions. Biblical counselors must not only believe in the sufficiency of Scripture but also must have the knowledge and wisdom to apply God’s Word effectively. This can only be accomplished through diligent meditation on His Word and writing Scripture on the heart (Psalm 119:11, KJV).

The goal of biblical counselling is to bring about change in a counselee’s life that brings honor to God through methods that honor God. The biblical counselor is not the agent of change, it is the Holy Spirit working through the meeting that has the power to change a counselee. Thus, it is not only impossible to quantify or qualify the workings of the Holy Spirit in an individual’s life, but to attempt to do so would seem glorify man instead of God.

Grudem, W. (1994). Systematic theology: An introduction to biblical doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Strong, A. (1909). Systematic theology: a compendium and common-place book designed for the use of theological students. Philadelphia, PA: Griffith & Rowland