Returning Counseling to the Church

by Scott Stephens, Pastor of Biblical Counseling

The Sufficiency of the Scriptures-Part 1

In his book The Biblical Counseling Movement After Adams, Heath Lambert explains that “’counseling’ is the word our culture uses to describe what happens when people with questions, problems, and trouble have a conversation with someone they think has answers, solutions, and help.” Counseling is something that ministers of the Gospel do every day. As a ministry and a “theological task,” it must be based in God’s Word, the Bible.[1] 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 states that God’s revelation to us through the Scriptures is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. This verse tells us that God’s Word is able to provide us with the necessary foundation for sound ethical and moral action and thought.[2] The term “all Scripture” beginning the verse is referring to Scripture in its every part.[3] The apostle Peter writes that God in His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him that is provided in the Scriptures, so that we may become “partakers” of His divine nature (2 Pet. 1:3). The Scriptures are clear that it is Jesus Christ who is the foundation of truth; He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn. 14:6).

Christians believe that God’s truth is expressed in His Son, Jesus. All truth is found in Him and there is no other source. What God claims is true is what He has revealed to us in the Scripture.[4] Everything we know about Christianity and living a life that glorifies God has been revealed to us by Him in His Word. Idle speculation about God is a fool’s errand. If we wish to know Him in truth, we must rely on what He tells us about Himself in the Scriptures.[5] 

2 Peter 1:21 tells us that God gave prophets the words of the Bible and they were written down with the guidance and superintendence of the Holy Spirit. The human writers who penned the wisdom of the Scriptures did not write their own ideas or opinions; they wrote words that were given to them by God. The difference of style between the writers clearly shows that the men who wrote the Scriptures were not just taking dictation from God, but they were controlled by the Holy Spirit in such a way that the words and ideas were inspired. Louis Berkhof wrote, “Revelation and inspiration stand in the closest possible relation to each other. As far as special revelation is concerned, it may be said that one is inconceivable without the other.” In quoting Charles Hodge, Berkhof adds, “The object or design of revelation is the communication of knowledge. The object or design of inspiration is to secure infallibility in teaching…the effect of revelation was to render its recipient wiser. The effect of inspiration was to preserve him from error in teaching.” [6] 

The Scriptures are evidence unto themselves to be the Word of God.[7] 2 Timothy 3:16 describes the message that God has given to us in the Scriptures as being θεοπνευστος, meaning “God-breathed.” This Greek word can also be translated “God-inspired.” B.B. Warfield wrote in explaining θεοπνευστος, “The Scriptures owe their origin to an activity of God the Holy Ghost and are in the highest and truest sense His creation. It is on this foundation of Divine origin that all the high attributes of Scripture are built.”[8] Psalm 19 tells us that the law of the Lord is perfect, His testimony is sure, His precepts and His commandments are right, to fear Him is clean because His rules are true. The verse goes on to say that all of this is to be desired more than the finest gold or the sweetest honey because by understanding His Word, we are warned. By heeding His Word we are rewarded. By having and keeping His Word we are able to live a life that recognizes sin and avoids it (Psa. 19:7-14). In Hebrews the Word is described as “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, or joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

[1] Heath Lambert, The Biblical Counseling Movement After Adams, 21.

[2] Robert L. Plummer, 40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible (Grand Rapids MI: Kregel, Inc., 2010), 53.

[3] This is a Logos definition of θεοπευστος and the explanation of “all Scripture.”

[4] Adams. Is All Truth God’s Truth?, 2.

[5] R.C. Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith (Wheaton IL: Tyndale House,1992), 3.

[6] Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 144.

[7] John Murray, “Witness of the Spirit” Free Grace Broadcaster: God-breathed Scripture Issue 239. (Pensacola FL: Chapel Library, 2017), Kindle.

[8] B.B. Warfield, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, 245-96.

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