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How is the biblical counseling approach different from all other Christian approaches? What are some key texts for defending the sufficiency of the Scriptures for counseling? IBCD’s position of biblical counseling (the Bible as the sole and sufficient authority) is outlined and its key concepts explained.
The Bible is a fully sufficient textbook for counseling.
These three, first three lectures have been entitled ‘What is Biblical Counseling.’ And now we’re going to finally get to what is biblical counseling. I guess, initially, we’ve been saying what it’s not. Biblical counseling is not just psychology because in secular psychology there are world view problems that does not understand who man is, what our soul really is, what our problem really is, and who God is and how we’re in relation to God. Nor is it an attempt to mix together psychology and the Bible, and that’s because in biblical counseling we believe the Bible is our sole and sufficient authority in counseling, for helping people with the problems of the soul. II Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
Now, in the last generation, this passage has been used for the inerrancy and the infallibility of scripture, that the Bible being God breathed is perfect and without error. But also this passage teaches that sufficiency of scripture that the Bible is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. It equips us for every good work. But the Bible is not a textbook in architecture of how to build a building, or medicine how to do a heart transplant. Physically, the Bible though is a textbook for the soul. It tells us who God is, who we are, why we have problems of the soul, and how in relation to God these can be cured. And the perspective of some other Christians, that the Bible is somehow inadequate and we need to add to the Bible the insights concerning the soul and psychology brings seems to be contradictory to this passage. It is contradictory, in my opinion. If you want to know how to help people with their spiritual problems, you need to know the Bible. And the answers are in this book. You don’t need to go outside of the Bible for the answers. The Bible is sufficient.
David Powlison writes, “Faith itself teaches a distinctive psychology subordinating competing theories and competing professional structures.” There are no new problems. And that’s one of the things the psychologists will try to oh yeah well life is so complicated now we need psychology to explain how complicated life is. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has come upon you except what is common to man.” The problems people have now are the problems they had thousands of years ago. People had worry, they had conflict, they had fear, they had anger. The spiritual problems, of course, being rooted really in disobedience or alienation from God are the same. They may be giving some of them different labels now, but the Bible speaks to these.
2nd Peter chapter one verse three Peter writes, “His divine power is granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and excellence.” So again, God has given us a sufficient resource to help people with the problems of the soul in his word, by his spirit, working for the counselor and the counselee. God has not left us dependent upon something outside of his word to understand people and help people. Hebrews chapter four, I’ll just give one other reference, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword, and piercing as far as division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” So again, it’s the Bible, and it’s describing the power and the effectiveness of scripture to pierce the inner person to judge the intentions and thoughts of the heart to diagnose, if you will, the spiritual causes of so many of our problems.
The goal of biblical counseling is to give instruction from the Bible so that the counselee can achieve God’s goals in his/her life
And so, our goal in biblical counseling is to give people instruction from the Bible so that the counselee can achieve God goals in his or her life. Paul writes in first Timothy, “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscious and a sincere faith.” He writes to the Colossians in chapter one that, “we proclaim him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose, also I labor, striving according to his power, which mightily works within me.” Our goal is to help people to grow in Christ, to be mature in Christ.