The Sufficiency of Scripture

The sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contained all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive-history, and that it now contains everything we need God to tell us for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly. (2 Tim. 3:16–17). sufficiency of Scripture reminds us that nothing is sin that is not forbidden by Scripture either explicitly or by implication. To walk in the law of the Lord is to be “blameless” (Ps. 119:1).

Sufficiency may be characterized by four categories; Progressive Sufficiency, Completed Sufficiency, Formal Sufficiency, Material Sufficiency.Each of these have an impact on the practice of biblical counseling. Progressive sufficiency, also called general sufficiency means that everything revealed at that time is the amount of information for God’s people is sufficient for the time in which they are. The special revelation of Scripture to Moses was all that was needed for him to live a life that was pleasing to God. For God’s people today there is sixty-six books, a treasure trove to help us learn how to honor God. In biblical counseling we have an enormous amount of resources in the Scriptures.

Completed sufficiency explains that God’s work in redemption has completed the canon. God has been adding to the canon up until the completed work of Jesus Christ (Heb 1:1-4). This doctrine of completed sufficiency provides the biblical counselor with trust and thankfulness in the completed nature of Scripture. Formal sufficiency expresses that everything needed to interpret Scripture is included in Scripture. Scripture interprets Scripture. For a biblical counselor all instruction must be grounded in Scripture. Material sufficiency explains the idea that everything necessary to live life and honor God is in Scripture. This is encouraging for the biblical counselor since by it we may know that we have all the resources we need. However, some Christian counselors do not affirm sufficiency.

“While the Bible provides us with life’s most important and ultimate answers as well as the starting points for knowledge of the human condition, it is not an all-sufficient guide for the discipline of counseling. The Bible is inspired and precious, but it is also a revelation of limited scope, the main concern of which is religious in its presentation of God’s redemptive plan for people and the great doctrines of the faith.” (Jones, Stanton Modern Psychotherapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal (Christian Association for Psychological Studies Partnership)).

This statement is a rejection of sufficiency, in particular material sufficiency. Jones rejects the notion that Scripture can be sufficient for counseling because it is limited to doctrines and redemption. However, Jones is wrong. Yes Scripture contains words more specific to doctrines and redemption. If we examine counseling as one person with trouble or problems seeking assistance from another, this is exactly what the Bible is concerned with. The Bible is about the problems humans face and God’s solutions. This does not deny that there are other rich resources outside of Scripture, it means that only Scripture is necessary and has the answers needed to engage with counseling problems in all of life.


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