When a husband knocks a hole in the wall because his wife upset him, is it mania or sinning in anger? When a person panics on a plane or in an elevator, is it a matter of trusting God or an attack from the body? When a woman comes to you depressed and hopeless, will you counsel her to find joy in God or counsel her to purchase Prozac? Or both?
I am a part of the Biblical Counseling movement. I consider myself a part of this wave, and have bought into their philosophy hook, line and sinker. I have done so because I have been persuaded by the Scriptures. I have seen the fruitfulness of skilled counseling from the Bible and watched lives be transformed by the Spirit. Having confessed my allegiance, the question remains: What is this movement, and why should you be interested?
Essential to Biblical Counseling is the sufficiency of Scriptures. Biblical Counselors are fully confident that the 66 books of the Bible are enough to help people with their “problems in living”. The movement is for believers who take the Scriptures seriously and believe the inspired Word alone is sufficient to counsel any scenario related to life and godliness.
Let us be clear; we do not mean the Scriptures will suffice in the cheap pathetic way. It is not as if the Bible is all we have, so we are forced to call it sufficient. No. Biblical counseling teaches that the Scriptures are all we need for the most complex problems in life. It is because the Scriptures are gloriously sufficient to speak into our lives. 2 Peter 1:3-4 says,
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
Peter tells us it is through God’s very great promises found in the Bible that people overcome sin and grow in holiness. Do not miss the sweeping ramifications of these verses. God has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. How has he done this? Through the knowledge of Him and by his promises.
If someone has a problem growing in godliness, the Scriptures sufficiently speak to it. If someone is trapped in habitual sin, the Bible adequately addresses it.
We should desire to be a Biblical Counselor because we believe the Apostle Peter when he says God’s promises are precious and very great. The counselor who believes in the sufficiency of Scripture believes the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul (Psalm 19:7). We hold high the invaluable words of God which are more precious than gold. We believe they are sweeter than honey and seek to skillfully administer them in the lives of others.
Another relevant verse for this discussion is 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Is there a good work that needs to be done by the believer? Paul says the Scriptures are sufficient for this. Follow the argument being made in these verses: The man of God may be complete because all Scripture is profitable. There is nothing lacking. The Scriptures do not come up short in counseling. The Biblical Counseling Movement is zealous for the God of the Bible who has infinite power and matchless wisdom.
Although I believe the Scripture is sufficient to counsel, I am confident this post is insufficient to answer every question. Let me choose one and then allow the reader to pursue more.
Is secular psychology worthless?
No. Secular Psychology has things to offer. There are observations psychologists have made that are good and true. They may label someone with a bipolar disorder because they have noticed they have had prolonged spiking mood swings, irritability, racing thoughts, insomnia, and agitation coupled with one or more massive episodes of depression. (see chapter two in Good Mood, Bad Mood by Charles Hodge) These observations and many alike may all be true. But knowledge of their research or the terminology they use is not necessary.
When counseling a woman concerned about self-image and eating struggles, it may be helpful to know only four percent of women globally think they are beautiful. I might be helped to read that “researchers have found that “fat talk”—a phenomena in which a person makes negative claims about their weight to others—is an expected norm among women and a way for them to appear more modest.” (See the post: 9 Things You Should Know About Female Body Issues from TGC)
All such statistics and observations may be true, but they are not necessary. We do not need to know hundreds of notes from thousands of counseling hours to be capable counselors. The man of God is not equipped for every good work by them.
The sufficiency of Scripture is of paramount importance for every Christian. There are questions that must be answered and how we answer them determines whether we are being faithful to God and His Bible. We will give an account for how we help those around us. If the Scriptures are sufficient to counsel, then we must dedicate our lives to this endeavor. The needs of many are complex, but they are not impossible. I am confident that if we drink from the deep well of the Bible, we will thirst no more.
I am a part of the Biblical Counseling movement because I have come to believe in the power of Christ who grants to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. I pray you will consider joining this movement.