Scripture’s Sufficiency and Christian Consistency
The call for a practical doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture is a call for Christian consistency. If the Bible is what it says it is then it follows that we must treat it as it demands to be treated: As the unrivalled epistemological foundation atop which all subsequent study must be built and the power by which all subsequent study must be fuelled. As has been rightly said elsewhere, “worldview precedes observational interpretation.”1 Thus, any successful pursuit of knowledge begins with and proceeds from a carefully established and prayerfully guarded biblical worldview.
The family of disciplines related to psychology and counselling are no exception. Probing the inner workings of people—their desires and dreams, fears and foibles, habits and hangups, pains and potential—without input from the Creator is as foolish as it is futile.
Illustratively, consider this short list of questions:
- Are people fundamentally and/or basically good?
- Is suffering ever useful or deserved?
- Is morality objective?
- If immorality/evil exists, is it primarily external to the person or internal?
- What is humanity’s greatest need(s)?
- What is humanity’s greatest goal(s)?
- Is independence or interdependence the goal of personal maturation?
- Do people have the power to change themselves?
It should be immediately apparent that how one answers questions like these will greatly affect how one explores the human psyche and seeks to aid others in their pursuit of answers, healing, and direction. The Bible contains the divinely breathed-out answers to questions like those above2 and, as has been already mentioned in this chapter, was given for our maturation in Christlikeness. Therefore, “the Scriptures … are sufficient to cure souls.”3 God’s word is enough.
The word of God is the final authority to which we are to appeal in all matters of life and godliness. To supplement infallible Scripture with another ideology, practice, or preference is like adding a chainsaw to your golf bag—while its novelty, perceived power, and potential usefulness may be attractive, it will at best not aid in playing the game set before us and, at worse, distract from, supplant, and replace the tools we have that were meant for such an activity.
1 Christopher Cone, Prolegomena on Biblical Hermeneutics and Method, 2nd ed. (Hurst, TX: Tyndale Seminary Press, 2012), 22.
2 For example: Rom 3:23; 2 Cor 1:3–4; 4:17–18; 1 Pet 1:16; Matt 15:15–20; 2 Cor 5:20; 1 Cor 10:31; Eph 4:16–32; Phil 4:13
3 David Powlison, “The Sufficiency of Scripture to Diagnose and Cure Souls,” The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Spring 2005: 2–14.