Early in my marriage, my typical response to something breaking or needing repair in our home was simply to buy a new one. Now, this method would have worked just fine if we were an independently wealthy young couple. But, alas, we were not. So after years of frustrating my wife with my lack of Mr. Fix-it knowledge and skills, I discovered the beauty of YouTube repair videos. Google almost any repair issue on the planet and find a handyman who can actually walk you through the process on your phone! Miracle of miracles, I have now been able to fix many of the routine things around my house, much to the joy of my wife and the gratefulness of my budget.
Is that how we look at Scripture when we look to “repair” a difficult problem in our lives? Do we use the Bible like a Google search, hunting down verses about anger, addiction, anxiety, and marital problems in order to fix those problems? Or maybe find ourselves wishing the Bible could be turned into a YouTube video, guiding us step-by-step towards an ultimate repair. Unfortunately, this can be what comes to mind when we hear Biblical counselors speak of how the Scriptures are sufficient to speak to our problems. With this thinking, the Bible is reduced to just another self-help book which is read only when I have a problem to solve. Unfortunately, there is also a great possibility of disappointment when it appears that the Bible doesn’t really address my particular problem.
So let’s briefly consider what Biblical counselors really mean when we talk about the sufficiency of Scripture for our problems. First, it acknowledges that Scripture is the ultimate authority for life. There are all sorts of people, philosophies, and systems that claim to be authorities on why we develop problems and how to solve those problems. But the only trustworthy authority for how to properly address our problems is God’s Word. All explanations and solutions must be grounded in the truth of Scripture.
Second, it emphasizes Scripture as Special Revelation. We can certainly learn a lot about people and their problems by a true, scientific observation of the world around us. Yet, we know that God’s Word is defined as “special revelation” because it alone teaches us how salvation is found in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, for the glory of God alone. Solving humanity’s problems begins with the worst problem of all—being lost in our sins and headed for eternal death!
Third, it recognizes that Scripture teaches us who God is and how we are to respond to Him. In one sense, what more do we need than to know who God is and what it means to be His redeemed child? The Bible is so much better than any self-help book because it reveals God to us, shows us our sin, and points us to redemption and sanctification in Christ! By definition, that is sufficient for our ability to handle all the problems in life, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Fourth, it demonstrates the comprehensiveness of Scriptural principles to attack spiritual, emotional, mental, and relational problems. The Law, the prophets, the narratives, the Gospels, the epistles—all of God’s Word is applicable to teach, rebuke, correct, and train God’s people in righteousness. The principles of God’s Kingdom found in the Bible are sufficient for us to learn how to solve problems God’s way. Even though we use all sorts of modern labels to describe our problems, there are always Scriptural principles that are to be learned in order to address those challenging problems.
Finally, it means that Scripture sufficiently feeds our hearts, minds, and souls. The Holy Scriptures are the bread and meat provided for our spiritual growth. Rather than looking at the Bible as a just a Google search for solving our problems, we must see it as the spiritual food that will give us the spiritual health to face our problems. The Word of God, empowered by the Spirit, changes the way we think, act, live, feel and relate. It does this not by just giving us information to apply, but by offering transformation for our lives!
When we consider something to be sufficient, it is ENOUGH. Scripture is enough to solve our ultimate problem of sin and death, as well as the other problems that emanate from our core heart issues. When we understand that Scripture is sufficient, we will seek wisdom that is grounded in God’s Word and rightly apply God’s Word to our lives. For example, the Psalms (and other books of the Bible) contain many instances of individuals crying out in despair, pain, anxiety, and fear. Scripture never minimizes the pain or heartache expressed in these passages; rather, God’s Word invites us to pour out our hearts to the One who loves us enough to die for us. While our problems and struggles may look differently from the outside, we all share the same kinds of heart struggles – and our Father aims for the heart every time. As grateful as I am for YouTube repair videos, how much greater is it to have the Scriptures at our disposal—the authoritative and sufficient Word of God to answer all our real problems!