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 competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The goal of all counseling – whether biblical or secular – is to change people. Change could involve your behavior, thinking, feelings, awareness, or attitudes. When looking to make changes or improvements it is important to understand what the “changed” version of you will ultimately be. What are you using as the measuring stick for a “changed you”? What will the finished product look like? In secular counseling, the theories behind creating change stem from man-made practices. In biblical counseling, the methods for change come directly from God, through his instruction book for us, the Bible.
For the Christian any strides toward change must be strides toward the Cross, and all change must revolve around Jesus Christ and becoming more like Him (1John 2:6, 1Peter 2:21, 1Corinthians 11:1). That is because sin has corrupted us and our nature, and Satan is seeking to scheme against each one of us and devour our Faith (Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Peter 5:6-10).
In order for the Christian to change in this manner, and stand against the Devil, he needs two things:
The power to do so – Just as you cannot save yourself but must rely on the grace and power of God to produce the work of salvation in you, also you cannot become more like Jesus Christ on your own strength. You need the power of the Holy Spirit to guide you, to strengthen you, and to protect you from the Enemy.
The instructions to do so – There is only one way to become more like Christ, and God as His designer knows that singular way. And fortunately for you and me He has given us all of the instruction we need to fulfill that change. That instruction is found in the Bible and the Bible alone.
The Sufficiency of the Scriptures
As men and women created by God in His image, we never need to feel inadequate so long as we have the Bible. In fact if we are inadequate, it is not because the Bible is inadequate in any way; but because we do not know the Bible adequately. The Bible is all we need to change and meet the demands of this life. That is because God is omniscient (all-knowing), and He knows the end from the beginning – not just in our lives, but as it relates to eternity. He has planned for and knows everything that we need, and exactly when we need it. He has neglected nothing. Within the Bible we find every bit of wisdom, power, and instruction we need – or might ever need – to perform the tasks we are given by our Lord.
Furthermore, any problem that you are facing today is common to God. Your problem may be unique to you, but it is not unique to God. He has delivered similar men and women from similar difficulties. Your life and your problem are not the exception to the rule. If you seek Him and His voice and His solution by opening your Bible, He will give you victory through endurance (1 Corinthians 10:13).
The Scriptures – Providing Change that leads to Godliness
The Bible is the inerrant, full revelation of God’s will to man. It provides everything that we need to live a life pleasing to God – which should be the sole purpose of a redeemed person (Colossians 1:10). Regardless of the problems you are facing today, and the difficulties they are producing, the Bible has the answers as to how you are to change/respond to those problems. The Bible is:
Breathed out by God – Paul starts off v.16 of 2 Timothy 3 by stating an amazing truth. Every word of the Bible is God’s spoken word to each of us. God chooses to speak to us today through his written Word. Every verse you read is exactly how God would speak to you if you could hear his audible voice. Every word is from God, written by men, for a purpose.
-“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4
-“Now these events happened to them as examples and were recorded as counsel for us who live at this late date in history.” 1 Corinthians 10:11
These verses tell us that Scriptures that were written hundreds, even thousands of years ago, are just as applicable today as they were then. God’s Word never expires, it never changes. It provides us with endurance, with hope, with counsel, and with the encouragement we need today.
Able and powerful to instruct us how to change – Jay Adams in his book “How to Help People Change” writes, “The Holy Spirit by the Scriptures brings men to faith in Christ and then molds them into the kind of people He wants them to be. The Bible is no mere history book; it does things to people today. It is the Holy Spirit’s tool for working in the minds and hearts of men and women to make them like Christ. Being peculiarly associated with the Spirit both in its composition and in its use, the Bible is powerful, able to transform our lives.” (pg. 23-24)
Profitable, if we use it – It is not enough to know what needs to be done. We will only profitably change if we put what we know into action. “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:25); “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.” (Proverbs 14:23)
The Goal: Righteousness through Sanctification
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
Righteousness is conforming to God’s biblical standard – everything else falls short. At the moment of our salvation – and every moment since – we have been counted righteous in Christ; so we now must become righteous in our actual lives (see Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3). Jay Adams writes that, “According to Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 3:16, the change of lifestyle called sanctification occurs, at least in part, when we submit in faith and obedience to the ‘disciplined training in righteousness’ provided by the Scriptures. It is crucial to understand that apart from such biblical training, [we] will fall short of God’s righteousness, which is the goal of all Christian living” (How to Help People Change, pg. 177-178).
God never commands us to do something without supplying the means (Holy Spirit) and the instructions (Bible) to do so. It is my prayer that this synopsis helps you to better understand the purpose and power of the Scriptures, and how in conjunction with the Holy Spirit, they combine to lead us into the most abundant change possible. God’s Word and His Word alone is sufficient for the Christian to overcome, and change.
Biblical counseling can help you to take the first steps in understanding and implementing the changes that God wants you to make; for your good, the good of others, and most importantly for God’s glory. Biblical counseling sessions will further your spiritual discernment and provide the necessary training ground for you to become competent and equipped for every good work that God has called you to. For more information, or to schedule an appointment please contact Michael Martin.