Written Word

As a Christian, I should rely on the Bible for advice and counselling

The number of people seeking counselling today is increasing and a variety of types of counselling are on offer. The secular counselling some receive is unhelpful and, at worst, positively dangerous. Some secular counsellors are openly opposed to the Christian faith and others are avowed atheists; their counselling will not produce what God desires for people in need.

Where then should a Christian turn for counselling, guidance and instruction to meet the problems that can invade one’s life? I have no hesitation in stating my conviction that the Bible is God’s inspired, infallible word given to meet every possible eventuality that may come our way. Furthermore, I’m convinced that there is not a situation that can arise that the word of God does not either specifically address or provide the answer in some of its great principles. Because of this, I would always counsel a person from God’s word. The psalmist expresses my confidence in the infallibility of the word and its sufficiency for our every need: “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” (Psalms 19:7-11)

The effectiveness of God’s word is seen in how it is described:

  1. God’s word is perfect. It is not lacking in anything. It is complete. It is able to revive the soul of the weary.
  2. What God says is trustworthy. You can count on his word being right. It is free from error and able to give wisdom to those who seek to be instructed.
  3. God’s precepts are right. They are not like the opinions of men. God’s laws bring great joy to the heart of those who live by them.
  4. His commands are radiant. They shine, thereby giving spiritual light to the eye so that the correct path can be taken. No more walking in darkness.
  5. The fear of the Lord is pure. It is free of contamination, defilement and prejudice. And because it comes from God, it will last forever.
  6. His ordinances are sure. They can relied upon. They are trustworthy. They do not contain any error, hence are “altogether righteous”.
  7. His word is more precious than gold. Some people will stop at nothing in their pursuit of gold. They want it no matter what it costs them. But God’s word is more precious that gold. His word can do what gold can never do.
  8. His word is sweeter than honey. There is nothing bitter or unpalatable about it. It has a refreshing taste and nourishes the soul.
  9. His word provides warning. It can do this because it reflects the mind and will of Almighty God. His word speaks of what is right and what is wrong and it does so in absolute terms. There is nothing ambiguous about it.
  10. His word brings great reward. Living within the boundaries of God’s word keeps us safe and secure and rewards us with a life that pleases God and eventually will see us safely to our home in heaven.

The Bible is the word of God. Therefore, we can be confident when we counsel from the Bible that we are sharing what is true. We are not giving our opinion; we are not speculating; we are not speaking with uncertainty; we are speaking what God has said. Because the Bible is God’s written word it does what no other book can do: it identifies the root cause of all our problems – sin. Having identified the cause, the Bible also offers a solution. There is not a problem that arises in life for which we will not find the solution in God’s word. We are not dependent upon a secular world that does not know God to supply us with answers.

The Bible is divine in origin. This is how Paul puts it: “From infancy you [Timothy] have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

  1. The scriptures are holy, setting them apart from all other writings. The scriptures are holy because they come from God.
  2. The scriptures are able to make one wise. No other book can make one wise for salvation, which is found in Jesus Christ.
  3. All scripture is God-breathed, that is, inspired of God. Just as God breathed life into Adam so God breathed life into the scriptures. This inspiration sets the Bible apart from all other books.
  4. Scripture is useful for teaching. Through the scriptures, God instructs us in every area of life: our marriage, our role as parents, our general behaviour, our commitment to the life of the church and all the great doctrines: atonement, redemption, election, etc. Everything we need to know about God is taught in the scriptures.
  5. Scripture is useful for rebuking. Through the word the Holy Spirit shows us where our life has gone wrong; whatever unholy motives we have will be exposed. The Bible is not shy in telling us when we are wrong.
  6. Scripture is useful for correction. Through the scriptures we learn where we are going wrong. For example, if our understanding on some moral issue is wrong, then scripture will correct that error by showing us what is right.
  7. Scripture is useful for training. Physical training keeps us fit and healthy. Likewise, the scriptures train us to be the type of person God would have us be. We become spiritually fit.
  8. Through scripture we are equipped for every good work. Scripture equips us by instructing us, enlightening us, guiding us, and strengthening us for every good work. The scriptures make us complete, mature, fulfilled.

We all need counselling, direction and guidance in some areas of our life. God has given us his inspired word and the Holy Spirit to minister to us. The Bible is not a secular manual; it comes from holy men who “spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21) “The word of God,” we are told, “is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) Just look at what this tells us about scripture: it is living, active and sharp; it penetrates, divides and judges. No other book can do what the Bible can do and that is why we must trust its counsel in all situations and turn to those who are wise in the scriptures when we are in need of counsel.