4 Essential Characteristics of Scripture for Biblical Counseling

Within Biblical Counseling, the counselor wields an indispensable tool that commands, instructs, and guides one’s counseling. A counselor cannot be described as biblical without the Scriptures. Therefore, they must intimately know them and their essential characteristics: authority, clarity, necessity, and sufficiency.

The authority of Scripture means that all the words in the Scriptures are God’s Words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scriptures is to disbelieve or disobey God.[1] The Bible claims this truth for itself throughout the pages of Scripture and are self-attesting. They are authoritative because God cannot lie or speak falsely and his words are the ultimate standard of truth. The counselor must counsel according to the standards of Scripture alone. The counselee must submit and conform to the authority of Scripture alone.

The clarity of Scripture means the Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who will read it seeking God’s help and being willing to follow it.[2] It is an encouragement that, in general, Scripture was written so that all could understand it with the help of the Spirit. The counselor must counsel with clarity in mind and the counselee can come to understand its truths.

The necessity of Scripture means the Bible is necessary for knowing the gospel, for maintaining spiritual life, and for knowing God’s will, but is not necessary for knowing God exists or for knowing something about God’s character and moral laws.[3] Therefore the counselor must counsel in light of the goals of Scripture and not their own. The counselee must be actively reading and seeking the Scriptures.

The sufficiency of Scripture means they contain all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemption history, and that it now contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting in him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly.[4] The counselor and counselee need no other resource to conform to the will of God, loving Him and others.


[1]Wayne A. Grudem. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press:1994), 73.

[2]Grudem, Systematic Theology, 108.

[3]Grudem, 116.

[4]Grudem, 127.

Published by rthomason

I am a husband, father, Bible teacher, and seminary student.

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