The Omni-Adaptable Word

It’s impossible to over-value the Scriptures for the purpose of counseling our souls. Truly they are more valuable than fine gold and, therefore, much more to be desired than any and all earthly treasure (Ps 19:10). What an indescribable wealth of spiritual resources our Creator and Redeemer has given to us in the Scriptures!

Consider a moment the psalmist’s confidence expressed in Psalm 19:7-8. Take note of how each description informs the inner person—the soul—and how, when they are acted upon, lead to transformation of one’s character and life.

The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes (Ps 19:7-8).

  1. The Scriptures restore our soul to God, in relationship, and restore it to God’s original intention for humanity, in wholeness.
  2. The Scriptures implant wisdom where the curse of sin proves it is lacking.
  3. The Scriptures bring joy when all that seems to linger are the clouds of despair.
  4. And as an aid in the cure of our spiritual blindness, the Scriptures provide true enlightenment about God, ourself, and His good purpose in our life.

Before we were regenerated by the Spirit, and saved by the gospel, our minds were darkened in our understanding and excluded from the life of God (Eph 4:18). But now, in Christ, we have “put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (Col 3:10).

The Holy Spirit’s chief instrument for this transformational work of reshaping fallen sinners-turned-saints into the image of Christ is His sword—the Word of God (Eph 6:17). As we expose ourselves to its penetrating, surgical power our minds are renewed, hearts changed, and lives consequently transformed (Heb 4:12; Rom 12:1). As we feed upon this bountiful bread of God our souls are nourished and as we live in community with other lovers-of-the-Word our faith is nurtured toward maturity (Matt 4:4; Heb 10:24-25).

In addition, every single one of our experiences—both pains and joys—can and must be evaluated by its light (Ps 119:105). When suffering the effects of our own sin or the consequences of living in a fallen world, the Holy Spirit’s living scalpel also becomes our healing balm (Ps 119:50). This is what David Powlison calls the “omni-adaptability” of the Word of God.

There is no temptation that is not common to all (1 Cor 10:13), yet no situations or persons are identical. The merciful Father comforted Paul in his troubles, making him able to comfort those facing any trouble (2 Cor 1:4), including you in your troubles, so that you also can help those in any trouble. This dynamic of the living and omni-adaptable Word creates one of the many deep joys of the Christian faith. It also makes you game to tackle any problem however unfamiliar, dark, and contorted. [Cited by Heath Lambert and Stuart Scott, eds. in Counseling the Hard Cases]

As the mind of God in written form (1 Cor 2:12-13), the Scriptures are a comprehensive revelation, a display of the wisdom of the infinite God. As believers, we possess Christ, the Living Word. He is our wisdom (1 Cor 1:24), but that wisdom is not mediated to us in an unreliable, subjective manner, but by the Holy Spirit through the reliable, written Word. We have all of this—and much more—in the Holy Scriptures. We could, but need not, ask for more.

Other recent posts on the sufficiency of Scripture for counseling the heart include:

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