Sufficiency of Scripture

The Parameters of Meaning – Rule 10

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Parameters of Meaning – Rule 10: Never interpret the Bible via assumptions based on extra-biblical data (e.g. “science”, philosophy, history). These can help but they should never preempt Scripture.

This “parameter” is of course just a reiteration of the principle of the Sufficiency of Scripture, although the emphasis is upon the whole of Scripture’s content, not just that pertaining to the doctrines of our salvation.

The Bible is made up of all kinds of literature, some of it clearly defined, some of it less so. We are often told that each of these “genres” demand their own forms of hermeneutics, which is bolstered by studies in many non-biblical disciplines. I am not here talking about the work of men like Richard Burridge (What Are The Gospels?) and Craig Keener (Christobiography) on the Gospels as a special type of biography, but about ideas like the latest attempts to interpret the Bible through a Cosmic Temple motif, John Walton’s views on the ANE background of the Genesis creation story, the views of all and sundry about apocalyptic, and likewise those who interpret Bible books (esp. Revelation) in terms of intertestamental apocalyptic writings, or the philosophical hermeneutics which have caused so much confusion in the definition of the discipline in recent years.

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“Speed Limit”: How the Sufficiency of Scripture Should Make Us Patient

"Unbelievers see things more clearly than we think. They sniff out our attempts to market Jesus. They see through our sales pitches. They’re far more serious about their worldview than we give them credit for. And I think our ignorance of this fact offends them even more than the content of our worldview." - 9 Marks

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The Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture and the Role of Extra-Biblical Resources in Transformative Teaching and Learning, Part 4

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The greatest advantage of the Nouthetic approach is that it truly attempts to exalt the sufficiency of Scripture. Further, it rejects mainstream, integrated, and Christian psychology. However, there are some significant disadvantages: Nouthetic is imbalanced, in that all counseling is considered to be admonishment; it is very behavioristic and sin focused; it abandons the discipline of psychology altogether; it is rooted in the B+t of contemporary Reformed or Covenant theology. Each of these concerns is significant enough to warrant discussion here.

Problem #1: Admonishment ≠ All Counseling

In a Venn diagram illustrating this assertion, the two circles would be completely overlapping (Diagram A.), but this doesn’t square with the Biblical data. There are eleven NT instances of νουθετέω/νουθεσία. Five are descriptive.106 Six of these instances are prescriptive,107 and in several of these νουθετέω/νουθεσία is considered with other verbs, so there is no exegetical warrant for asserting that all counseling is simply nouthetic.

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The Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture and the Role of Extra-Biblical Resources in Transformative Teaching and Learning, Part 3

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Case Study: Applications of Extra-Biblical Resources in Psychology and Counseling

Paul encourages transformative learning in several contexts in 1 Thessalonians. In 2:11-12 he describes “exhorting (parakalountes), encouraging (paramuthoumenoi), and imploring (marturomenoi)” believers to walk appropriately. These three are modes of communication for facilitating transformation through mental processes that effect the spirit, engage the will, and are manifested in conduct—the believer’s walk. In 5:14-15 Paul exhorts (parakaloumen)80 believers to engage with one another in several particular ways: admonish (noutheteite) the unruly, encourage (paramutheisthe) the fainthearted, help (antechesthe) the weak, be patient (makrothumeite) with all, see (orate) that no one repays evil for evil, and pursue (diokete) good for one another and for all.

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The Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture and the Role of Extra-Biblical Resources in Transformative Teaching and Learning, Part 2

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Extra-Biblical Material in Transformative Teaching and Learning

Paul describes transformation as a process occurring in the life of all believers (even the immature Corinthians).55 He prescribes that the believer be active in this process of transformation through the renewing of the mind.56 Transformative learning, from Paul’s description and prescription, would simply be the renewing of the mind, and would not be merely a mental thing, but also one that involves the spirit.57 It would involve putting aside the old man, with respect to its manner of conduct,58 and putting on the new man,59 which is designed for good conduct.60 For Paul, then, transformation involves a mental process that effects the spirit, engages the will, and is manifested in conduct. This transformative renewal is designed to be a practical outworking of the position reality of what was accomplished by the Holy Spirit in believers at the completed work of their positional salvation (justification).61

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The Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture and the Role of Extra-Biblical Resources in Transformative Teaching and Learning, Part 1

Presented August 1, 2018 to the Bible Faculty Summit, Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina.

Abstract

Paul affirmed to Timothy the authority, capacity, and sufficiency of the Scriptures for the adequacy of the believer.1 In similar fashion Jesus applied the sufficiency of Scripture in responding to His testing by Satan. Yet in close proximity to both instances we observe the employment of extra-Biblical resources in complementing the situation. In Paul’s case, even as he exhorts Timothy to faithfulness in the word, he acknowledges value in Timothy’s attentiveness to not only what Paul taught and wrote, but to his experiences as well.2 In Jesus’ case, He acknowledges there is a place for bread, though it ought not be viewed as the sole source of life.3 Likewise, after His testing He was the beneficiary of angelic ministry.4

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