The Bible in Counseling Part II

The Word of God – the Interrogator

“For the Word of God speaks, is alive and full of power making it active, operative, energizing and effective; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating into the dividing line of the life (soul) and (the immortal) spirit; and of joints and marrow, (that is the deepest part of our nature) exposing the sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:2, amp.)

It is the Word of God that acts as a surgical instrument in the counseling situation. It reveals to us what is in the deepest resources of our hearts. It is a delicate and powerful instrument in the hand of the counselor and should be used skillfully.

Use of the Scripture in Counseling

Again, The Psalmist wrote, “I have more insight than all my teachers for your testimonies are my meditation,” (Psalm 119:99).

Use of scriptures in counseling involves gaining a biblical understanding of the person’s problem while examining all relevant data in the light of God’s Word. There is no shortcut to letting “the Word of Christ richly dwell within you,” (Colossians 3:16).

The goal is to bring together the person’s problem and God’s solution, for in fact, there are no problems without solutions, (I Corinthians 10:13).

Thus, it may require making a biblical plan of action, e.g., with women who have unsaved husbands, (I Peter 3:1).

Further, the bible is able to teach the counselee how to use the scriptures in problem solving, through implementing a concrete plan of action, e.g., the person who has a bad temper and says that they cannot change. The Scripture says that one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. Ephesians 4:25-32 lays out a plan of action for practical change including: (a) daily communication, while not allowing the sun to go down on your out of control or unreasonable anger; (b) use only words that build-up and not tear down; and (c) forgive, rather than slander, gossip, or attack with words that hurt and offend.”

The Human Channel – Counselor

“For God who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness”, is the One who has shone in our hearts to give light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves,” (II Corinthians 4:6-7).

There is power available to us, the same power which brought about the creation of all life. We are only the vessels, the channel through which that power flows. Here we have both hope and humility, a balance which always needs to be maintained.

We have the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to do the job to which He has called us. “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.,” (I Thessalonians 5:24).

Questions should help the counselee to think and explore rather than just to answer “yes” or “no.” Questions beginning with “who,” “what,” “where,” and “when” are often helpful. Another source of information that can help gain important incite include an inventory, which the person can fill out prior to the counseling session. This can include certain basic information as well as questions of “What would you like to accomplish through our time together,” or “What is the main problem as you see it?” With every counselee there is certain vital information which will be gathered over a period of time, this includes:

Who is She/He? – Identity

It is so beautiful, as we read through the Gospels, to observe how Jesus ministered to people. The scripture tells us that he knew their hearts, and it is obvious that he treated each one just a little differently. He knew who they were and was flexible in his method of dealing with them. Every person is unique and must be respected and treated in keeping with that uniqueness. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to give us eyes to see this person as He sees them and not as they may appear to be.

Where Has He/She Come From? – History and Development

Most people come into the Kingdom of God with significant deficits and wounds caused by the world system. The scripture says, “…forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:13-14). This was Paul the apostle’s aspiration, to forget the past in such a way that it had absolutely no hold on him. This putting away of the past however, is not a mechanical operation. Before the past can be forgotten, it must first be reconciled. That is, hurts, fears, even triumphs must be seen in light of scripture, neither enemy nor friend. We must make peace with the person of our past. We must remember that it is that person that Jesus saw fit to die for.

Because God has forgiven us, we must forgive ourselves. To forgive means that the debt has been paid and the debtor’s prison door has been opened. It is important in counseling to understand where the person is in regard to their past and especially in regard to personal reconciliation. II Corinthians 5:17-19 says,

“Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; namely, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

 God has provided a way for old things to truly pass away and for all things to become new. This way is through the ministry of reconciliation, another aspect of the ministry of counseling. The counselor must ask the question: “How can I best help this person to experience reconciliation with their past, in their relationships, with God and man?” The answer to this question comes through knowledge of the person, their history, and the Word of God as directed by the Holy Spirit.

Where is She/He Going? – Goals

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. I run in such a way as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air:” (I Corinthians 9:24, 26). Also Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the laws.” Many people who come for counsel are void of direction, without goals. Sadly, many have lost their hope. Often, they do not understand the principles of God’s word or how to walk in the wisdom that the Word of God provides. Thus, another aspect of the counselor’s ministry is to help the counselee have their hope restored, and learn what God’s word says and how to apply it. Proverbs 10:28 says, “The hope of the righteous shall be gladness.”

It is never appropriate to bludgeon a person with condemning words, even scriptural ones. If they are seeking help, especially voluntarily, they are already wounded, open and vulnerable. Gentleness, allowing room for conviction (from the Holy Spirit) not condemnation (from the flesh or the ‘devil’), will be a blessing to the counselee. Of course, it is not enough to have intellectual knowledge of scripture, but it must be practically applied (the counselor may/should come up with suggestions to apply the word in practical ways). This takes wisdom, common sense and practice, whether you are doing phone counseling or face-to-face. With these goals in mind, we still need a healthy perspective on who we are ministering for and to.


More on that in Blog 3.     Until then….

Dr. Stan

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