What is Bible counseling?
I purposely use the word counseling which I personally prefer to the term helping relationship. The Larousse dictionary mentions that the term counseling means " seek advice, take advice". In Europe it is written with two "l" s, whereas in North America it is usually written with a single "l".
Before I go any further and define Bible counseling, I would like to ask you a hot question that has been asked, at one point or another, almost everyone who does Bible counseling: p >
Is the Word a sufficient resource to accompany a Christian struggling with personal problems?
Today I would like to join Bible counseling school of thought and say yes, I have enough words. It is true that some problems with the body require medical attention and medication. In addition, several psychologists have made observations for issues that are very useful. However, with regard to the transformation of the heart from a biblical point of view, the theories developed by psychologists are insufficient and sometimes even unhealthy, because they do not include God, sin and the realities revealed by God in the Bible. We believe that the Word must be the only basis on which we are to understand the soul. We believe the Bible is sufficient. No need to supplement our understanding of human beings and life on earth with the theories of Freud, Roger, Yung or Adler. Let me quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of my favorite authors, in his book Life Together . Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the leaders of the underground church during Hitler’s Nazi Germany during World War II. He wrote a great number of books. Hitler's "Gestapo" (military police) murdered him shortly before the end of the war. He says:
The most experienced psychologist or the best observer of human nature knows infinitely less about the human heart than the simpler Christian, who lives below the cross of Christ. The greatest psychological flair and the best skill cannot grasp one thing: what sin is. The wisdom of the world knows what distress, weakness and failure are, but it does not know what a man without God is. Moreover, she does not understand that a man is destroyed only by his sins and can be healed only by the forgiveness of God. Only a Christian can know these things.
In the presence of a psychologist, I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian, I can dare to be a sinner. The psychiatrist must first search my heart and yet never reach its depth. My brother in the Lord knows when I come to him: here is a sinner like me, a man without God who wants to confess his sins and obtain forgiveness from God. The psychiatrist sees me as if there is no God. My brother in the Lord sees me as I am before God, judge and mercy, before the cross of Jesus Christ.
- Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (free translation)
Forgive this long quote, but I believe Dietrich Bonhoeffer expresses with remarkable clarity the deep conviction underlying Bible counseling.
To conclude this first article, allow me to draw your attention to a few verses which answer this question which is, in my opinion, the basis of biblical counseling: Are we able as Christians to accompany another Christian to struggling with personal problems?
"As far as you are concerned, my brothers, I myself am convinced that you are full of good dispositions, full of all knowledge, and capable of exhorting one another"
- Romans 15:14
"It is he whom we proclaim, exhorting every man, and instructing every man in all wisdom, that we may present to God every man who has become perfect in Christ. "
- Colossians 1:28
“His divine power has given us all that contributes to life and godliness, by means of the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and by his virtue; "
- 2 Peter 1: 3.