Dr. William Roberts LaTonia Watkins Liberty University COUN 501 December 18, 2009 Abstract The topic of counseling has been up for discussion for sometime as it relates to the spiritual or biblical aspect versus the worldview or secular concept. There has been some disagreement in regards to whether or not one can be a Christian counselor who have a level of morals and ethics that will allow them to not let their own personal beliefs affect the level of service they provide, when faced with an issue that goes against their beliefs.
Upon conducting a biblical word search for counsel or counseling related terms it becomes evident that the core principles and foundation of counseling is found throughout the bible. The information obtained will detail the usefulness of the Bible in engaging in a meaningful as well as effective counseling profession. Biblical Terms Used In Counseling There has been much dispute as to the usefulness and validity for using biblical concepts in counseling.
The most common disagreement is found between counseling professionals and Christian counseling professionals.
Pride (2006) states, “psychology approaches human behavior from a secular, humanistic perspective. ” Accordingly, Biblical revelation is irrelevant to understanding or changing human behavior. Psychology seeks to describe and explain human behavior apart from what God has clearly revealed. Its premises are derived from man-made theories, human wisdom and research conducted without a corresponding search for truth as God defines truth.
Clinton and Ohlschlager (2002) have a different opinion of counseling and prefer using the Bible stating “secular psychology begins with a study of man’s ideas; Biblical counseling begins with a study of the Word of God as it relates to human behavior and human need. Therefore it is dependent upon the revealed mind of God rather than the easily deceived mind of man. ” However it does not begin with God, it follows a path that lines up with the Word of God and examines man’s problems in light of God’s responses.
The two aforementioned viewpoints are clear cut examples of the differences in opinions and viewpoints for counseling from a secular perspective as well as the religious perspective. Another view of counseling attempts to integrate religion/biblical views or perspectives with psychological counseling which is known as the secular-humanist view. Some view counseling as a process of prayerfully and sensitively listening to another person (Proverbs 18:13, 17), helping discern soul needs and providing biblical advice towards changing the attitudes and behaviors towards modeling God.
The goal of this paper is to demonstrate the validity of the Bible as a source for counseling and to expand the overall view of counseling perspectives. By examining words and concepts in the Bible as they relate to counseling the relationship between the two will be discovered. Using Biblical concepts adds depth and enriches the counseling relationship (Pride, 2006). Also addressed in this paper will be the ways of Biblical terms and their relationship to modern counseling concepts. Biblical counseling terms can provide a useful tool for counseling as well as allows for an understanding of counseling concepts in the field of counseling.
Biblical Words Related to Counseling Counsel The term counsel is found to be translated 80 times throughout the King James Version of the bible which includes 74 verses between the Old Testament and the New Testament combined. According to the word search the term counsel is used interchangeably with several terms in the bible such as advise (Qal), consult (Nipal) and conspire (Hithpael). Judges 18:5 “They said, ‘Oh, good- inquire of God for us. Find out whether our mission will be a success. ”’ In this passage they are seeking (consult) God for his guidance (advise) in regards to the outcome of their mission.
I Kings 12:8-9 “But he rejected the counsel of the elders and asked the young men he’d grown up with who were now currying his favor, ‘What do you think? What should I say to these people who are saying, give us a break from your father’s harsh ways- lighten up on us’? ” This passage also shows an example of someone seeking advice in their situation. Mark 3:6 “The Pharisees got out as fast as they could, sputtering about how they would join forces with Herod’s followers and ruin him. ” This scripture details how the Pharisees consulted together and decide that they would join forces with Herod’s followers and go against Jesus.
John 18:14 “It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it was to their advantage that one man die for the people. ” In this scripture Caiaphas is advising (counseling) the people on Jesus dying for the people. Advise The word advise has 947 different translations in 873 versus in the King James Version of the Bible and is derived from the Hebrew word ya-ats, meaning to know, learn to know, to perceive, see and discern, to name a few. These translations were only referenced to the Old Testament according to Blue Letter Bible; however after cross referencing with Crosswalk, New Testament scriptures were listed as well.
Exodus 18:19 “Now listen to me. Let me tell you how to do this so that God will be in this with you. Be there for the people before God, but let the matters of concern be presented to God. ” This scripture details Moses father in law advising him to be there for the people, however to allow God to handle everything and work things out for them. I Kings 12:6 “King Rehoboam talked it over with the elders who had advised his father when he was alive. ‘What’s your counsel? How do you suggest that I answer the people? ’” In this scripture the King is seeking to be counseled and advised from the elders as to how he should treat the people.
Acts 21:21 “They’ve been told that you advise believing Jews who live surrounded by Gentiles to go light on Moses, telling them that they don’t need to circumcise their children or keep up the old traditions. This isn’t sitting at all well with them. ” In this scripture they are discussing getting advise as to whether they should follow the traditional teachings of Moses and allow their children to be circumcised or if they should go against tradition. Help The word help appears 126 times in 117 versus throughout the King James Version of the Bible the Old and New Testament according to Blue letter Bible.
Help is listed as to help (Qal), succor (Niphal), or support (Hiphil) which is defined as to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need; to contribute strength or means to; render assistance to; to cooperate effectively (Webster 2005). Genesis 2:18 “God said, ‘It’s not good for the Man to be alone; I’ll make him a helper, a companion. ’” In this scripture help is being used in the form of God giving Adam a companion in order for him to no longer be alone. Mark 9:24 “No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, ‘Then I believe.
Help me with my doubts! ’” In this scripture the father of the demon possessed boy was seeking Jesus’ help with casting the demon out of his son. The father was acknowledging that he had a need of Jesus and that he knew that Jesus could help him, although a part of him had doubts, I would venture to say it was because the disciples had tried to cast the demon out of the boy and were unable to do so. Advice The word advice appears 9 times in 9 versus in the King James Version of the Bible and is derived from the Hebrew word dabar, meaning speech, word, speaking, thing.
II Samuel 19:43 “And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said , We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel. ” In this scripture they are seeking advice as to why they were not sought out first as to the decision regarding bringing back the king. I Corinthians 1:10 “I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master.
I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common. ” In this scripture Paul is giving the people advice on getting along with each other and learning to be considerate. Discussion After completing this assignment and getting the information and knowledge gained from this course I can say that my view of counseling has changed. Although I have read the bible many times, and I am taking up Professional Counseling, it did not occur to me until this assignment how the bible is definitely the foundation for any counseling practice.
When you look at some of the terms used to describe Jesus in the text,( i. e. Master, Teacher, Counselor, etc. ) it puts things in to perspective as to where the foundation of counseling began. Jesus is the central focus of counseling and the exemplar of the Wonderful Counselor. The Bible is about counseling, giving both understanding of people and methods of ministering to people. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and wisdom is the only worthy goal of counseling. (Carson, 2005). The Bible is authoritative, relevant and comprehensively sufficient for counseling.
God has spoken to every issue that humans could possible face in the 66 Books of the Bible, which establishes the goal of counseling, how to change, what the role of the counselor is, counseling methods and so much more. The Bible’s view of counseling defines a distinctive ideal for how we as humans should live. The image of Christ is a familiar item in Christian profession, but its implications are often ignored when it comes to counseling. Much of the difficulty of counseling consists in sustaining suffers in hope through the comforts of the gospel.
Counseling is simply the personalized ministry of the Bible, tailored to the particular situations and problems of individuals and small groups. In Genesis, God led the way when he was talking to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden regarding the decision they made to disobey his word and follow the serpent. Although this is a clear cut example of God counseling the two (advising, consulting, teaching, helping, etc. ), I don’t think we (society) really looks at this situation in regards to a counseling aspect.
Models of spiritual counseling in the Bible can serve as important templates for counseling in the professional (secular) as well as the Christian aspects. The emphasis on communication and relationships implies the concept of involvement which is dependent on availability to council (Acts 20:31) and the importance of balance in the process of counseling, (Galatians 6:2 and 6:5). Conclusion There are so many more words that are found in the counseling sector that are used throughout the Bible this paper only included a few. Hathaway (2009) talks about Proverbs and Psalms being gold mines of wisdom and consolation relevant to counseling.
The words from the Bible relating to counseling enhances counseling and are deemed appropriate as they relate to counseling outside the Christian realm. A concern that arose while doing the research is that the Biblical counseling aspect is non-subjective and refers to the counsel and the instructive power of God through the Holy Spirit. Biblical words in counseling are the foundation from where counseling stems, which reiterates that there is nothing new under the sun as it relates to what can be found in the Word of God. McMinn (1996 )states scripture and the counseling approach God enjoins, treats all of human life.
The Bible’s counseling, on which we must seek to model our own counseling, speaks to the gamut of problems in living. Scripture comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable, turning people from foolishness to wisdom in every area: e. g. , learning to conciliate and to build constructive relationships in family, church, workplace, and neighborhood; attitudes and practices regarding finances and material possessions; responding to physical health or illness, to wealth or poverty, to success or failure, to acceptance or rejection; self-and other deception; addictive behaviors; the gamut of emotions, whether dysphoric (e. . , anger, depression, anxiety, fear, guilt) or euphoric (e. g. , love, happiness, joy, gratitude, confidence); decision-making; the response to suffering and bereavement; and so forth. In relation to using the Bible as a counseling tools it is best summed by Walker (2005) the Bible is sufficient to provide a systematic approach to counseling. The Bible provides and models both counsel and counseling, teaching us to do likewise, with the intention of changing and sustaining people.