Dr. William Roberts
December 18, 2009
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
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...
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