5 Definitions of Biblical Counseling
Paul calls his series Journey to Biblical Counseling. You can read his five interviews so far in the series (more to come) at Paul’s site here:
5 Definitions of BC
I’m always fascinated by how biblical counselors define biblical counseling. Among Paul’s thought-provoking questions is his question about how each person, in 50 words or less (supposedly), defines biblical counseling.
Here’s how each interviewee defined biblical counseling:
Biblical counseling is the process of dealing with human suffering in the context of God as creator, designer, savior, and enabler. The counselee is introduced to the richness of God’s life design and the power of the Holy Spirit to enable him to live in sync with this design thereby being able to glorify God and enjoy Him and life in the midst of living in a broken world (69 words).
Biblical counseling is the act of one believer coming alongside another to bring the truths of both the indicatives and imperatives of Scripture to bear on their heart and life for their edification, the strengthening of their faith, and the glory of God (43 words).
Biblical counseling is Christ-centered, church-based, comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally-informed personal ministry that depends upon the Holy Spirit to relate God’s inspired truth about people, problems, and solutions to human suffering (through sustaining and healing) and sin (through reconciling and guiding) to equip people to exalt and enjoy God and to love others (Matthew 22:35-40) by cultivating conformity to Christ and communion with Christ and the Body of Christ leading to a community of one-another disciple-makers (Matthew 28:16-20; Ephesians 4:11-16) (71 words).
Counseling is one part of the overall ministry of Christ that meets us publicly, privately, and interpersonally. The public means of grace—preaching, teaching, the Lord’s Supper, worship, and fellowship—meet people in crowds. You never have to attach anyone’s name to it, but the Holy Spirit is able to personalize the public ministry of the gospel and the truth of the Lord. Then there is the private ministry of the Word of Truth. This is your own prayer life, meditation on and study of Scripture, application, journaling, and your own implementation and meditations of the heart. Finally, biblical counseling is part of the interpersonal ministry of the Word. God means for us to bear each other’s burdens. It’s a good goal to become more competent at self-counsel, the private ministry, but we always need other people. We need their prayers, encouragement, and insight. There may be something you have said to yourself a hundred times, but then you hear it from the lips of someone else, and the Holy Spirit chooses to work. Hearing it from another person’s voice makes it come to life. Wise counseling brings that personalized relevance of interpersonal ministry of the eternal Word of Truth that turns our lives upside down and inside out (209 words).
My definition depends on who I am speaking to—for lay people in our congregation, I describe biblical counseling as “an intensive form of discipleship” or “an opportunity to speak into someone’s life using God’s wisdom and not our own.” For my counseling students or counselees, I say something like, “My goal is to erect from the Bible a model and method to wisely help people with their problems” (69 words).
Join the Conversation
Which definition of biblical counseling most resonates with you? Why?
If you took aspects of each definition, what would your “collated” definition of biblical counseling look like?
How do you define biblical counseling?
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