Just what is biblcal counseling? Pastor Jeff Bartz shares some thoughts with us to help us better understand how the word of God can meet our every need.
“Simple Bible Answers Are Not Enough.”
by Pastor Jeff Bartz
What grieves me as a pastor and biblical counselor is how often I hear Christians say something like, “I’m sick of simplistic Bible answers for my problems. My problems are too complex for you to tell me to just take a verse or two and call me in the morning.” If that’s your impression of biblical counseling, then somewhere along the line there’s been a misunderstanding.
Biblical counseling is not as simplistic as sharing a verse with someone and expecting it to magically change their problems (just look briefly at some of the NT “one another” passages: Gal. 6:1-2; Eph. 4:15; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thess. 1:18; 5: 11,14; Hebrews 3:13; 10:25; James 5:16).
To say that your problems are too complex for God, what does that reveal about your view of the Creator of the universe?
To say that the Bible is too simplistic for your problems reveals that you’ve yet to establish God as a priority or authority in your life.
To say that the Bible is too simplistic for your problems is to nullify the promises of God. After all, God promised in Isaiah 55:11, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
Please allow me to take this a step further, as gently yet succinctly as possible: to say that Scripture has no place in addressing your problems or that it is too simplistic to be of benefit to you and your problems reveals a heart that is deceived and in desperate need of humility and repentance.
Whether our problems are sin or suffering oriented makes no difference. God’s desire for us is that we grow in holiness and be ever changing into the image of His Son. Scripture should always be the first and loudest voice of reason and influence in our lives, especially in the midst of difficulty. If the issue is sin then the Bible helps us find the right path, warns us when we are drifting off the path, helps us get back on the path, and then helps us stay on the path (2 Tim. 3:16-17). If the issue is suffering, then the Bible helps us to cope, offers an eternal, big-picture perspective, directs our responses, and gives us hope.
Ministering the Word through biblical counseling requires the counselor to put Scriptural principles into practice so that when they bring the Word of God to bear upon a life, it is not shallow, thoughtless, or heartless. Rather, the counsel, by virtue of it being biblical, will be measured and direct, yet delivered in a tone appropriate to the situation. My hope is always that the Spirit of God and the process of discovery leads the counselee to the point of experiencing that God is enough – that He is sufficient and so is His Word (2 Pet. 1:3).