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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Sylvester

Why Biblical Counseling?

God created our bodies and our hearts. He sustains every proton and blood cell flowing through them. There is not a piece of us that God did not design and there is nothing happening inside of us that he is not sustaining. We live because of the mercy and sustaining providence of our God.

When God created the world in the beginning and gave life to every creation, he paired that creation with order and instruction. Genesis 1 and 2 are helpful in understanding this. Genesis 1:3 starts with God's creation of light and darkness.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Genesis 1:14 picks up on the fourth day of creation with order and purpose inside of the first day's creation.

God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.

This process goes on and on in Genesis 1 and 2 where God creates and fills, creates and fills, creates and fills. What do we understand about God's design for creation from Genesis 1 and 2?

When God creates, he governs his creation with order and purpose.

We actually see this all throughout Scripture even after sin enters the world in Genesis 3. Yahweh in the Old Testament is leading his people towards the promised land (their intended home) and gives instructions for how to live (Exodus 19-20). In calling a people to himself and away from slavery and paganism, he instructs them how to act accordingly.

God gives purpose in his calling.

When Jesus leaves his disciples, having told them that the next part of the story will be a Spirit-filled church, he commands them to act as missionaries to all nations. He instructs them to be disciple-makers as he ushers in the early church (Matthew 28:16-20).

God designs and he instructs.

What does this have to do with biblical counseling? Well we know that even in the great commission, God instructed the early church to act a specific way towards each other. Paul echoes this command by specifically giving examples to the church for how to act towards each other (Rom. 12-15, Gal. 5, Eph. 4). God's people are to help one another in very specific ways.

The Bible is very clear that it exclusively contains all that we need for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3) and is "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man and woman of God may be complete, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16). This is the flashing arrow from God pointing to what method should be used for growing in righteousness, living out life, and finding ourselves complete and lacking in nothing. The Bible doesn't leave room for any other means of instruction.

Caroline Newheiser wrote in her book When Words Matter Most:

...although the Bible doesn’t teach you how to change a tire with step-by-step instructions, it does teach you how to change a tire—with patience and self-control. Although it doesn’t tell you who to marry by name, it does tell you who to marry—a man who walks with Christ. The word doesn’t explain how to fill out your tax forms line by line, but it does tell you how to fill out your tax forms—with honesty and integrity. Are you personally struggling with anxiety, exhaustion, gluttony, or grief? Are you dealing with an angry child, financial problems, or a difficult decision? No matter what you’re facing, Scripture is sufficient to provide all you need to glorify God in your circumstances.

God created us. He designed the Church. He called us out of darkness and gave us mercy in providing salvation. He has not saved us and left us alone to fend for ourselves in a broken world. Instead, he has given explicit instructions for how to live and act and think and interact. It is out of his goodness that he has designed his word as not only a book of rules, but a source of guidance - a light for our path.

Biblical counseling is the method that God has designed for the created order of the Church. Just like in Genesis 1 and 2, Exodus 19-20, and Matthew 28, God developed a structure to what he had designed. So it is with counseling - the church is God's structure for his people, and the method for living wisely inside of that structure is to counsel one another using his all-sufficient resource: the Bible.

So it is that every Christian must utilize this resource inside of the context of the local church. Being a member of a local church is one thing, acting appropriately in God's order for the church is another. The Bible, God's living and active word must be used to pierce the heart, reveal it's motives, and instruct in right living. There are methods and skills that must be devoted to this task, and not every Christian is a good counselor, but the Bible is a perfect illuminator for how to live and act in God's world.

He has made a people, and he has made a way for his people to live in his world. The end of the matter is this: we make it our aim in every circumstance to please him (2 Cor. 5:9). We submit feelings and desires, histories and perspectives, personalities and traumas to his way.

God's word is sufficient - it will not leave us without guidance.


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