"I Love It"
I love the Bible because it is truth spoken in love by the Wonderful Counselor. Every day, otherworldly voices—other “counselors”—intrude and compete, beckon and beguile, sound plausible and pleasing. But wonder of wonders, God inserts himself into the conversation. He is not silent. He does not leave us guessing as to who we are and what life is really about. He speaks his mind in Scripture, exposing folly, providing wisdom, restoring peace. “The unfolding of your words gives light” (Psalm 119:130).
I love the Bible because it reveals God’s concepts for understanding people and change. Scripture’s diagnosis of the human condition runs deep and wide. On the one hand, it vividly portrays and trains us to interpret the evil that presses from outside us: I suffer, you suffer, they suffer—and it hurts. On the other hand, it vividly portrays and trains us to interpret the evil that operates within and overflows from us: Sin lives in me, in you, in them—and it kills. Best of all, Scripture’s prescribed cure runs deep and wide. It vividly portrays and offers not a how-to program, but a living, working Redeemer—Jesus the Christ. Unlike counterfeit saviors, this Person sees our plight, draws near in mercy, and gives effective grace that truly sustains sufferers and transforms sinners. “He rescued me because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:19).
I love the Bible because it reveals God’s methods for counseling people. It shows us how to dress for the job of face-to-face, conversational ministry—“clothed” with Christ’s compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. It shows us how to enter a person’s world in love and identify with trouble. It teaches us what kinds of questions to ask, what sort of things to listen for, how to make sense of a person’s story—all that we might know where change is really needed. It teaches us why to speak, what to speak, how to speak, when to speak (and when to be quiet!)—all that we might make the right kind of difference. It trains us to keep in step with the Holy Spirit’s way of actually changing hearts and lives—all that we might walk a person through the process, honestly, practically, faithfully. In these ways and more—by precept and by example—Scripture trains us how to become an instrument in the Redeemer’s hands. “Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him” (Ephesians 4:15).
I love the Bible because it reveals God’s structures for delivering counsel to people. In Scripture, these concepts and methods are embedded within a specific social system, a community of care—the church. Without elders upholding God’s revealed truth, everyone is left to think and say what is right in their own eyes. Without every member intentionally engaging one another, redemptive conversations never get off the ground. However, as David Powlison puts it, “The most magnificent structure imaginable is a community living up to how Ephesians 4 weds pastoral leadership with every-member mutuality. Both the special gifts from God and the general call to all God’s people traffic in the cure of souls, as each part does its work. . . . God’s new society in Christ, come into its own and coming into its own, is the institution for counseling ministry.” “He gave pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12).
I love it when people begin to see and love the Bible this way! Curious to learn how Harvest’s Love & Truth Counseling Team is seeking to live and grow God’s vision for counseling ministry within and beyond our church? I would value the opportunity to talk with you personally, so feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In His Service,
Pastor Greg Norfleet
 David Powlison, Seeing with New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition through the Lens of Scripture (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2003), 5-6.
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