Biblical Terms Used for Counseling Term Paper

Pages: 12 (5696 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Psychology

Biblical Terms Used for Counseling

There is much debate and contention about secular as opposed to religious approaches to counseling - which is in effect a reflection of the secular / religious divide in contemporary culture. However, an analysis of the terms and concepts found in the Biblical texts showed evidence of a great deal of similarity and concurrence with contemporary counseling terminology. This study examines a few central terms in the light of Biblical meaning as well as the relevance of these terms in a contemporary therapeutic and counseling environment. The result of this analysis indicates the ways in which Biblical concepts enrich and expand the meaning and effectiveness of modern counseling. The analysis of the specific words tends to concur with Olsen's (1997) view that modern counseling that takes into account Biblical terms is one which, "speaks to our existential present" (p. 6). In this sense the understanding of Biblical terms and counseling terminology suggests a process which possibly transcends the dualism between secular and religious view of counseling in general.

1. Introduction

2. Research Methodology

3. Analysis

3.1. Healing

3.1.2. Discussion

3.2. Correlation with the terms wisdom and communication

3.3. Counsel

3.3.1. Discussion

3.4. Help

4. Summation and Conclusion

Reference List

1. Introduction

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The contemporary views and the common dispute about the validity and the need for counseling that takes into account biblical views and interpretations of key concepts should, in the first instance, be briefly discussed in this introduction. This refers to the antagonism between secular and Biblical or religious approaches to counseling. As one article on this subject states;

TOPIC: Term Paper on Biblical Terms Used for Counseling Assignment

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. (What Is Biblical Counseling?)

The above approach is in direct contrast to the strictly Biblical view of counseling, which is succinctly expressed in the following quotation.

By contrast, the emphasis in Biblical counseling is exactly opposite. Whereas 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. It is dependent upon the revealed mind of God rather than the easily deceived mind of man. Yet it does not just begin with God, it follows a path that is in constant harmony with the Word of God and addresses man's problems in light of God's answers.

(What Is Biblical Counseling?)

The above two divergent views express the extremes in the debate about secular vs. religious counseling. However, both these dualistic view have been replaced in recent years by a third alternative way of viewing counseling. This is often referred to as the secular-humanist approach, which tends to attempt to integrate religious views and perceptions within the ambit of psychological counseling. On the other hand the tension between secular and religious attitudes towards counseling is a reflection of the larger secular- religious divide that characterizes much of the discourse and debate in our world in almost every modern academic discipline.

In the light of this division it has been suggested by many pundits that there is another alternative stance or theoretical trajectory that can be adopted. This is the more open - ended and intellectually liberal approach to the praxis of counseling; where the Bible and religion are enlisted to aid and expand the concept and meaning of counseling. This view tends to envisage counseling in religious terms that are not dogmatic or necessarily bound by traditional interpretation.

Modern counseling also sees religion as an important component of the cultural aspects that are important in counseling any individual; and that these cultural aspects must be taken into consideration. This form of counseling is described as a process of listening and communication and taking into account religious criteria that influence the individual.

Counseling is the process of prayerfully and sensitively listening to another person (Prov 18:13, 17), helping them discern real soul needs, and providing practical, biblical advice about changing their attitudes and behaviors in relationship to God and others (Mat 22:36-40).

(What Makes Counseling "Biblical"?)

This paper aims to show the usefulness and the value of the Christian Bible as a source for counseling as well as a means of expanding the secular view of counseling concepts. The paper will, through the analysis of words and concepts in the Bible and their comparisons to modern counseling concepts, also attempt to show the significance as well as the problematics that are involved in this comparative process. It is also suggested that the use of Biblical concepts adds depth and enriches counseling in the modern environment. It expands counseling in various ways which are not necessarily subject to dogma or particular belief systems. This also refers to the "Relevance of Religion and Spirituality to Counseling in the area of multicultural theory..." where "...psychologists have continued to call for psychological treatments and interventions that are culturally sensitive and relevant and that integrate aspects of client culture into the counseling process... "(Walker, Gorsuch & Tan, 2004, p.64). This stance is concerned in a theoretical sense with the view of counseling which stresses that "... counseling is inescapably a religious endeavor, focused around the progressive sanctification of the soul" (What Makes Counseling "Biblical"?).

This paper will therefore discuss examples of Biblical terms and their relationship to modern counseling concepts and terminology. This discussion will also take into account the secular- religious debate referred to above. The central thesis that will be explored is that Biblical terms can not only provide a useful tool for counseling in a social and cultural contact but that a study of these terms extends the understanding of counseling concepts and widens and enriches the area of discussion, research and application.

The discussion of these terms will be relatively open-ended and will take into account the variations in meaning of Biblical terms and the way that these meaning interrelate with modern counseling terminology. For example, while the terms addiction might be a term used in the modern counseling lexicon, this term can be referred in meaning to Biblical words such as "in bondage" or "enslaved to"; likewise, the term deception can be related to "self-deceived." As one commentator states;

Common words such as "dysfunction," "bulimia," "self-esteem," and "cognitive therapy" are not used in the Bible -- yet the Bible does describe them. Furthermore, while we do not read a clinical description of such things as panic attacks in the Bible, we do read about the problems that underlie and feed panic attacks and other such difficulties. Every problem that originates in the way we think and respond to life's circumstances is addressed in the scriptures!

What Is Biblical Counseling?

2. Research Methodology

The methodology used in this paper involved a number or different sources and resources to address the issue of biblical terms used for counseling. Firstly, articles and books were consulted that dealt specifically with this issue and the approaches of different theorists both from a theological and psychological counseling perspective were taken into account. This theoretical base provided the groundwork for an informed examination of certain terms used in counseling and the way that these terms were reflected in Biblical usage.

These terms examined included the following: 'health', 'counsel', 'wisdom', 'communication' and 'help'. A number of sources were used in the analysis section of the paper. These included online dictionaries and concordances, including Strong's Concordance. A number of Biblical Web sites were also consulted, such as; which were related to offline papers and articles dealing with the various terms and words. This methodology was employed to provide a wide, discursive and inclusive view of the words and phrases in order to explore the central theme of paper; which is that Biblical text is an important element in modern counseling ands in fact enriches counseling concepts without necessarily being dogmatic or exclusionary of secular approaches.

3. Analysis

3.1. Healing

The term "healing" is a broad term which can be applied in many medical and counseling contexts. It is also possibly a significant term to explore at the beginning of this discussion of the relationship between biblical and counseling terms. Therefore, the term healing and related words such as sickness and illness were investigated using Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. More than fifty references to healing were found in the Bible and these were cross referenced with Strong's Concordance.

There are different versions and interpretations to the way that healing is presented in both the Old and New Testaments. Healing appears in a number of the gospels of the New Testament. As one commentary notes;

In some cases Jesus' disciples requested the healing and in other cases Jesus himself saw the need and interceded directly without another person making a request. Most of the references are in the New Testament (n… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Biblical Terms Used for Counseling.  (2007, October 5).  Retrieved November 26, 2021, from

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"Biblical Terms Used for Counseling."  5 October 2007.  Web.  26 November 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Biblical Terms Used for Counseling."  October 5, 2007.  Accessed November 26, 2021.