The Use of the Scriptures in Counseling Part II: Five Factors in Scriptural Counseling -- By: Jay E. Adams

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 131:522 (Apr 1974)
Article: The Use of the Scriptures in Counseling Part II: Five Factors in Scriptural Counseling
Author: Jay E. Adams


The Use of the Scriptures in Counseling
Part II:
Five Factors in Scriptural Counseling

Jay E. Adams

[Jay E. Adams, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.]

[Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles entitled “The Use of the Scriptures in Counseling,” which were the W. H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectures given by Dr. Jay E. Adams at Dallas Theological Seminary, November 6–9, 1973.]

[Editor’s Note: The fourth and fifth factors in scriptural counseling will be discussed in part three of “The Use of The Scriptures in Counseling.”]

The use of the Scriptures in counseling involves the interaction of no less than five essential factors. These are:

1. a biblical understanding of the counselee’s problem, stemming from…

2. a clear understanding of the Holy Spirit’s telos in scriptural passages appropriate to both the problem and the solution, and…

3. a meeting of man’s problem and God’s full solution in counseling, according to…

4. the formulation of a biblical plan of action, leading toward…

5. commitment to scriptural action by the counselee…

all prayerfully accomplished by the enabling power (grace) of the Holy Spirit. It will be necessary to begin examining these five factors in some detail.

The Counselor Must Reach a Biblical Understanding of the Counselee’s Problem

As you can see from that statement, biblical counselors cannot be satisfied simply to trust the word of the counselee, the report of some referring agency, the conclusions of standardized tests, or even their own first impressions about the counselee’s problem. Rather, they must engage in a twofold process of research: (1) They must discover the significant data concerning the problem that may be provided by the counselee, parents, spouse, or others. Data, we

have shown elsewhere, are not limited to verbal material obtained during counseling sessions.1 Written information, in the form of lists prepared by counselees, records kept on Discovering Problem Pattern forms, failures and difficulties encountered in accomplishing initial homework assignments, as well as many sorts of non-verbal behavior, are examples of other important sources for obtaining data.

Today’s mail brings a letter from a Christian physician overseas who is working in tandem with a graduate of our counseling program whom we shall call John. He writes:

The p...

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