“The Bible is sufficient, but it is not always efficient.” As my professor said these words, it was almost as if a knife went into my chest. I fought the urge to yell back, “Of course it is! My God can do anything!” After I took a couple deep breaths, I began to listen and process the matter being discussed. The Bible is absolutely adequate for healing, for life’s circumstances, and various struggles, but is it always effective to present it to the individual with the hardened heart or to the one who is drowning in addiction and fights to even have one rational thought? This is a question that many Christians involved in the field of counseling or psychology may wrestle with.
When it comes to integrating psychology and the Bible, there are various views. Some individuals believe that the Bible, alone, is adequate for counseling and life change, while others believe that it is beneficial to combine Psychology and the Bible. Those who adhere to the Bible, alone, oftentimes find their support in Scriptures such as Deuteronomy 4:2 which says, “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” Additionally, these individuals reason that Scripture is adequate, and therefore nothing else is needed. If one adds to the Scriptures, then they are indirectly declaring that the Bible is insufficient for one’s life. On the other hand, there are individuals who believe it is a necessity to combine the Bible and psychology in their counseling practices. These counselors oftentimes suggest the importance of practicing psychological theories that adhere to the Scriptures. For instance, in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) individuals may focus on redirecting negative or false thinking to positive thought patterns. Similarly the Bible says in II Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Therefore the counselor reasons that CBT may be effective in counseling individuals because of the truth of the Bible as well as the practical coping tools found through CBT. To read further about these views, one may look into articles at these links:http://www.christiancounsel.net/acp123.htm, http://www.str.org/site/News2?id=5370
As a Christian and potential counselor, I long for God to show me the way He desires for me to view the issue of integration. I desire to be an individual who adheres to God’s Word, yet brings a sensitivity to all people who face mental disorders, addictions, and other various struggles. I am beginning to see that counseling may be a bridge to freedom in Christ for the hardened heart or the one deep in addiction. In order to reach the hurting, the hardened, the lost and others, it is important to help that individual reach a level of functioning and emotional state that is capable of comprehending the Word and thus practicing the freedom it provides. Therefore, the combination of the Bible as well as practical counseling tools seems to be important for the Christian counselor.