The Power of Scripture in Counseling

Personal Connection

If you’re in the middle of a crisis, where do you turn? Some people run to a close friend or spouse, a substance, or a habit. God’s Word has much to say to those who suffer, especially those who struggle with mental health. Dr. David Powlison talks about the powerful influence of Scripture in biblical counseling. He points out how God uses His Word in a person's life to reach him or her in a personal way.

Dr. David Powlison teaches at the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) and edits The Journal of Biblical Counseling. His books include Speaking Truth in Love, Seeing with New Eyes, Power Encounters, and The Biblical Counseling Movement: History and Context. 

David said biblical counseling is a form of wisdom—it’s always an unfinished business. We can strive to understand it and develop our approach, but we cannot perfect it. Fortunately, God equips us with His wisdom through His Word. 

Does David’s perspective on biblical counseling encourage you? Why or why not?
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David talked about how sanctification (becoming more like Jesus) fuels biblical counseling. In what ways have you seen biblical counseling used to make you or someone you know more like Christ?
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Philippians 3:12-16 (ESV)

Straining Toward the Goal

12Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.13Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.15Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.16Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

David referenced Philippians 3:12–16 to illustrate how we should press on toward growth in Christ. What resonates with you from these verses? How does this passage speak to your spiritual growth?
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David said he asks those he counsels about the Bible verses that spoke to them the most. Many times, the verse calls to the person’s mind a memory or story. David talked about how the Scripture they choose and the story they tell often connect to the problem they’re dealing with currently. 

What has been the most significant Scripture in your life? Is there a story it’s linked to? How does it apply to what you’re going through today?
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David used the examples of anxiety and control to illustrate his point about Scripture. Have you struggled with anxiety or control? If so, how has God spoken through the Bible to help you? If not, how has God used Scripture in a time of struggle?
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If you were ever to counsel someone, how could you use David’s advice in your approach?
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As you go about your week, how could you remind yourself of the verses God has used to speak to you? What could you do to share Scripture with someone this week?
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God speaks to us through His Word. This week, spend time listening to Him. Read your favorite passage of Scripture. Think about how God has used those verses to teach you in the past and thank Him. Pass on the verses to a friend who might be struggling and encourage them with what  you learned from David’s teaching.

To learn more about The Biblical Counseling Coalition, click here.