Discussion: What the Bible Has to Do With Life

Discussion: What the Bible Has to Do With Life

Discussion: What the Bible Has to Do With Life

What the Bible Has to Do With Life


When you think of the Bible, what do you think? What images, associations, and

emotions come to mind? Discussion: What the Bible Has to Do With Life


If you were asked to describe the Bible in one or two sentences, what would you say? Discussion: What the Bible Has to Do With Life

Perhaps a starting point is to say that it is a book, or more accurately a collection of 66

books, each with its own characters and themes, that flow into one main story. In saying

this, you are acknowledging that the Bible is literature, in one way like any other book—

material written for a particular purpose. Literarily, it is comprised of a variety of

different types of literature or genres: history, law, wisdom, poetry, letters, and

apocalyptic literature.

In some ways, the Bible is just like any other book, but in other ways, it is very different.

According to Christian tradition, and the Bible itself, it is divinely inspired

communication originating with God but penned by human authors, approximately 40

of them writing in three different languages over the course of about 1,500 years. This is

what makes the Bible unlike any other book and the reason it is called the Holy Bible or

Sacred Scripture. People call it “Holy” because they believe there was one supernatural

author who assured that each of the authors and books were aimed at accomplishing

the same purpose, that it was and is true in all that it affirms and teaches, and that its

content is more important than that which is found in any other book in world history.

So, what is the Bible about? There are a lot of good answers to that question. According

to Bartholomew and Goheen (2004), “biblical Christianity claims that the Bible alone

tells the true story of our world” (p. 20). Like most stories, the Bible proceeds from a

beginning (the first two chapters of Genesis), to a middle wherein a conflict develops

that needs to be solved, and tension builds as the key characters take their places (the

rest of the Old Testament). And then after a very long wait (the intertestamental

period), the hero of the story arrives and saves the day, bringing a shocking and yet

wonderful solution that was not exactly what everybody expected (the Gospels). The

story proceeds by telling about the implementation of that solution (the New Testament

letters) and then, to the end of the story wherein the good guys win and the bad guys

lose (Revelation). God and love and goodness win, and he and his team live happily ever



A worldview is a person’s internalized framework for seeing, interpreting, judging, and

comprehending life and reality. It is a conceptual paradigm composed of basic beliefs or

presuppositions that are absorbed from family and culture and religion, and is much



more automatic and subconscious than conscious. Your worldview is the big picture or

map that directs and guides your explanations for and responses to life. It is an

interpretive system by which individuals explain and make sense of life. It functions like

a map, orienting and guiding individuals toward answers to the major questions of life,

including understanding of people and why they do and think and feel the way they do.

Every counselor has a basic perspective on what life is about. Counseling theories arise

out of the theorist’s particular worldview, entailed within which is their view about

people and problems and solutions. What is a human being? Are people merely physical

things, or are they more than that? Is spiritual stuff real, or just a figment of your

imagination that makes you feel or function better? Is the American dream the real

purpose of life?

According to Albert Wolters (2005), a worldview is “the comprehensive framework of

one’s basic beliefs about things…. Your worldview functions as a guide to your life. A

worldview, even when it is half unconscious and unarticulated, functions like a compass

or a roadmap” (pp. 2, 5).

Contemplate the following statement by J. D. Hunter (2010):

Perhaps the most important thing to realize is that this “worldview” is so deeply

embedded in our consciousness, in the habits of our lives, and in our social

practices that to question one’s worldview is to question “reality” itself.

Sometimes we are self-conscious of and articulate about our worldview, but for

most of us, the frameworks of meaning by which we navigate life exist

“prereflectively,” prior to conscious awareness. That is, our understanding of the

world is so taken-for-granted that it seems utterly obvious. It bears repeating

that it is not just our view of what is right or wrong or true or false but our

understanding of time, space, identity – the very essence of reality as we

experience it. (p. 33)

As a counselor, you will counsel out of some theory that is related to some worldview

that provides the basis for how you understand what is wrong with people and how you

should go about helping them. A particular worldview grounds a counseling theory,

which then directs counseling practice.

The counseling theories that you are learning provide explanations for human behavior,

thought, and emotion. They organize your knowledge about the person and guide what

you observe and ignore, and how you interpret, explain, and predict how people work.

Thus, your counseling theory and practice arise out of some very basic beliefs about

reality and life and people.

Consider the following questions:

1. What is a human person? Are humans just physical things, or are they spiritual beings also? If they are both, how do body and soul relate to one another?

2. What are we here for: self-actualization or something greater?

3. What on earth is wrong with people? Why do they kill one another and themselves?



Why is there so much abuse, disorder, and unhappiness?

4. How do you fix this mess, or your mess?

Many counselors are naïve about both their personal worldview and the worldview of

the counseling theories they employ. The job of this course is to make sure that is not

true of you.

So, if the Bible tells the true story of the world, the Bible functions as the primary source

for developing a Christian worldview, a Christian psychology, and a Christian perspective

on counseling. Therefore, if your counseling is going to be Christian, you will have to

become more conscious of your worldview and let the Bible provide the primary cues

for your worldview and your psychology. “Psychology” in this paragraph, mean the basic

beliefs about what a person is, what the purpose of life is, why people do what they do,

and what is most essentially wrong with them.

The Bible and Counseling

What would be a proper relationship between the Bible and actual counseling

practices? A variety of answers can be found among contemporary Christian counseling



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