Interpreter's House -- Useful things for the Journey of Faith
Christian said, “I am a man on my way from the City of Destruction towards Heaven. I was told that if I visited Interpreter’s House, I would be shown excellent things needful for my journey of faith.” (From John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress)
The Book or A Book?
I am a reader. I love books. I write reviews, recommend books, and quote from good books. I often am asked, “What is a good devotion book?” Of course the right answer is, “The Bible.” But that is not what most people are asking when they ask this question. Yet, it points out what often is a major flaw in our thinking. We want something convenient, easy, something we can do on the fly as we live our busy lives. We need short, pithy comments that of course throw in some Scripture. We want a “to go” verse we can take along with our car coffee on our hurried morning commute to work.
The temptation in Biblical Counseling is no different. Someone comes to us about a problem. We have a book for them. Usually it is not the Bible, but of course the book we recommend explains or depends upon the Bible. I am not suggesting that this is always wrong. I do it. I think at times it is an appropriate way to counsel, but I fear sometimes we are falling into a trap of thinking that “Scripture alone” is not sufficient in our counseling. The good books about counseling issues are good and necessary reading for the counselor (not of course in place of the Bible), but otherwise we point people to the Scriptures that discern and diagnose the inner most recesses of who we are (Hebrews 4:12-13)
I heard someone comment about another Biblical counselor I know. In fact, I recommended this counselor to this man. After visiting this counselor a couple of times, the counselee told me in a conversation, “The thing that impresses me most about ------- is that he has not asked me to read anything yet except the Bible.” What a compliment for a Biblical counselor! There are many excellent resources and good books to challenge and inform Biblical counselors. Some of these we may even want our counselees to read. But in our counseling, above all else, let’s start and stick with the Scriptures.
The Apostle Paul remembered leaving his coat in one of the towns of his missionary journey. He wrote to Timothy and said, “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.” (2 Timothy 4:13, ESV). I don’t think Paul left behind his new copy of “De-Stressed and Blessed.” Those books and parchments were most likely copies of Old Testaments Scriptures and writings Paul was being inspired to pen. In our counseling and our living, let’s not be guilty of leaving behind the Book of all books—The Bible.