The Apostle Paul’s Biblical Counseling

October 16, 2012

Bob Kellemen

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Bob Kellemen

The Apostle Paul’s Biblical Counseling

Last week I enjoyed teaching and learning at the 2012 NANC Biblical Counseling Conference.

Whenever attending and speaking at biblical counseling conferences, my only “concern” is that it’s difficult in a lecture format to communicate the relational nature of biblical counseling.

Biblical counseling is the personal ministry of the Word. Remember that entire phrase:

Personal/Word.

When we lecture about counseling, our hearers might mistakenly think that biblical counseling is lecturing. It’s not.

The Personal Ministry of the Word

Consider how the Apostle Paul describes the deeply personal, relational way he shared the Word in 1 Thessalonians 2.

“But we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” (2:7-8).

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory” (2:11-12).

“But, brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again” (2:17-18).

Scripture and Soul

The personal ministry of the Word is not some didactic lecture. Biblical counseling for Paul is not some academic exercise.

It’s personal.

It’s relational.

It’s intense.

  • Gentle like a mother caring for her little children.
  • We loved you so much.
  • We were delighted to share with you not only the Gospel of God (the Word) but our lives as well (personal).
  • You had become dear to us.
  • As a father with his own children.
  • Encouraging, comforting, urging.
  • Brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time in person, not in thought, out of intense longing we made every effort to see you.
  • For we wanted to come to you, certainly I did, again and again.

When Paul tells us to speak the truth in love, he’s simply encouraging us to do what he did. He ministered God’s truth in intense, intimate love.

Paul’s biblical counseling is Scripture and soul.

Truth and love.

The personal ministry of the Word.

Join the Conversation

How can we “teach” biblical counseling so that we experience the relational intensity of the personal ministry of the Word?


One thought on “The Apostle Paul’s Biblical Counseling

  1. Truth passess through the mind before it affects the heart. I can tell my girls to love God but if they do not know God, why should they love Him. Thankfully, our God gives us good reason to love Him. So the truth properly understood in the mind is key. But beyond this there is the authenticity of the person speaking. Can my girls “see” my love for God when I talk to them about Him. So while our teaching must be clear and understood, we must not hinder reception because of our lack of authenticity. But beyond this, we are teaching biblical truth, breathed out by God and applied to the heart and mind by the Spirit of God. The Spirit makes Truth effectual. All this to say when we “teach” in a lecture and desire to be relational, let us speak with clarity, personal pathos and with faith in the Spirit’s ongoing work to do what only the Spirit can do.

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