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Where Scripture Meets Life

How to use Scripture in pastoral counseling.

Pastors walk a fine line when they open their Bibles to help hurting or struggling people. On one side of that line is what David Powlison, editor of the Journal of Biblical Counseling, calls verse magic," stereotyped as "take two verses and call me in the morning." On the other side is "far horizon exposition," safely but vaguely applying the Bible to the distant future, failing to make specific connections between God's Word and life's struggles.

Recognizing these risks, Powlison still boldly advocates using the Bible in pastoral counseling. But this means more than believing in the truthfulness and relevance of Scripture. Learning to apply Scripture effectively to life's problems is a developed skill.

Do you see the connections?

If, as Tim Keller says, "All our problems come from a failure to apply the gospel," then biblical counseling means (1) understanding the truth of God's Word, and (2) understanding at what point in her life a counselee is failing to apply it. Powlison calls this ...

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