Where Scripture Meets Life

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. It's a developed skill—applying Scripture effectively to life's problems.

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 ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Steven Furtick: If You Feed Them, They Will Come
Steven Furtick: If You Feed Them, They Will Come
It's easy to trust God in the Promised Land. But how do we feel while we're lost in the desert?
From the Magazine
COVID-19 Hurts. But the Bible Brings Hope.
COVID-19 Hurts. But the Bible Brings Hope.
New study shows Scripture reading correlates with Harvard measures of human flourishing.
Editor's Pick
His Eye Is on the Pastors
Seasoned Salt
His Eye Is on the Pastors
God sees and watches (as do others), which is both a comfort and a caution as pastors navigate their calling.
close