Lessons for Counseling from the book “The God Who is There” by D. A. Carson

This book was not written as a counseling book, but as a book that explains some of the themes of the Bible and how those themes converge in Jesus.  However, you might be familiar with Mike Emlet’s book Crosstalk.  If so, then you know that Emlet encourages us to connect the story of the counselee to the story of Scripture.  However, Emlet’s book was not written to explain that story; after all, other volumes do that.  So why discuss Carson’s book?  Because it is our experience that few people actually know the story of the Bible.  They regularly consider it to be 20,000 independent verses rather than a story that has plot, theme, characters, etc.  Here are three reasons why biblical counselors should read and re-read Carson’s book.

Reason #1:  You will be personally edified.

Carson’s chapter on the God who is “unfathomably wise” (chapter 6) will encourage you to invest in the Psalms, in Proverbs, the Song of Songs, and in Ecclesiastes.  These books will remind you that wisdom is really only found in one place.  As one counselee told me last night, “you cannot make our lives change, only God can do that.”  In addition, chapter 10 reminds us of the sacrifice of Jesus made so you and I can stand before the Lord.  The story of the Bible will remind you all over again that your counseling ministry is valuable, worth the struggle, and eternally rewarding.

Reason #2:  You will struggle to connect the story of your counselee to the story of the Bible if you don’t know the story of the Bible very well

Let’s face it; many people who minister to others have a list of 20-30 verses that are simply recast to meet the struggles of the particular counselee.  Admittedly, one can make a lot of progress by obeying the right 20-30 verses.  However, can we go a bit deeper?  Can we demonstrate, even in small ways, to our counselees that God’s book is a great book?  It is his story and you are part of it.  I would like to suggest that the richness that comes with seeing the bigger picture can help your counselee long after your meetings have ended.

Reason #3:  You will become a better interpreter of the Bible

Another benefit to your personally is that you will gain in your skill to understand the Bible.  As you see the bigger picture, you too will see themes that find their culmination in the Lord Jesus.   As you understand the basic message of Psalms, or Judges, or the Kings/Chronicles you will be much better at understanding the individual passages as well.

Let us encourage you to heed Emlet’s advice by connecting story to story and then to read Carson increase your knowledge of God’s story.  The books are easily accessible.  If you would like, you can purchase Emlet’s book at our bookstore:

Crosstalk, Michael Emlet: http://fbclafayette.org/store/items.php?UID=2011011114233272.12.196.235

The God Who is There, D.A. Carson: 

This will be available shortly at http://fbclafayette.org/store/index.php?UID=2011011114280872.12.196.235

Rob Green
Pastor Rob Green oversees Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries. A seasoned counselor, Rob also teaches others how to counsel--through FBCM's training conferences and Faith Bible Seminary's MABC program.