In order to establish a biblical foundation for counseling, it is necessary to review the Hebrew understanding of psychology.
Psychology as the “science” or knowledge of the mind did not exist for the O.T. Hebrew. The Jew of the O.T. was not concerned with knowledge in the way that we understand it today. To obtain knowledge was to gain understanding.
“If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the Lord, And discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:3-6)
The whole goal of gathering knowledge was so that one might gain understanding and a more complete knowledge of God. The O.T. Hebrew understood that all knowledge, all wisdom, all understanding was discovered in the knowledge of God and His Word.
The Hebrew knew that,
“How blessed is the man who finds wisdom; And the man who gains understanding. For its profit is better than the profit of silver, and its gain than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her. And happy are all who hold her fast.” (Proverbs 3:13-18)
All that any person could ever want in life was listed in these five short verses; Happiness, riches, honor, pleasantness, peace, and eternal life. When King Solomon could have asked from God anything he wanted, he chose wisdom. (I Kings 3:5-12) In Psalm 119:99-100 David says,
“I have more insight than all my teachers, for Thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, because I have observed Thy precepts.”
God’s revelation to us was not made for a primarily intellectual purpose. “To know” in the Hebrew sense means to mirror the reality of something in one’s consciousness. The biblical idea is to have the reality of something practically interwoven with the inner experience of life. Hence “to know” can stand for the word “to love” or “to single out.” The Word is the highest and noblest function of man, the highest expression of worship, and is therefore identical with his action.
For the Hebrew, the goal of knowledge was to gain understanding of God. The goal of understanding was that one might obtain wisdom to know how to walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord. Life for the Hebrew was a “covenant” relationship with God and with his brothers. The goal of that life is to work out of that covenant. It is as he lived rightly related to God and others, that he would experience the promised blessings.
It is interesting to note that the wisdom after which the Hebrews sought, was the “wisdom which comes from above,” (James 1:17). It was a wisdom that came through the revelation of the Word. It was not a wisdom that came through the mind or through nature. The origin of this wisdom could be known by its fruits. (James 3:13-18).
It is a key concept that must be understood, that wisdom, which will produce happiness, riches, honor, etc…, comes only through the revelation of the Word.
We as Christians do not need to look to the knowledge of men, but to the wisdom which comes from above. The scripture says plainly,
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously, and without reproach; and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)…so how do we gain wisdom to help people?
More in the next blog.
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