In order to appreciate the need for training in biblical counseling for those preparing to serve as missionaries, one must first understand what biblical counseling is at its root. Though many definitions have been suggested, and at the risk of duplicating what others have already said, I would suggest one of my own. Biblical counseling may be defined as teaching followers of Christ to eagerly understand and joyfully do the will of Christ. The first word in my definition—teaching—should not be construed as limiting the counselor to merely being an instructor in an office or classroom. It should be understood more broadly to include encouraging, exhorting, setting an example, commanding, correcting, rebuking, and other biblical concepts and terms related to leadership. More
David Sills is a Professor of Christian Missions and Cultural Anthropology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the President of Reaching & Teaching International Ministries. He recently joined us at To Every Tribe’s Center for Pioneer Church Planting for a class on Contextualization. In this class, our Missionary Trainees learn how to discern culture in order to communicate the gospel in a way that is clear and penetrating to their hearers.
Trevor Holloway is a former Missionary Trainee with To Every Tribe currently pursuing Peru as a long-term field with Reaching & Teaching. Matt Taylor is also a former Missionary Trainee and currently serves as To Every Tribe’s Communications and Design Associate. They teamed up for an Exposition in Mission class on the Pentateuch. Watch as they explain why that is an important part of missionary training.
There are three principal reasons that Old Testament Survey is important for missionaries and all Christians. First, the Old Testament makes up the first 3/4ths of the Bible. Second, the Old Testament was the Bible of Jesus and the apostles. Third, the Old Testament is about Jesus. The first two of these assertions are beyond dispute, the last, however, deserves some explanation.
Clearly the New Testament is about the person and work of Jesus Christ. Equally clear, however, is that Jesus declared to the Pharisees in John 5:39,
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.
New Testament (NT) Survey is important for missionaries simply because missionaries need to know the Bible. The people we are going to do not need us. They need Jesus. And they will meet Jesus in His word. If we reach the furthest tribe, cross many rivers, climb the highest mountains, suffer many trials, and even give our bodies to be burned but bring not Jesus, we are nothing. We go because people need to hear from God. For this to happen we must know the Bible. In fact, missionaries need to be bible-saturated people. We will need the Bible to give us the message we preach, to teach us our methods, to feed our own souls, and to give us guidance, courage, and comfort. More