I recently presented a paper (Integrating Exegesis and Exposition: Preaching and Teaching for Spiritual Independence) in which I asserted that if the literal grammatical historical hermeneutic is warranted, then we must apply it not only in the exegetical process (the process of interpreting and understanding the Bible), but also in the process of applying and teaching the Bible.
One important implication of this assertion is that if the biblical languages are necessary for exegesis, then they are also necessary for application and teaching.
The paper and the following discussion raised some excellent questions and observations worthy of response. In this context I take opportunity to address some of these so that we can consider the role of biblical languages in application and teaching, and so that we can also consider some the inherent challenges of such a role.
There is a great need for a Bible-based ministry directed at young people yet there are certain convictions that cannot be compromised in biblical youth ministry. The following ten convictions lay a firm foundation for local church youth ministry.
The Bible is the Word of God and is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) and is infallible, without error and sufficient in every way for every spiritual need for the believer no matter his age. The Bible is the final authority in everything and has everything we need pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4). In our secularized culture, the counsel that students receive is often not biblical. It is important that the local church youth ministry give truly biblical counsel to students who are seeking help with their problems.
From VOICE, May/Jun 2015. Used with permission.
Raising teens to become faithful Christian adults has never been easy. Like all of us, our children enter this world as sinners with hearts that must be transformed by the Holy Spirit. This is biblical truth: there is no perfect family or perfect parent or perfect church; all of us are sinners and are imperfect people in desperate need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. yet…as imperfect parents, imperfect pastors, imperfect teachers and imperfect mentors we are commanded to be God’s instruments in the process of delivering the Gospel to our young people and instructing them in the way of righteousness.
But this is a bad combination: imperfect children, raised by imperfect parents, in imperfect churches, surrounded by a world filled with evil influences. Our teens are bombarded by an ungodly culture that is increasingly narcissistic, pornographic and captivated by superficial interests and instant gratification. Today, many young adults prefer to linger on the couch in their parent’s basement playing video games or fantasizing about other people’s lives through Facebook rather than completing the journey to adulthood. They’re less resilient in the face of difficulty, more dependent on their parents, and more distracted by digital and visual media than former generations.1
From Voice, Sep/Oct 2014. Used by permission.
I am thrilled to be a witness of the rediscovery of biblical counseling! “Now in order to rediscover something, it must have been lost,”1 says David Powlison. Unfortunately, that is true. Powlison explains:
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, American Christians basically lost the use of truths and skills they formerly possessed. That is, practical wisdom in the cure of souls waned…. The Church lost that crucial component of pastoral skill that can be called case-wisdom—wisdom that knows people, knows how people change, and knows how to help people change.2
As a result, Christians sprinkled man-centered psychology with a few Bible verses and called it “Christian psychology.” The outcome has been confusion, hopelessness, and the abandonment of biblical faith. John MacArthur is right when he says Christian psychology “has diminished the Church’s confidence in Scripture, prayer, fellowship, and preaching as means through which the Spirit of God works to change lives.”3 It is sad to think that God’s Church could lose something so basic and essential as the skill and conviction to use Scripture to help people work through their problems. Yet that is where the American church is. Those who embrace psychology as the answer are in the majority by far. There is no reason to pretend they are not. But to know that God is, in our lifetime, calling His people back to His Word as a working manual for life is exciting to say the least. This is what is referred to as biblical counseling.