Two Ministries of God’s Word
Author: John Henderson
Faithful ministry of God’s Word in the church includes both preaching the Word and counseling the Word.
As we read the scriptures, and specifically look at Jesus’ ministry and instruction to His disciples, we consistently see two ministries of God’s Word: both the preaching of its content and the counseling of its content. The Association of Biblical Counselors is committed to encouraging and equipping all believers everywhere to live and counsel the Word, applying the Gospel to the whole experience of life.
Scripture calls for the people of God to preach its content. Over the course of time, faithful preachers declare, explain, and apply the entire counsel of God to God’s people.
Jesus came to preach. “He said to them, ‘Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.” (Mark 1:38) Moreover, He impressed this purpose upon His disciples, “And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:42) In turn, Paul wrote to Timothy, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:1-2)
Scripture also overflows with encouragements and instructions to counsel its content. Jesus preached the Word to large groups in synagogues (Mark 1:39) and, at other times, counseled the Word one-one-one (John 4:1-26). As Paul encouraged those in Thessaloniki, we too are to “admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, and be patient with everyone.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
I think Paul is emphasizing a unique ministry of the Word that entails face-to-face, interactive encounters between people. It entails one follower of Christ in the service of the Holy Spirit counseling another person.
Faithful ministry of God’s Word in the church includes both preaching the Word and counseling the Word. Both are vital ministries of the Word. They are complimentary means to make disciples of all nations. The overall health of the church, from my point of view, greatly improves when both are handled well.
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Posted on May 10, 2016