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Summary: Some might wonder, “What does the Bible have to do with psychology?” Or, “What does psychology have to do with the Bible?” The answer to these questions depends on how one chooses to view psychology. So, what is psychology?

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Psychology and the Bible

Some might wonder, “What does the Bible have to do with psychology?” Or, “What does psychology have to do with the Bible?” The answer to these questions depends on how one chooses to view psychology. So, what is psychology? People will have varying opinions of what psychology means, but may not realize the full scope of what psychology entails. Ask a person, born in the 1920’s, what psychology is, and you will most likely get a response different from someone born in the 1980’s.

A person’s opinion of psychology will depend on their understanding of what psychology means. Most people think of psychology as the professional field of taking care of the mentally ill. Many people think only someone who is crazy (their definition) needs use of psychology or the aid of someone in that profession. Though these opinions are easily within the realms of psychology, there is still a vast area of our lives that involves psychology. It is my intention to give Bible examples of psychology in use, and show that all of us use psychology in some form or fashion in our lives.

What is psychology?

The question that begs to be answered is, what is psychology? Psychology is knowledge of the mind and the behavior in the mind, in relation to the mental and behavioral characteristics of an individual or group. Psychology tries to explain why people act, think, and feel as they do. With this definition of psychology, let’s look at some occurrences of psychology as used in the Bible.

The Adulteress Woman

(All scripture readings are from the Revised Standard Version)

John 8:1-11: Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. [2] Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. [3] The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst [4] they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. [5] Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?”

The members of the Sanhedrin, had been disappointed from just the day before unsuccessfully trying to snare Jesus. This time they were no less diligent and determined in their wicked way. They were seeking all opportunities, and taking all advantages against Christ. The Scribes and Pharisees now thought they had something with which to ensnare him, and bring him into disgrace in the eyes of his followers or to put him in danger with the Roman authorities.

The woman, as some speculate, might have been taken in the act of adultery the day before, in one of their booths. She may have been drawn into it through drunkenness and merriment, only to find herself having been set up by the Scribes and Pharisees. During this feast it was customary to greatly indulge themselves in drunkenness and celebrations.

This shows the Scribes and Pharisees were far from drawing the Holy Spirit at this time upon themselves; that on the contrary, they fell into their own lusts of self pleasure and personal gain. It is obvious, by their addressing Jesus as Master, in the KJV, and Teacher, in the RSV, that they were mocking him. The Scribes and Pharisees were falsely humbling themselves before Christ, with intent to entrap him. One would be correct in saying they were wolves portraying themselves as sheep before the Christ.

Verse [6]: This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.

You can imagine the delight of the Scribes and Pharisees. Just imagine the thoughts or murmurings that may have been going on between them. They had silenced the great Jesus. He was not responding to their question. They felt they had succeeded in trapping Jesus with their account of this woman. Please make note, that the phrase, ‘as though he heard them not’, has been added in the KJV of the Bible. In reading verse seven, it appears that Jesus was ignoring them. But was he really? Perhaps, Jesus was thinking of the words he had read in Ecclesiastes 5:2 where it reads, “Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven, and you upon earth; therefore let your words be few.”

Jesus was being placed between a rock and a hard place by the Scribes and Pharisees question. Should Jesus agree with Moses’ law, the Scribes and Pharisees would send him to the Roman governor, for taking it upon himself to condemn a person to death. The process of condemning a person to death was the task of the Roman governor only. The Scribes and Pharisees would have charged him with severity, and acting inconsistently with himself. This was the man who received sinners amongst him and ate with them. And that he had declared, that publicans and harlots would enter into the kingdom of God, when the Scribes and Pharisees would not. Imagine the Scribes and Pharisees anger of hearing such a statement.

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