Now that the term has been defined (read part 1 here) and looked at what it requires (read part 2 here) the next questions I had to answer are: "Is this biblical?" and "What does it look like when practically applied?" The answer to the former is easily a resounding, yes. The answer to the latter, while considering the former, turned out to be not so tricky to find as I thought it would be. Soul care looks like putting into practice all the "one another" passages in the New Testament.
For me these broke down into a few basic categories (... yes I know these can be broken down a hundred different ways, this happens to be the most helpful for me):
- Care - We are called to care for one another (1 Cor. 12:25). This has several implications: comfort (2 Cor. 13:11), being kind and forgiving (Eph. 4:32), Bearing with (Col. 3:13; Eph. 5:19), encouraging and building up (1 Thes. 5:11), seeking to do good (1 Thes. 5:15), and bearing burdens (Gal. 6:2).
- Teach - We are also called to teach one another. This will include things like: admonishment (Col. 3:16), instruction (Rom. 15:14), encouragement (1 Thes. 4:18; Heb. 10:25), exhortation (Heb. 3:13), stirring each other up (Heb. 10:24), and serving (1 Peter 4:10).
- Hospitality - We are reminded to be welcoming (Rom. 15:7) and show hospitality (1 Peter 4:9) towards one another.
- Humility - In doing all of the above, we must do them in humility (1 Peter 5:5). This will include submission (Eph. 5:21), being at peace (Mark 9:50), living in harmony (Rom. 12:16, Rom. 15:5), as well as confessing sins and praying for each other (James 5:16).
All of this can be summed up in one word: LOVE (John 13:34, 13:35, 15:12, 15:17; Rom. 12:10; Gal. 5:13; 2 Thes. 1:3, 3:12, 4:9; 1 John 3:11, 3:23, 4:7, 4:11; 2 John 1:5; 1 Peter 4:8).
This is how were are supposed to live in community together. This is what soul care is supposed to look like. This is how we care for each others souls.
But the Bible doesn't stop there. The New Testament authors also tell us what we aren't supposed to do towards each other as well:
- pass judgment (Rom. 14:13).
- betray and hate (Matt. 24:10).
- Bite and devour (Gal. 5:15).
- Provoke and envy (Gal. 5:26).
- Slay (Rev. 6:4).
- Speak evil (James 4:11).
- Lie (Col. 3:9).
- Hate (Titus 3:3).
- Grumble (James 5:9).
There are lots of ways to care for the souls of others (and a few ways we destroy that work). In caring for the souls of others we are doing the work of discipleship, the work of our Lord Jesus. He will provide the strength for this work. He will provide the wisdom for the work. All we need to do is rely on Him.