Wonderful Counselor…OR Wonder and Counselor?

Many times, over the last year, I have gone to God, asking for wisdom. Whether it was to surgically remove the growing tumor in my brain or not; if switching schools for our son was where the LORD was leading us; how to best train up our children in the way they should go in any given situation; how to begin and grow a new prayer ministry for a school community; where to start after the LORD, through His Spirit, gave me the directive to begin writing a Bible study; what He wanted me to write about in the study and this blog; or whether or not to use social media to spread the word through this blog to more people, I knew the best source for wisdom was the One Who gives it. I am thankful that I have the Counselor I can ask for such things…and that He gives it openly and doesn’t insult me or convict and punish me, because I asked (James 1:5). The decisions I have listed are, obviously, not an exhaustive list of questions I have had, but they are definitely some of the bigger ones that have faced me and my family this year.

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A lot of times, when people have a problem, they will seek help or guidance. This may come in the form of a counselor, therapist, or addiction medicine physician when the situation goes beyond the ability of friends and family. While pride, fear, denial, perception of need, etc., may stand in the way of many asking for help, Barna Group, Inc., said in 2018 that there is a large percentage of people who either have seen or will see a counselor during their lives.

“Four in ten American adults (42%) have seen a counselor at some point in their lives…Another third (36%) says they’re, at least, open to it…Though their reasons for visiting a counselor may vary, Americans consistently indicate the experience was very positive (47%). Another 29 percent say it was somewhat positive…For the Christians who do pursue professional counseling, it’s highly rewarding; more than half (54%) call it very positive (vs. 36% of non-Christians)…Perhaps this high level of satisfaction explains why practicing Christians (52%) are more likely than non-Christians (43%) to recommend counseling to friends and family.”

Barna Group, Inc. “Americans Feel Good About Counseling.” barna.com. https://www.barna.com/research/americans-feel-good-counseling/ (accessed December 5, 2020).

If you went to a wonderful counselor, who was able to help you and walk you through a specific time in your life, you probably would recommend him or her to others, right? If he or she wasn’t, you wouldn’t!

Whether we admit it or not, there are times in all of our lives where we need wisdom, including a clear perspective, direction, tough love, and encouragement. That’s why I am so thankful we have One whose name is Counselor, Whom we, as believers, can approach, Who is the giver of the wisdom we need. How do I know? Not only have I had LOTS of interaction with this Counselor, but He was also able to help me and walk me through numerous times in my life. I would highly recommend Him!! In addition to my personal experiences, a well-known verse this time of year includes the names of Jesus, foretold by the prophet Isaiah.

“For unto us, a Child is born; unto us, a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6 NKJV

Maybe you have noticed this before, but a couple years ago, after I found out about the brain tumor, there were a couple of names in this verse that stood out above the others and met me where I was. I was drawn to the name Counselor, for one, in a time when I knew I could trust my LORD, but I wasn’t sure what the next step was to take. It was then that the Holy Spirit shone a light on the comma between Wonderful and Counselor in the New King James Version. I had always recited this verse as Wonderful Counselor…as one name. What was the comma doing there? Was it a mistake? I started looking up other versions of Scripture. I found the decisions about split; I found 15 versions that included the names together as one, while 12 had the two names separated with a comma.

If the names are separated by a comma, Jesus would have two distinctive names, in this case: 1) Wonderful and 2) Counselor. I’m one of those geeks who loves grammar. It makes things much more meaningful and easier to understand for me, so please bear with me…

The Hebrew word used for “Wonderful” in Isaiah 9:6 is “pele (peh’-leh).”1 What sticks out to me is that it’s a noun,2 not an adjective! We all know that a noun is a person, place, or thing. In this instance, it’s naming a person; this would mean that one of Jesus’ names is Wonderful…all by itself…rather than an adjective, describing what kind of counselor He is! Yet another note to point out is that “pele” means, “a wonder.”3 If “pele” was an adjective, then the translation, “Wonderful,” would make sense, since the word “wonderful” is only used as an adjective; however, since “pele” is a noun, we should look at the word we translate it to be as a noun. “Wonder” IS a noun.

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Have you ever heard someone say, “You’re a wonder!” If you have, you probably know they mean, “You’re extraordinary!” or “You’re amazing!” Extraordinary, amazing…They are used as adjectives to describe someone, but “wonder” is a noun–a word that names something or someone. You may think, this doesn’t make much of a difference; why is Michelle making such a big deal about this? Because…if “pele” is a noun, this causes us to stop and consider Jesus for Who He is…a Wonder…He is incomprehensible, awesome, unbelievable, miraculous…He deserves our awe! Yes, He can be an incomprehensible, awesome, unbelievable Counselor. However, I think we do Him and His attributes more justice to view Him as He is…a Wonder–Who has a hard time being described.

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In my opinion, we need the comma. I am a child of God, a woman, a wife, Mom, Daughter, friend, blogger; each one of these nouns holds a different aspect of who I am. Each of Jesus’ names describes His character and a different attribute about HIM, and it’s worth taking the time to soak in each one.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, Who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.”

James 1:5 NKJV

As we read, another of Jesus’ names is Counselor. If you are in need of wisdom today, as the verse above says, ask God. The word here for “God” is “theos, the Creator and owner of all things.”4 In John 1:1-3, Jesus is “the Word”…the One Who is captivating in His speaking, the One Who created all things, God’s voice, and, according to the word “theos,” the One Who owns everything. He is Counselor and is able to give you the wisdom you need! He Is One in the same…a Wonder!!!

Photo by Stefano Zocca on Unsplash

If you are in need of wisdom today, both names, “A Wonder” and “Counselor,” can speak loudly to you in this season; they do me. Jesus is the giver of wisdom…Counselor. Maybe what you’re dealing with right now doesn’t make sense to you. I assure you; it does to Him! Do you truly believe that with your whole heart? Do you agree with Him that He has all wisdom and is THE Counselor to go to!?! James 1:5 directs us: if we need the skill to understand…if we need the cloud to be removed and view the situation with clarity, ASK HIM! Yet here’s the caveat (the warning)…You can’t be uncertain that He will hear you. You can’t wonder if He’s real and really there. You can’t be hesitant because of what you will hear. You can’t waver on whether or not you believe He is the only source of wisdom. If you doubt, true wisdom will be out of arm’s reach.

So, where are you today? Are you in a place of awe of Who He is? Are you overwhelmed by circumstances and need to know how to move forward in a way that pleases Him? Do you feel stuck and don’t feel like you can move at all; if so, are you willing to move?

Photo by Olia Gozha on Unsplash

“For it is God who is producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases him.”

Philippians 2:13 ISV

If you aren’t willing, as harsh as this may sound, you are resisting God. If you are willing, “theos,” Jesus, God the Son, lights that desire inside for what He has next for you and gives you the ability to carry it out. He IS Counselor…AND a Wonder!

1 Strong’s Concordance, s.v. “pele,” accessed December 5, 2020, https://biblehub.com/hebrew/6382.htm. 2 Strong’s Concordance, s.v. “pele,” accessed December 5, 2020, https://biblehub.com/hebrew/6382.htm. 3 Strong’s Concordance, s.v. “pele,” accessed December 5, 2020, https://biblehub.com/hebrew/6382.htm. 4 HELPS Word Studies, s.v. “pele,” accessed December 6, 2020, https://biblehub.com/greek/2316.htm.

4 Comments on “Wonderful Counselor…OR Wonder and Counselor?

  1. Commas really can make all the difference! Thank you for this! I will be reading this verse differently!


  2. I love this new way of looking at this verse… and the reminder of what a great counselor HE is!


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