The purpose of this paper is to reveal biblical foundations of caring for people in the context of professional social work practice. To accomplish this, the paper first identifies principles of caring as articulated in the accounts of shepherds and shepherding found in the Bible. Shepherding and the “Good Shepherd” discourse provide the biblical foundation for understanding what it means to care for others. Second, the core values of the social work profession are examined alongside the biblical principles, as they provide a professional foundation for the care social workers provide their clients. Third, overall biblical principles are compared with the core values of professional social work practice in order to understand where similarities and differences exist. The paper reveals similar themes of caring found in biblical principles and social work core values of practice. These include service, relationships, worth of the person, and social justice. Important differences include responsibility and self-determination. Additional biblical material is incorporated from outside of the shepherd discourse to elaborate on the similarities and differences of caring. Finally, an example is provided of a model for the integration of the information gathered in the paper into an advanced social work practice course. This example provides a model for incorporating biblical foundations of social work practice within a specific course.
Merchant, M.S.W., Lorri
"The Biblical Foundation for Social Workers as “Shepherds” Who Care for God’s Flock,"
The Journal of Biblical Foundations of Faith and Learning: Vol. 1
, Article 8.
Available at: http://knowledge.e.southern.edu/jbffl/vol1/iss1/8