Biblical counseling is an essential aspect of discipleship, and biblical counselors are disciple-makers. The following is an excerpt from lesson one of our training material that highlights this aspect of biblical counseling:
What our culture terms “counseling” the Bible assumes under the broad category of “discipleship.” Discipleship is multifaceted—counseling is one facet.
“Disciple” translates the Greek word, Mathātās, (literally, “learner”). It is a pupil of another (Matt 10:24; Luke 6:40), but not just a pupil of another. A learner assumes a likeness.
A learner of Jesus…resulting in
A likeness of Jesus (Christian means “little Christ”)
“To disciple a person to Christ is to bring him into the relation of pupil to teacher, ‘taking his yoke’ of authoritative instruction (11:29), accepting what he says as true because he says it, and submitting to his requirements as right because he makes them” (John Broadus; one of the founders of Southern Seminary; quoted by D. A. Carson, Matthew, 595-96).
To be a disciple then is to abide in and submit to the authoritative teachings of Jesus. “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples” (John 8:31; cf. Matt 10:24-25).
“A disciple is not simply one who has been taught but one who continues to learn” (William Mounce).
What is found, however is that people do not obey Jesus’ Word—especially in trials. At that point people must be restored to obedience. Thus, biblical counseling is often termed “Restorative Discipleship.” It is easy to obey when the sun is shining—how are you in storms?
Disciples are made by transformation that is wrought through changes in thinking (and wanting, and willing) that leads to changes in doing (behaving). A biblical counselor places before the mind a new way of handling trouble, responding to circumstance, and reconciling with offenders (etc.). Often, God ordains the storms to reveal areas of needed growth.
Biblical or Nouthetic (pronounced “New-thet-ic”; from Greek noun nouthesia or verb noutheteō) counseling is a vital aspect of restoring rebellious disciples. Noutheteō literally means “to place before the mind for consideration.”
It contains three elements: change through confrontation out of concern. It presupposes, first, that there are sinful patterns and activities in the life of the counselee that God wants changed; secondly, that this change will be brought about through a verbal confrontation of the counselee with the Scriptures as the counselor ministers them in the power of the Holy Spirit, and thirdly, that this confrontation is done in a loving, caring, familial manner for the benefit of the counselee (Jay Adams, Ready to Restore, 9).
The definition of biblical counseling is:
- Discerning thoughts or thought patterns and behavior that God wants to change. (Change)
- Using God’s Word to change thinking and behavior. (Confrontation)
- For the benefit of the counselee and for the glory of God. (Concern)
Indeed, all counseling (and discipleship) is concerned with change. A biblical counselor, then, is in the business of placing before another’s mind new thinking that results in new behaving (responding) that results in a greater likeness of Jesus. A biblical counselor is a disciple-maker.
Rod and Staff Ministries is passionate about equipping the churches to help the saints live above circumstance. Our commission is not to counsel for the churches, but to equip the churches to counsel their people with the hope giving, joy producing, God honoring, living Word. If you would like to learn more about our training please don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our website. We’d love to hear from you.
10,000 Blessings in The Disciple-Maker,
Rod and Staff Ministries
 From NET Bible: Or “admonishing,” or “warning.” BDAG 679 s.v. noutheteō states, “to counsel about avoidance or cessation of an improper course of conduct, admonish, warn, instruct.”