The Bible, not any secular idealogy or philosophy, reigns supreme in biblical counseling. For example, when counseling a struggling married couple, biblical counselors do not begin with secular teaching on marriage therapy, but with God’s Word. Nor do biblical counselors, when working with a fellow Christian struggling with anxiety, doubt, or other issues, begin with what the culture says, but with what Scripture teaches. Biblical counseling focuses on the truth of the Word of God, and seeks to apply the Word through faith and practice to the people of God.
Biblical counseling thrives when it is centered on the Word of God as a whole, not in part. Biblical counseling functions best when it operates within what the Bible teaches about a New Testament Church, where biblically qualified male elders oversee the ministry of biblical counseling. While biblical counseling outside of the church may be needed at times, biblical elders are to care for, and oversee, the life and health of the people of God. Biblical counselors outside of the local church should be vetted by the elders of the church to ensure their soundness and compatibility, and rejected if they cannot offer help.
Biblical counseling is a discipleship ministry of the church. Biblical counseling is concerned with addressing issues in the life of the disciple of the Lord Jesus in a focused manner. There may be times when there are long seasons of discipleship for fellow Christians. Biblical counseling has a clear focus on helping the Christian within a defined length of time to address his/her issues. Further help may be needed, which is why biblical counseling doesn’t leave the disciple on his/her own, but helps them connect them with older seasoned men or women, depending on their gender.
Biblical counseling falls within biblical discipleship. Every Christian is to be a student of Jesus, which means every disciple must grow to be like Jesus. Biblical counseling is concerned with helping Christians grow in every phase of their lives in Christ.
The biblical counseling ministry in the local church is not opposed to the pulpit, but rather compliments it (or is even an extension of it). Preaching is the public ministry of the Word, and biblical counseling is the private ministry of the Word. A biblical church ensures the balance between the two compliments rather than competes with each other. The preaching of the Word of God is central in all aspects of the Church. The preached Word, through the work of the Holy Spirit, tills the soil of the heart. Biblical counseling is concerned with coming alongside the preached Word and helping instruct the heart in a focused way.
As you read this issue of Theology for Life, you’ll discover a wide variety of subjects covered—from why biblical counseling is vital, to how it is connected to the life of the local church, and much more. As you read this issue, my prayer is that you’ll not only be introduced to biblical counseling—counseling that is grounded in the reliable, sufficient, and trustworthy Word of God—but that you’ll desire to grow in and through the practice biblical counseling in the local church.
In Christ Alone,
Executive Editor, Theology for Life Magazine