3 Dozen Definitions of Biblical Counseling in 25-Words-Or-Less

Whenever the Faith Bible Seminary course BC 611—Biblical Counseling Lab meets, students craft a 25-word-or-less response to the question:

What makes biblical counseling truly biblical? 

They’re not given a great deal of time to develop this. So it’s not their definitive answer, but their working description—that captures their heart for biblical counseling. We’ve collated responses from a couple recent lab groups. With their permission, we’re sharing (in no particular order) their descriptions for your consideration.

What Makes Biblical Counseling Truly Biblical?

Response #1 

Biblical counseling involves lovingly journeying with one another as we relate the whole gospel story to the whole person’s whole story.

Response #2

Biblical counseling is believers in community connecting intimately, while drawing near to God’s heart to practically apply biblical truth to our everyday lives. 

Response #3 

Biblical counseling is graciously and compassionately applying the Word of God together to the challenges of life for the purpose of heart change. 

Response #4 

Biblical counseling is the Christ-centered, Word-based, gospel-focused, church-embedded, Spirit-dependent, progressive sanctification ministry of loving comprehensive soul care/spiritual direction addressing suffering/sin heart issues. 

Response #5 (Notice the Acronym “Counseling”) 

Christians with

One another,

Understanding the

Nuanced ministry of

Scripture and

Empathy,

Leading to

Intentional, Incarnational ministry,

New life in Christ, and

Growth in grace 

Response #6

Authentic believers ministering to one-another as they encounter sin and suffering with the love and truth of God for His glory and their eternal good. 

Response #7

Biblical counseling is lovingly comforting the afflicted and confronting sinners with the truth of Scripture, to bring about change through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Response #8

Biblical counseling is applying the comfort, hope, and truth of God’s Word to the heart of sinners and sufferers through the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.

Response #9 

Biblical counseling is coming alongside saints who suffer and sin to provide comfort, hope, repentance, and biblical wisdom through the leading of the Holy Spirit. 

Response #10

Biblical counseling is biblical when the counselor, counselee, and the church are committed to growing in their love and obedience to the two greatest commandments.

Response #11

Using Scripture to show the beauty of God’s redemptive story through Christ, who redeems His people by Holy Spirit, to live their lives for His glory.

Response #12

Biblical counseling is biblical when it recognizes Christ, the gospel, and the Scriptures as authoritative and sufficient to address all of life’s issues.

Response #13 

Counseling that lovingly explores biblical principles to not only help sufferers to heal, but also helps them reconcile to God and grow spiritually for God’s glory.

Response #14

Biblical counseling embraces the pain of the sufferer and provides scriptural hope as people embrace Christ’s forgiveness and grow in Christlikeness—encouraging the church family. 

Response #15

The loving and wise use of Scripture to help the whole person, connecting their life with the gospel story to bring wholeness into their life.

Response #16

Biblical counseling recognizes that it is the Word of God united with the transforming power of the Holy Spirit that truly changes a needy soul. 

Response #17

Biblical counseling is jars of clay, who, while refusing to preach themselves, seek to disperse the knowledge of Christ while sharing their very souls with one another.

Response #18 

Biblical counseling is ministering the truth, compassion, and solutions found in Scripture to the felt and true needs of a person who is suffering or sinning. 

Response #19

Biblical counseling is helping people to increasingly submit all of life to the lordship of Christ.

Response #20 

Biblical Counseling happens when one Spirit-filled believer strives to help another overcome struggles, suffering, and sin through the caring application of Scripture and prayer.

Response #21 

Using the biblical story of redemption and gospel promises to fulfill the mission of filling up what was lacking by incarnating Christ for the church. 

Response #22 

Truly biblical counseling is when the Scriptures are the primary method of diagnosing, treating, and developing a perspective that addresses our need to glorify God and exalt Him forever.

Response #23

Biblical counseling is truly biblical when it emerges from Scripture, interweaves the person’s story with God’s story for sanctification and one-anothering with truth and love.

Response #24

Counsel flowing from: View of God (Holy/Love), Diagnosis of root issue (Sinful Heart), Foundation of solutions (Bible), Motivation (Please God), Method of change (Holy Spirit).

Response #25 

Biblical counseling is biblical when the purpose is to glorify God, the goal is sanctification, Christ is central, Scriptures are sufficient, Christ’s love is shared.

Response #26 

Biblical counseling is Heart 3: It is soul to soul ministry that connects the hearts of the counselee, the biblical counselor, and the Divine Counselor.

Response #27

Biblical counseling is the whole counsel of God, anchored in the sufficiency, authority, and inspiration of Scripture applied in a Christlike manner to the soul. 

Response #28 

Biblical counseling is believers helping other believers walk through suffering and overcome sin with the help of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. 

Response #29 

Biblical counseling is fallen, redeemed people using God’s Word to walk along side one another to grasp a slice of heaven in a fallen world. 

Response #30 

Biblical counseling is God graciously revealing in His Word, ministered by His Spirit and people, the only hope from our suffering and sinning—Christ’s grace.

Response #31

Biblical counseling is leading fellow sufferers and sinners to the cross to find hope and healing in the blood of Christ which cleanses us from all sin. 

Response #32 

Biblical counseling is God’s Spirit and Word working in and through one human to another transforming the suffering and sinful heart into further Christ-likeness. 

Response #33 

Biblical counselors are broken people bringing heaven’s hope and healing to hurting hearts. Biblical counseling is One for all, and all for One. 

Response #34 

Biblical counseling is the Spirit-empowered body of Christ, lovingly tending to souls with the Word, to prepare the Bride for the Son, to the glory of God the Father.

Response #35 

Biblical counseling is speaking/living God’s Truth in love that abounds more and more in knowledge and depth of insight as we share Scripture and soul.

Response #36 

Biblical counseling is soul care that deals thoroughly/compassionately with the evils we have suffered and spiritual direction that deals thoroughly/compassionately with the sins we have committed. 

Join the Conversation 

If you had 25-words-or-less, and 10-minutes-or-less, how would you answer the question: What makes biblical counseling truly biblical?

Bob KellemenBob Kellemen
Bob Kellemen, Th.M., Ph.D.: Dr. Kellemen is VP of Strategic Development and Academic Dean at Faith Bible Seminary in Lafayette, Indiana. Bob is also the Founder and CEO of RPM Ministries through which he speaks, writes, and consults on biblical counseling and Christian living. Dr. Kellemen served as the founding Executive Director of the Biblical Counseling Coalition. For seventeen years, Bob was the founding Chairman of and Professor in the MA in Christian Counseling and Discipleship department at Capital Bible Seminary in Lanham, MD. Bob has pastored four churches and equipped biblical counselors in each church. Bob and his wife, Shirley, have been married for thirty-eight years; they have two adult children, Josh and Marie, one daughter-in-law, Andi, and three granddaughters. Dr. Kellemen is the author of eighteen books including Equipping Counselors for Your Church, Gospel-Centered Counseling, and Gospel Conversations.