Exploring Nouthetic Counseling

What is Nouthetic Counseling?  Grace Dependent provided a simple definition in a recent post; today we will expand that definition and gain a clearer understanding of Nouthetic Counseling (NC).

Let’s begin with this statement:

Jesus Christ is at the center of all true Christian counseling.  Any counseling which moves Christ from that position of centrality has, to the extent that it has done so, ceased to be Christian.

To avoid any confusion, let me say that I believe NC and Biblical Counseling to be synonymous terms.  I am not saying that all nouthetic counselors act biblically all the time, however, NC cannot be anything else but biblical if done properly.

There are three elements to NC that we will examine briefly here:

  • Nouthetic counseling involves confrontation.
    • Confrontation can be defined as “…one Christian personally [giving] counsel to another from the Scriptures.”
    • Confrontation finds it’s foundation in 2 Timothy 3:16,17.
    • Confrontation, when done biblically / nouthetically, keeps me from counseling my own ideas or the ideas of others.  It keeps me focused on biblical solutions to spiritual problems.
  • Nouthetic counseling involves concern.
    • Concern can be defined as “…that counseling [which] is always done for the benefit of the counselee.”
    • Concern can find it’s foundation in 1 Corinthians 4:14.
    • Concern, when biblical or nouthetic in nature, implies that I always have the best, biblical interest of the counselee in mind.  It is my duty as a brother in Christ to assist my brother / sister in Christ in the process of progressive sanctification.  As they heed biblical / nouthetic counsel, they become more like Christ.
  • Nouthetic counseling involves change.
    • Change is necessary because “…there is something in another Christian’s life that fails to meet the biblical requirements and that, therefore, keeps him from honoring God”.
    • Change is necessary to the degree that I deviate from the duties I have as a believer in Christ (as found in 2 Corinthians 5:9 and 1 Corinthians 10:31).  Those duties are, simply put: please God and glorify God.
    • Change, or progressive sanctification, can be further defined in Ephesians 4:17-24.

This should provide you with a fairly good idea of what NC is.  We’ll examine who should be counseling nouthetically in our next post.

HT: Jay Adams for defining the three elements of nouthetic counseling.

2 thoughts on “Exploring Nouthetic Counseling

  1. I am very impressed with your blog and how much time you have put into making it speak God’s Word. I just released my blog http://awalkoffaith.wordpress.com and am excited about how God will use it to transform the hearts of men and women who are hungry for the Word and are ready to walk with Him. It would mean the world to me if you could check out my blog and share it with those around you.

    God bless and thank you for taking the time to look at my blog.
    Michelle Jensen

    P. S.
    Do you have any prayer requests for your blog?

  2. Thanks Michelle for taking time to read Grace Dependent and for your kind words as well. I will check out your blog soon. A constant prayer request for me, as it relates to this blog, would be that God would always be glorified and that He would continue to be the focus of any and all posts here. It is easy to get caught up in how many comments are left, how many views are made of certain posts, etc than to be consumed with how the blog glorifies God. Please pray for this, that others would see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven! Thanks!

    For His glory…grace to you,

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