The Goals of Biblical Counseling








Question: Steve, I am thinking of implementing a biblical counseling program in my church. But I want to understand its practical value. Can you tell me what are the goals of biblical counseling? 

Answer: All biblical counseling, like preaching, teaching, and the administering of God’s Word in the church, should be done to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). The first and foremost goal of biblical counseling is to conform a sinning brethren into Christlikeness, or help him mature in the Christian faith as God intends for every believer (Col1:9; 2 Pet 3:18). Biblical counseling is a means that God uses to sanctify a believer using His word, through the empowerment and direction of the Holy Spirit, as the instrument to bring about the progressive holiness in the counselee’s life through mentors and teachers in the church.

Biblical counseling must always be animated by a Godward focus, being theocentric in nature and committed to the Word of God as foundational in the counseling process. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 commands believers to edify each other and build one another up according to God’s truth, and this is essentially the aim of biblical counseling. Biblical counseling is a form of Christian edification and discipleship, and is an indispensable part of a struggling believer’s sanctification in the faith. That is why biblical counseling should not be thought of as unrelated to the life of the church or a unique practice consigned to a specific group of men with some esoteric knowledge of the human psyche (ex. psychologists, rehabilitation centers). Counseling must be the duty of all Christians, for we are all called to edify, confront, rebuke, and comfort one another with the Word of God, according to 2 Timothy 3:16. Biblical counseling does not have the task of taking on the role of a physician and cure physical problems that call for specialized medical treatment (ex. cure cancer, leg pain), but instead focus on moral, ethical, and spiritual disruptions that is most likely the result of persistent and unbroken sin in the counselee’s life (which does not require psychotherapy or any secular humanist knowledge of such theories).

In the final process of actualizing biblical instruction and making it permanent in the lives of the counselee, biblical counselors must help counselees to put off the old self of sin and put on the new self of divine holiness. In other words, the end of biblical counseling is to promote biblical change as a life-style pattern. Biblical counseling should foster the implementation and integration of biblical principles into the lives of the counselees so that they will become consistently Christ-centered and Christlike in every area of life including desires, thoughts, attitudes, and behavior. Biblical counseling is not about solving temporal problems or making people happy in a superficial sense. These issues are certainly important, but issues such as fixing emotional distress, pains, and hurts are byproducts of accomplishing the real purpose of counseling, which is to promote holiness and biblical living and thereby to help people be transformed into the image of Christ in every aspect of life.

Recommended Resource: Counseling by John MacArthur