Who is Qualified to Give Biblical Counsel?
By Pastor Scott Roberts
It isn’t uncommon to hear someone say, “I am not qualified for this!” And I would surmise that many more think these words than actually say them. The truth be told, are any of us qualified to give biblical counsel to another? The answer may shock you – yes and no.
None of us are qualified to give biblical advice, warning or encouragement by ourselves. None of us are capable of knowing the heart of another. None of us are sufficiently versed in the Word to be able to understand it perfectly, apply it flawlessly and pray it absolutely. But the good news is that God never asked us to be perfect before he commissioned us to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).
Anyone who is endowed with the Spirit of Christ is capable of giving biblical counsel because the Holy Spirit dwells in them, leads, guides and teaches them to say no to the evil and rejoice in the good. If we want to be qualified to give biblical counsel to others, then it is imperative that we have the following beliefs and characteristics growing in our own lives.
First, we must believe that the Bible is useful and applicable to the problems that people face today. 2Tim. 3:16 reminds us that the Word of God is good for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness. This means that whether we encounter drunkenness, anger, jealousy, greed, an uncontrolled mouth, or a lack of love, to name a few things, the Scriptures have something to say about how we ought to live and what repentance will look like in these sinful situations. The Bible is immensely practical and useful in our daily lives, if we will but believe the words of life contained within her covers, remembering that God spoke these words for our benefit.
Second, we need to care about others and the lives they are living. I am not talking about the kind of care that presents itself as gossip by talking about another’s life to anyone and everyone. Rather, I am talking about the kind of care that sees a person walking in sin and is concerned enough to want to gently restore that person to a life faithful to the Lord (Gal. 6:1). If anger or frustration or pride are motivating us to correct another with the Word, we are not qualified to give counsel. Rather gentleness and love expressing themselves in genuine care and concern for the health and vitality of another is the defining mark of a biblical counselor.
Third, only the humble are qualified to counsel (Gal. 6:2-3). Humility recognizes that in our own strength we would make the same choices and commit the same errors as others. Humility gives us the ability to identify with another and act as a ‘priest’ and a ‘prophet.’ As a priest we can bring them to the Lord in prayer, asking for the power of the Spirit in their lives, identifying with them and knowing the weakness that exists in humanity. As a prophet, we can bring the Word of the Lord and let it illumine the areas of difficulty.
Armed with a genuine love and concern for others, a humble spirit and the Word of God, any believer is qualified to give biblical counsel, guidance, advice and warning. And it is this kind of character and doctrine that we desperately need if we are to bring hope to a hurting world.