All Christians have the responsibility of knowing how to teach and counsel with biblical truth. It seems as though many Christians think that these subjects are something that only certain people like pastors or certified counselors should be doing. But if you’re serious about your faith, and it’s not possible to be a true disciple of Christ and not be serious about your faith, then you should have a desire to learn these things and apply them.
Teaching God’s Word
Jesus commanded us to teach (Matthew 28:18-20), so anyone who wants to obey the Great Commission needs to know how to teach. The apostle Peter, in his sermon on the day of Pentecost, said that God’s promise had been fulfilled and that those who have been given the Holy Spirit are prophets (Acts 2:17). Peter isn’t saying that all believers have the gift of prophecy, but he is saying that all believers share some responsibilities that the prophets had. The Old Testament prophets were able to know God intimately and were commanded to proclaim God’s Word faithfully. We also are able to know God through Jesus Christ and are commanded to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, and we are to communicate God’s Word while being faithful to what it says.
The book of Acts says that God’s people taught others about Jesus in many different contexts: “And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.” (Acts 5:42, ESV). In many instances it was “nonprofessional” Christians proclaiming the word to people. In Acts 8:4, Luke writes, “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word” (ESV). This is in reference to people who were not the apostles.
Scripture is clear that God has gifted some in the church to teach and preach (Romans 12:7; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:29; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; Hebrews 13:7; 1 Peter 4:10-11). But Scripture is also clear that it is not only these specifically called individuals who teach: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16a, ESV). “You yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another” (Romans 15:14b).
Doing the Work
From this we can conclude that every believer should seek to know the truth of God’s Word and teach that truth to others. Studying God’s Word is something that you get better at with time, and in the future I hope to give some helpful tools and strategies to help others study. I want everyone to practice. Go deep. Put forth more effort in studying the Bible than you do your favorite hobby or interest.
And the we teach, we must make sure that we are teaching in light of the gospel. Bryan Chapell, senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church and author, has good words to say:
“When Jesus said that all the Scriptures spoke of him, he was not requiring us to make him magically appear in every Old Testament mud puddle or camel track by some acrobatic leap of verbal or symbolic gymnastics. Not every verse in the Bible mentions Jesus, but every passage does reveal aspects of God’s character and care that relate to his saving work. Thus, for us to try to interpret a passage of Scripture and only speak of the commands that we should do or the doctrines that we should know actually misses the gospel truth Jesus said the passage contains.” (Christ Centered Expositor, Foreword).
So study, teach, and apply correctly.
Probably even more than teaching, Christians are either lazy or incredibly misguided in their understanding and application of biblical counseling. For most, they think counseling is the sole responsibility of those who have been to seminary and are officially certified with the paper hanging on their wall to show everyone that they’re qualified to counsel others. This does not make sense either practically or biblically.
In practice, everyone counsels others. If someone has ever come to you with a situation and wanted your input, regardless of the subject (if it’s home decorations or a life crisis), they are seeking counsel. Counseling is what happens anytime one person with problems seeks out another person they think has answers. We do this all the time with family, friends, coworkers, and so on.
Biblically, counseling is taking the truth of the gospel and God’s Word and applying to the heart of people. God’s Word is the only source of objective truth, and it is the only thing that speaks to our sinful human condition and the only thing that can provide true transformation and change in a person’s life. Biblical counseling is an amazing discipline. And I won’t get into it in detail here, but I hope whoever reads this realizes that secular psychology is completely incapable of helping a person’s situation. Is is unbiblical counsel. If you’re unsure of what the Bible says about a situation and only know secular psychology or your personal experience, then, when someone comes to you for advice, it may be better to not say anything at all. You won’t provide anything truly helpful. And if you do provide anything truly helpful that brings about true change and the good of another, it’s because whatever you said happened to line up with what God has already said in His Word about that situation. Secular psychology is so useless that the only value it has is providing people with the knowledge of what not to do.
In support of the idea that all Christians should be adequate in applying biblical truth to life’s situations, I would again quote Colossians 3:16: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another…” As a Christian, you need to know what the Bible says about life’s situations and how to help others when they are in those situations. It is a very deep way to minister to people and love them. In fact, I would say that if you think it’s not your responsibility to biblically counsel then you must either believe that God has nothing useful to say about those situations, or you must not care enough about others to learn how to minister to them in this way.
To provide true help, we must counsel with the Bible. It’s sad that biblical counseling is largely reserved for seminary students and official counselors, and I hope to provide some resources later on that help everyone know how to counsel others with the Bible.
I would like to be able to give people resources to use to help them know how to study and apply the Word effectively and counsel others. This site was created for the sole purpose of providing people with biblical resources that will help them. It may take a while, but be patient and we’ll get them to you.