We use the term “Nouthetic” to describe the kind of Biblical counseling we do. It is a term coined by Dr. Jay Adams. On a popular level we often simply refer to ourselves as Biblical Counselors, but there are many who make such a claim and mean something different by it. So we use the term Nouthetic to distinguish ourselves and identify our philosophy of counseling.
Nouthetic is a Greek word we have brought into English which is why most people are not familiar with the word. It is the term used in passages such as Romans 15:14; “And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to instruct one another.” Here the term Nouthetic is used to indicate that God wants us to be directive in our ministry with each other (instruct). Counseling is not to be just “hand holding”, feeling sorry for the counselee, but using the Word of God to direct people in how to live. Another place in Scripture where the term is used is in Colossians 1:28; “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” Here the Greek word is translated “admonishing” stressing the authority that resides in God’s Word and our obligation to live by God’s commandments. We could look at other Scripture passages to further explain why we have chosen to identify ourselves by this term. But for the sake of brevity we simply want to say that the kind of counseling we do grows out of the Bible. Our Bibles are open as we counsel because it is THE source of our wisdom and authority. We seek to be loving, kind and gentle while standing firm for the truths of God’s Word. We seek to shepherd people into a greater understanding of and obedience to the Bible. We do not think the ideas of secular theories of counseling are to be adapted to the Bible. In counseling we must rely on the Lord, not the changing ideas of man.
Nouthetic counseling relies upon the Lord and in love seeks to help God’s people bring glory to Him in their lives. When we live for the glory of God we find peace and comfort for our souls.