What are the Qualifications of a Biblical Counselor?

October 30th, 2019 by posted in Counseling

What God told believers in Christ to do for others involves counseling. A person cannot be faithful doing what God wants each of us to do for others and not be involved in counseling to some extent.

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:1-7 emphasis mine)

The church that wants to fulfill its God-given counseling ministry must have members who are practicing biblical counseling among themselves. In other words, the members must have an open, honest, loving relationship with each other that involves mutual ministry to each other, mutual teaching, mutual admonishment, mutual reproof, mutual correction, and mutual discipling of one another. These members “who are strong” must be well grounded doctrinally and understand how theology relates to the problems of people. These members understand the hope brought into lives through the encouragement of the Scriptures.

“You are “qualified” to be a biblical counselor if you have a desire to help people. There is undoubtedly something different about people helpers. Many are described as having gifts of mercy, encouragement, discernment, and compassion. Others are servants and givers, and still others are truth tellers who desire to redirect the sheep that have wandered off the path. There are some personal requirements for those who desire come alongside other people. Teaching, rebuking, correcting, training in righteousness, and restoration must be done with affectionate admonition because included in the greatest imperative of Jesus Christ was to love one another. Our love is to be sacrificial for those we counsel.”[1]

Not everyone is qualified to counsel.

The Bible is clear that certain characteristics must be present in the life of a believer for them to be qualified to counsel at any of these levels. Scripture defines levels of personal holiness, maturity, skill levels, and Spiritual giftedness that all apply to one’s ability to counsel.

Who is qualified to counsel?

  • Pastors are qualified to counsel (or they should be) – Hebrews 13:7.
  • God has called all believers to counsel through informal and formal discipleship, assuming they have the character qualities required (Colossians 3.16; Galatians 6.1-4).
  • God has gifted some to counsel during crisis situations (Galatians 6:1)

Characteristics of a good counselor.

  • The depth of a person’s involvement in counseling should first be determined by his Spiritual giftedness.
  • Those who counsel must be spiritual (Galatians 5).
  • Walking by the Spirit in Galatians 5 implies a level of maturity and experience.
    • Those who walk by the Spirit have learned to crucify the flesh.
    • Those who walk by the spirit have learned the joy and peace of following Christ over a period of time, testing, and circumstances,
    • Those who walk by the Spirit have developed self-control.
    • Those who walk by the spirit have demonstrated the fruit of the Spirit in their lives.
  • You must be gentle (Galatians 6:1)
  • You must exercise caution (Galatians 6:1)
  • You must be committed to the sometimes-exhausting care of others. (Galatians 6:2).

What God told believers in Christ to do for others involves counseling. A person cannot be faithful doing what God wants each of us to do for others and not be involved in counseling to some extent. God expects his people to use the Word, within the church, to minister to one another. Are you qualified?

[1] Ganschow, Julie, “Can I Become a Biblical Counselor”, Blog (August 31, 2015)

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