68: Contrasting Psychology and the Bible


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What You'll Discover in this Episode:

Contrasting Psychology and the Bible


Who is competent to counsel? How has Psychology taken over the responsibility that rightfully belongs to the Church?


On this week’s episode, Jeff Christianson continues his series Contrasting Psychology with the Bible. The Church in many places is guilty of giving over the issues of the flock to the “professionals”. The highly educated, the learned, those who have advanced degrees have been given the responsibility of helping people overcome problems. The culture says that if you have a serious problem you need to go to a Psychologist. Psychology is full of man-centered methodology that fails to provide true and lasting change. A faithful man named Jay Adams sounded the alarm about Psychology and is credited for getting the Biblical Counseling movement started. He is one of the people who started the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC), previously known as the Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC). 


Pastor Jeff helps us understand that Christians are competent to counsel. The Apostle Paul is confident concerning the ability of the believers he is writing to in Romans 15:14, “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.” By the grace of God, we are able to admonish and come alongside people with comfort and help. The people of God are the only ones competent to counsel because they have access to the Wonderful Counselor, Jesus Christ, the only Name under heaven by which men are saved.


  • Scroll down and leave your comment below!
  • Want to learn more from Pastor Jeff? Listen to this podcast to hear Pastor Jeff address:
  • The foundations and principles of counseling within the life of the church
  • Church life, COVID-19, and loving others through challenging times
  • 1 John 4:7 and how biblical counseling draws upon divine love in order to minister to

    others within the body of Christ

  • KEY VERSE: 

    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 

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  • Johan Alarcon says:

    When someone tells me to seek counseling I do not instantly think of counseling as therapy, with a therapist whom schooling and multiple degrees. Counseling for me refers to a church and elders within the faiths who are competent and willing to counsel one another. But not all are capable and blessed with the gift. Those who counsel are there for you in your time of need offering comfort and guidance. God’s comfort has no limitations, a pastor once said “…” which reminds me of the limitless comfort he offers. I like when you spoke about flesh needing to be renounced, being selfless and caring for another person.

    • Johan Alarcon says:

      Quote ” people don’t care how much you know, unless they know how much you care”.I apologize for the error on my comment above.

    • David Bowman says:

      Johan, I also agreed with Pastor Jeff regarding the need to renounce the flesh and bring it under the authority of the Spirit. Since Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6), the gifted biblical counselor is primarily a conduit for His counsel. Our personal walk with Christ, which should include a consistent practice of prayer, will enable us to be used to bring the appropriate counsel to those we encounter. Our ability to care, and comfort others, is enhanced by the lives we live, which testify to His power to care and comfort us. All of this is grounded in the truth that He is not a respecter of persons.

    • Ritter Savino says:

      God’s comfort has no limitations, and what a privilege it is to be comforted by the God of the universe; it is mind-blowing. God is not only our Comfort, but He has given us each other; we get to minister to one another! I rather go for counsel to a believer, than to a “worldly expert” who is missing the only Source of absolute peace. Thank you, Johan, for your comments!

  • David Bowman says:

    This episode contrasted the message of psychological authority with the authority of the Bible, the practice of prayer, and the competency of Christians to counsel one another. Before I started taking courses in biblical counseling, I thought it was fine for Christians to seek psychological counseling along with biblical teaching. Christians do appear to be unlearned and untrained when compared to professional counselors in the world. Romans 15:14 was very helpful in supporting Pastor Jeff’s position and conviction about our ability to counsel based upon the Scriptures (ref. Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.). We don’t need academic letters behind our names in order to be credible and competent counselors to our brethren. Thank you, Pastor Jeff.

    • Michelle R says:

      Hi David, Yes! It is through the Holy Spirit and prayer that will guides us to help those in need. Not man’s knowledge that is lead by the flesh. Enjoyed your comment.

    • Margaret Deherrera says:

      thanks for sharing your insight on the pod cast David, I agree we don’t need letters behind our name to be competent counselors, it is through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and prayer that we are able to help others and by the comfort we are given from God as we walk through life that we are able to relate to others, and point them back to the truth in the scriptures, just as we have been guided and comforted.

    • Anne Marie Maguire says:

      Thanks David for your comment. I agree that God has qualified us for his ministry! Also that the Lord uses those that are weak to be his vessels (I feel so weak) “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”1 Corinthians 1:27-29.

    • Kyle Fox says:

      Hello David,

      That’s a great point, I think that so many of us have bought into this idea that the professionals are the ones who can counsel competently, and we really don’t have the ability and we kind of shirk our responsibilities. We can rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us as we counsel. It’s really another act of faith. We aren’t trusting in our own knowledge our abilities, we trust in the Lord. This doesn’t mean that we don’t study to show ourselves approved, but at the end of the day, it is the Lord who does the true counseling, and He gets the glory.

    • Josh S says:

      Hey David, I agree that many believers underestimate the calling that the Lord has given us the ability to counsel and lead others to the truth. I believe Christians have been given the sufficiency in Scripture and in the Spirit of God’s power to be able to comfort, encourage, and admonish those in our lives.

    • Kristie says:

      I thought too that people needed psychological counseling when they needed help. Taking these classes have really opened my eyes to see the importance of Biblical counseling. This is really where people will receive the hope that they need. Part of my problem is I didn’t want to put the time in that is needed to counsel people. But now I see how important and helpful it really is.

  • Ritter Savino says:

    It is interesting how psychologists are called professionals/experts, but yet it is sad how little they know about life, the life that God has given to His children; the abundance life. They have no clue how to bring healing to people’s souls; they for sure are not the experts. God allowed me to minister to the youth in my church a few years ago, and some of them were seeing a “professional” for their issues, and I just took advantage and talked to them about Jesus, and counseled them in many issues using past experiences, prayer, the Bible and the character of God. It was a really sweet time for me, and today some of those youths that are now adults come to me for counsel. It is truly an honor, and I give the glory to God because He comforted me in all those times that I struggled with different situations. I was able to bring the same comfort to a lot of them. Because of what Jesus did at the cross, we have the Holy Spirit, we have the Word of God, and we have the privilege to come before His throne with boldness; these make us the experts for sure. As you said, there might be things that the Psychologist can help with, but it will be only temporary. Prayer is powerful and very effective when we come to Him with the same mind. Thanks again, Pastor Jeff. God bless!

    • Chase Malpede says:

      Hi Ritter,

      What a blessing that must have been to minister to the youth at your Church in that way. You are an example to all of us about how God can use us as instruments for His good purposes. Praise God!

    • David Bowman says:

      Hello, Ritter. Thank you for being a willing vessel for God to use in the lives of those youths. It is awesome that some still seek your biblical counsel to this day! I wish that I had some more godly mentors back when I was a youth. In regards to who are the experts, I had an encounter with a couple that was displeased when they found out that I was not a “professional” counselor. In the eyes of the wife, I had lost credibility and the husband wasn’t pleased that I made that clear from the beginning. I didn’t take it personally, instead, I realized that she did not value the word of God as much as the opinions of men. Needless to say, that counseling relationship was short-lived.

      • Ritter Savino says:

        Wow, David, that is so sad. I’m glad you didn’t take it personally. It is grieving how she didn’t value the word of God as the only Source. I hope they would reconsider one day. Thank you for being obedient to God’s call in your life.

    • Johan Alarcon says:

      I like when you said”It is interesting how psychologists are called professionals/experts, but yet it is sad how little they know about life, the life that God has given to His children; the abundance of life”. I agree, it is sad that people go and spend thousands of their dollars, waste so much of their time, and expect to make a difference in one’s life by giving them advice and suggestions that will not save one’s life and their souls from hell and damnation. I see how when the bible speaks of people who are on a higher platform and may be on a larger scale to influence others, that they are held to a higher responsibility to teach the truth. And secular counselors are not exempt. I pray that as a nation, we bring God into all mentoring and counseling sessions and keep the lord as the foundation of each and every conversation and session.

      • Ritter Savino says:

        We need to be on our knees and pray for this Nation for sure, and now more than ever; for God to open people’s eyes and minds to see the truth. Satan is a deceiver, and he will continue to use people’s vulnerabilities and the “worldly experts” to destroy God’s most precious creation, “man”.

      • Josh S says:

        Johan, I agree that we need to bring God into all counseling sessions as the foundation for truth and understanding the human condition. The only hope is in Christ for those who are broken and seeking counsel.

    • Kyle Fox says:

      Thats a great point, the only experts we need are the ones who are seeking after God, who are studying His word and counseling people His way. God has given people within each local church the right people who can counsel, who can comfort, and point people to the cross.

    • Margaret Deherrera says:

      That is awesome Ritter how you were obedient and allowed God to use you to help minister to the youths and allowed the Spirit to work in you to guide you to give them the same comfort you were given in your struggles. You were a blessing to those youths. I can relate to comforting others the way you have been comforted, I had a friend who came to talk to me about some things she was trying to work thru, I was only able to help her because of the comfort God had given me when I needed it. I was able to point her to Scripture that could give her guidance, through much prayer she found the peace she needed. the help we get from Psychologists is usually just temporary I agree with that.

  • Josh says:

    In regards to humanistic philosophical psychology, there is a distinct difference between incorrect thoughts, ideas, opinions and the actual proven science of factual research and data. humanistic psychology deals with moral issues and the way in which humans view the world. This has been adopted and accepted by a large population, not just in the world but also within the church. The Bible tells us that in the “last days” many will depart from their faith and turn to false teachings of the modern world. We must show that His Word is the only truth there ever was and ever will be.

    • Michelle R says:

      Hi Josh, I too am seeing the church departing from the faith and seeking knowledge outside of God. The sad thing about it, it that they are worse off then when they started. I have friends that have gone outside of the church for therapy and they seem more sad and confused. And the push for antidepressants is off the chart. It very disturbing. Thank you for your comment.

      • Josh says:

        This is clearly happening more and more, it’s incredibly painful and difficult to watch. The irony of contradiction seems endless. I also know people that have done the same. I know more and more people who are now taking and using Adderall regularly. I agree with you, thank you for the response.

  • Michelle R says:

    We’re not created or designed to do life alone. One aspect that I treasure being involved in the Biblical Counseling Ministry is the opportunity to come along side other women and married couples as they seek knowledge, restoration, and healing. I have experienced the goodness and power of our Heavenly Father as the healing process is being ministered to those that are hurting. I loved hearing that being mentioned, coming along aside the brethren in the church. God has given us all truth and knowledge to be able to counsel to those who are hurting. I also loved hearing that in order to counsel we don’t need to have A-Z after our names or multiple degrees. If we study and seek the character of God and have it in our hearts he will use us to bring healing to those that are struggling. Great message!

    • Anne Marie Maguire says:

      Beautiful thought Michelle that God will use us to bring healing to those that are struggling as we study the word and seek God’s character. I pray God would use us all to do this. Especially to share the gospel of hope with those that are lost. I’ve gone deeper into the study of the scripture in the last few years but I didn’t think God would use it to help others but that’s what’s happening now…

      • Michelle R says:

        Hi Anne Marie, how exciting that you are diving deeper into scriptures and being used to help others. Thank you for being obedient to His calling in your life.
        Blessings, Michelle

    • Ritter Savino says:

      Studying Scripture and seeking Him with all our hearts, is key for us to be used by God in the biblical counseling ministry. We have a huge responsibility to God first and then to our brothers and sisters in Christ to be in the Word learning about God’s goodness. It is so good to be used by our Lord in this way. What an honor! Thank you, Michelle!

      • Michelle R says:

        Hi Ritter, It is an honor to be used by God and you’re absolutely correct that a huge responsibility. Just like in Isaiah 6:8, “Here I am. Send me!.” that should be the heart of a biblical counsel. That its not a burden but a calling.

  • Kristie Gallagher says:

    I am going to hold on the this verse in Romans 15:14 Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. I know often times I don’t “feel” equipped. But to understand that God has equipped us and has called us to counsel one another. I loved what Pastor Jeff said, “We are competent because we have access to the wonderful counselor.” Over and over in scripture we see that we are supposed to do the work of counseling by encouraging, building up and comforting those around us. To be honest when I heard in the podcast that everyone in the church should be counseling one another it made me a bit nervous. I see how the world’s ideas are so prevalent in the church it is often times hard for people to determine what is godly counsel and what is the world’s counsel. I desire a greater boldness to share the truth from scripture so that people in the church know what is the flesh and what counsel is from the spirit. Even in the church people are more drawn to procedure than prayer. Positive thoughts more than the Word of God. I want to be that voice that is encouraging people in the church to seek counsel from the pages of God’s word and from godly people, not from outside the church.

    • Johan Alarcon says:

      I too at times can feel as if I am not equipped enough to admonish and counsel another person, yet alone senior brothers or sisters in the faith. I think these feelings can be relatable to doubt, and doubting God and His will is sin. He uses us as vessels to communicate His love and His word to unbelievers and believers in the church. And for us to think that He cant use us, or we are incapable to bring forth His word, is putting limitations on a limitless God.

  • Margaret Deherrera says:

    Thanks for another great pod cast Pastor Jeff. I can totally see the difference as to how psychologist try and treat and diagnose someone based on what they think, and how they try and get you to get your hope by trusting in them and their findings, and I can see the difference after seeing both a biblical counselor and a psychologist. When I saw a biblical counselor or even just visited with my pastor’s wife, they pointed me to truth in the scriptures and they never led me to believe or have hope in them but to find my hope in the Lord. I have seen many people in my church who are lead by the Spirit and give counsel based not in themselves but based on the spirit. I have a few friends I know that have gone thru things similar to me and I give them the same comfort that God gives me as I go thru trials and tribulations, I show them the love that God shows me as I walk through life.

  • Anne Marie Maguire says:

    Amen! Born again believers are competent to counsel like Romans 15:14, says “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.” Because as believers we have God the Holy Spirit living within us and he works through us to help those in need in the church life setting or outside. We should always be ready to share the gospel with those in need. “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.”2 Timothy 4:2. Also we can rely on the Holy Spirit to give us words of wisdom and insight into a counselee’s situation, as we pray and keep our focus on what scripture says about the issue. I thank God that the scripture is fully sufficient.

  • Kyle Fox says:

    In this contrast between psychology and biblical counseling and the message of the Bible, the final point that Pastor Jeff made was a great one. Throughout these podcasts, I’ve often thought about how some of the procedures and counseling methods of psychology are actually effective and they help people overcome difficult situations. So the question is, what’s really so wrong about psychological counseling if the results benefit people. One of the basic answers to this question is that it does not glorify God. In fact, it turns people away from God to the counselors, or inward to themselves. There is no edifying of the body of Christ, and there is not furthering of His kinddom, and ultimately, God is not glorified. This is really a big problem. It is setting people off in the wrong direction. It may put a band-aid over their problems temporarily, but it dons’t resolve the merger, eternal matters. We need to do things God’s way, not mans. We need to do things in the spirit, not in the flesh.

    • Michelle R says:

      Hi Kyle, I also have thought of this as well. I do know friends that are in therapy and love it. They feel that they are being enlightened and about themselves and have an inner knowledge of how to make “themselves” whole. But, from my observation, they still feel that they are missing something in themselves. When we are taking credit for our healing it leaves us feeling half full, and whatever we doing is not enough. True healing comes from God and it is complete, lacking nothing. Thanks for your comment.

  • Josh S says:

    The professionals vs. the people of God. In psychology, the expert is in the professional. Christians shouldn’t give over the issues of life to professionals but should give those things to the community and family of God. When you come to the word of God, you have the people of God who are experienced and gifted and they are called to give counsel. Paul says in Romans 15:14 that the people of God should be able to admonish one another. This word admonish can be translated as counsel. Dr. Jay Adams founded Nouthetic counseling, which is a Biblical way that people have been counseling one another for many years since Biblical times. This verse in Romans is written to believers who are filled with the Spirit of God. In the church, we have access to the competent One, the One who is able to teach us and who is Himself the wonderful counselor. I love how Jeff pointed out that counseling should not be relegated to professionals only. I think there is value to professional Christian counseling but I would say that believers in churches all over should recognize the responsibility and privilege to counsel their fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord.

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