Musings on …. Cowper and Nouthetic Counseling



Ode to peacE

Come, peace of mind, delightful guest!

Return, and make thy downy nest

Once more in this sad heart:

Nor riches I nor power pursue,

Nor hold forbidden joys in view;

We therefore need not part.

Where wilt thou dwell, if not with me,

From avarice and ambition free,

And pleasure’s fatal wiles?

For whom, alas! dost thou prepare

The sweets that I was wont to share,

The banquet of thy smiles?

The great, the gay, shall they partake

The heaven that thou alone canst make?

And wilt thou quit the stream

That murmurs through the dewy mead,

The grove and the sequester’d shed,

To be a guest with them?

For thee I panted, thee I prized,

For thee I gladly sacrificed

Whate’er I loved before;

And shall I see thee start away,

And helpless, hopeless, hear thee say—

Farewell! we meet no more?

~William Cowper

Here is the website

Heres another site w/explanation

Nouthetic Counseling Embraces Three Ideas

Because the New Testament term is larger than the English word “counsel,” and because it doesn’t carry any of the “freight” that is attached to the latter term, we have simply imported the Biblical term into English. In that way, the full force of the Biblical concept of counseling may be set forth while avoiding the many contradictory connotations surrounding the English one. The three ideas found in the word nouthesia are confrontation, concern, and change. To put it simply, nouthetic counseling consists of lovingly confronting people out of deep concern in order to help them make those changes that God requires.

By confrontation we mean that one Christian personally gives counsel to another from the Scriptures. He does not confront him with his own ideas or the ideas of others. He limits his counsel strictly to that which may be found in the Bible, believing that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and useful for teaching, for conviction, for correction and for disciplined training in righteousness in order to fit and fully equip the man from God for every good task.” (2 Timothy 3:16,17) The nouthetic counselor believes that all that is needed to help another person love God and his neighbor as he should, as the verse above indicates, may be found in the Bible.By concern we mean that counseling is always done for the benefit of the counselee. His welfare is always in view in Biblical counseling. The apostle Paul put it this way: “I am not writing these things to shame you, but to counsel you as my dear children.” (1 Corinthians 4:14) Plainly, the familial nature of the word noutheteo appears in this verse. There is always a warm, family note to biblical counseling which is done among the saints of God who seek to help one another become more like Christ. Christians consider their counseling to be a part of the sanctification process whereby one Christian helps another get through some difficulty that is hindering him from moving forward in his spiritual growth.By change we mean that counseling is done because there is something in another Christian’s life that fails to meet the biblical requirements and that, therefore, keeps him from honoring God. All counseling — Biblical or otherwise– attempts change. Only Biblical counselors know what a counselee should become as the result of counseling: he should look more like Christ. He is the Standard. Biblical counseling is done by Christians who are convinced that God is able to make the changes that are necessary as His Word is ministered in the power of the Spirit. It is their hope to help every interested church develop a nouthetic counseling program that will be a blessing to all of the members of that congregation. The importance of such counseling in churches is underscored by the words of Paul as he described his ministry in Ephesus: “Therefore, be alert, remembering that for three years, night and day, I didn’t stop counseling each one of you with tears.” (Acts 20:31) The regularity and intense nature of Paul’s counsel during his three-year ministry at Ephesus is emphasized by these words. If Paul found it necessary to counsel nouthetically for that entire period, as he said, surely our churches need it, too.


That’s all I have for today. I’m doing some training this week at the local Humane Society to see if I would like to volunteer there. So far, I’m thinking a couple of hours a week, washing dogs or walking them, cleaning cages, clerical stuff.   Blessings on your day, KristinaZec 6:13 – “Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.'” Eph 1:11 -also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, Isa 11:2 – The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. Isa 28:29 -This also comes from the LORD of hosts, {Who} has made {His} counsel wonderful and {His} wisdom great. The Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon  


 Strong’s Number:  3245 dsy
Original Word Word Origin
dsy a primitive root
Yacad yaw-sad’
Verb 875

  1. to found, fix, establish, lay foundation
    1. (Qal) to found, establish, begin
    2. (Niphal)
      1. to fix or seat themselves close together, sit in conclave
      2. to be founded
    3. (Piel)
      1. to found
      2. to establish, appoint, ordain
    4. (Pual) to be founded, be laid
    5. (Hophal) to be founded


KJV (42) – appointed, 1; counsel, 2; established, 2; foundation, 15; foundation + (03117), 1; founded, 8; instructed, 1; lay, 8; ordain, 2; set, 1; sure, 1;NAS (48) – appointed, 2; established, 4; firmly placed, 1; found, 1; foundation, 6; foundation will be laid, 1; foundations i will lay, 1; foundations which laid, 1; founded, 11; given orders, 1; laid, 5; laid its foundations, 1; laid the foundation, 3; laid the foundations, 1; lay its foundation, 1; lay the foundation, 1; laying, 1; lays the foundation, 1; make, 1; rebuilding, 1; set, 1; take counsel, 1; took counsel, 1;

3 responses »

  1. Good post.

    A number of Christians have tried to develop what they consider to be “Biblical” counseling styles then teach them to others.

    I wrote an article for Christianity Today about this topic several years ago. Two of the people I interviewed were Paul Meyer and Frank Minrith.

    Paul was employing a “new” style of counseling in his clinics using guided imagery to discover the root memory (often repressed) that led to the current dysfunction. It was called Theophostic Counseling.

    Though I don’t know if Paul was using this part of TC, the technique does teach many Christians have to be delivered of demons before they can be healed.

    It is a very directive technique.

    Frank, on the other hand, saw this technique as dangerous and refused to use it in his own practice.

    While doing the research for the article I went through the entire training program and I am “certified” to do TC. I wouldn’t ever use it myself. It’s much more like NLP than anything else.

    I read an interesting article about NC while I was looking for more information. While this may not apply to Jay Adams, this quote was interesting:

    I’m in favor of the nouthetic approach because, to paraphrase David Powlison, it approaches the bible as a very big book. Powlison says that many see the bible as a very small book – speaking only to “spiritual” matters related to salvation and sanctification. In this “small bible” view, the bible can tell you how to get saved and grow in Christ, but there are many other matters for which it is insufficient. for those matters, you need a trained psychologist. The nouthetic approach says that the bible is a very big book, which gives principles for every area of life, including major psychological problems.

    If this is an accurate assessment then I would have a few problems. To say the Bible is all we need sounds reasonable when it comes to psychology because of the misconception that psychological problems have no organic basis. That’s not necessarily true.

    Most psychological problems have an underlying physical component.

    So to say we don’t need a trained psychologist is kinda like saying you don’t need a doctor when you break your leg. I don’t know of anyone who would say the Bible is sufficient for teaching us all about heart catheterization, staff infections and reattaching severed limbs.

    What is the Bible sufficient for? If a person is in sin and comes for help about that sin, the Bible is a great resource. In fact, it’s the only real resource for Christians to help them deal with sin.

    I’m curious how Adams’ book addresses depression—one of the most common forms of mental illness. I know the Bible fairly well and I have also dealt with many people trying to cope with depression. I can’t think of any scriptures that directly instruct a “helper” how to deal with a depressed brother or sister.

    How does Adams address diagnosis? For example: The DSM-IV lists many disorders where depression can be a symptom of a different psychological problem.

    I haven’t read the book, so I may be missing the point, but this type of counseling seems to be fraught with problems.

  2. I first came across Jay Adams/ nouthetic counseling back in 1984….as a young Christian myself wanting to grow/be more effective in ministry. To make a long story short, God made a way for us to go to school @ one of the campus’s at the time that offered that approach to Biblical counseling, CCEF affiliated w/ Westminster Theological Seminary in Phil. Penn. I know at the time they offered some of their classes via correspondence..and by now I’m thinking it might be available over the internet….I just audited the course..but gleaned lots of practical and personal application from my time there. Would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how the Scriptures addresses the practical issues of life. DM

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