What is Nouthetic Counseling?

In the 1970’s Nouthetic Counseling became known in America through the publication of Competent to Counsel and other books. Since then, it has grown worldwide, causing people to ask, “What is Nouthetic Counseling, anyway?” The following statement is designed to help you become acquainted with this Christian movement.

While the name is new, the sort of counseling done by nouthetic counselors is not. From biblical times onward, God’s people have counseled nouthetically. The word itself is biblical. The New Testament was written in Greek, from which the noun nouthesia (verb: noutheteo) comes. It is a term used largely by the apostle Paul which is sometimes translated “admonish, correct or instruct.” The term, which best describes biblical counseling, occurs in such passages as Romans 15:14: “I myself am convinced about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and competent to counsel one another.” In that passage, the apostle was encouraging members of the Roman church to do informal, mutual counseling, something that all Christians today should learn, as well. On the other hand, the leaders of a congregation are to counsel nouthetically in a formal manner as a part of their ministry: “Now we ask you, brothers, to recognize those who labor among you, and manage you in the Lord, and counsel you.” (www.nanc.org)