Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Competent to Counsel” as Want to Read:
Competent to Counsel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Competent to Counsel

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  960 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
This classic has helped thousands of pastors, students, laypeople, and Christian counselors develop both a general approach to Christian counseling and a specific response to particular problems.
Hardcover, 287 pages
Published July 2nd 1986 by Zondervan (first published May 28th 1970)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 07, 2009 Buddy rated it liked it
Guess what? It wasn't that bad. I thought that Jay Adams did a good job of identifying some downfalls of modern psychology and mental health, mainly that too much emphasis is placed on the organic side of mental illness and not enough is given to personal responsibility. He also has some pretty practical ideas that can be utilized in a counseling setting. However, I did have some criticisms of the book. Adams seems to paint all of secular counseling with a broad stroke, and it is not very favora ...more
Rock Rockwell
Oct 07, 2007 Rock Rockwell rated it it was ok
Shelves: counseling
Nouthetic counseling training for laymen or pastors who have not been trained in this type of counseling. Bottom line: 1. Person communicates their problem; 2. You find the verse in the Bible to fix/address their problem/situation; 3. They repent/obey/agree/etc. to that Scripture and they are healed/fixed (OR) they reject/disobey/disagree/etc. to that Scripture and they are not healed.

The mindset is good for basing counseling on biblical principles, but it does not deal with people holistically
Jacob Aitken
Jun 18, 2012 Jacob Aitken rated it liked it
One needs to steer a middle path in Adams. Contra to modern psychology, people are often screwed up because they really *are* in sin. Sin has consequences. It *does* darken one's judgment and the more one sins, the less like the image of god he reflects. This is Romans 1 plain and simple. No Christian can seriously dispute this.

What doesn't follow, however, is Adams' assertion that one is depressed *because* one is currently in rebellious, unrepentant sin. Here is an easy counter-example: when m
Terry Morgan
May 23, 2012 Terry Morgan rated it did not like it
I loved the first chapter of this book, but hated the rest. I found myself yelling (yes out loud) at the book as I was reading it. I have rarely seen a book start out so good, and so quickly become really bad.

Reading this book was part of a homework assignment in school. If I didn't have to finish reading it for the class, I very likely would not have finished it.
Mar 05, 2016 Debbie rated it really liked it
Shelves: discipleship
"The thesis of this book is that qualifiedChristian counsellors properly trained in the Scriptures are competent to ourselves--more competent than psychiatrists or anyone else." Page 18

This is an introduction to counseling using biblical principles. Rather than focusing on technique and procedures, it focuses on the biblical mandate to help one another and the encouragement and basic principles for Christian leaders and lay people to train themselves to counsel biblically.

He teaches that the Bi
Dec 07, 2012 Samantha rated it did not like it
This is a pathetic attempt on the part of Jay Adams to take counseling captive and hold it hostage in the church setting at the expense of all other psychological interventions. Although I am a proponent of church-based counseling, I believe that church counselors should at least have an undergraduate degree in psychology and a graduate degree rich in both psychology and theology. One must also be willing to refer outside the church for individuals who require more thorough psychiatric evaluatio ...more
Jul 09, 2014 Katie rated it did not like it
I found this material to be very legalistic and simplistic. Adams makes a good point that we need to address sin and hold our fellow brothers and sisters accountable. However, he fails to recognize the value of psychotherapy. This book is an outdated account of what psychotherapy is and represents.
Camille K.
A useful glimpse at conservative Evangelical reaction to American culture from the 1970s. It's more a primary text as the world into which I was born.
Apr 05, 2008 Larry rated it did not like it
all of jay adams' works are biblically, psychologically, and scientifically inept, wrong-headed, filled with bad theology and scientific error; in short, they are terrible.
William Duff
Jan 27, 2017 William Duff rated it really liked it
Not the most enjoyable read, but a very good book. I wish all Christians had at least as much belief in the sufficiency of Scripture as Jay Adams does. I hope this book will disabuse many Christians of the notions that poor mental health is behind every misbehavior and that pastors/Bible are not able to deal with "complicated, complex, psychological" problems.
CJ Bowen
Mar 25, 2009 CJ Bowen rated it really liked it
A landmark in biblical counseling for good reason. Adams is at his best when dissecting alternative systems, and comparing them to the Bible. He shows that neither Rogerian nor Freudian methods think of man in anything like the way the Bible does, and thus their methods and goals are quite different from those of Scripture. Careful listening followed by direct, pointed application of Scripture is the heart of nouthetic counseling. When he defines the goal of the umbrella of nouthetic counseling ...more
Johnny Kristensen
Sep 13, 2016 Johnny Kristensen rated it really liked it
Great introduction to Biblical counseling. Gives appetite for much more.
Michael Jones
Jul 30, 2012 Michael Jones rated it it was ok
I read this in 2000 and it has a rather tight shoed Puritan approach to life. As a Minister, I don't see it as my duty to pry too deeply into people's sins and difficulties, but rather simply to pray and trust God and let them know that they have a friend in me and in Jesus.

When I give a sermon, if something in the Bible helps the person to see their sins and things they need to work through, that's between the Holy Spirit and the person. But I would not tend to become overly heavy in this type
Jan 06, 2012 Michael rated it liked it
This was pretty good. I appreciate that he covers what is wrong with psychology and secular forms of counseling. I have read a couple of books on counseling and can see that most of the current writers on the subject, owe much to Adams and this volume.

I liked its strong emphasis on communication, caring, group/family counseling, behavior and the fact that sin reaches into every aspect of our lives and shapes our thinking and doing. It therefor needs to be addressed, sought out, crushed and turn
Chris Washington
Aug 24, 2015 Chris Washington rated it it was amazing
I believe Adams brings in line the Holy Bible as a life source to living in peace; we mistakenly view the bible as a book to be read and miss the important life corrections that are needed to avoid deceit in incorrectly solving our life's problems. Biblical counseling one another, confessing our sins and reconciling our differences by using the word of God as a guide is truly the only way to straightening out the mess we have created in our world.
Aaron Ventura
Oct 24, 2016 Aaron Ventura rated it liked it
This book lays a decent, albeit rudimentary foundation for biblical counseling. Adams is trying to clear away some of the debris in the Christian counseling world that has been infected with Freud and Rogerian dogma. I am not sure how prevalent that is today but it's a worthwhile read nonetheless. Nouthetic is basically an adjective saying, "counsel people with Scripture with the goal of them becoming more like Jesus."
Kevin Godfrey
Good from a theoretical standpoint

I am a counselor and a Christian above all. I have been leaning more toward a purely biblical approach and I found the ideas in this book to be helpful. However his stance on some mental illnesses seems a bit too simplistic and some of his practical tips leave much to be desired. Overall the foundational biblical principles he espouses are agreeable to me.
May 01, 2012 Bruce rated it really liked it
Shelves: ministry
As a new asst pastor I had little clue how to give counsel since all I had in Bible school was Psych 101 and an exposure to Christianized behaviorism models. Some one tuned me into Adams and his then novel idea that the Scriptures were sufficient to give counsel assuming one knew them and how to apply them. It was Jay Adams and Ed Buckley who inspired me become a certified biblical counselor. Competent to Counsel is a classic work as well as a pioneering work.
Marc Plazola
Jun 22, 2016 Marc Plazola rated it really liked it
The Founding of Biblical Counseling began with this book. During the writing of this book, psychoanalysis, humanistic and behavioral psychology were at their prime. Believers were widely accepting the teachings of such approaches to counseling, because there was nothing else. Jay Adams responded against the status quo. My hat's off to him for beginning a movement that I, as well as millions of others, can still be a part of today.
Tim Miller
Jan 02, 2010 Tim Miller rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All Christians
This book did a tremendous job at showing the biblical view of counseling and the fact that every christian is capable of counseling. It seeks to directly handle the problem (sin) in a persons life. It shows that we are to address christians as Christ and the bible instructs us to do so. I would recommend this book to any Christian who takes their faith seriously and wishes to live a life serving others and God.
Dec 12, 2008 Rich rated it it was amazing
Remember it is the Lord, the Comforter's, the Counselor's job to change people and transform them, we simply get the joyous task of being used to that end, as we seek to faithfully handle the Word of God.
It does not come by man, nor some pseudo - counseling progam, but according to the Word of God.
Alma Santana
Feb 12, 2008 Alma Santana rated it liked it
Recommended to Alma by: Dan
This book is good and those who appreciate psychology will find it more interesting. I usually only read books that are highly recommended because my time is very valueable. I could have gotten more out of this book but lack of my phsyc. knowledge made impatient.
Mar 03, 2015 Jake rated it really liked it
Good stuff. I've probably been somewhat exposed to this type of thinking for many, many years, so while it wasn't new to me at this point, it was very good and was interesting hearing the history of how it came to be, too.
Isaiah Jesch
Jul 20, 2014 Isaiah Jesch rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I read this book prior to taking my courses on counseling and psychology in my undergraduate work, but I found this to still be more insightful and beneficial than the books I read for those courses. I plan to keep this book as a resource for counseling in the future.
Aug 27, 2008 Tiffany rated it really liked it
I read this for a class in high school, and now I'm reading it again for my counseling certification...kind of dry, but good...I hate reading dry books twice; wish me luck!
Jun 07, 2014 Matthew rated it really liked it
A book that I will be able to reference as I love on those who need help overcoming difficult times and situations.
Caleb Warren
Feb 22, 2013 Caleb Warren rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on counseling!
Kevin Lewis
Feb 15, 2014 Kevin Lewis rated it it was amazing
Excellent book to expose one to biblical counseling principles. Great resource to return to again and again.
Jan 19, 2009 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
It has some very good points to make about using the scriptures to counsel people. However, I would not use this as my only source for helping people.
George moffat
Feb 24, 2015 George moffat rated it really liked it
Cambiando competamente la visión de la consejería, un material imprescindible para quien quiere entrar en el mundo de la consejería noutética
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Counseling: How to Counsel Biblically (MacArthur Pastor's Library)
  • Blame It on the Brain: Distinguishing Chemical Imbalances, Brain Disorders, and Disobedience
  • Seeing with New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture
  • Strengthening Your Marriage
  • Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling
  • War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles
  • The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
  • How People Change
  • Counsel from the Cross: Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ
  • The Heart of Anger: Practical Help for Prevention and Cure of Anger in Children
  • The Enemy Within: Straight Talk about the Power and Defeat of Sin
  • The Fruit of Her Hands: Respect and the Christian Woman
  • The Exemplary Husband: A Biblical Perspective
  • Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life
  • Reforming Marriage
  • CrossTalk: Where Life & Scripture Meet
Also known as Jay Edward Adams
More about Jay E. Adams...

Share This Book