BCC Staff Note: You’re reading the first in a multi-part BCC Grace & Truth blog series on Biblical Counseling Education and Equipping. These posts will be written by leading biblical counseling equippers/educators. In today’s post, Dr. Jeremy Pierre of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary shares 2 Reasons to Consider a Degree in Biblical Counseling.
Substance, Not Hype
Educational advertisements always amuse me. “Make your dreams come true.” “Realize your highest aspirations.” “From here, go anywhere.” I realize that advertisement is a special mode of discourse—one that is quite unlike the mode of discourse in counseling, where things like listening and precision are prized. So advertising biblical counseling training can feel a bit tricky.
One of the advantages of being involved with the Biblical Counseling Coalition is getting to feature different training opportunities in a way that focuses on substance, not hype. I regularly pray for the growth and success of many different institutions and programs associated with the BCC and have a high opinion of their substance. Of course, I’m partial to my own institution, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
1. The Breadth of Theological Training
Many folks ask me why an accredited graduate degree is desirable over other types of training. Admittedly, there are strengths and weaknesses of any type of training. I want to briefly feature a distinct advantage of a graduate degree: the breadth of theological training from other fields that fill a counselor’s biblical knowledge base. Learning the foundation of systematic theology, the method of biblical theology, and the practice of hermeneutics from a specialized faculty will make all your dreams come true. Oops, sorry. I switched discourse modes there.
What I meant was, the theological depth and disciplinary breadth of a masters degree is excellent preparation for the practice of counseling. In other words, you are not just learning biblical counseling from Stuart Scott, Heath Lambert, and myself. You are also learning how to exegete Scripture, assess theories of epistemology, and navigate the process of doing theology from scholars like Tom Schreiner, Eric Johnson, Bruce Ware, Jim Hamilton, Gregg Allison, Timothy Jones, and many others.
2. The Level of Your Degree
You can also choose your level of degree.
Beyond the bachelor degree (which we offer in biblical counseling) the Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling is designed to prepare students for a ministry of biblical counseling to individuals, couples, and families in a congregational, denominational agency, counseling center, or missions setting. It’s intended for non-pastoral staff members and other church leaders who seek to do a significant amount of counseling from the framework of a biblical counseling model. More info here.
The gold standard of graduate preparation for ministry is the Master of Divinity degree, and Southern offers a biblical counseling concentration intended to give rigorous and specialized training to prepare men and women for the ministry of biblical counseling. This concentration is designed for pastors and other church leaders who seek to do a significant amount of counseling from the framework of a biblical counseling model. More info here.
Beyond the master’s degree, we offer a professional doctoral degree, the Doctor of Ministry, and a research doctoral degree, the Doctor of Philosophy. The D.Min. is intended for pastors or other ministry professionals already in ministry to increase their knowledge and skills in counseling from a biblical foundation. Folks who seek this degree establish lifelong ministry connections with one another. More info here.
The highest level degree is the Ph.D. in Biblical Counseling. It is intended to train pastors, counselors, and scholars to think and practice wisely in caring for people amid the complexities of human life. The modular format allows for students already established in their respective ministries or vocations to study. This degree not only provides advanced scholarship in the theological, historical, and contemporary aspects of biblical counseling, but also fosters case wisdom, skill in biblical interpretation, and appreciation for the church’s role in the care of people. More info here.
Maybe these degrees won’t make your dreams come true. But we are confident that they will prepare you well for developing as a counselor over a lifetime of service, in whatever capacity that may be.
Join the Conversation
What are additional reasons to consider a degree in biblical counseling?