Review of Chapter 3: The Ministry of the Holy Spirit by Justin Holcomb and Mike Wilkerson in Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling.

This is an outstanding chapter that could produce a paradigm shift in our counseling, or perhaps return us to where we started out but have drifted from through self-reliance or method-reliance. The most memorable quote of the chapter is:

Rather than asking about the role of the Holy Spirit in counseling, we should be asking about the counselor’s role in the Holy Spirit’s counseling!

Did that give you whiplash?

There are also two excellent sections on (1) praying throughout the counseling session and (2) how the counselor’s skill and method works together with dependence upon the Holy Spirit.

The basic point of the chapter is that while we want to offer quick practical help to suffering people, and we also want to go on to help change some of the messes in people’s lives; if we want to see people themselves changed, we need more than Scripture and skill. We need the Holy Spirit.

I think the best thing I can do to give you a flavor of the chapter is to list some of the quotables.


“Counseling that lacks this dependence on the Holy Spirit ceases to be Christian.”

“If the Holy Spirit is the primary counselor, then biblical counseling is not merely a dialogue between a counselor and a counselee. Rather it is a trialogue in which a counselor participates in the Spirit’s work already underway in the counselee.”

“The Spirit is actively engaged in counseling, working directly on the counselor and the counselee, and through each to help the other.”

“The goal of biblical counseling is to promote communication between the Spirit and the counselee.”

“It is the Spirit alone who opens the eyes of our hearts to the revelation of God, and it is He who accomplishes something in us by this revelation.”

“To be counseled biblically is to receive God’s Word more and more deeply as the Spirit drives it deeper into the heart.”

“The Spirit illuminates the Word for believers so that they might understand it spiritually, leading to a knowledge of God and to Christ dwelling in their hearts by faith.”

“The Spirit works to drive the seed that is God’s Word deep into the heart where it will take root and produce life.”

“The Spirit gives us impetus to pray as well as the words and spirit of prayer.”

Previous Posts in this Series

Introduction to Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling
John Piper on Biblical Counseling
Charity and Clarity in Counseling

  • Nancy

    Can’t wait until this comes out in paperback as more affordable; sounds like such a wonderful resource.