Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling Curriculum
(MABC Program, 39 Units)

Overseas Instruction in Counseling
Program-level Learning Outcomes

A graduate of the OIC MABC program should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the correct application of hermeneutical principles to develop an interpretation of a biblical text including how to legitimately apply the text to personal problems.
  2. Explain the foundational theological principles of biblical counseling with particular focus on the doctrines of inspiration, inerrancy, and sufficiency of the Scriptures, leading to the ability to biblically interact with and respond to current trends, conceptual approaches, and practices in the counseling field in their cultural context.
  3. Explain from Scripture the role of biblical counseling within the larger work of the church; particularly its relationship to evangelism and discipleship.
  4. Develop a counseling methodology that effectively applies a broad range of relevant biblical passages to counselee issues; in particular core issues of the heart, and understanding the centrality of the gospel as the basis for biblical change that leads to true worship.
  5. Demonstrate a consistent pattern of self-reflection leading to growth in the character qualities necessary for effective biblical counseling.
  6. Develop, practice and demonstrate the competencies necessary for effective counseling.

The whole degree is framed around four C’s—Content, Christ like character development, Competencies, and the centrality of local church community (Romans 15:14).

Course-level Learning Outcomes

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Hermeneutics for Biblical Counseling (3 units)

This course provides advanced instruction on the principles of sound biblical interpretation and application.

  1. Identify and collect observations on the historical backgrounds, literary context, grammar, and word study of a given biblical passage.
  2. Identify the process and flow of interpretation in order to make legitimate applications from Scripture.
  3. Discern hermeneutical fallacies by analyzing the common mistakes made by others in interpreting biblical passages.
  4. Synthesize and analyze observations of a given biblical passage to describe the author’s intent of particular verses in context.
  5. Be introduced to and be able to evaluate historic and contemporary hermeneutical methodologies and the ramifications for biblical counseling.

To include:

  • Practice proper application with key passages of scripture and counseling issues like anxiety, depression, pornography.
  • Design homework for counselees demonstrating proper application.
  • A research paper on the historical, grammatical hermeneutic, its history and application to biblical counseling.
  • A paper exegeting a passage of scripture and then properly applying it to a counseling scenario.
Introduction to Biblical Counseling (3 units)

This course offers a general introduction to biblical sufficiency-based personal ministry. The biblical basis for biblical counseling will be examined, biblical counseling will be defined, and the goal of biblical counseling will be explained. Biblical counseling will be distinguished from both humanistic, psychologically based systems and evangelical integrationist theories. The essential qualities of an effective soul care provider will be detailed

  1. Articulate biblical principles that will promote an enriched and improved personal life, and relationship with Christ as life is understood through the lens of being an active worshiper.
  2. Articulate a working understanding of the basic concepts, presuppositions, and distinctive features of biblical counseling.
  3. Identify and begin to demonstrate personal qualities necessary for effective counseling.
  4. Give a detailed biblically-supported explanation of the key differences between biblical counseling and all other kinds of counseling, especially seeing biblical counseling in light of making disciples.
  5. Identify and describe an individual’s personal problems from a distinctly biblical perspective.
  6. Describe a practical framework for evaluating the counseling process from a biblical perspective which includes how change happens.

To include:

  • A robust and thorough presentation of the 3 trees model and Paul Tripp’s box diagram.
  • Case study discussion using the diagrams.
  • A personal sanctification project mentored by the professor or a qualified grader.
  • A case study analysis demonstrating understanding of the 3 trees diagram.
  • Clear presentation of the worshiping heart and its implications.
  • First half of Instrument’s in the Redeemer’s Hands as a text and articles on the heart and desires from JBC.
  • When People are Big and God is Small by Edward Welch
  • Providing the ACBC (The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, see standard of conduct and the professor giving an overview.
Methods of Biblical Counseling (3 units)

This course provides an overview of a comprehensive, biblical, methodological model for promoting God-glorifying change in people. It also details specific procedural aspects of the ministry skill of biblical counseling.

Biblically articulate the rationale for assigning and designing appropriate homework.

  1. Describe and practice a practical framework for the counseling process.
  2. Articulate the key foundational principles that form the basis for biblical counseling theory and practice, with particular emphasis on the significance of relationship skills and the priority of loving others.
  3. Accurately analyze counseling case studies.
  4. Describe the importance of the use proper forms, and describe basic legal issues related to counseling especially in light of their cultural context.
  5. Demonstrate and practice proper question asking, the use of forms, and other necessary relationship skills. 
  6. Theologically assess the methodologies of other counseling systems.
  7. Change

To include:

  • Practice of methodology throughout the class (question asking, how to implement the I’s of a counseling agenda practicing with a case study.
  • Understanding that methodologies are not neutral but grow out of systems.
  • Have a clear methodology for staying well rounded in assigning homework for counselees (not just be content driven only or primarily).
  • A paper assessing the methodologies of 3 counseling theories demonstrating how the methodologies promoted grow out of the etiology of the system.
  • A paper demonstrating how to implement each of the I’s through the analysis of a case study.
  • Wayne Mack’s 8 I’s book and finishing Instrument’s in the Redeemer’s Hands.
  • How People Change–Tripp
Biblical Counseling and Theology (3 units)

This course offers a consideration of the theological issues that form the basis of a biblical approach to personal ministry. It will consider the theological, anthropological, and soteriological presuppositions of treatment theory and seek to bring a thoroughly biblical critique to their foundational assumptions and methodology.

  1. Describe the inherent connections between good theology, godly living, and biblical counseling.
  2. Articulate the key theological principles that form the foundation and framework for our counseling methods and strategies. In particular, the student will be able to articulate the centrality of the doctrine of sanctification to biblical counseling.
  3. Trace the relationship between specific counseling cases and incorrect theological understanding. 
  4. Demonstrate a pattern of thinking theologically about people, their problems, and the solution to those problems as he/she completes the ACBC counseling and theology exams.
  5. Self-assess the extent to which his/her approach to helping people is a reflection of and consistent with his professed theological convictions.
  6. Objectively evaluate the implications of particular theological convictions and counseling systems as philosophies in relation to counseling problems and situations.
  7. Articulate a researched and reasoned defense of the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture.
  8. Suffering is central to scripture and therefore central to our counseling. The student should have a robust understanding of the sovereignty of God in relationship to pain and how to lovingly comfort those who are suffering. Teaching students the importance of lament will be a key concept in the class.
  9. By the end of the course the student should be able to understand and evaluate the common grace and general revelation arguments of integrationists.

To include:

  • A paper demonstrating theological analysis of counseling systems using the 7 S’s to discern what a counseling system believes. Common systems used in their culture should be the examples.
  • A theologically robust paper on the sufficiency of scripture historically, biblically and understanding the current arguments for and against.
  • A paper on suffering that includes a theology of suffering and the demeanor of counselors toward sufferers.
  • Answers to half of the ACBC theology exam questions.
  • A Theology of Biblical Counseling by Heath Lambert
  • When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada
  • Seeing with New Eyes by David Powlison
  • Frame’s Systematic Theology
Marriage & Family Counseling (3 units)

This course will consider such issues as marriage as a covenant, the biblical purpose of marriage, dating/courtship, functions of a family, premarital counseling, complementarian marital roles, communication, conflict resolution, financial counseling, counseling victims of spousal abuse, rebuilding a marriage after an adulterous affair, biblical principles governing sexuality, and parent/child relationships. A marriage counseling methodology will also be taught.

  1. Identify and describe, with biblical support, key ingredients that promote a God-honoring covenant view marriage and family life and the superiority of His design for marriage.
  2. Explain how all of life, including problem areas, are part of the worship process that takes place within the heart of man.
  3. Give a biblically-supported defense of the sufficiency and superiority of the Scripture for handling all the personal and interpersonal problems of life within marriage and the family.
  4. Articulate the complementarian understanding of roles and be able to biblically evaluate egalitarianism.
  5. Identify biblical passages, principles and processes that provide a distinctly biblical way of looking at people and their problems within the context of marriage and family.
  6. Articulate key principles for making a wise choice of a spouse.
  7. Use biblical principles to self-assess his/her own relationship skills and character traits as a product of his/her heart, and continue to develop godly heart-worship, relationship skills, and character traits. 
  8. Understand and assess attitudes toward and the state of marriage in their country.
  9. Understand how to deal with domestic abuse and other crisis marriages in their cultural context.
  10. By the end of the course develop a biblical position on divorce and remarriage.

To include:

  • A personal growth project related to the student’s relationships.
  • God, Marriage and Family by Andreas Kostenberger
  • Peacemaking for Families by Ken Sande
  • A research position paper on Divorce, Marriage and Remarriage.
  • Research on domestic abuse laws and procedures in their country.
  • Research on common approaches to marriage counseling in their culture.
  • Develop a premarital counseling outline and procedure.
Counseling Case Studies and Observation (3 units)
  1. By the end of the course the student will be able to proficiently use diagrams taught in previous classes to analyze case studies.
  2. Identify key methodologies demonstrated in observing role plays or videos.
  3. Proficiently use the I’s methodology to evaluate observed counseling.
Problems and Procedures I and II (two classes, 6 units)

This course will address a variety of the challenges faced by Christians. These may include but not be limited to the following: the nature of Christian life, anger, fear, depression, homosexuality, anxiety, eating disorders, incest, child abuse, counseling youth, crisis counseling, the role of women in counseling and issues unique to women, and legal issues in counseling. [domestic abuse needs to be added]. It will also explore the common counseling problems and situations faced by the pastor and detail some possible pitfalls especially faced in today’s social environment. Particular issues of the cultural context will be explored.

  1. Articulate biblical principles that will promote an enriched and improved personal life and relationship with Christ.
  2. Explain how all of life, including problem areas, are part of the worship process that takes place within the heart of man.
  3. Give a biblically-supported defense of the sufficiency and superiority of the Scripture for handling all the personal and interpersonal problems of life by looking at advanced, complex counseling issues.
  4. Describe the centrality of the gospel and the role of counseling within the local church for dealing with complex problems in a believer’s life.
  5. Complete in-depth Scriptural and secular research of complex life problems.
  6. Introduction to legal issues and forms.

To include:

  • A research project on a complex counseling issue (this paper could be foundational for the student’s culminating project).
  • Men Counseling Men by John Street
  • Women Counseling Women by John and Janie Street
  • Depression, Up From a Banquet in the Grave by Edward Welch
  • Another book on anger
  • The development of a counseling issues filing system.
  • By the end of the second course complete the ACBC counseling exam.
Biblical Counseling in the Local Church (3 units)

This course provides instruction on how to develop a local church corporate culture of personal discipleship, how to select and equip counselors in and for the local church, and how to establish a local church biblical counseling and training center.

  1. The student will be able to articulate what it means that a church is a church of biblical counseling not just has a biblical counseling ministry.
  2. Describe how biblical counseling, worship and The Great Commission have the same goals.
  3. Understand the role of the pastor and other leaders in shepherding soul care issues.
  4. Articulate the role of church members in one another’s lives.
  5. Explain how to develop a counseling ministry.
  6. Understand how to develop a counselor/discipler equipping ministry.

To include:

  • The teaching of OIC’s training philosophy.
  • Paul Tautges’ books on discipleship ministry in the church.
  • A study of the one another passages
  • The “pyramid of care” philosophy.
  • Answers to half of the ACBC theology exam questions
Biblical Counseling and Medical Issues (3 units)

This course is a survey of the physiological factors that influence areas in a person’s life that may be of importance when counseling.

  1. By the end of the course the student will understand a theology of the body.
  2. Be able to articulate the role of a biblical counselor and the role of a health care professional.
  3. Understand how care for the body fits into local church discipleship ministry.
  4. Be introduced to a basic understanding of the brain and how to understand current research.
  5. Have a basic comprehension of psychotropic medicines and their effects.

To include:

  • Blame it on the Brain? by Edward Welch
  • Write a paper on the importance of sleep.
  • A clear view of how much attention a biblical counselor should give to items such as diet, exercise, etc.
Biblical Conflict Resolution (3 units)
  1. Articulate the key foundational principles of a biblically-based approach to conflict resolution, and marriage conflict counseling.
  2. Identify the key theological principles relating to inter-personal conflict that provide a framework to enable a person to respond as worshiper of God and grow in personal sanctification. 
  3. Explain, with biblical support, how an individual’s heart worship shapes his/her relationship skills, and character traits. The dynamics of relationships.
  4. Describe the key ingredients to preparing for and leading a godly, gospel-oriented mediation.

To include:

  • A personal growth project related to how the student deals with relationship difficulties.
  • An understanding of the core principles of The Peacemaker (4 G’s and their sub categories and implications).
  • A conflict resolution case study analysis.
  • An introduction to mediation and arbitration.
Counseling Practicum (3 units)

This course helps students learn counseling skills through the use of role-play and peer evaluation. It will include student participation in counseling as an observer, a counselor, and counselee. The student’s counseling activity will be both peer and instructor reviewed.

  1. Apply biblical counseling principles to specific case study situations and common personal problems.
  2. Articulate proper relationship skills and methodologies for effective counseling.
  3. Analyze and critique counseling role-play scenarios in light of biblical counseling principles.
  4. Practice using proper forms.

To include:

  • Practice making an agenda and designing homework.
  • Practice with fellow classmates on real issues.
  • Practice filling out forms
  • Practice explaining diagrams.
  • Evaluation of the counselor’s skills and demeanor (asking open ended questions, getting to the heart, proper use of scripture, Christ like demeanor, etc)
Counseling Research Project (3 units)

The purpose of the course is to have the student demonstrate the ability to research and develop an extended outline on a counseling topic relevant to life and ministry. This can be a topic that is culturally relevant or one that will develop the understanding of biblical counseling in his or her cultural context.

  1. By the end of the course the student will have developed a 25-30 page double spaced outline utilizing at least 20 sources on a counseling topic relevant to his or her culture.
  2. The student should demonstrate proper exegesis and application.

To include:

  • Following the formatting guidelines of the school