The Hebrew words “ya’as” and “es’ah” are used in the Old Testament to mean “to advise, counsel, consult.”
The New Testament Greek word “bouleo” is similar in that it means “to take counsel, to resolve,” or “a piece of advice.”
Psa. 119:24 What was the Psalmist’s counselor?
Is God’s Word, the Bible, your counselor, or do you follow the advice of pagan, worldly books/magazines/ newspapers, etc. (e.g., “Situation Ethics” by Joseph Fletcher, which says that committing what the Bible calls a sin may actually be the right thing to do depending on the situation; or, “Playboy” magazine by Hugh Hefner; it champions the idea that sex is ok to have whenever you want, with whomever you want, and it’s irrelevant whether you are married or not; the chief goal in life is to get pleasure, etc.)?
Do you think that the Bible/God’s Word is even relevant today in helping you with your problems and/or making decisions? Or, do you think the Bible is outdated and can’t help you in making decisions and/or handling problems?
What does 2 Tim. 3:16-17 say about the value of God’s Word/Scripture?
Why is it profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness?
Is this how you view the Bible?
Do you think meditating on God’s Word, the Bible, throughout each day will make you wiser/more insightful/more understanding than the aged/teachers who don’t, and why (Psa. 119:97-100)?
[But for this to be true, it implies that a person knows the Bible fairly well, having meditated upon it for a considerable period of time. However, if you don’t know your Bible well, it would be wise to consult those who do before you make any significant decisions.].
Prov. 27:9 To what is a person’s counsel to his friend compared?
[Both oil/incense and perfume were valuable in biblical times and sweet or pleasant/fragrant.].
Do you regard the biblical counsel that you get from your godly, biblically-knowledgeable Christian friends as valuable and desirous, or are you too proud to accept their counsel and think your own way of doing things is much better?
What does Prov. 12:15 say about the person who thinks his own way is right and refuses to listen to (godly) counsel?
Would your friends consider you as this type of person?
Prov. 12:20 Who has joy?
[Peace- another’s well being, physically or spiritually.].
Do you give people advice/counsel with their physical/spiritual well being in mind, or do you tell them that it’s: okay to cut corners on the job; cheat on exams so they can pass their class; lie to get out of a jam; eat fruit at the grocery store that they haven’t paid for to see if it’s good; have an abortion if they don’t want children; move in with their boyfriend/girlfriend before getting married; or step on the next guy to get ahead, and why?
What kind(s) of general advice would you give someone with his/her physical/spiritual well being in mind?
Prov. 19:20 What is a person told to do?
Did you realize that the advice/counsel you accept or reject from others could have a permanent affect on the rest of your life?
Since this is the case, what does this tell you about the kind of counsel you should listen to (accept)?
Are you listening to biblical counsel, or do you avoid it because you know it won’t be what you want to hear?
Prov. 20:5 What are the plans (true thoughts, intentions, motives) in the heart of man like?
Who can draw them out?
[A person of understanding is a discerning person who can help another bring to the surface his/her true thoughts, intentions, or motives. Often a wise counselor can help a person examine his/her true motives-thoughts he/she may not fully understand otherwise.].
Do you take advantage of getting counsel from someone who is wise/discerning, someone who knows the Bible well, is obeying it, and, therefore, who can help bring to light areas in your life that you may be doing something wrong in?
1 Chron. 27:32 What was Jonathan, David’s uncle, who was a scribe and counselor, considered as?
Do you make yourself available to the advice/counsel of a person of understanding (one who knows the Bible well and obeys its commands) when it comes to making important decisions?
Psa. 1:1 Who is blessed/happy?
What is said about the wicked in Psalms 10:4?
When figuring out what you want to do with your life, would you go to a school guidance counselor who is not interested in helping you determine God’s will for your life, since he/she may not even believe there is a God or the Bible, and therefore, is more interested in helping you pick a major that will prepare you for a high-paying job?
Or, would you go to a godly Christian who knows the Bible well, and would be more interested in helping you find God’s will for your life, even if it meant not going to college?
1 Sam. 24:1-8 What did David’s men tell him in the cave in order to try to convince him to take Saul’s life (1 Sam. 24:4)?
Did God promise David that He would make him king over Israel (1 Sam. 13:14; 15:28; 2 Sam. 5:2; 1 Chron. 11:2)?
When considering whether a particular thing is God’s will or not, does every open door (e.g., like David’s opportunity to kill Saul and acquire the kingdom) automatically mean that it is God’s will?
Even if the ultimate goal/end is God’s will (in David’s case, it was becoming Israel’s next king), is timing and the manner of acquiring it also a part of whether something is God’s will or not?
[It was God’s will that David acquire the kingdom; however, it was not God’s will that David take matters into his own hands.].
If you were accepted by a college that you really liked and believed it was God’s will for you to go to college and were even counseled by your parents to go to college now, but you also had the opportunity to be trained in Christ-like character and mission by an experienced Christian group that specializes in Christ-like training, would you postpone going to college, or would you turn down being equipped to do what the Bible says every Christian ought to be doing (i.e., evangelism, Matt. 28:19-20; building up other believers spiritually, Rom. 14:19; and living a holy life, 1 Pet. 1:15-16), and why?
Or, if you knew God wanted you to be married and a Christian girl came into your life who you really liked and you had the opportunity to marry her and your parents were counseling you to marry her now, but you also had the opportunity to be trained in Christ-like character and mission (which the Bible says every Christian should be doing) while still single, would you postpone marrying her and get equipped first, or would you turn down the training in order to get married now, and why?
2 Chron. 22:2-4 Who counseled Ahaziah to do wickedly?
Parent’s counsel to their children is often contrary to the will of God. Have you noticed in the past that your family told you to do so something contrary to the will and Word of God?
If so, give an example.
Can you really expect non-Christian (and/or carnal, worldly Christian) family members and/or relatives to advise you to make your decisions based on biblical principles when their philosophy of life is contrary to the goals, priorities, values, and perspectives of God’s Word?
1 Kings 12:1-14 How did Rehoboam respond to the wise advice of the elders to lighten the heavy work and tax burdens on the people of Israel and to be a servant to them?
How did he respond to the advice of the younger men who grew up with him, men who had less experience and wisdom than the elders did?
Have you ever gone to an experienced, obedient-to-the-Bible Christian for advice (as in how to find God’s will, how to solve a dilemma you are in, or how to deal with people you are having problems with), and when it wasn’t what you wanted to hear, you ignored his advice and went to someone else (e.g., an in-experienced person who may or may not know the Bible well), who you knew would tell you what you wanted to hear?
Would you rather go to an obedient Christian who knows the Bible or a disobedient Christian (or non-Christian) who may or may not know the Bible well for advice about a decision you have to make or how to deal with certain people?
Num. 13:1-3, 25-33 Did or didn’t God promise to give the Israelites the land of Canaan to possess (Num. 13:2)?
Did the Israelites reject the advice of the 10 spies who said not to go up and take possession of the land or the two spies who said to take possession of the land that God had promised them (Num. 14:1-4)?
Why do you think they rejected the good advice of Joshua and Caleb?
If God told you, through the advice of one or two godly, obedient-to-the-Bible Christian(s), that it was His will for you to get trained in a full-time Christian ministry that equips Christians to evangelize, build up other believers spiritually, and to live a holy life, and everyone else you talked with (i.e., parents, relatives, friends, teachers, boss/coworkers, etc.) told you that that was a bad idea because you wouldn’t make any money and be able to support yourself, would you trust God and obey Him by listening to the godly Christian’s advice, or would you rebel against God by disobeying and not trusting Him, and thereby, accept the advice of everyone else, and why?
What consequences did the Israelites suffer for not trusting God and disobeying Him by listening to the bad advice of the 10 spies who said not to go into the Promised Land (Num. 14:28-34, 36-37)?
If you had the opportunity to be trained to be Christ-like in character and mission in a full-time Christian ministry that specializes in Christ-like training and you were also advised by a godly, spiritual Christian to get trained, but you didn’t trust God and refused to obey Him in getting trained, would you realize that passing up this opportunity could disqualify you from experiencing God’s best for your life, and cause you to waste many good years of your life in some lesser involvement or possibly lose your life, due to God’s discipline?
2 Chron. 25:5-12 What did the man of God tell Amaziah, king of Judah (2 Kings 14:1), not to do (2 Chron 25:7)?
Why were they not to go with Amaziah into battle (2 Chron 25:7)?
Have you ever been advised by a godly, Christian to cut ties with your non-Christian (or carnal Christian) friends, girlfriend/boyfriend, business partner, etc.?
If so, how did you respond, and why?
What sin did Amaziah commit after defeating the Edomites (2 Chron. 25:14-16)?
What was his response to the prophet of God reproving him for his idolatry?
Have you ever been confronted by a godly, obedient Christian for worshiping (by devoting most of your time, thoughts, and energy to) other gods (e.g., the gods of: career, sports, $$$, possessions, cars, computers, video games, popularity, weight-lifting, TV/movies, music, romance, sex, family, education, politics, etc.) and advised to turn away from them and instead worship/serve the one true God of the Bible?
If so, how did you respond, and why?
What other sin was Amaziah guilty of (2 Chron. 25:17-24, 27)?
About what did he become prideful (2 Chron. 25:19)?
Have you ever experienced a great spiritual victory in your life, and afterwards you became so proud that you would not listen to anyone’s advice?
What happened to Amaziah after rejecting king Joash’s advice not to go to war with him?
Have you ever suffered bad consequences because you rejected a godly Christian’s counsel?
What was the response of Moses (the servant of the Lord whom the Lord knew face-to-face, Ex. 33:11; Deut. 34:10) to Jethro, his father-in-law’s counsel to delegate some of his work load out to certain Israelites who were qualified to do the work (Ex. 18:24)?
Does Moses’ response show that he had a teachable attitude to wise/sensible advice?
Are you teachable in that you are willing to receive good advice even if you are more spiritually mature and biblically knowledgeable than the person giving you plain/sensible advice?
Or, do you scoff at his/her advice and think that just because he/she doesn’t know the Bible as much as you, any advice that he/she gives to you isn’t worth listening to, and why?
Ezra 9:1-3, 10-12; 10:9-12
What had the people of Israel, the priests, Levites (Ezra 9:1), and even the princes and rulers (Ezra 9:2) not done?
And what did they do with some of the daughters of these pagan nations?
Were the Israelites wrong regarding these actions previously mentioned?
Why (Ex. 34:11-16; Deut. 7:1-6)?
In addition to telling them to confess their sins to God, what else did Ezra advise the Israelites to do (Ezra 10:11)?
Does this seem like harsh advice?
[The advice here to divorce their wives was not the norm, nor does it mean that God always condones divorce. This situation was unique in that the Israelites were commanded not to inter-marry with the pagan nations because their wives would lead them into idolatry, and cause the nation to be destroyed by God.].
Have you ever been advised by a godly Christian to separate yourself from people who were teaching false doctrines (e.g., that tithing is a command for Christians; that the spiritual gifts of speaking in tongues, prophecy, and healings are still for today; or the prosperity gospel, etc.) and if so, did you stop going to their church or fellowshipping with them, or did you think that these were minor issues, and; therefore, no reason to cut ties with these people, and why?
Or, have you ever been advised to stop listening to secular, worldly music, going to bad movies, getting drunk, dancing sexually, pursuing a career just to make a lot of money, or pursuing a marriage relationship with a non-Christian (or carnal Christian)?
If so, did you accept the advice, and why?
2 Kings 5:1-14
How did Naaman respond to Elisha’s advice that was given to him through Elisha’s messenger telling Naaman to go and wash in the Jordan river seven times to be cured of his leprosy?
Have you ever gone to someone for advice about your problem, but because you didn’t like the solution posed to you, you rejected his/her advice?
If so, give an example.
While advising Naaman to follow Elisha’s advice, what did Namaan’s servants say to him that indicated they respected and honored him as their master, even though he was wrong?
When an older person is in error about something, do you appeal to him as a “father” (with respect and honor) when advising him to change his course of action, or do you jump at the opportunity to sharply rebuke him for his mistake (1 Tim. 5:1)?
1 Kings 13:11-19 What did the old prophet tell the man of God to do (1 Ki. 13:15)?
Why did the man of God say he couldn’t return with the old prophet to eat and drink with him (1 Ki. 13:17)?
How did the old prophet deceive the man of God into going back with him?
Have you ever been deceived by a religious person claiming to have a direct revelation/message from God for you and advising you to do something (e.g., get slain in the Spirit, pursue riches for yourself because God wants you wealthy; not go to a doctor for your illness because God will heal you if you just have enough faith; or join a church that teaches these doctrines) even though you knew that God didn’t tell you to do it (because it’s not taught in the Bible, and God doesn’t give direct revelation anymore)?
Or, if you were convinced that it’s not God’s will for you to get married yet and some religious person and/or your boyfriend/girlfriend told you that God gave them a special revelation/message that you are supposed to get married now, would you blindly accept their advice because they said the message was from God, or would you refuse to accept their advice, and why?
How would you be able to determine whether their advice was from God or not?
Jer. 38:14-19 What does Jeremiah tell Zedekiah that indicates he knew Zedekiah wasn’t too serious about following his advice (Jer. 38:15)?
Does Zedekiah respond to Jeremiah’s objection by promising he would follow his advice?
Why do you think this was so?
Have you ever gone to a godly, obedient Christian for advice on determining God’s will for your life, but you weren’t really serious about following his/her advice just in case it wasn’t what you wanted to hear?
After giving Zedekiah advice (in spite of his giving no indication he would follow it) to surrender to the king of Babylon in order to save his life, his family’s life, and to save his city, what did Zedekiah tell Jeremiah (Jer. 38:19)?
After being advised as to what God’s will for your life is (i.e., aggressive evangelizing, building up believers spiritually, and living a holy life yourself),would you respond like Zedekiah did when told what God’s will for him was and make excuses as to why you “couldn’t” do that, or would you follow the advice and begin obeying God right away, and why?
2 Sam. 16:20-23 How was Ahithophel’s counsel viewed by the authorities of his day?
What advice did Ahithophel, one of the top counselors to the king of his day, give to Absalom?
Was this advice right, and why?
Just because a person is viewed as a highly esteemed counselor, does that necessarily mean that his/her advice is right or biblical, and why?
Has a socially reputable counselor ever advised you to do something contrary to what the Bible teaches?
If so, what?
If a counselor told you to leave a full-time ministry of evangelism and building up other believers spiritually in order to please your wife and keep peace in the marriage and her possibly divorcing you, would you quit the ministry, and why?
If a counselor told you to stop evangelizing, reading your Bible, going to Bible studies, and/or getting trained to better evangelize and build up other Christians in order to keep peace with your parents, would you heed his counsel, and why?
2 Sam. 24:1-4 What advice did Joab give to David?
What position was David in the kingdom?
What position was Joab?
If you are in a leadership position over others (e.g., employer, manager, parent, team captain, spiritual leader) and someone you are over comes to you to give you good advice about something, would you accept his/her advice, or would you reject it, because of your position over that person, and why?
John 7:2-9 What did Jesus’ brothers tell Jesus to try to convince Him to go to the feast of the Jews (Jn. 7:3-4)?
Why do you think they told Jesus what they did (Jn. 7:5)?
How did Jesus respond to their advice (Jn. 7:8)?
How do you respond to the bad advice from others that is contrary to the will of God?