Frequently Asked Questions

How does it work, studying online?

Simply! Read over the information under the “Courses” tab above to learn about our curriculum and costs, and then go to the “Begin Studying” to sign up and get started. You can begin working on your first course in just five minutes!

What kind of computer and internet connection will I need to study online?

Unless you are still using a Commodore 64 almost any computer will suffice as long as you use an up-to-date browser and have a good internet connection. You can use almost any tablet as well. We recommend that you use the most recent version of Firefox but any other browser should work fine. The key is to have a good, high-speed internet connection. If your internet connection is slow the videos will stop often to buffer. Also, you should check to see that you have the most recent version of the Adobe Flash player loaded onto your computer.

I can’t log in, there is no sound, your site won’t open, my computer froze up, my password does not work, I can’t print out the notes—what is wrong?

We don’t know, but it is our experience that 99% of these problems are with YOUR computer, internet, or software. If you do not know how to troubleshoot computer problems and do not have a 12-year-old son or grandson who can help please call us. Do not give up in frustration. The folk who host our site have done a great job of constructing a bug-free and user-friendly platform. We can help with most issues but will need to talk with you while you are in front of your computer in order to help.

Is INS accredited in any way? Will a degree be awarded to those who complete the coursework?

No, and no. Upon completion of the coursework, graduates will be issued a Certificate which will indicate he has completed the course of study with us. While there will be homework assignments (mostly outside reading) we will not be administering tests or requiring research papers in order to measure the student’s progress. Those who enroll in INS will not be doing so in order to earn a degree. They will be motivated by the desire to be a more effective minister of the Word of God.

Completion of our certificate program would be, however, a significant addition to anyone’s ministry resume. Having studied under Dr. Adams would be as welcome a credential as any degree to those who recognize and understand Dr. Adams’ contributions.

If we do not turn homework in to you how can I evaluate my progress? 

After most courses, you will find a list of study questions after each lecture. If you cannot answer the questions adequately you should review the lecture. Some questions simply probe to see if you have grasped the information. Other questions are designed to make you think the material through to an application or implication.

But again, if we do not turn in homework how do you know a student has actually studied the material and has earned the certificate granted at the end of the coursework? 

Anyone who wishes to pay the tuition and indicate on the site that he has completed the course may certainly do so…but he will have significant stewardship issues to answer for at the Judgment Seat. Anyone who does so and tries to counsel others anyway will quickly be discovered by his incompetence. The typical INS student is not motivated by the desire to receive a degree or one more piece of paper to hang on the wall. He will be motivated by the desire to serve his Lord and minister His Word as effectively as possible. Please remember, the certificate that we award at the conclusion of our curriculum merely indicates someone has studied with us and completed our course. It is not a certification or a credential. We urge our graduates to go on to seek certification with ACBC (The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors formerly the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors).

I know who Jay Adams is, but not these other guys. Can I just take the courses taught by Dr. Adams? 

Yes, but Dr. Adams has put our entire curriculum together and has invited each of these other teachers with the goal of providing to you complete and robust training in biblical counseling. Please consider studying through the entire curriculum.

I understand Dr. Adams is a strong Calvinistic, amillennial Presbyterian and Donn has a Baptist (GARBC) background. How can you work together? 

Respectfully. We have far more in common than the few things we understand the Bible to teach differently. We believe in the deity of Christ, His virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, His bodily resurrection, His ascension into glory, and His coming again. We believe in the inerrancy, the inspiration, the authority, the superiority, and the sufficiency of the Scriptures. We believe in the Trinity, Creation, the Fall, Satan, Angels, a universal flood, the doctrines of grace, heaven, a literal hell, the cessation of the revelatory gifts, the local church, marriage, the family, and on and on the list could go. Upon glorification one of us (or perhaps both) will discover we had misunderstood what the Bible taught about baptism.

I have a question about something presented in a lecture. Who can I ask about it? 

Donn Arms, INS Executive Director, is available to answer your questions about coursework or any other aspect of our program. You can contact him by e-mail, or by phone at any time.

I am involved in a perplexing counseling case. Can I call you for advice? 

Certainly, but be aware that for most questions about specific cases our answer will begin like this, “We are glad you called and we are thankful that you would have the confidence in us to ask for our advice but without being involved in the case ourselves or having the ability to ask questions of the counselee we simply cannot give counsel about a specific case. Now, if you have a question about some general principle which may or may not apply to your specific case we will do all we can to help.”

But I have a sister who…(fill in the blank)…and needs counseling. Can you help her? 

Since we first posted our web site we have received a number of these kinds of e-mails. Proverbs 18:13 warns us that it is foolish to seek to answer a matter before hearing and understanding it. No one needs the counsel of a fool to complicate what is already a major problem. People’s lives are just too important for us to give quick, uninformed answers. To be able to help we would have to be able to sit down with a counselee, ask the questions we want to ask, hear and observe responses, and ask questions that arose out of those answers. Our response to these e-mails will always be to point you to your pastor. If he does not believe he can help then he is the kind of man we are seeking to reach with our training. We would be glad to help him.

OK then, do you know of a nouthetic counselor in my area you could refer me to? 

Perhaps. Go to the ACBC website to see if there is an ACBC member near you. It is quite possible that YOU are the person who needs to be trained so we can refer people in your area to YOU!

Are you affiliated with any of the other organizations that have the words “nouthetic” or “biblical counseling” in their title? 

If you do a web search of the word nouthetic you will come up with all sorts of websites. Some are fine organizations, some are very strange and weird. While we are not organically connected with any of them we do have a working relationship with ACBC, the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (formerly the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors). Jay Adams is one of the founding fathers of the organization. Each of our other faculty members is a certified member of ACBC. We will be urging each of our graduates to seek certification with ACBC and we have a course in our curriculum designed to prepare the student for the ACBC certification process.

BE WARNED! There are some unscrupulous people and “schools” out there on the web who purport to offer training in counseling. We would cite them by name here but the list would soon be outdated as these people come and go and change their names frequently, often using names that are very similar to those of very fine and reputable institutions. Some even offer “degrees” in counseling but are little more than unaccredited diploma mills. This is the only place you can study under Dr. Adams himself.

Does the completion of your “Certificate Program in Biblical Counseling” mean I will then be ACBC certified? 

No. Our certificate simply indicates you have completed our course of study. NANC certification is an entirely different issue. Their certification process also involves testing and supervised counseling experience. Check out the ACBC website for more information about their certifying process. We encourage all of our students to seek ACBC certification upon completion of their study with us. We even provide a course that will prepare you for the certification process.

Will your training meet the minimum training requirements for ACBC certification? 

Yes, but…who wants to be minimally trained? Let’s be frank, one can meet the ACBC/NANC minimum requirement by taking three weekends of classes or attending a one-week conference in some places. If your only goal is to seek NANC/ACBC certification there are other places to get training that would meet that minimum requirement in far less time and with far less effort than through the Institute for Nouthetic Studies.

OK then, will your curriculum qualify as sufficient training for ACBC certification? 

For certification, ACBC requires a minimum of 30 hours of basic instruction, 10 hours of counseling observation, the completion of a test on both counseling practice and theology, and 50 hours of counseling experience supervised by a NANC fellow. Our Certificate Program, with 180 hours of instruction, not only meets the minimum requirement for instruction, it far surpasses it. It is intended to go beyond the ACBC minimum to provide thorough, comprehensive training. If simply meeting the minimum requirement is your goal we recommend you attend the one-week February conference at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN, or one of the regional CDT training opportunities offered by ACBC (see their website for details). Both offer excellent but (in our view) inadequate training. The INS student will be someone who desires to be trained as well as possible (well beyond a minimum requirement) but cannot, for whatever reason (time, money, other responsibilities), travel to and study at a college or seminary.

I am interested in several of your courses but do not wish to commit to taking the entire curriculum. Can I just take two or three select courses that I am interested in? 

Yes, but all of our courses build on information that we assume you have learned from previous courses. We want our students to have a complete and balanced understanding of the issues presented. We urge you to take the courses in the order listed and not skip any course unless that course is unavailable at the time. If that is the case with the next course you need to go ahead and skip it. Just be sure you come back to it as soon as it is available.

If I have taken courses at other places can I skip some of your courses that cover similar information? 

No, we have no way to evaluate what you have taken or whether you slept through the training or took good notes. You will profit greatly even if you hear similar material from several different perspectives. Again, we want you to be as well trained as possible, and what could be better training than studying with Dr. Adams?

So then, you expect your students to take your entire curriculum, you do not allow students to transfer credits into the program, or take just the courses they want to take. 


Is there any kind of financial help available? 

We regret that we have to charge anything to study with us. As you can imagine, producing the quality we believe the Lord’s work requires takes money to produce. We are doing all we can to keep the cost low. We do not exist for profit, but we must profit to exist. You understand, of course, the principle found in 1 Cor. 9: 11-14 that teaches us to share with those who minister to us. We would not be able to provide this ministry if we could not, also, pay our mortgage and electric bill every month.

I would like to have my entire church staff take this training. Can we study as a group? Are there any group discounts available? 

Yes, and yes. We cannot think of a better way to study for the following reasons:

  • The accountability with other students
  • A regular meeting time each week
  • Interaction about covered material and lesson questions
  • The possibility of scheduling occasional Q & A sessions with an instructor as a group

Because our costs in producing this curriculum have been great we are not able to offer substantial group discounts…but we do want to help and promote group study as much as we can. Contact us for details about group study discounts.

How long will it take me to complete the certificate program? 

The entire curriculum includes about 180 hours of taped instruction. Add to that the amount of time it will take you to read the equivalent of about 15 books. From that, you will have to do the math figuring in how many hours each week you plan to devote to your studies subtracting the weeks you will be on vacation or not studying for whatever reason.

Are there any academic prerequisites for enrollment? 

No, we do not require any specific training prior to enrollment. We are working hard to strike a balance in our courses. One of our target students is the pastor with good pastoral training who was never exposed to, or was insufficiently trained in, the area of biblical counseling while in college or seminary. On the other hand, we believe any thoughtful and growing layperson, deacon, pastor’s wife, Sunday School teacher, youth worker, Christian School teacher or administrator, elder, or full-time homemaker will be able to profit from our curriculum–not only helping them grow as biblical counselors to others but in their own walk with their Savior!

What kind of lecture format and quality can we expect? 

As with any endeavor we are learning and improving as we go. Our charter students have been a great help to us with their input. We have been able to improve the quality of our video produced with each course as we learn more and more about producing quality videos. We now have several quality, “state of the art” digital video cameras to work with. Many of the lectures were recorded privately with Dr. Adams lecturing in a “closed” venue. Other courses were recorded as Dr. Adams and others lectured at the Redeemer Biblical Counseling Training Institute (RBCTI) in South Carolina.

RBCTI? What’s that? 

The Redeemer Biblical Counseling Training Institute is an ACBC certified training center located in Moore, SC, between Greenville and Spartanburg. It is a ministry of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church (ARP). Bill Slattery is the pastor of the church and the Dean of the Institute. Dr. Adams and Donn Arms are faculty members. The Institute meets on Monday nights for three 10 week quarters during the school year. It is because of the kindness of RBCTI and Redeemer Church that INS is able to exist. There is no organic connection between the two, however, only a happy working relationship.

What can I do to help the Institute? 

Several things:

  • Pray
  • Enroll
  • Encourage. E-mail us with your comments.
  • Advertise. Tell others about the Institute and urge them to check out our web site (
  • Give
  • Form a group to study with you.

I have just started reading the Christian Counselor’s Manual where on page 12 Dr. Adams says counseling is pastoral work and that “persons with a life-calling to do counseling ought to prepare for the work of the ministry and seek ordination, since God describes a life-calling to counseling as the life-calling of a minister.” Does Dr. Adams mean a counseling ministry is not possible for women since women are not ordained? 

Absolutely not. While all pastors should be counselors it does not follow that all counselors should be pastors. Listen to what he says earlier on the same page. “To say that the Christian minister is counselor and preacher, par excellence, means that he is called to these works as his function or office in the church. It does not exclude much teaching, exhortation, and counseling on the part of every Christian, incidental to his particular gifts and calling.” We know of no pastor who would not desire to have a whole company of well-trained women counselors in his church to call upon and refer other women to.

What about licensing or certification by the state? Will your training satisfy any of the government’s licensing requirements that would lead to becoming a Licensed Social Worker, Professional Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist, or other type of mental health professional? 

Yes, this is really a frequently asked question. We would respond with questions of our own. What branch or agency of either the federal, state, or local government has jurisdiction over the ministry of the Word of God? Would you want there to be such a government entity? By what criteria should such an agency make its evaluations? What would you do if such an agency concluded you were not qualified to teach the Word of God? Would you then stop ministering God’s Word? If you are seeking to become a professional counselor in the world’s system apart from the church of Jesus Christ then frankly, you would not be happy with the training you receive from the Institute for Nouthetic Studies.