What Does the Bible Say About Giving Advice?
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What Does the Bible Say About Giving Advice?

Giving advice can be a delicate matter. As Christians, we want to guide and help others, but we must also be careful in how we approach counseling and directing others. The Bible provides wisdom on both receiving and dispensing godly advice. In this comprehensive post, we will explore key principles found in Scripture on this important topic.


The Bible emphasizes the importance of wise and godly counsel throughout its pages. Moses advised the Israelites to select discerning leaders (Deuteronomy 1:13). Solomon wrote extensively on the value of seeking and heeding wisdom (Proverbs 1:5, 12:15, 13:10). Jesus exemplified humility in accepting correction and instruction (Luke 2:51-52). The apostle Paul exhorted believers to warn, teach, and advise one another (Colossians 3:16).

Clearly, godly advice and counsel have great value. However, the Bible also cautions against advice given or received wrongly. Foolish counsel leads to ruin (Psalm 1:1), while the wise heed instruction and reject ungodly lies (Proverbs 13:20). Scripture contains vital principles on both seeking and dispensing life-giving advice.

Key Takeaways:

  • Godly counsel is greatly valued in the Bible, while foolish advice leads to harm.
  • Wisdom and humility are required both in giving and receiving advice.
  • Motives matter. Advice should be given selflessly and received openly.
  • Timing, gentleness, and discernment are key in offering counsel.
  • God’s Word should be the ultimate guide and measure for advice.
  • Prayer is crucial in seeking guidance for ourselves and others.
  • Accountability and fellowship strengthen believers through wise counsel.

As we explore what the Bible teaches about advice, keep these principles in mind. Godly counsel requires great wisdom, care, and reliance on God’s Spirit. The fruits of humble and loving guidance grounded in Scripture will nourish our faith walk and relationships.

Wise Counsel Is Highly Valued in the Bible

Countless verses in Scripture emphasize the blessing of seeking and heeding godly advice. Wise counsel leads to right choices, strengthens community, avoids folly, and honors God. Consider just a few examples below:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2)

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 11:14)

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20)

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. (Proverbs 18:2)

Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance. (Proverbs 1:5)

These verses demonstrate why godly counsel is so treasured throughout Scripture. Wise advice leads to security, growth in understanding, and walking in God’s blessings. As iron sharpens iron, counsel from wise believers helps us shed worldly thinking and embrace renewed minds in Christ (Proverbs 27:17).

Foolish Counsel Brings Harm

In contrast to wisdom’s blessing, foolish counsel leads only to harm and disaster. Scripture warns extensively against following worldly advice or the lies of false teachers.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers. (Psalm 1:1)

Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge. (Proverbs 14:7)

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. (Proverbs 11:12)

Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips. (Proverbs 24:26)

Such verses advise us to reject foolish counsel and instead seek truth. Believers must guard their hearts against unwise advice and poor counsel given without knowledge. Discernment is key, as false wisdom can easily lead our souls astray.

Wisdom and Humility Essential In Giving and Receiving Advice

For advice to bear good fruit, great care and godly virtues must mark both its giving and receiving. A wise counselor offers instruction humbly and sensitively, while the humble listener accepts correction with openness and sincerity.

Giving advice requires caution, prudence and selflessness. We should take care to offer counsel gently, at the right time, and with discernment. Consider the following proverbs:

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. (Proverbs 25:11)

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. (Proverbs 29:11)

Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears. (Proverbs 26:17)

With wisdom and restraint, we can offer counsel that uplifts others without arrogance or undue meddling. We give advice most effectively through genuine love and faithfulness.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. (Proverbs 27:6)

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

Receiving counsel also requires humility and eagerness to learn. Scripture praises those who accept discipline and grow through instruction:

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. (Proverbs 12:1)

Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored. (Proverbs 13:18)

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. (Proverbs 19:20)

When we humbly accept counsel, we gain wisdom and show reverence to God (Proverbs 15:31-33). Scripture commends submitting to authority, heeding rebuke, and listening before answering (Hebrews 13:17, Proverbs 15:32, 18:13).

Motives Matter Both in Giving and Receiving Advice

As in all aspects of Christian life, our motives profoundly impact our actions. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for dispensing advice to glorify themselves, not to serve God or others (Matthew 23:1-12). Any counsel we offer should be to benefit others and bring glory to God.

When seeking advice ourselves, we must also examine our motives. Do we truly want to hear counsel that will lead us to greater spiritual maturity? Or are we looking merely to satisfy our own desires? (See James 4:1-3)

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4)

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)

As believers, we are called to give and receive advice based in love, not selfish gain. Counsel given with right motives will yield blessings.

Timing, Gentleness and Discernment

Scripture provides wisdom on when and how to share counsel effectively. Our words should be marked by patience, grace, and Spirit-led discernment.

Ecclesiastes notes there is a proper time and way to offer guidance:

There is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak. (Ecclesiastes 3:7)

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. (Proverbs 25:11)

Patience and restraint enable us to speak the right words at the proper moment. We also should take care to correct gently and without condemnation:

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 2:24-25)

Gentleness and respect can make instruction palatable and convicting by God’s grace. Additionally, we must have discernment to know when advice is needed versus simply listening.

Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips. (Proverbs 24:26)

Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger (James 1:19)

With the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we can know the right time to speak correction into someone’s life. Godly advice requires spiritual insight and Christlike compassion.

God’s Word as The Guide for Advice

In both seeking and offering counsel, believers must look first to God’s infallible Word as our guide. No advice should contradict or compromise biblical truth and principles.

Instructing others means imparting Scriptural wisdom, not merely human understanding. We can lovingly help brothers and sisters apply God’s Word to their decisions and struggles.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors. (Psalm 119:24)

For our own choices, we should evaluate advice based on how it aligns with Scripture’s commands. God’s perfect law protects us from deceitful counsel.

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)

No human advice can supersede or improve upon the wisdom found in the Bible. As believers, Scripture must ground and filter all counsel we give and receive.

Prayer Essential In Seeking and Offering Guidance

Along with Scripture, prayer is indispensable both for those requesting and providing counsel. Through prayer, we seek the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and guidance to know when and how to help others.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Prayer also prepares our own hearts to humbly receive correction. We need God’s help to maintain teachable, repentant spirits as we listen to advice.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24)

Committing ourselves and others to the Lord before counseling will yield far more spiritual fruit. Guidance founded on prayer expresses true faith.

Accountability and Fellowship

Receiving and offering counsel does not end after isolated moments of advice. Ongoing accountability and fellowship among believers are God’s plan to encourage wise counsel.

Scripture repeatedly urges Christians to pursue close fellowship where advice and correction can flourish. We must surround ourselves with brothers and sisters who will build us up in love.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

Accountability to godly authority is also biblical. We must humbly submit to spiritual leaders’ guidance.

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. (Hebrews 13:17)

Ongoing fellowship fosters the trust and openness needed to guide and be guided through life’s journey. Sincere counsel requires real relationship.

Practical Application

With these principles in mind, how can we apply the Bible’s wisdom to giving and receiving advice in practical ways? Here are some key suggestions:

  1. Pray for humility, wisdom and the right timing to counsel someone. Check your motives; offer advice to serve others and please God.
  2. Consider context – is guidance wanted or needed? Should you listen rather than speak? Assess the situation prayerfully.
  3. Speak truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Offer counsel gently, constructively, and backed by Scripture. Avoid criticism or condemnation.
  4. Check your advice against God’s Word. Encourage others based on biblical principles, not just human wisdom. Measure counsel received against Scripture as well.
  5. Listen humbly without defensiveness. Welcome correction as evidence of God’s faithfulness in your life. Be quick to hear and slow to speak (James 1:19).
  6. Seek accountability relationships and godly fellowship for ongoing wise counsel, not just a one-time piece of advice.
  7. Thank counselors who have guided you. Express gratitude for their caring guidance and investment in your spiritual walk.

With prayer, humility and God’s Word as our guide, we can steward the gift of biblical wisdom in counseling. By both giving and receiving advice rooted in gospel truth spoken in love, we can powerfully build up the body of Christ.


The Bible clearly approves of godly, faithful counsel which conforms to Scripture and serves others through love. Of course, advice can also damage through human folly, pride and lack of wisdom. We all must seek accountability and be very careful in any guidance offered. Thankfully, Christ is the Wonderful Counselor whose Spirit enables His church to speak and receive life-giving truth in love. Our humble prayers for biblical wisdom can make our speech healing medicine that guides others – and ourselves – on the path of righteousness.

Pastor Duke Taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.