If you are a counselor, pastor, student, one-another minister, small group leader, or spiritual friend, you want to know the most helpful books about biblical counseling—using God’s Word for helping hurting people.
Here, in alphabetical order, are the top 17 books published in 2017 about biblical counseling, written by a biblical counselor about Christian living, or important to biblical counselors.
I’ve selected these books on the basis of their biblical depth, relevance to life, practicality for one-another ministry, faithfulness to the sufficiency of Scripture, application to progressive sanctification, and by surveying what leaders in the biblical counseling world are saying about them.
In the Aftermath: Past the Pain of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Pam Gannon and Beverly Moore, Focus Publishing
Adult victims of childhood sexual abuse often seek answers within themselves or through secular theories of cure, but do not find the hope and help they are seeking. In the Aftermath, points readers directly to God’s Word for finding Christ’s comfort and peace, healing and hope. It is a real and raw book that demonstrates how God’s Word is sufficient for finding healing from even the most devastating suffering.
You can read an author interview at the Biblical Counseling Coalition with Pam Gannon here.
Anger and Stress Management God’s Way by Wayne Mack, P&R Publishing
Anger and stress may be commonplace, but they are still destroyers that cause devastating harm if left unchecked. By God’s grace, no one needs to be overcome by ungodly anger or overwhelmed by stress. In Anger and Stress Management God’s Way, experienced and internationally-respected biblical counselor, Wayne Mack, shows how to apply God’s Word to find true and authoritative help. Dr. Mack skillfully explains practical biblical principles that can be adopted for lasting, positive change.
You can read a review of Anger and Stress Management God’s Way by Mike Ruel here.
The Art of Turning: From Sin to Christ for a Joyfully Clear Conscience by Kevin DeYoung, 10 Publishing
In four brief but jam-packed chapters, Pastor Kevin DeYoung masterfully explains the Bible’s teaching on the conscience, while equipping Christians to pursue a pure conscience. But what is the conscience? DeYoung provides this biblical definition: “The conscience is the moral faculty in human beings that assesses what is good and bad” (p. 13). As the title suggests—The Art of Turning—the biblical way to a clear conscience is to repent and believe. “We are not meant to live with a low-level, persistent sense of guilt and shame,” writes DeYoung. Rather, “We are meant, as the Lord Jesus taught us, to daily confess our sins and know his favor” (p. 37).
You can read a review of The Art of Turning by Sean DeMars here.
The Child Safeguarding Policy for Churches and Ministries by Boz Tchividjian and Shira Berkovits, New Growth Press
This is not an easy book to read—but it’s a vital one to read and follow. Sadly, we live in a day when The Child Safeguarding Policy for Churches and Ministries is absolutely necessary. This handbook is an invaluable resource for Christians who are seeking to educate themselves and others about child abuse and how they can best protect children under their care. The book covers vitally important topics including the warning signs of abuse, how to respond to abuse allegations, care for victims, and the legal implications and requirements for churches and Christian ministries. Working through this book will guide churches and Christian ministries in creating and implementing policies to protect children from child abuse.
You can read a review of The Child Safeguarding Policy for Churches and Ministries by “The Geeky Calvinist” here.
Come Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional by Paul Tripp, Crossway
Come Let Us Adore Him is a book of daily advent readings for the month of December. Recognizing how easy it is to have the awe and wonder of Christmas overshadowed by lights and tinsel, Tripp helps us not to lose sight of what’s most important. This advent devotional—excellent for family use, helps us to slow down, prepare our hearts, and focus on what is most vital—adoring our Savior.
You can read a review of Come Let Us Adore Him at Redeemed Reader by Janie Cheaney here.
Counseling Under the Cross: How Martin Luther Applied the Gospel to Daily Life by Bob Kellemen, New Growth Press
As the author of this book, it’s awkward to even consider including my own book in a list like this. However, as I sought feedback from leaders in the biblical counseling world, they encouraged me to include this book. Counseling Under the Cross seeks to guide pastors, counselors, lay leaders, and friends toward a rich understanding of the gospel that will directly impact their personal ministry to others. Through lively vignettes, real-life stories, and direct quotes from Luther, readers are equipped to apply the gospel to themselves and others so together they find their hope and help in Christ alone. Martin Luther not only reformed theology, his understanding of the gospel revolutionized soul care.
You can read a review of Counseling Under the Cross by Pastor David Dunham here.
Departing in Peace: Biblical Decision-Making at the End of Life by Bill Davis, P&R Publishing
As an elder and hospital ethics consultant, Bill Davis has talked, walked, and prayed with scores of people through end-of-life situations. Providing a variety of case studies and biblical, ethical insight, Davis guides readers on making difficult decisions for themselves and others. Departing in Peace is another book that we’d rather not read, but that we had better read and ponder.
You can read endorsements for Departing in Peace here.
Descriptions and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses and Medication by Mike Emlet, New Growth Press
As Christians, how should we think about psychiatric diagnoses and their associated treatments? We can’t afford to isolate ourselves and simply dismiss these categories as unbiblical. Nor can we afford to accept the entire secular psychiatric diagnostic and treatment enterprise at face value as though Scripture is irrelevant for these complex struggles. Instead, we need a balanced, biblically and scientifically-informed approach. In Descriptions and Prescriptions, biblical counselor and retired physician, Mike Emlet, gives readers a helpful way forward on these important issues as he guides lay and professional helpers through the thicket of mental health diagnoses and treatments. Descriptions and Prescriptions is a clear, thoughtful primer in which the Bible informs our understanding of psychiatric diagnoses and the medications that are often recommended based on those labels.
You can read a review of Descriptions and Prescriptions at the Biblical Counseling Coalition by Nate Brooks here.
How Does Sanctification Work? by David Powlison, Crossway
There’s much debate in today’s Christian world (and within the biblical counseling movement) about the nature of sanctification. So How Does Sanctification Work? is timely. And, coming from the pen and mind of David Powlison, it is also very balanced. Powlison does not teach a one-size-fits-all approach to sanctification. Instead, he promotes a biblically-balanced understanding of sanctification that accounts for the many and varied means God uses to grow His children to be more like His Son.
You can read a review of How Does Sanctification Work? by Tim Challies here.
Letters to a Romantic: On Dating by Sean Perron and Spencer Harmon, P&R Publishing
Letters to a Romantic: On Dating (the first of two books by Perron and Harmon—see below), builds on the conviction that the Bible is sufficient to help people to think through the concerns of singleness and dating, and that it has crucial wisdom about the thoughts, attitudes, actions, and situations that commonly arise in this stage of life. In friendly, practical letters, Sean and Spencer (and sometimes their wives, Jenny and Taylor) explore God’s Word for answers on singleness, the start of a relationship, and tough dating situations—from breakups to broken boundaries.
You can read a review of Letters to a Romantic at the ACBC site by Renee Hoskins here.
Letters to a Romantic: On Engagement by Sean Perron and Spencer Harmon, P&R Publishing
Letters to a Romantic: On Engagement is a companion volume to Perron and Harmon’s book on dating. In it, they turn to God’s Word for answers to the questions raised by this “in-between” period. Using the same letter-writing style, they address topics ranging from handling conflict, to the details of wedding planning, to the big picture of a couple’s future lifelong relationship.
You can read why Sean and Spencer wrote these two books here.
Making All Things New: Restoring Joy to the Sexually Broken by David Powlison, Crossway
Here’s how David Powlison describes Making All Things New. “Some books are written to help people who struggle with their immoral sexual impulses. Other books are written for people who struggle with the impact of sexual betrayal, molestation, and assault. But this book will intentionally look in both directions because there are not two gospels, one for sinners and one for sufferers! There is the one gospel of Jesus Christ, who came to make saints of all kinds of sinner-sufferers and sufferer-sinners, whatever our particular configuration of defections and distresses.” Whether a person struggles with fallen and sinful sexuality, or whether a person is influenced by the sexual dysfunctions of others, Making All Things New is a book of gospel healing.
You can hear why David wrote Making All Things New here.
Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage: Critical Questions and Answers by Jim Newheiser, P&R Publishing
Tim Challies summarizes Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage well. “Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage is a strong book and one that will prove valuable to pastors, counselors, and church members. After all, few of us are untouched by issues related to divorce and remarriage; fewer still have diligently sought to understand what the Bible teaches on these important subjects. This book will help correct this.”
You can read a review of Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage by Tim Challies here.
Pray About Everything: Cultivating God-Dependency by Paul Tautges, Shepherd Press
I need encouragement and exhortation to pray more. Seasoned pastor and biblical counselor, Paul Tautges, delivers just what I—and I’m guessing you—need. Dr. Tautges addresses important questions like, “What does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name?” “How do I pray for my non-Christian friends?” Pray About Everything delivers an urgent call for believers to commit to regular and systematic prayer as an essential spiritual discipline for our Christian lives.
You can read a review of Pray About Everything by Theron St. John here.
Raising Teens in a Hyper-Sexualized World: Help for Parents by Eliza Huie, 10 Publishing
I agree fully with Kyle Johnston’s recommendation and summary of Raising Teens in a Hyper-Sexualized World. “Throughout the pages of this brief book, Eliza paints the reader a beautiful picture of parenting that is filled with grace and rich, two-way, communication. One of the overarching impressions I received was how important it is for parents to be regularly investing in their teenagers—talking to them, listening to them, and seeking to understand their world. Although the world is hyper-sexualized, God can truly help you to lead your teen in this area. I warmly recommend this excellent book.”
You can read a review of Raising Teens in a Hyper-Sexualized World at the Biblical Counseling Coalition by Kyle Johnston here.
She’s Got the Wrong Guy: Why Smart Women Settle by Deepak Reju, New Growth Press
She’s Got the Wrong Guy is a bold book written by a warm, gentle, Christlike biblical counselor—Pastor Deepak Reju. Writing from his years of experience as a pastor and counselor, Deepak shares with women a biblical perspective on how to assess a relationship’s strengths, how to identity possible pitfalls, and how to have the courage to not just settle, but to wait for a relationship that will be a blessing to both individuals.
You can read a review of She’s Got the Wrong Guy by Theron St. John here.
A Small Book About a Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace by Ed Welch, New Growth Press
Anger—a big problem? Yes, if we’re honest. It’s a trademark of Welch’s writing to exegete passages and then reach into the heart level to expose our need for Christ’s grace for our daily Christian walk. You’ll find this trademark again and again in A Small Book About a Big Problem—as each brief devotional thought brings both conviction of sin and hope for Christ’s help—peace and patience in place of anger.
You can read a review of A Small Book About a Big Problem by Theology for You here.
Join the Conversation
What biblical counseling books published in 2017 do you recommend?