It is a great time to be involved in Biblical Counseling. The amount of thoughtful, fresh, and challenging literature that the movement is producing is astounding. It seems every week I stumble onto something new and insightful. Not everyone, however, gets paid to read books, and as a result doesn’t have as much time as I do. So, when I think about my students, lay volunteers, and busy friends, I want to invite them to select the best volumes available on the various subjects out there. To that end I am offering this new series: Five Books on…If you’d like to select a topic to include in the series, let me know.
As this is the first installment, I thought it best to start with a foundational subject: theology of Biblical counseling. This category introduces readers to the ground work of Biblical Counseling, the theological concepts that root the discipline in Scripture and real life. There are lots of books I could have chosen, but I selected what I consider to be the top five most significant volumes out today. The selection was based on relevance, uniqueness, depth and breadth of content covered. Here are my top five choices:
1. A Theology of Biblical Counseling by Heath Lambert
This is a newer work from the Executive Director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, but it is a one of a kind work. It serves almost as a basic introduction to the major doctrines of the Christian faith, but it has a particular bent towards their usefulness in Biblical Counseling. Lambert defines the doctrines, supports them Scripturally, and clarifies their significance for counselor and counselee alike. An absolute must read for counselors, this volume will become my new text for our introduction to Biblical Counseling course.
2. The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life by Jeremy Pierre
This is such an important book that it honestly should have been written 40 years ago. It sets out a theology of human experience that grounds an effective approach to helping people. Pierre interacts with major influencers of human experience but does so from within a Biblical perspective. He helps readers understand the various ways people relate to the world, to themselves, and to God and sets an important starting place for helpers. This is a crucial work!
3. Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling ed. by Robert Kellemen and Steve Viars
While not as detailed as Lambert’s book, this work from the Biblical Counseling Coalition takes a number of a major doctrines and unpacks them within a Biblical Counseling context. The demonstrate the practical necessity for theological truth and do so with the help of a variety of writers from across the BC community. A wonderful and welcomed volume.
4. Our Sufficiency in Christ by John MacArthur
Despite being an older work this volume from MacArthur sets out the theological and practical case for the sufficiency of Jesus for help. Written as a more accessible volume to the idea, this work will serve to introduce readers to the very heart of the Biblical Counseling movement’s theology and philosophy. Jesus is powerful, active, and relevant to the life of every believer and to every believer’s various struggles. This is still a fantastic work and worthy of your time.
5. A Theology of Christian Counseling by Jay Adams
Adams’ work has to be on this list since he started the whole BC movement. While this volume left a lot of gaps that have been, over the years filled by others, it sets the tone for all the follows. Introducing readers to the basic theology of counseling, Adams helps readers gain the important insights they need to begin to think about the philosophy and methodology of Biblical Counseling. This classic work is still an important volume.
What other volumes would you include in this list?
Check out Bob Kellemen’s blog. He has reposted your list but on his blog, he has replaced Jay Adams’ book with one of his own.
Actually, I wrote that blog for Bob, he’s a friend and a good brother. I swapped out Jay’s book for his. It was originally a toss up between the two and I felt that including Jay’s was more obligatory and could honestly place Bib’s in the list instead. But thanks for sharing.