The Tenth Anniversary Edition 

If you’re a counselor, pastor, student, educator, one-another minister, small group leader, soul care provider, spiritual friend, spouse, or parent, you want to know the most helpful books about biblical counseling—books that seek to change lives with Christ’s changeless truth. Because we all want to be aware of solid resources for Christian life and ministry, I’ve collated top biblical counseling books on an annual basis since 2012. See the end of this post for links to the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 lists. That makes this year the tenth anniversary edition of my annual listing of top biblical counseling books.

Additional Helpful Book Lists 

For direct links to over 1,000 biblical counseling books, see The Annual Guide to Biblical Counseling Resources: 2021 Edition. The Annual Guide provides annotated summaries of every book, and collates each book topically.

For all biblical counseling books published in 2021, see my recent post: 62 New Biblical Counseling Books Published in 2021.

Another Banner Year for Biblical Counseling Resources

In 2021, I had many highly relevant and significantly helpful biblical counseling books from which to choose. Being 2021, I’ve selected the 21 Top Biblical Counseling Books of 2021. I’ve chosen these books on the basis of their:

I list these top biblical counseling books below in alphabetical order by author—the top 21 books published in 2021 about biblical counseling, written by a biblical counselor about Christian living, or important to biblical counselors. Note: The summaries after the books are taken from wording by the authors and publishers.

The 21 Top BC Books of 2021

Cheong, Robert. Restoration Story: Why Jesus Matters in a Broken World, New Growth Press, 192 Pages. 

Robert Cheong, a pastor and counselor, helps readers connect their story to God’s story which will transform how they live and love. We all have our own back story—our sometimes unconscious beliefs—that have been shaped by our families, relationships, and life experiences. Our stories shape the personal narratives we live out: “I am not loved.” “No one cares for me.” “I have to be better than everyone around me.” “How I look is the most important thing about me.” Our back story guides us in how we relate to God and others. But are these beliefs true? And how are they affecting our lives today? In Restoration Story, Cheong helps readers unpack their story and learn to live out of God’s new story. Readers will discover how to retell their story out of who God is, what He’s done, and the call to love Him and others. 

Dunham, David, and Krista Dunham. Table for Two: Biblical Counsel for Eating Disorders, New Growth Press, 144 Pages. 

Breaking free from an eating disorder is difficult and complex. Those who are suffering often feel misunderstood. They struggle with feeling alone and afraid, ashamed to tell those closest to them. Their loved ones also feel helpless and ill-equipped to care for them. Within this dynamic, hurt, disappointment, and neglect often thrive. From the unique perspective of a husband and wife team, Table for Two shares Krista Dunham’s journey to freedom from her eating disorder while David shares insights as the loved one coming beside her. Without minimizing complicated issues, the Dunhams provide practical, gospel hope and biblical encouragement to those suffering and help for loved ones walking with them. They share personal narratives, interactive exercises, and biblical direction for those navigating recovery. 

Emlet, Mike. Saints, Sufferers, and Sinners: Loving Others as God Loves Us, New Growth Press, 208 Pages. 

A friend feels rejected. A counselee is angry. A church member’s child is ill. You want to help, but where do you begin? Biblical counselor, Mike Emlet, outlines a model of one-another ministry based on how God sees and loves His people as saints, while bringing comfort to the sufferer, and faithfully speaking truth to the sinner. Filled with everyday illustrations as well as counseling examples, Emlet demonstrates what it looks like to approach fellow believers simultaneously as saints, sufferers, and sinners. Emlet unpacks Scripture and draws on his many years of counseling experience to help counselors, pastors, and friends love others wisely and well.

Hambrick, Brad. Making Sense of Forgiveness: Moving from Hurt Toward Hope, New Growth Press, 160 Pages. 

Pastor and counselor Brad Hambrick helps readers to understand that forgiveness is the start of a journey that doesn’t erase the past, but honestly confronts hurt and clears the way for a hope-filled discussion on how to move toward healing. Hambrick helps readers make sense of forgiveness biblically and relationally by addressing a variety of common questions that arise when we have been hurt: Does forgiveness mean restoration of trust? Am I supposed to “forgive and forget”? What is the role of biblical wisdom and boundaries on the road to forgiveness? Making Sense of Forgiveness speaks to those who are struggling by acknowledging the seriousness of their pain, explaining the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation, and helping readers understand the relationship between forgiveness and emotional freedom.

Huie, Eliza, and Esther Smith. The Whole Life: 52 Weeks of Biblical Self-Care, New Growth Press, 176 Pages. 

In this practical guide, readers explore biblical stewardship as it applies to all areas of life, with the understanding that we can only offer others what we have first received from our own growing relationship with Christ. Exhaustion, spiritual apathy, and burnout are not signs of how important and significant our life is, as our culture might lead us to believe. Instead they are warning signs that we need to turn to God for daily help in how to steward our lives and our days. The Whole Life describes a balanced life that honors God and enables good works, offering practical guidance for renewing body and soul so that readers will be energized to engage life with renewed enthusiasm and vigor for service to God.  

Johnson, Dale. The Church as a Culture of Care: Finding Hope in Biblical Community, New Growth Press, 176 Pages.

Pastors and lay leaders in the church often feel inadequate to address certain needs and are unsure of how to help. This book is designed to help erase the stigma of “mental health issues” in the church and to present the church as the primary haven for answers to deep-seated human problems. Readers will learn that God has designed every function of the church to be an integral part of soul care. God has provided the church with the necessary resources for us to care well for one another. Prayer, the Word, the work of the Holy Spirit, and Christian community are God’s provisions to lead all of us to Christ―even those with the deepest struggles.

Jones, Robert, Kristin Kellen, and Rob Green. The Gospel for Disordered Lives: An Introduction to Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling. B&H Academics, 400 Pages. 

The gospel of Jesus Christ—the heartbeat of the Bible—brings life-changing hope and power to real people with real problems. Inspired by that conviction, The Gospel for Disordered Lives provides an introductory guide to the theory and practice of Christ-centered biblical counseling. Intended to serve as a foundational textbook for students in Christian colleges, universities, seminaries, and graduate schools, the book also provides a useful overview that working counselors can reference in their ministry contexts. 

Kellemen, Bob. Consider Your Counsel: Addressing Ten Mistakes in Our Biblical Counseling, New Growth Press, 100 Pages.

Consider Your Counsel is like supervision in writing. Drawing on Dr. Kellemen’s three decades of counseling supervision experience, it unpacks ten of the most common missteps that even experienced counselors can make. More than that, Consider Your Counsel equips you to assess your counseling, address any weaknesses, and correct them to become even more competent to counsel. Consider Your Counsel includes a 40-question evaluation—A Biblical Counselor’s Self-Assessment Tool. Randy Patten notes, “Consider Your Counsel is a valuable resource for every counselor who wants to keep sharpening their ministry skills. The concise chapters, exposition of Scriptures, and questions for evaluation at the end of each chapter make this book ideal for personal or group study.”

Kellemen, Bob. Grief and Your Child: Sharing God’s Comfort in Loss, New Growth Press, 24 Pages. 

We often think about grief and adults, but what about when our children struggle with loss and grief? When they face life’s losses, how do children find hope when they’re hurting? In Grief and Your Child, Dr. Bob Kellemen applies biblical principles of loss and hope to the grief experiences of children and teens. Grief and Your Child focuses on helping parents and counselors to understand and empathize with a child’s grieving heart. It then seeks to equip parents and counselors to help children and teens to find God’s healing hope in the midst of life’s painful losses.

Mack, Wayne. A Practical Guide for Effective Biblical Counseling: Utilizing the 8 “I’s” to Promote True Biblical Change, Shepherd Press, 160 Pages. 

This is a guide for biblical counselors on how to effectively help counselees overcome their struggles, practical and spiritual, and become true, faithful disciples of Jesus. This approach to biblical counseling can be broken down into eight essential steps, each rooted in biblical disciple-making principles. This guide clearly describes each step, how and where it is taught in Scripture, and why it is vital to strengthening discipleship. 

Marshall, Cheryl, and Caroline Newheiser. When Words Matter Most: Speaking Truth with Grace to Those You Love, Crossway, 224 Pages. 

In When Words Matter Most, Cheryl Marshall and Caroline Newheiser help you discern spiritual needs and give biblical, heartfelt guidance. Through real-life stories and carefully chosen Scripture passages, they model what to say to those who are worried, weary, wayward, or weeping. You’ll learn how to speak truth to others in your sphere of influence and strengthen the body of Christ as a whole.

Newheiser, Jim. How to Love Difficult Parents: Wisdom for a Challenging Relationship, New Growth Press, 24 Pages. 

Counselor Jim Newheiser understands the many types of challenges adults may face in their relationship with their parents, whether it be their parents’ financial strain, a struggle to properly care for their home or their health, conflict related to care for the grandchildren, or destructive relational choices. Newheiser helps readers understand their responsibility to honor their parents, and to be prepared to help with their needs, but also to recognize their first responsibility to their relationship with the Lord and their own marriage and children. He also gives guidance on what offenses to graciously overlook and what offenses to handle with gentleness and love. Ultimately, there may be some bad situations that are out of your control, but you can always be a loving representative of the Lord in how you respond. 

Newheiser, Jim. Money, Debt, and Finances: Critical Questions and Answers, P&R Publishing, 360 Pages. 

In an accessible Q&A format, biblical counselor and former financial consultant, Jim Newheiser, presents financial wisdom that is grounded in faithful biblical exegesis and rooted in sound theology. How can you create and balance a budget? How can you get out of debt? What insurance do you need? He answers these questions and more, providing a go-to resource for laypeople and those who counsel them. 

Pierre, Jeremy, and Greg Wilson. When Home Hurts: A Guide for Responding Wisely to Domestic Abuse in Your Church, Christian Focus, 288 Pages. 

When Home Hurts is intended to equip pastors, church leaders, and church members to respond with the heart of God to situations of domestic abuse that occur in their local church. Prioritizing the safety of the victim at all times, Jeremy Pierre and Greg Wilson seek to help you be the kind of church leader, church member, friend, parent, sibling, or neighbor who responds wisely. This very practical, pastoral book acknowledges the reality and the horror of domestic abuse, but also the reality and power of God to heal. It will be a helpful guide to anyone who suspects abuse within their church family, but is unsure how to help without making things worse. 

Powlison, David. The Pastor as Counselor: The Call for Soul Care, Crossway, 80 Pages. 

A pastor inhabits multiple roles―teacher, preacher, youth leader, and counselor. Yet many church leaders feel unprepared to counsel church members who are struggling with difficult, multifaceted problems. David Powlison reminds pastors of their unique role as the shepherds of God’s people, equipping them to apply biblical wisdom to the thoughts, values, moods, expectations, and decisions of those under their care. 

Quinn, Pat. Praying in Public: A Guidebook for Prayer in Corporate Worship, Crossway, 176 Pages. 

Praying in Public is a practical, step-by-step guide created to help pastors and church leaders pray thoughtfully and biblically in public. Through seven guiding principles, Pat Quinn illustrates how to lead prayers of adoration, confession, and supplication to God, and covers the history of public prayer in Scripture. He also includes elegant, reverent, gospel-centered examples from the Latin Liturgy, John Calvin, the Puritans, John Wesley, and others, as well as many examples of his own congregational prayers. Pastors and church leaders will learn to glorify God more passionately, effectively intercede for the church and the world, and find joy―not fear―in praying publicly. 

Reju, Deepak, and Jonathan Holmes. Rescue Plan: Charting a Course to Restore Prisoners of Pornography, P&R Publishing, 256 Pages. And Reju, Deepak, and Jonathan Holmes. Rescue Skills: Essential Skills for Restoring the Sexually Broken, P&R Publishing, 272 Pages. 

Rescue Plan: If you want to help someone who has become a prisoner of pornography, you’ll need to know your enemy and the terrain on which you’ll be fighting. Rescue Plan draws on the research and experience of two biblical counselors—Deepak Reju and Jonathan Holmes—giving concrete information and helping you to shape an effective plan of attack for strugglers in a variety of circumstances. Rescue Skills: Do you know someone who is struggling with sexual brokenness? It’s likely that you do—but you may not know how to help. In Rescue Skills, biblical counselors Deepak Reju and Jonathan Holmes provide a treasure trove of straightforward, biblical strategies for guiding a fellow believer toward recovery. You’ll learn how to listen well, develop a plan, encourage good accountability, and, by God’s grace, keep your friend focused on Christ throughout their journey.

Tripp, Paul. Do You Believe? 12 Historic Doctrines to Change Your Everyday Life, Crossway, 480 Pages. 

In his latest book, Do You Believe?, pastor and best-selling author, Paul Tripp, takes a close look at 12 core doctrines and how they engage and transform the human heart and mind. According to Tripp, “true belief is always lived.” To demonstrate this, he unpacks each doctrine and presents its relevance for the Christian life. As readers explore topics such as the doctrine of God, the holiness of God, and the doctrine of Scripture, they will be fueled to fall deeper in love with and stand in awe of their Creator and Father―putting the truths of God’s Word on display for all the world to see.

Viars, Steve. Overcoming Bitterness: Moving from Life’s Greatest Hurts to a Life Filled with Joy, Baker Books, 224 Pages. 

In a world full of struggle and disappointment, each one of us will wrestle with bitterness at one time or another. But left unchecked, bitterness is a destructive poison that steals our joy and the joy of those around us. We must take care not to feed a bitter spirit within us. In this honest and hopeful book, pastor and counselor, Steve Viars, shows us how to avoid the pitfalls of a bitter heart as we walk through our fallen world. He shows us how to process bitterness honestly, biblically, and effectively, so that we can move from life’s greatest hurts to a life filled with joy. 

Welch, Ed. A Small Book about Why We Hide: How Jesus Rescues Us from Insecurity, Regret, Failure, and Shame, New Growth Press, 256 Pages. 

We are prone to insecurities, fear of failure, and regrets which we try to hide and cover up, resulting in isolation from both those around us and God. Through fifty devotionals, counselor Ed Welch shows us how God speaks with gentleness, depth, and hope that will lead us out of hiding and to live more openly, authentic, and regret-free. Welch speaks to our struggles with shame, disappointments, and inadequacy with God’s words of love and change. Welch shows us how we were created to be known by God and others, and how hiding undermines these relationships. Each daily devotional focuses on a specific biblical truth that unpacks the reasons underlying our feelings of failure and weakness and then points us in the direction of turning to God for acceptance, identity, and security. 

Whitman, Lauren. A Biblical Counseling Process: Guidance for the Beginning, Middle, and End, New Growth Press, 112 Pages. 

What makes counseling biblical? What does the biblical counseling process entail? What is the focus of each stage of the process? Lauren Whitman, an experienced CCEF counselor, addresses these questions and more in A Biblical Counseling Process, sharing a process from start to finish that will help guide counselors in reaching the hearts of their counselees and connecting them to Jesus, who brings hope and change. 

Links to Top Biblical Counseling Books: 2012-2020 

2020: 20 Top Biblical Counseling Books of 2020 

2019: 19 Top Biblical Counseling Books of 2019 

2018: 24 Top Biblical Counseling Books of 2018 

2017: The 17 Top Biblical Counseling Books of 2017 

2016: The 16 Top Biblical Counseling Books of 2016 

2015: The 15 Top Biblical Counseling Books of 2015 

2014: The 14 Top Biblical Counseling Books of 2014 

2013: The 20 Most Important Biblical Counseling Books of 2012, Part 1 

2013: The 20 Most Important Biblical Counseling Books of 2013, Part 2 

2012: The 12 Most Important Biblical Counseling Books of 2012 

Join the Conversation 

What biblical counseling books published in 2021 do you most highly recommend? Which biblical counseling book from 2021 most impacted your life? Your ministry?

The post 21 Top Biblical Counseling Books of 2021 appeared first on RPM Ministries.

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