Counseling Starter Bibliography

The following resources are “must-reads” and “must-sees” for the beginning counselor. Start with these recommendations and then study additional resources in the topics that follow as you have interest and need.

Introductory Counseling Texts

Adams, Jay E. Ready to Restore: The Layman’s Guide to Christian Counseling. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1981 (128 pages).

This work is the “Cliff Notes” version of Adams’ larger and ground-breaking work, The Christian Counselor’s Manual.

Adams, Jay E. How to Help People Change: The Four-Step Biblical Process. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986 (224 pages).

Adams demonstrates how 2 Timothy 3:16-17 lays forth a four-step process for using the inspired scriptures to equip the believer for “every good work.” 

MacArthur, John and the Master’s College Faculty. Counseling: How to Counsel Biblically. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005 (300 pages).

This work, featuring John MacArthur and Wayne Mack as the primary contributors, sets forth the historical and theological foundations of biblical counseling before discussing in detail the counseling process.

Tripp, Paul David. Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2002 (360 pages).

Tripp provides a very practical beginning text for the biblical counselor. This work covers both the spiritual issue of reaching the heart while providing many practical suggestions for the counseling sessions.

Introductory Works on Sanctification and Theology of Counseling

These works acquaint the reader with the doctrine of sanctification—how a believer changes and grows—as it pertains to discipleship and counseling. The biblical counselor must be conversant in and must be an active participant in the sanctification process if he is to be effective.

Berg, Jim. Changed Into His Image. Greenville, SC: BJU Press, 1999 (372 pages).

Written as a discipleship manual, this book provides the theological underpinnings and the practical applications of the doctrine of sanctification. When used with its study guide, Taking Time to Change (BJU Press), this work can be used as a 13-week study for a counselee who needs to grow in his understanding of how to make biblical change in his life. See for teaching resources and audio files.

Bridges, Jerry. The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1994 (239 pages).

Bridges’ writings are biblically sound and very practical. This work gives the biblical counselor one more pass through the important doctrine of sanctification as it applies to discipleship and counseling. A separate study guide is available.

Tozer, A. W. The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine. Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1982.

This classic work needs to be read by every believer until he begins to understand and practice its message of whole-hearted pursuit of knowing and loving God.