On Fridays for the next several weeks, I hope to interact with the Biblical Counseling Coalition’s new book, Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling. Not sure how it will all pan out, but my plan is to take a chapter each week, summarize the main teaching points, highlight good quotes, develop some of the ideas, and offer some constructive critique here and there. Apart from a couple of weaker chapters, there won’t be too much of the latter as this is a superb book that would benefit not just pastors and counselors but anyone who wants to learn how to help others with God’s Word. Why not read along with me and add your own comments as we go? Today we’ll start with the short introductory chapter. Next Friday I’ll take a look at Chapter 1: The Glory of God – The Goal of Biblical Counseling.

Introduction: In Christ Alone by Bob Kellemen and Steve Viars

Aim of book

To promote authentic spiritual growth among God’s people in ways that are:

(1) Grace-based and gospel-centered: Not a system or a program.

(2) Relationally and theologically robust: Relationship with God through His Word.

(3) Grounded in the local church: Caring like Christ in the body of Christ

(4) Relevant to everyday life and ministry: Speaking the truth in love to meet spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.

Structure of the Book

Chapters 1-14: A practical theology of biblical counseling

Chapters 15-28: A practical methodology of biblical counseling

Authors of the Book

The coalition of 40 authors produces variety, synergy, humility, and better resources.

Biblical Foundations of the Book

Ephesians 4:1-3; 4:15-16; 2 Peter 3:18


The Introduction sets up the book well by explaining its rationale and aim. As with everything Bob writes, the chapter is clear, concise, and well-structured. If I was just beginning in biblical counseling or even just wanting to speak more helpfully into people’s lives, I’d be encouraged that this is a book for me. And yet, the more experienced pastor or counselor will also be drawn in by the promise of more substantial discussions in some chapters. Those familiar with some of the critiques of biblical counseling will also recognize the promise to address some of these issues and offer more comprehensive care for sinners and sufferers. As a bonus, there are some great “soundbites.”


“We are less interested in the number of disciples and more interested in the quality of discipleship.”

“We want to grow together in learning how to promote personal change centered on the person of Christ through the personal ministry of the Word.”

“Biblical Counseling does not offer a system or a program, but rather is shares a person - the Person – Jesus Christ.”

“Counseling is not ultimately about the counselee or the counselor, but about the Divine Counselor.”

“Our team rejects the notion that the Bible is simply an encyclopedia of disconnected Bible verses. God’s Word is less like a cookbook and more like a novel.”

“God calls and equips the church to be not simply a place with biblical counseling, but a place of biblical counseling.”

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  • mathew

    Your engagement with the introductory chapter of “Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling” is both thorough and insightful. You’ve provided a clear overview of the book’s aim, structure, and key themes, making it accessible to readers at various stages of their counseling journey. Your recognition of the book’s appeal to both beginners and seasoned counselors is particularly noteworthy, highlighting its potential to offer valuable insights and guidance to a diverse audience.

    The inclusion of quotable passages adds depth to your feedback, showcasing the book’s emphasis on grace-based, gospel-centered counseling rooted in the person of Christ. These quotes not only capture the essence of the chapter but also serve as compelling invitations for readers to delve deeper into its content.

    Overall, your analysis reflects a genuine appreciation for the book’s approach and content, while also acknowledging its potential to address critiques and offer comprehensive care to those in need. Your engagement with the text is both thoughtful and encouraging, inviting others to join you in exploring its rich insights and practical wisdom.