Our friend Bill Hill has put together a series of study guides for most of Dr. Adams’ basic books on biblical counseling and pastoral ministry. They are a great tool for personal study and can be effectively used in the classroom. Check out Bill’s website at www.churchliferesources.net where you can see everything he has to offer and order your copies online.
Bill also leads Equipping Nationals Worldwide, a ministry devoted to teaching national pastors around the world in the area of biblical counseling and pastoral ministry.
Commentaries of two sorts are available today:
1. Those that spend more than half the space allotted to them discussing introductory matters rather than commentating on the text of the Bible itself. These contain long (usually non-conclusive) discussions of various authors who, themselves, have written commentaries on the same order. To try to obtain helpful material from these introductions is like looking for a broken needle in the proverbial haystack. If you could find a broomstick—forget the half of the needle—you’re doing good. Then, in what little space is left there is commentary on the text. This material mostly states the obvious—not the help that the reader is searching for—or, similar to the introduction, lengthy discussions of learned nonsense by the author concerning the views of others, most of whom you have met in the introductory material. A good sprinkling of liberal, neo-orthodox or postmodern writers has been made to establish the commentator’s familiarity with the “learned scholarship” of the day! This practice also establishes him as a “learned scholar.”
2. The other sort of commentary is like the older sort—it spends most of the time commentating on the text. The introductory materials are slim, to the point and helpful. The material in the text actually attempts to solve many of the problems that a preacher picked it up in order to help him do so. There aren’t many of new type 2 commentaries available today. That is one reason why I was startled to find a 1154 page type 2 commentary by Grant Osborne, published by Zondervan, and have been enjoying reading through it. Granted, he has a minimum of so-called scholarly “sprinklings” here and there, but they are mainly in footnotes, and he doesn’t waste the reader’s time with having to plow through them in the text itself. This is a big book; so far (I’m about half-way through), it has been useful, informative and a pleasure to use. I predict that I will turn to it again and again in the future. He actually attacks most of the difficult matters! He isn’t a preterist of any sort, so he misinterprets much of the Olivet Discourse and kindred passages on the kingdom, but not so much so that there is nothing worthwhile there. Much of what he says about the kingdom can be helpfully adapted to a proper view of the events surrounding 70AD. I hope that the rest of the volumes in this new series will be on the same order. I look forward to them. Hurray for Zondervan and Osborne!
Does anyone have an accurate list of how many new books are published here in the USA every year? There must be something fairly accurate—but, as I did yesterday, I received a self-published book that will probably not become officially copyrighted. Solomon in Ecclesiastes said there’d be no end to writing books—and he knew nothing of the computer, or the printing press, for that matter!
Why does a person write? In reading some books, I wonder. The writer who authored the book I was sent yesterday had a clear purpose. I appreciate that! You can read some that just seem to be words and lots of printer’s ink that you wonder why anyone went to the trouble to put together.
I read a book last week that had a purpose, but it was wrong in the way it cut-and-pasted other people’s work. The best part of the book was the quotes; the rest—well, it would have been better if he had simply made it a book of quotations. The rest of the book got in the way of reading the excellent quotes.
Shawn Safavi, a good friend of ours who lived in the Seattle area, is laboring to translate the basic books of Nouthetic counseling into Farsi, the language of Persia (Iran). The work is slow as he is only able to work in his spare time after work. If you have a burden for reaching the people of Iran with solid biblical literature and would like to underwrite this project please contact Shawn at his website:
You should check it out just to see what Jay’s books look like in Farsi!
For many years I have been scouring eBay and other used book sites for copies of The Big Umbrella, marking them up exponentially from the price I paid, and reselling them to grateful students of biblical counseling. With this republication my little cottage industry comes to an end but my loss is great gain for biblical counselors everywhere. When my friend, Joe Bianchi at Calvary Press, asked me which of Dr. Adams’ books would be most valuable to bring back into print this volume was clearly the first choice.
The Big Umbrella was the second book Dr. Adams published dealing with biblical counseling. It appeared less than two years after Competent to Counsel and before his other foundational books The Christian Counselor’s Manual, More Than Redemption (later titled Theology of Counseling), and How to Help People Change. The book consists of lectures Dr. Adams gave in various situations expanding upon and defending his first book. While these lectures were delivered in a different context than ours today, as you read these words you will find they are still fresh and speak pointedly to our situation almost 40 years later. Good exposition of the Scripture has no expiration date.
From the beginning we have required our students at the Institute for Nouthetic Studies to read the first section of this book as a part of our first introductory course. That chapter alone is worth far more than the price you will pay for this entire volume. You Are Your Brother’s Counselor should be required reading of anyone holding office in a local church. I believe anyone who is involved in biblical counseling will find this book, written almost 40 years ago, still to be one of the most helpful volumes he has read since, well, Competent to Counsel. And now you don’t have to pay my confiscatory prices to do so!
You can order your copy directly from Calvary Press at their website here.