We’ve assembled a list of helpful faith-based and secular books that we hope will help you:
- Navigate your role as counselor to individuals who are caught up on either side of an abusive relationship,
- Serve as opportunities for learning more about domestic violence in general,
- Provide in-depth answers to Christians who have specific questions about domestic abuse, or
- Are resources you can share with those individuals to supplement whatever counseling or guidance you and your community are providing.
Pastoral leadership and counseling help
The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life: Connecting Christ to Human Experience – Jeremy Pierre – This book gives a Word-centered methodology for helping others understand tough experiences and who they are in light of who Jesus is.
The Heart of Domestic Abuse: Gospel Solutions for Men Who Use Control and Violence in the Home – Chris Moles – A valuable resource for pastors and biblical counselors to offer hope and help in calling abusive men to repentance and accountability.
The Pastor and Counseling: The Basics of Shepherding Members in Need – Jeremy Pierre and Deepak Reju – Written to help pastors and church leaders understand the basics of biblical counseling, this book provides an overview of the counseling process from the initial meeting to the final session. Although not written to specifically address domestic violence, it does help pastors feel prepared to shepherd people through difficult circumstances such as depression, adultery, eating disorders, and suicidal thinking.
Understanding People: Why We Long for Relationship – Larry Crabb – Dr. Crabb shows how we’re put together, who we really are, and what makes us tick in our relationships. He makes the link between spiritual and psychological realities and affirms the power of the Scriptures to address the intricacies and deep needs of the human heart.
Violence Among Us: Ministry to Families in Crisis – Brenda Branson – This book offers practical help in identifying abusive situations. It has strategic counseling tips, case studies and models of effective ministry to both the victim and the perpetrator.
Help for the person causing harm
Our recommendations here are divided by the stage of change for the person you are counseling. You’ll find some additional titles on the Recommended Reading page of our main website.
Non-judgmental books to help accept the need for change
The Emotionally Abusive Relationship – Beverly Engel – The first part of thisbook has a great checklist showing what emotional abuse is and discussing how it affects the relationship.
Emotional Abuse: Silent Killer of Marriage – Austin James – This self-published title, written by a man who was emotionally abusive in his marriage, speaks plainly about the journey from abusive to healed.
From Pride to Humility: A Biblical Perspective – Stuart Scott – Sometimes seeing ourselves in a compare and contract manner helps us realize the need for change. This small (28 pages) and easy to read Biblically based book about pride and humility contains a self-evaluation checklist for each topic.
Books to read during the change process
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life – Henry Cloud and John Townsend – This mega-selling book has hundreds of applications to relationships, including those that have been violent. Understanding where I end and you begin is critical to accepting what I can control about you, and what I need to adjust inside of me.
The Emotionally Abusive Relationship – Beverly Engel – We mentioned this for the first stage but are repeating it here. This book also provides specific strategies to help people stop causing emotional abuse.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality – Peter Scazzero – In this bestselling book, the author reveals two truths: the need for emotional immaturity to be spiritually mature, and the need to quiet our lives for that change to happen. He then offers a roadmap for discipleship with Jesus that is powerfully transformative.
From Pride to Humility: A Biblical Perspective – Stuart Scott – Also mentioned above, this Biblically-based book about pride and humility not only contrasts the two, but it says how to get from the first to the second.
How People Change – Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp – This book explains in a clear, practical way the biblical pattern for how lasting change takes root. It focuses on how God is at work to make each of us the person we were created to be.
Idols of the Heart: Learning to Long for God Alone – Elyse Fitzpatrick – For those who feel discouraged in their battle against habitual sin, the author delves into the heart of the problem: putting our loves, desires, and expectations in God’s place. Fitzpatrick shows us how to know our hearts, long for our Savior, and resist false gods.
Recovering Redemption: A Gospel Saturated Perspective on How to Change – Matt Chandler and Michael Snetzer – This book uses Scripture to take the reader inside of themselves, discovering that the heart of all our problems is truly the problem of our hearts. But because of what God has done, we have the ability to do what’s required to change our lives for the better.
Understanding Who You Are: What Your Relationships Tell You About Yourself – Larry Crabb – This book helps us look at the way we respond to relational problems and discover the underlying issues that get relationships off track. The book also gives the read tools to heal broken relationships and develop a more intimate relationship with God. It includes discussion questions.
Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds – Chris Brauns – This book offers a solid understanding of Biblical forgiveness—essential for moving beyond the emotional wounds of bitterness, disagreements, and broken relationships at the heart of domestic violence.
Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem – Robert Jones – A Biblical Look at anger, the ways people deal with anger (venting and stuffing), and practical steps to help us deal with both.
When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man – Edward Welch – Welch uncovers the spiritual dimension of people-pleasing and points the way through a true knowledge of God, ourselves, and others.
Modeling healthy relationships
All the King’s Men – Stu Weber – Not to be confused with the Pulitzer Prize classic book with the same title by Robert Penn Warren (which was also a good read), this book highlights how men become Godly husbands and fathers by walking with other men who share the same standards. This book encourages them to seek out brothers in Christ for direction and encouragement and to do together what no one could do alone.
The Friendship Factor: How to Get Closer to the People You Care For – Alan Loy McGinnis – Developing quality friendships is how we continue to become the person God intended us to be. The author focuses on warmth and caring as essential ingredients for friendships.
Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian in Community – Dietrich Bonhoeffer – From a renowned Christian minister and author, the book gives practical advice on how life together in Christ can be sustained in families and groups.
Relationships: A Mess Worth Making – Tim Lane and Paul David Tripp – This book shows how God has the last word on those messy, conflict-ridden relationships and how He can use them to make us into someone who can give and receive love rather than shutting down, lashing out, or getting out.
Help for the victim
What is supportive for the one causing harm and what will best help the person being harmed by abuse are different. Here is a list for the victims:
Called to Peace: A Survivor’s Guide to Finding Peace and Healing After Domestic Abuse – Joy Forrest – Part memoir and part guidebook, this book explores the guilt and shame of someone who doesn’t believe in divorce, but finds themselves in a toxic or dangerous marriage. It shows God’s heart for the oppressed, challenges the erroneous beliefs that keep some in bondage, and promotes healing after abuse.
The Emotionally Abusive Relationship – Beverly Engel – This book helps people stop emotional abuse by focusing on both the abuser and the abused, showing each party what emotional abuse is, how it affects the relationship, and how to stop it.
The Emotionally Destructive Marriage – Leslie Vernick – The author shows how to establish boundaries and break free from emotional abuse. This is done by identifying damaging behaviors, gaining skills to respond wisely, promoting healthy change, staying safe, understand when and how to leave, all while recognizing that God sees and hates what is happening.
Manipulation: Knowing How to Respond – Lou Priolo – A helpful book on discerning manipulative behavior and avoiding its effects, while maintaining a Christ-like attitude.
The Verbally Abusive Relationship – Patricia Evans – An excellent resource for recognizing verbal abuse when it happens, and then learning how to deal with it.
Creating a supportive community – relationships and accountability
Being There: How to Love Those Who Are Hurting – Dave Furman – This book offers insight into the support, encouragement, and wisdom that people need when helping others. It points readers to the strength that only God can provide as they love those who are hurting.
Caring for One Another: 8 Ways to Cultivate Meaningful Relationships – Ed Welch – The goal of this book is cultivate meaningful relationships within your church. Includes short chapters and discussion questions for group settings.
Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability – Luke Gilkerson – A thorough discussion about accountability partnering: what to look for in a partner, how to hold each other accountable, why accountability typically fails, good discussion questions for accountability partners, and more.
Connecting: Healing for Ourselves and Our Relationships – A Radical New Vision – Larry Crabb – The author shows readers how to build intimate, healing connections with others’ communities to speed God’s power to heal.
How to Have That Difficult Conversation: Gaining the Skills for Honest and Meaningful Communication – Henry Cloud and John Townsend – Applies principles from their bestselling book, Boundaries, to help us confront people to get them to stop bad behavior.
Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change – Paul David Tripp – A comprehensive look at how God uses imperfect people as tools of change in the lives of others.
Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian in Community – Dietrich Bonhoeffer – We mentioned this one above in the building healthy relationships section, but this book also applies to doing life together in Christ as part of groups or a community.
Side By Side: Walking With Others in Wisdom and Love – Ed Welch – practical guidance for all Christians—pastors and lay people alike—who want to develop their “helping skills” when it comes to walking alongside hurting people.
Of course, we’d be negligent if we did not share our main website that is built to provide guidance and encouragement for individuals who have harmed their partner but who want to change:
Podcasts and videos
Speakers, conferences, and seminars