Understanding People: Why We Long for Relationship
"Understanding People" marked something of a turning in Crabb's writing and ministry. In some of his previous works such as "Effective Biblical Counseling" and "Basic Principles of Biblical Counseling," Crabb focused more on integrating biblical and psychological concepts. With "Understanding People," Crabb emphasizes a biblical model of the "imago Dei" (the capacities of the image of God in human nature). The first section, consisting of four chapters on the sufficiency of Scripture, is perhaps the most vital material in the book. Crabb logically, practically, and biblically states his well-thought-through model of the Scriptures as a foundation for Christian counseling. The bulk of the book then focuses on the nature of human nature. Here Crabb describes the four fundamental capacities of the human personality: we are relational (we long), rational (we think), volitional (we purpose), and emotional (we feel). Interestingly, some have criticized Crabb's teaching on relational longings, stating that no one in Church history prior to Crabb made longings an aspect of the "imago Dei." These folks should read more Church history. Augustine, Bernard of Clairvaux, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Baxter, Edwards, and so many more stalwarts of the Christian faith, not only taught about religious affections and relational longings, they taught that they were essential components of the human personality as designed by God. One could wish that "Understanding People" said more about our physicality and the inner-play between mind and body. One could also wish for more "how to" based upon the excellent insights into our inner nature. However, no one book can do it all. "Understanding People" does successfully meet it's primary goal of providing a biblical psychology of human nature--in it's original glory, fallen depravity, and redeemed dignity. Reviewer: Dr. Robert W. Kellemen is the author of "Soul Physicians" and "Spiritual Friends."
May 27, 2005
As someone who is currently studying Psychology with the hope of helping fellow believers, I recommend this book to people who are interested in what a good "Christian counselor" looks like (what he or she should look to as the guide to counseling) or for those hoping to enter into the field as counselors. Crabb offers a sound Biblical basis for counseling and for the Word's use in counseling without shying away from the work of God's hand in the process. Some may find the first part of the book dry since it is very apologetical in nature, but understanding the argument is key to understanding the significance of this book. Should be read in conjunction with his book other book "Connection" (read Connection afterwards).
January 13, 2002