A Small Book about a Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace

Edward T. Welch
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A Small Book about a Big Problem by biblical counselor and psychologist Edward T. Welch guides readers to look carefully at how their anger affects them and others through short, daily meditations.

In a fifty-day reading plan journey, Welch unpacks anger while encouraging and teaching readers to respond with patience to life's difficulties.

This biblically wise resource is a useful tool for pastors, counselors, and lay helpers who are working with people who struggle with a short fuse.

In A Small Book about a Big Problem, Welch invites readers to consider how everyone can find anger in their actions and attitudes, but Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is the only one who can empower his people to grow in patience, peace, and wholeness.

How many times today have you been irritated? Frustrated? Anger is so common—yet it also hurts. It not only leaves a mark on us, but it also leaves a mark on others.

The wounds we inflict on ourselves and others because of anger—loss of intimacy, trust, security, and enjoyment in our closest relationships—give us compelling reasons to look closely at our anger and lift our eyes to Christ.


Edward T. Welch, MDiv, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). He earned a PhD in counseling (neuropsychology) from the University of Utah and has a master's of divinity from Biblical Theological Seminary. Ed has been counseling for over thirty years and has written extensively on the topics of depression, fear, and addictions. His biblical counseling books include Shame Interrupted; When People Are Big and God Is Small; Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave; Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness; Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction; Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest; When I Am Afraid: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Fear and Anxiety; Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love; and A Small Book about a Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace.

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"Does anger really require a basic treatment program of seven weeks? Yes. Small symptoms mask major diseases. In A Small Book about a Big Problem, Dr. Ed Welch masterfully combines biblical analysis and a lifetime of counseling experience with a gentle exposing of our true condition—and then prescribes gospel medicine. Complete the course! At first it may not taste good. But it offers the hope of long-term spiritual health."
Sinclair B. Ferguson, Teaching Fellow, Ligonier Ministries

"As a young pastor anger nearly destroyed my family and my ministry. By grace, God rescued me. My hope is that this book, filled with profound insights, tender grace, and practical wisdom, will be used by God to rescue and restore many. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't benefit from reading it."
Paul Tripp, Author of New Morning Mercies

"Anger is a big problem today—in our political life, in the world's religions, on the highways, and in our own hearts. Scripture says it is often murderous, and it warns us about it at length. But often when we are angry, we don't have the patience to listen to a lecture or treatise. Thankfully, Ed Welch's book provides biblical teaching about anger in powerful, eloquent, short segments. Right to the point; right to our hearts."
John Frame, Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL

"The title of this book is accurate. These fifty reflections are brief and succinct, but they directly address one of the biggest and ugliest problems in the world. Anger is inextricably tied up with bitterness, envy, hate, an unbridled tongue, resentments, party spirit, and war. It divides homes and splits churches—and this among the people of God who, Jesus says, will be known for their love. This eminently probing and practical book is in part a collection of first steps for combatting this awful wickedness."
D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical School, Deerfield, IL; cofounder of The Gospel Coalition

"Anger can be explosive or it can slowly simmer. Whatever form it takes, it leaves a path of broken relationships in its wake. Ed Welch's new book, A Small Book about a Big Problem offers a needed opportunity to consider what's at the heart of our anger. These daily devotions patiently expose the destructive effects of anger while guiding us to a life of greater humility, thankfulness, and peace."
Melissa Kruger, Author of The Envy of Eve and Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood

"A Small Book About A Big Problem was, for me, a gentle, calm, honest conversation with a wise friend about a real problem. In our angry and even explosive world today, that is a rare treasure indeed. Anyone open to the gospel will be helped by this book to rethink their pain and turmoil in the presence of Jesus the Crucified."
Ray Ortlund, Pastor of Immanuel Church, Nashville, TN

"What a rich, insightful book! Ed's years of working with the heart come to life in these short, piercing vignettes. They aren't so much devotionalas they are disrupters. They will disrupt your heart for good. No matter where you are in the Christian life, you will find yourself arrested by this book. I'm getting one for each of our children."
Paul Miller, Founder of seeJesus; author of A Praying Life and A Loving Life

"Anger—so easy to neglect! Feel too busy to address it? Try this amazingly simple tool. Short, but sharp and straight to the heart. Perfect for your morning meal with the Lord. Your heart needs these fifty questions."
François Turcotte, President of Séminaire Baptiste évangélique du Québec (SEMBEQ)

"A few pages into A Small Book About A Big Problem,I thought: 'He's done it again!' Ed Welch writes with simple, penetrating, grace-filled clarity that sets us on the path to the reality of forgiveness and hope for change. If you feel like you're in a losing battle with anger, read this book—and read it for all fifty days."
C. J. Mahaney, Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville

"God's wisdom counsels, 'A gentle answer turns away wrath,' and 'The purposes of a person's heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.' Gently but so incisively, Ed Welch plumbs and exposes the ugly depths of our angry hearts. Then he brings us to Jesus, whose mercy can replace our selfish rage with humility and gratitude. Read this small book reflectively and honestly. Expect big change."
Dennis E. Johnson, Professor of Practical Theology, Westminster Seminary California

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19 Reviews

  • 5
    Anger angst

    Posted by Michael E. Mosier on 06 10 2019

    This book provides the reader the opportunity on a daily basis for two months to look at his or her anger in the light of the Scriptures, prayerfully consider his or her anger issues, and move toward considerably better anger management. This has been an incredibly helpful book for me.

  • 5
    f 5 starsAnger vs Wisdom? After the first few meditations you will begin choosing the path of wisdom.

    Posted by Kimi on 06 10 2019

    What a life changer this book is. My husband and I have struggled with anger towards each other our entire marriage and after having a few sessions with a Biblical counselor who shared a Bible verse from James 4:1-6 "What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions[a] are at war within you?[b] 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people![c] Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace." That verse really spoke to me and i began to search for a devotion that my husband and I could read together, and I just happened to stumble upon this book. It has been perfect because the chapters, or I should say daily meditations, are short, but packed with life changing principles regarding anger. It has been a life changer for me, and I am now more resolved than ever to honor Christ with my words, and to choose the path of wisdom. I highly recommend this book to any Christian who struggles with this anger, really that is pretty much all of us to some degree.

  • 5
    Big Truths in a Small Book

    Posted by Dr. David Steele on 06 10 2019

    Edward Welch has become somewhat of a household name in recent years, especially in circles that welcome biblical counseling. Dr. Welch’s new book, A Small Book About a Big Problem is written for everyday people who experience everyday problems. In this short and powerful little book, the author presents fifty meditations that address anger, patience, and peace. Each chapter contains a central thought that educates, inspires, and challenges readers. The meditations are informed by Scripture and force readers to wrestle with motives, hidden sin, and temptations that are common to all. The strength of this book is its brevity. The meditations are designed to be read on a daily basis and encourage deep thought and contemplation. Ultimately, the subject matter concerns sanctification and is written in such a way to attract both baby Christians and seasoned believers. Anyone who desires short, readable and biblical encouragement should pick up a copy of this excellent book. Highly recommended!

  • 4
    starsAn Important Book About Dealing With Anger

    Posted by Stacey on 06 10 2019

    'A Small Book about a Big Problem' by Edward T. Welch is 50 days worth of meditations on anger, patience and peace. Do you struggle with anger or know someone who does? Are you a lay-leader in your church who infrequently deals with problems you aren’t trained to handle? This valuable book will help you take your own anger captive and prepare you to better deal with the outbursts of others. On day one, the destructive nature of anger is brought to light, revealing the importance of such a book. Many of us haven’t been taught to properly deal with our anger, so it becomes anxiety or violence or outbursts. The author calls this book a slow walk – one meditation per day. This book is interactive. It poses questions. It refers to Scripture. It leads the reader to pray. This can transform us and our thinking. The most difficult part of reading this book was keeping the slow pace. But this is a topic that really needs to be chewed on and digested one tiny bite at a time. Do you want to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry? Take a slow walk with Edward T. Welch.

  • 4
    Simply Convicting

    Posted by Elizabeth on 06 10 2019

    I read this one chapter a day. It is simple truth, but highly convicting. I will be going through this booklet again and again. I gave it 4 stars because for such a short digital book it had a very high price tag. Would highly recommend this book to everyone.

  • 3
    Good, quick-read book, but doesn't go into as much depth as some might need

    Posted by Lindsey Bell on 06 10 2019

    This small book is a 50 day meditational book about anger. Each meditation is only a few pages long, so it's a good book for someone who is wanting to read something quick to help them get to the bottom of their anger problem. It provides a lot of Scripture too, to help you reflect on Jesus' attitude toward anger, peace, and patience. My only criticism is that it didn't provide as many practical steps as I would have liked. It provided a lot of information in a short space, but didn't give me as many specific take aways as I would have liked. Overall, it's a good, quick-read book, but because of how small it is, it doesn't go into as much detail as I personally would have liked.

  • 3
    Gospel-centered, Needs More Balance

    Posted by E. Hanks on 06 10 2019

    In a post-Fall world, there are no strangers when it comes to anger. Ed Welch's latest book, A Small Book About a Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace, seeks to address and tame this universal problem. I welcomed the idea of succinct meditations that could be read in under two minutes each. It was refreshing to drink deeply of the rich, Gospel-truths in which this book is rooted. I love that Welch didn't leave any stone unturned when it came to various manifestations of anger but included commonly overlooked habits including: sarcasm, grumbling, complaining, gossip, withdrawal, silence, indifference, envy, and jealousy. I appreciate that he didn't merely focus on outward behavior modifications but looked more deeply at the heart issues that drive anger, seeking to apply biblical truths. Naturally, a short book with a limited word count presents certain limitations. Understanding these should help prevent disappointment and misunderstanding. This book is largely about addressing the reader's anger. When exploring a topic as volatile as anger, short meditations seem to fall short of sufficiently exploring the many questions raised. All in all, A Small Book About a Big Problem is a good start, but ideally, it would be paired with another resource to provide some needed balance.

  • 5
    One of the best little books I have ever read!

    Posted by Susan B on 06 10 2019

    Although the book is dealing with Anger, the best part about it is it actually targets both sides of the fence. Either the person who is angry or the person who is being hurt or mistreated by another person. I have been so convicted about my response to the person afflicting pain because the author shows you Jesus's response and I always come up short to His standard of correct responses and His unconditional love. This little book is carefully designed for you to only read 1 day at a time and the pages are very small, so it only takes a minute or 2 BUT the impact is indescribable. Usually the responses I get from those who are reading it is "WOW"! I shared it with a friend in S.C and the last count she told me was that she gave it to her supervisor and she ordered 10 to give away. It is now on my Christmas and Birthday list for my friends. It is better than a devotional and I will be reading it over and over for the rest of my life. I love this little book. Susan B

  • 5
    Short, Concise, To-The-Point, Excellent

    Posted by Zack Ford on 05 24 2018

    Are you struggling with anger? Have you in the past? Have others told you that you come across as an angry person? Or do you know someone in your life that is struggling with anger but isn’t quite sure how to get a handle on it? Let me encourage you to get your hands on a copy (or two) of this book. Whether you are a reader or not, this book is written in such a readable and accessible way that it is sure to be a great help for everyone. Short, small, and compact, you can be sure that if you give yourself to reading this book over the course of 50 days, together with a humble spirit and willingness to obey God in His Word, God will use His Word and His truth in your life to build Christlikeness in you, which includes giving you victory over your sinful anger. If you’ve been wanting to see victory over anger in your life, don’t wait another minute. Buy a copy of this book today.

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