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
    A great book with awesome insights!

    Posted by Paul on 06 10 2019

    I have been a fan of Ed Welch for years. And this book continues a trend of his, that is writing relevant works that bring us closer to the Lord. Who among us has never been angry? I am not talking upset like you burnt dinner, I mean straight up angry to where you felt you might hurt another person or thing? So I am the only one, thats good to know. Dr. Welch does an excellent job in helping us to see anger as it really is. When he is talking about anger he means the type that leads to sin and partnership with the Devil! I found day six to be one of the most powerful interactions of the book. In how it breaks down the different faces of anger. I never realized what an angry person I was until I read his descriptions of anger on those few pages. He not only defines anger and what it looks like but he provides the remedy in Christ. In the book he speaks of having a plan like the AA program and working it, seeking forgiveness and being specific with God and people. I really like this book, I would almost dare say love it. It has opened my eyes to areas where I am/have fallen short. It is my hope that it will do the same for you. If you struggle with frustrations (it may be under-layed by anger) or if you’ve been hurt by anger this work will show ways to possibly restore. I recommend this book to EVERYONE!! If you do any kind of counseling this is a great tool for the toolkit.

  • 5
    Eye Opening

    Posted by Beth Milinski on 06 10 2019

    A Small Book About a Big Problem is the first book by Edward T. Welch and it is fantastic. This book deals with Anger and how instead of anger, finding patience and peace. I personally know that I was never taught how to deal with anger and am excited to have this new perspective, a way to turn it around. Edward T. Welch is a Biblical Counselor who writes with authority on dealing with about anger, the Bible, how to deal with everyday issues that impact all of us, and how to use the scriptures to find peace. I found that with it being broken up into 50 days, taking it day by day really made it easier to implement into my life. This book may be small but in 192 pages it really packs a punch. I enjoyed the fact that this book size is a little bigger than my cell phone so it was light and compact enough to fit into my purse or bag. I have been rereading this book, finding more insight that I missed in my original reading of this book. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to read this book, it has really opened my eyes to how anger has controlled so many parts of my life. I am excited to read read more books by Edward T. Welch, his books are on my must read list. I highly recommend this book to everyone, it is something that anyone can pick up and relate to. I give this book 5 STARS.

  • 5

    Posted by Michael P on 06 10 2019

    It's a teeny thing, just a little bigger than the size of a smartphone. But as they say, "Dynamite comes in small packages!" Ed Welch, licensed psychologist and faculty member at the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF), has compiled 50 short daily devotions into a small, 186 page hardcover with this intriguing title, "A Small Book about a Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace." Each day's easy to comprehend reflection runs between 300 to 350 words, or two to three small pages, all of which are bite-sized and focused on one topic per day. Like a good physician of the soul, Welch works the reader through the various angles and aspects of anger: causes, catalysts, and catastrophic results. The author also examines the whys and ways of change by looking into new routines, remedies and the Redeemer. This tiny volume is not afraid to address the seriousness of anger and the big value of it's alternative. For example, "Control and power are heady matters, and anger is the drug that seems to give access to them...Real strength is used to rule our spirit rather than to rule others" (92). "A Small Book about a Big Problem" could be used in support and recovery groups, churches, counseling sessions, by chaplains in military or prison units, or personal soul-care. There are questions sprinkled throughout, and blank spaces that can be used for written reflections. This is an important book that is friendly and serious. I found myself stopping at places, praying, confessing my own sins, and thinking about my actions and attitudes throughout the past years and the present. I strongly recommend that if at all possible you run out immediately and snatch up a copy!

  • 5
    starsThis book is small like a "ghost pepper" is small.

    Posted by Matt Mitchell on 06 10 2019

    This is a great book! The genius of it is how Ed Welch crams 50 pungent meditations into such a small space and at a perfect pace. Welch hasn't written a bunch of "devotional nuggets" with flowery, mystical, syrupy thoughts. He has distilled the dynamics of human anger and found 50 helpful ways to approach the problem biblically. Reading it is like having a really good, purposeful conversation with a really good, wise counselor. He doesn't waste time or words to get to the heart of things. For example, Day 41 begins, "If you want to know what you really think about the Lord, watch how you live." And he ends most of the short chapters with a searching question or two for application. It's really powerful stuff. And it's funny, too. Day 36 begins, "You usually don't want to mess with raccoons, but this one was extreme." You know you want to read that chapter! The humor is often self-deprecatingly disarming and, before you know it, you see yourself (and your own hang-ups) in the mirror. I expect that this small book will have big impact in people's lives.

  • 5
    Great short devotional!

    Posted by JP on 06 10 2019

    If we are honest all of us struggles with anger. Whether we blow up, or shut down there are moments when we do not handle our circumstances in a biblical manner. Thankfully, by God's grace we can come to Him, confess our sins and He is faithful and just to forgive us. But that does not mean that we should just become complacent in out sin. Scripture also calls us to fight our sin by the power and working of the Holy Spirit in us, and so we are to fight against the anger that can easily ensnare us. In A Small Book About a Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace Ed Welch has written a very manageable 50 day devotion to focus on anger. Ed Welch has written much in the Christian Counseling world, and these thoughts on anger draw from years of experience and are biblically saturated. On Day 1 Welch lays out the plan for book calling it a "slow fifty-day walk." His goal is to have the reader think through anger biblically over the course of 50 days rather than burning through a book and not taking time to meditate on the truths that it contains. I like this approach for a couple of reasons: 1) I read a lot and have often found myself finishing a book without really thinking deeply about its contents and 2) Often times small devotional books lack much depth or substance. It is nice to have options to read and recommend of solid short devotionals that will cause the reader to think and draw them closer to Christ, not just a short pick me up or self help talk. I really appreciated the layout, with most devotions being between 2-3 pages and only taking 3-5 minutes to read at the most. Almost anyone can find the time to fit this short book into their schedule. I also appreciated that Welch ends many chapters with a challenge question based on what he just covered in the previous pages. The thought here is to have the reader pause and meditate on what they just read and how it applies to there life. I was greatly blessed by this book and will probably visit it again in the future as it contains great truths rooted in Scripture.

  • 5
    A Great Read!

    Posted by Savannah on 06 10 2019

    I don’t consider myself an “angry” person, I’ve never been told I have anger issues or felt that I needed help to control my anger but this book impacted me and spoke to my heart so much. The presentation of the material is fantastic. The scripture references were on point and I appreciated the fact that the book didn’t only focus on why anger is wrong but how to replace anger with peace and contentment. I loved that this book was broken up in 50 daily meditation segments. It is more like a devotional than a full text book and that was a pleasant surprise. The size of the book made it so easy to throw into my bag and take with me for convenient reading on the train, etc. I appreciated the blank page at the end of most of the chapters: I wrote notes and prayers on them and was able to use the book like a journal too. A great book for any Christian who wants to exercise better control over their anger emotions

  • 5
    Life changing!

    Posted by Becky S. on 06 10 2019

    This book is profoundly life changing. It rearranged the way I look at life's irritations and seemingly unfairness. It has exposed my angry heart that I was unaware of. It has made me look inward rather than outward. I love that it is broken into 50 days, with each day giving some profound principle in living without anger. I plan to re-read it when the 50 days are up, and refresh my memory of this Biblical way of responding to anger. I am so grateful to Edward Welch for sharing God's truths in such a powerful way.

  • 5
    An insightful, slow walk with a trusted mentor.

    Posted by Audrey Lin on 06 10 2019

    Slows you down to chew carefully on one main insight per day and give yourself time to take it in. Like taking a slow walk with a trusted mentor, it's a book that encourages you to make space for change rather than a lot of research and information. Well worth taking the time to reflect and pray through these daily meditations.

  • 5
    Gods word of truth can heal your anger.

    Posted by Patricia Crothers on 06 10 2019

    The contents of this book has been a tremendous help to me. I'm challenged to confront the truth about my anger. If you are ready to deal with your anger in the manner that God wants you, read this book.

  • 5
    A very powerful little book

    Posted by Deb Kallgren on 06 10 2019

    I learned that I was extremely naive about the destructiveness of anger not only on myself, and others but on my relationship with God. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who has been trapped by anger in their lives.

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