anger, emotion, therapy, scriptures, content analysis, hermeneutic analysis


People navigate life more successfully and find more joy when they are able to regulate emotion in healthy ways. Teaching and helping clients regulate emotion in healthy ways is an important part of many psychotherapy approaches. In this paper, we focus on the emotion of anger from a theistic therapy perspective, arguing that understanding the nature of God’s anger and human anger in the scriptures can inform theistic therapy practice. To establish this understanding, we analyzed cases of the word anger in the scriptures through content analysis (e.g., quantitative) and hermeneutic analysis (e.g., qualitative). Findings revealed that, while God was tied to more expressions of anger, humans were the main recipients of anger. God’s anger was connected to His obligation to enact justice as a consequence to disobedience and unrighteousness. Human anger was often connected to the influence of Satan and revolved around interpersonal conflict. Additionally, we noted that God and His prophets experience anger—that is they do not suppress it, but use it to inform action and do not cultivate, vent, complain, or give place to it. Other references included warnings of future anger or teachings about how humans should express and experience anger. We discuss how these analyses of anger provide insights that the- istic therapists can apply when helping clients process anger in therapy.