Dying to Live

by Bob Smith

Bob Smith was one of the five founders of Peninsula Bible Church of Palo Alto, California. As pastor and elder he specialized in scriptural counseling, expository teaching, home Bible class development, and church government.


To the two Mary's: Mary Ann Barnett and Marylou Roe, two faithful women whose initiation and operation of the Compassion Corps at Peninsula Bible Church has conclusively proved the thesis of this book long before it was written. And to all those committed Christians who are engaged in a fruitful counseling ministry--scared, but not scared out of this most necessary aspect of the ministry of the saints, because they keep listening to and trusting the Wonderful Counselor.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; a
nd the government will be upon
his shoulder,
and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor...
(Isaiah 9)

Faithful is the one calling you, who surely will do it!

(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, freely translated)


Since World War II we have witnessed a rapidly growing interest in mental health and its many aberrations. The number of people involved in the mental health field has increased to a degree that would have been unthought of thirty years ago. Characteristic of this burgeoning field has been the great variety of theoretical systems proposed as a means to understand and explain poor mental health, or even to deny that poor mental health exists. Methods of evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment are so varied and numerous as to cause some professionals in the mental health field to describe the situation as "chaotic."

Why so many differing and often conflicting theoretical formulations and treatment modalities? The reason is obvious: none have proven themselves, except to their own most subjective adherents, to be clearly and uncontroversially sound. In fact, the opposite is the case! Validation has been highly questionable in every instance due to inconsistent, unpredictable, and unmeasurable results.

Bob Smith, a pastor at Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California, has had extensive experience in counseling and teaching the principles of counseling as found in God's Word. Here he discusses that "missing dimension" of mental health that has been so ignored and in most instances even denied by the professionals in the present mental health explosion. The "missing dimension" without which true mental health cannot exist!


(Practicing psychiatrist in Los Gatos, California, trained in the Menninger School of Psychiatry)


Everyone's dying to live! But many today are just dying, period. Theirs is the walking death of futility and frustration, the utter boredom and pointlessness of existing without living.

The Lord Jesus said, "I have come that you might have life--the more abundant kind" (John 10:10b) . Yet many of us fail to realize the full potential of all means. But the promise of the Lord stands unabridged--waiting only to be claimed by faith. How to achieve some of that fullness of life--for ourselves and others--is the subject of this book.

Our social consciousness of a deeply hurting world keenly accentuated these days. To do something about it personally is the concern of every Christian heart, I believe--yet how to put in our time and energy where they really count is a common point of frustration for many of us. Our desire in this volume is to suggest some biblical ways we can effect healing in the lives we touch, by sharing the redemptive truth of God in a counseling ministry, as part of the ministry of the saints.

The Apostle Paul said to the Corinthians, "So death is at work in us, but life in you" (2 Cor. 4:12). There are two kinds of dying. One, as we have mentioned, is the expression of futility and despair through failure to relate to the one who is to be our life, thus missing out on the fullness and fulfillment he gives. The other is dying to one's own ambitions and plans in favor of a better way, God's way, resulting in freedom to be a positive, constructive factor in every situation.

This second kind of dying thus becomes an expression of the life of Jesus Christ--for it's the very hallmark of the way he is and does. Could it be we need to die a little--our own selfish interests and pursuits, so that others who are "dying to live" might live?

Dear Brothers,

If a Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help him back onto the right path remembering that next time it might be one of you who is in the wrong. Share each other's troubles and problems, and so obey our Lord's command. If anyone thinks he is too great to stoop to this, he is fooling himself. (Galatians 6:1-3, The Living Bible)