Religion and Science Agree: Reading the Bible Can Help Traumatic Growth


Traumatic growth or post-traumatic growth is how we gain strength and direction after experiencing a life event causing trauma, and lessons in the Bible, especially gratitude, can help us build resilience and find meaning.

What is post-traumatic growth or growth trauma?

First developed by psychologists Richard Tedeschi, Ph.D., and Lawrence Calhoun, Ph.D., in the mid-1990s, post-traumatic growth (PTG) is a theory that explains the types of transformation that occur following trauma, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

PTG differs from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which is considered a mental illness. Growth trauma/PTG is considered synonymous with resilience because it refers to what happens when someone bounces back from a traumatic event that challenges their core beliefs or how they endure a psychological struggle to ultimately experience a sense of personal growth.

A way of evaluating growth trauma was developed by Tedeschi and Calhoun is the Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) and published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress in 1996. The inventory provided five key areas:

·       Appreciation of life.

·       Relationships with others.

·       New possibilities in life.

·       Personal strength.

·       Spiritual change.

The latter, spiritual change, is arguably one that cannot only be reinforced through reading the Bible, but can then influence and improve the other four as well.

How reading the Bible can help improve growth trauma

Reading the above Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory, we can associate lessons in the Bible to each of these 5 key areas. Click the links to see Bible verses on the subjects to the right of the = sign.

Appreciation of life = gratitude.

Relationships with others = loving others as yourself.

New possibilities in life = hope.

Personal strength = faith in Godstrength in God.

Spiritual change = a renewing of the heart and mindspiritual growth.

Traumatic growth is a process that makes us more resilient

Psychology and the Bible both agree that post-traumatic growth is a process. Change occurs a little at a time. Psychologists often give trauma patients short-fix solutions that will allow them to resume daily function.

Although, psychologists admit they need to do more than giving sufferers a way of “just getting by.”

“We’ve got to attend to their experience of life and how meaningful, satisfied, and fulfilling it is,” says psychologist H’Sien Hayward, Ph.D.

Look no farther than the Bible. The Bible teaches us we can achieve meaning, satisfaction, and fulfillment in life by first having faith, putting our trust in God, being grateful, loving others.

The Bible tells us that all of us experience difficulties in pleasures in Matthew 5:45“…For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust…”

Sometimes our best growth as a person, gaining strength and resilience that allowed us to both appreciate and live a better life, is the challenges we persevere through. Whether facing pleasure difficulties, we should always be grateful to God.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

– 1 Thessalonians 5:18