Posted On January 19, 2011

Review of How People Change by Tim Lane and Paul David Tripp

by | Jan 19, 2011 | Book Reviews, Theology

How People Change is written by Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp. Both men are experienced Pastors, counselors and Professors. Every year tons of books come on the market that seeks to help readers grow in understanding their problems and overcoming their difficulties. On the back cover of the book Dr. Mark Dever offers this endorsement of How People Change: This book is applied theology. It is about heat, the cross, and fruit. It’s about present grace. In sixteen short and well-illustrated chapters, the wonderful prospect of change for the good is held out for the reader. We are called to consider our circumstances and our responses to them, and beneath that to examine our hearts’ desires and to afresh to Christ’s Cross.

This book will challenge you and confront you in ways that will make you uncomfortable. This is not a book of “feel good self-help” where you will learn six to ten steps to be a better person. This book begins with proclaiming the bad news that man is a sinner in need of a Savior and then proceeds to explain the remedy to sin which is found in Christ alone.

Perhaps you’ve read a self-help book before, or you’ve listened to other self-help guru’s on TV, and found their advice to be wanting. Drs. Lane and Tripp in How People Change lead their readers through what biblical change is by first helping the reader see their sin so they can behold the Savior who longs to change you through and through. In this book, you will learn to see how God is at work to make you the person you were created to be. In this book, you will be confronted to examine your life in light of the Bible which will be painful at times.

Most importantly this book will help you grow in the Gospel. This book will help you grow through the trials we all experience by not relying on yourself but on the Gospel. This book will help you grow in effectiveness in ministry, because the message of this book is aimed to help you grow in personal holiness unto the Lord. Perhaps you have a struggling marriage- this book will help address heart issues rather than surface issues that are affecting your relationship with God and others. This book will address, confront and challenge your pride, your self-reliance, and your self-righteousness. Yet, this book never misses a beat when it discusses the bad news but also presses the reader to go lay down their burdens, cares, wants, needs, anxieties and problems at the Cross of Christ.

Dr. Dever is correct in his description of this book- it will challenge you to consider your circumstances, your responses to them, and beneath that to examine your hearts desires and turn afresh to the Cross. Take up and read this book! Read this book slowly, and digest its message. Read this book prayerfully and discuss it with others.

I heartily recommend this book for new and mature Christians. The authors explain the Gospel in a way that is thoroughly biblical and yet practical. The strength of this book is that it is thoroughly Gospel-centered.

As I read this book, I was challenged and confronted by areas in my own life that needed to change. As I continued reading the book, and finally finished the book, I saw more clearly how God was at work in my life. The authors achieve their Gospel-goals wonderfully in this book. I can only pray (as I’m sure the authors do and many others) that many more believers take up this book, and not only read it but heed its message.

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