Book Review: Awe (Paul David Tripp)

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What if we could nail down all of our struggles, all of our mishaps, all of our efforts to one small word? In his newest book, long-time pastor and counselor Paul Tripp has proposed that perhaps we can. At the root of every one of these issues can be traced back to the problem of awe. “Whatever has captured the awe of my heart,” Tripp says, “will also set the agenda for the things that I desire, think, choose, say, and do.” God is the embodiment of awe. Awe is such a glorious thing to be caught up in. Given these truths, it’s essential we get awe right. It pervades every piece of life. Tripp has labored to show us the necessity of living life in awe of God and His glory.

The thing I love most about Paul Tripp and this book (and every other book he’s written, for that matter) is the way he communicates through his words. It’s like you can hear him speaking the words off the page as you read them, like he’s sitting across the table from you and conversing with you. He’s not afraid to be honest with you but he communicates with such care for the soul. It’s refreshing to read a book like Awe and know Tripp has loved readers like me enough to not pull punches, yet help us dive into the grace and goodness of God.

Another thing I love about Tripp’s writing is how inventive he is in giving us terminology to process ways of living and thinking. Terms like awe-wrongedness and awe amnesia are developed by Tripp at length to help us learn things about ourselves we may not have even recognized before!

Here are the chapters Awe addresses:
1 Humanity
2 War
3 Ministry
4 Replacement
5 Amnesia
6 Transgression
7 Complaint
8 Materialism
9 Growth
10 Worldview
11 Church
12 Parenting
13 Work

One of the most encouraging sections of the book comes when he seems to speak directly to pastors. He began to share about how difficult the early days of ministry were for him, and how many times he considering hanging it up entirely. Then, for what was probably the hundredth time, he read Psalm 145:4. Only this time, the text leapt off the page with new meaning to him. He comments:

That was exactly what I needed. It immediately hit me that every moment of ministry must contribute to this goal…I know that in ministry I will be preaching, teaching, and encouraging people who are awe forgetful, awe discouraged, awe empty, awe deceived, awe seduced, awe kidnapped, and awe weary. My job is to give them eyes to see the awesome glory of God…it is my job to connect this glory to the everyday experience of the hearer in a way that engages the heart and transforms the life…I am called to inspire awe intentionally.

Pastors and church leaders, we are called as well to help our people fall into utter awe of the glory of God. More than that, we as Christians of any vocation are called to worship in the splendor of His holiness. Tripp makes it clear-cut and simple for us. “You will be in awe of what you think will give you life.”

One last thing I love about Awe is that, in typical Tripp fashion, we are left with a host of golden nuggets, tweetable lines that easily stick with us. He doesn’t give us sound-bite theology, but succinct phrasing to express big ideas. He leaves us oftentimes with simple words of wisdom to help us stand firm in healthy awe of Jesus. He’s written a pastoral, stretching, comforting, and God-glorifying handbook for helping us get back to the fundamentals of the faith. He’s provided us encouragement in living the Christian life. You must get this book. Awe matters. It matters for everything we think, say, and do.

Stars: 4.5/5.0

Note: I was provided this book by Crossway and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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