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Awe – why it matters in all we think, say and do

By Paul David Tripp
August 2016 | Review by Ali McLachlan
  • Publisher: IVP
  • ISBN: 978-1-78359-377-4
  • Pages: 208
  • Price: 9.99
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Book Review

Tripp sets out to explain things: why we sin, complain and crave stuff; why we forget to live in the awareness of eternity, and why we are dissatisfied in church, frustrated in family and unfulfilled in work and ministry. Tripp blames ‘awe wrongedness’. Being in awe of self instead of God means that life doesn’t work as it should.

Therapeutic more than theological in tone, Tripp addresses those Christians underwhelmed by their faith. Early chapters explain that humanity’s Fall embroiled us in an idolatrous war against God. Replacing God with self, we have forgotten who he is.

As God alone is infinite, awe of self cannot satisfy. Misplaced awe leads to transgression, complaint and increasing materialism. Growth is stunted and Christianity relegated to a spiritual pastime.

Tripp writes, ‘Your capacity for awe is a longing for another world. It’s a craving for what this fallen world will never give you’ (p.185). Only being in awe of the eternal God results in fulfilled Christian living.

Using credible cameos and personal observations throughout, Tripp explains why frustration, anxiety, depression and anger are symptoms of God being peripheral to life. His insights are penetrating. All Christians will identify with these pressures in their own lives. All believers will feel the challenge of his central thesis, that God must enthral us.

Just as one with a hammer views every problem as a nail, Tripp explains all our ills in terms of awe. Readers may find his thesis overstretched in places; at various points other concepts could, and possibly should, be used. But those in pastoral or counselling roles could profitably apply these principles to believers.

Ali McLachlan


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