Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Review of Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Paul Tripp and Timothy Lane

Author: Timothy Lane/Paul Tripp

Pages: 180 pages

Publisher: New Growth Press

Price: 13.49

Genre: Relationships/Christian Living

Quick Summary:

On the top of the back cover it reads, “Hope for messy, conflict-ridden relationships”: unless you are prideful, blind, or live in a cave that sentence will appeal to you. Tripp and Lane once again deliver an impressive book. Relationships are messy but through 15 chapters the authors show us that they are indeed a mess worth making. Inside this excellent work you will find advice for conversations, apologies, forgiveness, mercy, how to use your time and money, and much more. But more importantly each chapter is gospel-saturated. This book does not only define the problem it offers the only biblical solution—Christ and Him crucified.

What I Liked:

Once again (see How People Change) Tripp and Lane write in a writing style that both convicts and offers hope. You always feel the impact of your sin but they never leave you there—they always take you to the Cross of Christ for hope. Their personal humility and own Christian struggle is evident throughout this book. In my copy each chapter of this book is heavily underlined. There is not one chapter that does not cause me to stop and think and seek God for change. The authors get to the heart of each issue.

Even though I dislike the cover (see below) I absolutely love the structure of the inside. When helpful we are given charts, graphs, and bullet points. On numerous pages key quotes are drawn out and highlighted to get our attention. This book will appeal to all age groups and all audiences. Very well written and very much needed.

What I Disliked:

This seems like such a petty thing to say…but…the cover really turns me off to the book. It makes it look like a book for high school students. Either that or something that a grandmother made and she just had to get all of her grandkids on the cover.

Inside, one thing concerns me and that is the use of The Message for many Scripture passages. While I find that paraphrase helpful at times, I think a fair amount of people are turned off to it. I sincerely hope that it does not distract from the beautiful message of this book. One other, minor disappointment that I hope gets corrected in the second edition (if there is one), is that the authors refer to the wrong James as the author of the Epistle of James. Easy mistake, but again I hope it does not hurt their credibility. These dislikes are minor and the overall tenor of this book is phenomenal.

Should You Buy It?

Yes. This book needs to be on every pastor’s shelf and in every home library. If every member of our churches followed the biblical guidelines outlined in this book then our churches would be much healthier places. Once again Tripp and Lane bring us to the foot of the Cross and therein points us to healing in our relationships.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


  1. Mike,

    This is something of tangential matter, but which James did they attribute the book of James to? James the Lesser (son of Alphaeus)?

    θεός μονός δοξὰζηται


  2. No it's not quite that far off. Very few scholars would argue for James the Lesser. They attribute it to James the brother of John. Which I know a few attribute the work to. But in my opinion (as well as the majority of others) this James died far too early to have left any literary remains. I would say it's a pretty certain thing that James the brother of Jesus is the author.



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