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Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change

4.37  ·  Rating Details ·  4,525 Ratings  ·  203 Reviews
We might be relieved if God placed our sanctification only in the hands of trained professionals, but that is not his plan. Instead, through the ministry of every part of the body, the whole church will mature in Christ. Paul David Tripp helps us discover where change is needed in our own lives and the lives of others. Following the example of Jesus, Tripp reveals how to g ...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by P & R Publishing (first published 2002)
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Natalie Vellacott
Feb 13, 2016 Natalie Vellacott rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
This book is about Biblical counseling and explains the process for helping people to see themselves and their issues as God sees them in the light of Scripture. I can see how it can be useful and the author obviously has a wealth of personal experience in this area which he is now using to instruct others through his writing. It is a helpful resource.

The author rightly explains that the root of all problem behaviour is sin in the heart. However, he doesn't allow for medical/neurological problem
May 31, 2012 John is currently reading it
Quotes that sturck me as I read:
"We must not offer people a system of redemption, a set of insights and principles. We offer people a Redeemer. In his power, we find the hope and help we need to defeat the most powerful enemies. Hope rests in the grace of the Redeemer, the only real means of lasting change." (pg. 8)

"In rejecting a biblical view of people, the world eliminates any hope of answering the 'what is wrong?' question accurately." (
Lynn Joshua
Feb 09, 2012 Lynn Joshua rated it really liked it
I highly recommend it. The author, Paul David Tripp, has a humble attitude, realizing that we are all broken vessels and we need each other for our sanctification. He gets to the root of our human problem by asserting that we are all worshipers - if not of God then of something in His place. We can see how personal trouble and relational disorders come from wrongly-directed worship.

Tripp definitely keeps God at the center of his attempts to help others in need, and does not add to the message of
This is a fantastic book!

Often times illustrations or stories in a book detract from the overall quality in the book; they are usually comprised of fluff, intended only to add pages to the book. Thankfully, Tripp’s book does not do that. Every illustration powerfully or clearly brought a point or truth home. His illustrations and stories obviously stem from many years of his own personal sanctification journey and also his own ministry to others.

Tripp throughout the book emphasizes the role of
Mar 25, 2013 Trisha rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. I think almost every page has highlighting or notes of some sort. This book is for everyone, truly life-changing, and I especially found it helpful as a parent. Tripp is so full of grace, and you can't help but feel his passion for his subject and his compassion for his readers.
Becky Pliego
Loved this one. Hard to read and then put away in a bookshelf, though. This is a book that needs to be revisited many times.
Brett Mclaughlin
Jan 31, 2010 Brett Mclaughlin rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, marriage
Every bit of good news must stem from a bad state or situation. News cannot be good if it is not relative to a state that is not good, or at the least, not as good. Humans strive and seek for better marriage, more money, greater happiness; all of these seekings, then, are for improvements in an initial condition. Tripp implicitly acknowledges this when he begins his treatment of the redemptive work in and through humans with an extended discussion of sin.
The gospel saves and redeems people. That
Jan 10, 2008 Anita rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any Believer/ Counselors
I am actually re-reading this book and am learning just as much this time through as I did the first time through. Any believer, counselor or not, who is personally involved with other believers would benefit from what this book has to say. Paul Tripp repeatedly drives home the theme that we are called to be involved in each other's lives for the glory of God. I especially appreciate the humble attitude Tripp uses when giving examples from his life. It makes him seem so much more real, and makes ...more
Paul Mackey
Jun 08, 2012 Paul Mackey rated it really liked it
A good book with great insights, but written more like a textbook or a manual than an easy to access read (as I find typical of most of Tripp's writings). This book provided some great insights into the role of our hearts in relational conflicts, as well as what it means to be instruments in God's hands for His work in other's lives. Tripp does a great job of providing a grace centered approach to ministering to others. Perhaps my favorite aspect of this book is the way that Tripp takes passages ...more
Sep 05, 2011 Bill rated it it was amazing
A 5 star book on applying the gospel to everyday ministry to individuals. Paul Tripp combines a thoroughly gospel-centred approach (many of the main points are made via extended exgesis of biblical passages) with the strengths of a 'personal counselling' approach. Probably the most practical / real life book about the gospel that I've ever read, and certainly the most biblical, gospel-centred book on counselling I ever read. I'll re-read this one a few more times in the next few years! 1. Love p ...more
Feb 07, 2013 Dana rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. I liked it. He had a lot of good things to say. I just wish I could have read the abridged version of the abridged version. After some chapters I'd close the book and think "now what was he actually try to say?"....I guess I wish he didn't go on and on sometimes, not really with the theme to his chapter...none that I could find anyways. I hope my disappointment with the book doesn't have anything to do with a subconscious unwillingness to change :-)
Christine Hoover
Aug 30, 2012 Christine Hoover rated it really liked it
This is a really helpful and practical book for anyone who counsels others (not just professionally) and would like to learn how to do it better.
Oct 20, 2016 SolidFood rated it it was amazing
Really liked this book! Wish I owned it so that I could underline in it but would probably end up underlining half the book! The importance of the heart when it comes to changing behavior. It’s also convicting – look at my own heart to see what controls me, what am I making an idol of in my life? What prompts me to do the things I do? Challenging and helpful book.

“Our deepest problem is not experiential, biological, or relational; it is moral, and it alters everything. It distorts our identity,
Jennifer Karr
Feb 19, 2014 Jennifer Karr rated it really liked it
This is a terrific book, but a tough book. It really digs into places that many times we as Christians prefer not to go.

This book is meant for both lay people and professional counselors. There are challenges in here that apply to every Christian, whether in a formal counseling ministry or simply trying to learn to be a better, authentic Christian friend. I found it immensely helpful to have read this book as part of a Bible Study that included both our church counselors and other lay people li
Neil Geisel
Apr 30, 2014 Neil Geisel rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. One of my favorite themes in this book was the use of "reframing" situations to God's sovereign plan. As people in need and works in progress, we tend to blame situations and others for our depressions and life circumstances. It was helpful for Paul David Tripp to point out passages of scripture that prove and illustrate how God has shown us his heart and character. Like the Bible says in Romans 8:28 that God is redemptively active in my life "in all things". If we do not make th ...more
Mar 19, 2014 Lisa rated it it was amazing
I have been looking for a curriculum to train my volunteers in the Care Ministry at my church. I've looked and looked and my pastor said maybe I'd just have to write one!! Definitely want a Bible centered approach, but being a therapist, I also want it to have techniques for helping people that genuinely help create change!! Could not for the life of me find something already written that was exactly what I wanted --- UNTIL, that is, I found Paul David Tripp. This book is EXACTLY what I was look ...more
Megan Hession
Interestingly, I disagree with some of his basic theology (i.e. that the Fall was not part of God's ordained will), but so far I find his application of Scripture to be very appropriate. He begins the book by looking at how the basic outline of God's redemptive plan (Creation - Fall - Salvation) gives us clues for counseling. For example, at the Creation, God talks to Adam & Eve and gives them instructions; this is a unique approach that God takes with his creation. Until making humans, God ...more
Feb 23, 2011 Dan rated it really liked it
One of the best resources on discipleship around. Great book. This book emphasizes getting to the heart and pointing people to Christ and provides practical wisdom for doing so. The author makes it clear that discipleship is not for the paid pastors but part of the life of every Christian. I also appreciated the emphasis of discipleship best taking place in the context of the local church and among people you have (or are intentionally building) a relationship with. My one criticism is that some ...more
Jan 21, 2009 Dawn added it
I learned that each of us play a roll in carrying the Gospel to others (whether we realize it or not), and some of us carelessly give advice or act in ways that don't bring Glory to God. We must be careful in all we do, because we either draw people to Jesus or push them away. I also learned that sin is so deceitful that it fools each and everyone of us into thinking that our version of reality is right and true, when in actuality, God created us to need community with each other so we can help ...more
Aug 25, 2008 Dustin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People
Anything by Tripp is good, but this one is above them all.

I am always meeting with people, but not always do I feel like I have what it takes to meet with people. Does that make sense?

The core of this book is found in its title, "People in need of change helping people in need of change". This book is an outstanding resource and doesn’t seem like a 5 step solution to being the perfect counselor. My only regret is that I wasn't led to this resource sooner. Buy it, read it, apply it, use it!
Jun 02, 2014 Joey rated it it was amazing
This is a very accessible read. Tripp helps the reader to understand how pervasive the trinity is in our lives, and explicates the ways sin holds us back from being instruments of God.
This book gave me a better understanding of the Holy Spirit at work in my life, and I found it to be encouraging. For all you English/linguistic nerds: This book also reveals how language can be life giving or life taking, according to how the speaker is led or self-motivated, respectively.
Peter Krol
Mar 02, 2015 Peter Krol rated it really liked it
This is a very important book for any Christian who wants to counsel or disciple others. Sometimes the book is a little wordy, but the principles are important enough to warrant repeated readings. I need constant reminding about how to love, know, speak, and do.

One further complaint is that Tripp doesn't give much press to how influential people's circumstances are. He mentions it, but it wouldn't be hard for someone to read this book and treat every issue in a person's life as a heart issue.
Dec 27, 2010 Michelle marked it as to-read
Shelves: christian-living
Rec. by dad. Many of us would be relieved if God had placed our sanctification in the hands of trained professionals, but that simply is not the biblical model. God’s plan is that through the faithful ministry of every part, the whole body will grow to maturity in Christ. This is a comprehensive treatment of how God uses people as tools of change in the lives of others, people who themselves are in need of change.
Amy Kannel
Sep 25, 2012 Amy Kannel rated it really liked it
This textbook for my counseling class was so packed with rich truth that I will need to revisit it. My only complaint was that it was long on examples from the author's formal counseling experience and short on examples to help the average churchgoer (like me) minister to others in informal settings. Still, lots of practical advice about applying the gospel to people's struggles.
John Yelverton
Aug 27, 2014 John Yelverton rated it it was amazing
An incredible read which has such deep and pithy observations on life that it will often cut you to the quick. A great source for those seeking advice and needing to give advice.
Apr 22, 2014 Richard rated it it was amazing
Tremendous book which I go back to again and again for its wisdom.
Shaun Lee
Aug 11, 2015 Shaun Lee is currently reading it
As I read through the first chapter of the book, Tripp came across as a storyteller. He took quite many pages, never in a rush, to illustrate whatever he felt was crucial to lay as foundation for the rest of the book. After having read tiny and yet action-packed books such as Deyoung's Crazy Busy ( or Clowney's Called to the Ministry (, I did wish that Tripp wrote with more brevity (fanciful way of saying concise). ...more
Ryan Thomas
Jan 20, 2017 Ryan Thomas rated it really liked it
Shelves: pastoring
This book is wonderfully rich in biblical wisdom, adept at moving from systematic theology to practical/functional theology, and very helpful in its case studies and practical suggestions. A must read for anyone in some sort of formal counseling role within the church, and highly recommended for any and all who would like to know how to counsel others, as well as growing in wisdom in working out their own salvation as God works in them, both to will and work for his good pleasure (Phil 2:12-13). ...more
Mar 13, 2017 Leanna rated it really liked it
Love. Know. Speak. Do. These are the basics of Biblical Counseling. Effective counseling will consist of all four elements. How often do we speak before we know? How often do we recommend action without speaking Truth? These four aspects are all necessary whether we are simply relating to others in daily life or formally ministering through biblical counseling. Tripp initially spends the first third of the book emphasizing the fact that Biblical Counseling must address the heart. Our job as coun ...more
Drew Cox
Mar 21, 2017 Drew Cox rated it really liked it
Some unhelpful and questionable language ("incarnating the love of Christ") and a bit repetitive, but overall a great resource full of biblical wisdom and practical help in counseling others.
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  • Seeing with New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture
  • How People Change
  • Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave: Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel
  • CrossTalk: Where Life & Scripture Meet
  • The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
  • Counsel from the Cross: Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ
  • The Christian Counselor's Manual: The Practice of Nouthetic Counseling
  • The Trellis And The Vine
  • Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World
  • You Can Change: God's Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions
  • Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure
  • Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry
  • Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault
  • Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by Whole People
  • Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate
Paul was born in Toledo, Ohio to Bob and Fae Tripp on November 12, 1950. Paul spent all of his growing years in Toledo until his college years when his parents moved to Southern California.
At Columbia Bible College from 1968-1972, (now Columbia International University) Paul majored in Bible and Christian Education. Although he had planned to be there for only two years and then to study journalis
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“Foolishness is more than being stupid, that deadly combination of arrogance and ignorance.” 78 likes
“The church is not a theological classroom. It is a conversion, confession, repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness and sanctification center, where flawed people place their faith in Christ, gather to know and love him better, and learn to love others as he designed.” 56 likes
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