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How People Grow: What the Bible Reveals About Personal Growth
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How People Grow: What the Bible Reveals About Personal Growth

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  2,194 ratings  ·  148 reviews
How People Grow reveals why all growth is spiritual growth and how you can grow in ways you never thought possible.

Our desire to grow runs deep. Yet the issues in our lives and relationships that we wish would change often stay the same, even with our best efforts at spiritual growth. What does it take to experience increasing strength and depth in our spiritual walk,
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 10th 2004 by Zondervan (first published October 16th 2001)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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Dec 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010-book-list
A bit too long, but a great practical book on spiritual growth.

For us to grow, God's role is to be the source/provider. Our role is to depend on the source. We depend on God for life and for all that we need. God's role was and is to provide. Our role was and is to receive.

To solve life's problems and grow spiritually are one and the same.

In redemption, we come back to God as the source of life. We retreat from our independence from him and our attempt to be self-made.

The Body of Christ is a
Blake Moore
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended
Really liked it - practical growth steps with clear spiritual principles.

A link between age-old spiritual thoughts and modern psychological discoveries, "How People Grow" is a readable (though at times quite dense) guide for the human growth process. Not just spiritually, but emotionally, mentally, and even physically. It fulfills it's title.

Displaying a high emphasis on the growth group, one-another relationships, and time (as opposed to the classic "microwaved" results); HPG was well worth i
Jeremy Piehler
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic Book

I love how specific and practical these guys can be. So helpful, clear, and at the same time very profound and insightful.
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A lot to take in but very good. It's the kind to re-read, pour over and pray over. ...more
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this amazing book. I have not come across one that speaks so much to me and has given me such a comprehensive insight into Christian living. The authors have laid down the fundamental principles in simple yet practical ways for Christians to walk and grow in our relationship with God. Anyone who has read this book would find it spiritually enriching and empowering. I appreciate the practical summary given at the end of each chapter as well as the thought provoking questions ...more
Jun 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Reading this has been like having 2 faithful friends (the authors) who will gently sit down with you and open up things that you've needed to see about yourself and challenge you to make changes. The way they share God's grace in the process makes it a safe "place" to experience genuine growth.
My boyfriend & I each have a copy of this book, and we have been reading it a little bit at a time over the last several months.
It has revealed things to each of us that has given us the freedom to face s
Jan 04, 2008 added it
Recommends it for: everyone!
Here's an excerpt:

"We can't grow unless we are sure that we are both known and loved. Some people like us because they don't know us; some know us, and therefore don't like us. Relationship can't occur unless both knowledge and love are present." - (p. 150)
Jan 26, 2020 rated it did not like it
Read as part of our small group. Here’s the thing: there is one star worth of helpful stuff to consider for people wanting to grow and doing so in intentional relationships. But there is so much sloppy theology and condescending-sounding psychology that the one star worth of helpful stuff gets lost. Not everyone in our group felt this way and clearly these authors have a following but I’m not among their numbers.
Jan 27, 2020 rated it did not like it
I didn’t love it. There were certainly small nuggets of insight throughout with the overall theme of “in order to grow you need to be in community with others.” However, these authors disappointed me. They contradicted themselves, had trouble making a point, but had no trouble making arrogant claims with no substantiation. Also, the theology seemed pieced together and often times simply incorrect.
Joel Boyter
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Links all different kinds of growth (emotional, relational, etc.) back to spiritual growth. Some takeaways are the growth comes from a position of spiritual poverty and humility, takes a lot of vulnerability and pain, and is only accomplished in community. I need to go back to each chapter ending and re-read “Tips For Growers.”
Daniel Park
Feb 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Listened to this on libby. Wish he had gone into more depth, but I guess thats what his other books are for.
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent book overall, though I thoroughly disagree theologically with their point on unconditional eternal security towards the end of the book in the chapter on forgiveness "Some have never been taught how forgiven they are, once and for all.". Otherwise, wholeheartedly recommend.

"In trying to become like God, they became less like themselves. This is why we need spiritual growth, we have become less of what we were created to be."

The realization that we have come to the end of ourself, ego
Kristin Peters
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I highlighted half the book and probably should read it again. The majority of the book was really insightful!
Joel Wentz
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Cloud & Townsend are probably best known for their various co-authored books under the moniker "Boundaries", but this lesser-known book is a very strong, intensely practical look at how all people experience spiritual growth. It is extremely comprehensive, and quite easy to read. Not everyone will find each chapter particularly helpful, but I would argue that there is something in this book for everyone. I particularly resonated with the chapters regarding God's grace, the growth in forgiveness, ...more
Paul Kelly
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Interesting book on spiritual growth. I found it personally helpful. However, it felt pretty clinical for the uses that the authors suggested . . . in church small groups and Bible studies.
Pamela Beer
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book. Helps folks see their personal growth from a biblical perspective.
Luke Pinion
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I recently read through How People Grow as part of a leadership class. The book is fairly long and very dense, but I feel that every part of it was necessary. The authors pull from their expertise on both Christian theology and psychology and do such an amazing job of discussing the topics at hand with both of these perspectives.

The book starts out with a general overview of theological topics such as sin and each person of the Trinity, and then moves into more general themes like the importance
Maitland Gray
May 03, 2021 rated it liked it
"Action is always an integral part of growth. Spiritual growth does not 'happen' to us; it requires a great deal of blood, sweat and tears."

Great reminders about the importance of growth and the process of growth. There was one key takeaway in this book for me (though only a small part of the book). It's easy for me to point to the areas of growth "needed" in other people. If I feel frustrated, annoyed or angry because of another person, it's actually an opportunity of growth that's needed in my
Nov 10, 2017 rated it liked it
The book is very well written and easy to read. However, it pre-supposes that you have access to a supportive church or group of friends who want to help you grow or reach your goals. I actually tried discussing parts of this book with people at a church near where I live and they strongly disagreed with the author and advocated that we should do nothing and have faith in God solving our problems. The author of 'How People Grow' would disagree with this conclusion, but he does heavily argue that ...more
Mark Elliott
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book with a lot of practical insight into people. How we grow, the why, and what it takes to move us from being comfortable to actually putting the hard work into growing. Each chapter takes a unique approach to relating to the reader in a variety of different ways but includes scriptures to also substantiate how these relate to the Christ follower. It is a book written by two men with their doctorates in psychology and reads accordingly.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read almost all of Dr. Cloud's books. This one is one of my favourites. In the top 5 for sure. My very favourites besides "Boundaries", are "Safe People" and "Never Go Back". They are have been extremely integral in guiding my life. If you enjoyed this book you may also be interested in "After You Believe: Why Character Matters" by NT Wright. ...more
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I appreciate the idea and the content, it did drag and was repetitive. I also found that I disagreed with their interpretation of scripture which was glazed over to emphasize their perspective. Often I agreed with their perspective, but it was just kind of frustrating. Decent book, but could have been written better and more concisely.
Edy Gies
This book is absolutely phenomenal. I find great wisdom in books by Cloud and Townsend because they depend heavily on the Bible and logic. You will not find "touchy feely" self-help advise here, but rather the admonition to work hard on personal development based on Biblical principles. This would be a great read for anyone in Christian leadership. ...more
D.J. Hamon
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wisdom and information that are vital to overcoming life obstacles is presented in a well organized way. I went with 4 stars because the length and complexity made it tedious at times. I’m willing to consider that was internal, and the book is worthy of 5 stars. Nonetheless, I highly recommend it to people stuck in a phase and leaders helping others progress.
Andrew J Raatz
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read slowly...

I started out a skeptic and became a believer!! Excellent book that thoroughly covers personal growth. There is more info than one person needs, but the entirety should be read to get the big picture. Then dive in deeper to deal with areas you need to focus on.
Lucy Chen
Sep 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Very practical guide for personal growth for every aspect of life. Feels like I’m not alone in this issue or that and there’s always hope to get over it. It’s biblical but not rigid religious with real examples where you can see yourself in it.
If you are stuck in life or just keen to personal growth, this for sure is a good start.
Mark Manderson
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great book on the power and growth from confrontation.
Top takeaways:
Confrontation is the way to help people know their need!
Acceptance if a prerequisite of growth. Can't stay a victim.
The truth is often hurtful/painful. Like a surgeons knife, the healing power comes with pain.
Greg Prosch
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Healthy balance of theology and psychology

Cloud and Townsend have done a masterful job of balancing the tension of theology and psychology. I thoroughly enjoyed their experience based insights into the principles necessary for transformative growth.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Meh. I think the audio version was a summarized version of the larger book. But, it was basically 1 part basic Christian doctrine, mixed with 1 part basic psychological interpretation of the bible, mixed with 1 small part practical advice on psychology hurdles.
Lucía Ayala
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So much to learn from Cloud and Townsend, I am very thankful for this book that has challenged my personal life and the way I approach my relationships.
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Dr. Cloud has written or co-written twenty-five books, including the two million-seller Boundaries. His most recent books are Boundaries for Leaders and Necessary Endings. He has earned three Gold Medallion awards, and was awarded the distinguished Retailers Choice award for God Will Make A Way.

As president of Cloud-Townsend Resources, Dr. Cloud has produced and conducted hundreds of public semina

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“This changes our entire existence, encompassing emotions, behavior, relationships, career, and everything else in life. We want people to learn that way for themselves.” 1 likes
“ACTION IS ALWAYS AN integral part of growth. Spiritual growth does not “happen” to us; it requires a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears,” 1 likes
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