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How People Change

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  3,659 ratings  ·  197 reviews
Deceptively simple in its prose, How People Change is a revolutionary and provocative book for all who have felt trapped by their own desires. Paul David Tripp and Timothy S. Lane collaborate to expose the heart issues at stake and help people to make real, lasting change. These answers, the authors assert, lie in appropriating the fullness of the grace and freedom of Jesu ...more
Paperback, 255 pages
Published May 28th 2006 by New Growth Press
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  3,659 ratings  ·  197 reviews

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Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It's the unspoken elephant in the room: why aren't professing Christians, by and large, any different than non-Christians? We often struggle and fail at the same sins, have the same divorce rates, and generally don't stand out as being more kind or loving than devoted moral adherants of other religions--- despite our theology that we have been "born again." Ask many, including pastors, the question, and the reply often comes down to some variant of "they aren't trying hard enough" or "they aren' ...more
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have ever read that explains the gospel in context of the believer's life. Beautiful and simple biblical model of the believer as either a thorny shrub or fruitful tree and how the circumstances we go through will reveal which kind of plant we are. This book ties the gospel message to God's purpose for us, our identity and new nature in Him, God's ability to do what He promises, and the benefit of healthy church life. I have not only read this book, but have also taken th ...more
Bob Price
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
How People Change is one of those books that you need to keep reading and re-reading to understand and...more importantly, to apply!

What I mean by this is not that Lane presents anything that is controversial or new or frankly unconventional. Rather, the material is so basic that we instinctively want to make it more complicated in order that we don't have to follow it.

Coming from a strong Reformed Christian perspective, Lane writes with passion and conviction. In his understanding (and mine)
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I honestly have so many different thoughts about this book, it's hard to organize them, or even decide how many starts to rate it. I fluctuate between 3 and 5 and everywhere in the middle.

I think it is a very good foundational book, one that deals with a lot of core doctrine and provides some basic starting points for making...changes. Sorry, I wanted another word but I couldn't find one. For daily life problems, the grind all of us go through and the sins we all commit, it hits the "reset" butt
Peter Krol
Nov 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
I'm amazed by how much I need to change...

This was a wonderful introduction to the topic of change, particularly on how we need to uncover the thoughts and motives of our hearts and be changed by the Cross of Christ. The Gospel really should be central in all we do.

Update 2015: Still very helpful. And I still need to change.
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Well developed approach to ministry/discipleship/counseling

There is a Gospel gap: many of us as Christians think that there are some things (many things?) that we can't trust Jesus to deliver us from (we need a professional). Actually, we have been given everything for life and godliness in the gospel. Therein is the GAP.

Our purpose is to glorify God

We will serve something/someone. Even as Christians, we are prone to idolatry --- willing to sin to get what we want that is more important to us th
Drew Miller
Jul 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living
Lane and Tripp do a wonderful job of laying out what it looks like to apply the gospel to all areas of your life and experience the lasting change that comes with doing it well.
Amber Hoot
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’m really thankful to have gone through this book in a group because talking through the “heat, thorns, cross, fruit” way of thinking was very helpful. The emphasis on how everything in our walk with Christ is meant to point us back to who Christ is and increase our love for Him really helped me in thinking about what true repentance looks like and the fruit that comes from what Jesus has done for us.
Overall, this book just really helped in being reminded that Jesus really is better than our s
Erik Anderson
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
First 3rd was hard going, but then it picked up when they get to their framework and it takes off from there. Provides a REALLY helpful framework for discipleship and pastoral care!
Jeff Hill
May 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: in-my-library
Some good practical advice marred by a shockingly high number of misused Scriptures and the authors tendency to use 10,000 words when 10 would do.
Chad Warner
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians
Recommended to Chad by: Kelly Warner
Valuable, biblical instruction on how a person can replace unbiblical/ungodly thoughts and actions with biblical/godly thoughts and actions. It explains relevant Bible passages, and includes specific examples showing how to apply the principles. As is typical of a Tripp book, this one is wordy.

The book explains that real change doesn't come about through changing circumstances, behavior, or thinking, but only through Christ. Therefore, try as we might, we can't change ourselves. We are responsib
Donovan Richards
Give It 50 Pages

Nancy Pearl isn’t the only one with this argument, but I heard it from her first so she’s getting credit. Statistically speaking, there are more books in the world than any one person could ever read in a lifetime. Your reading time is sacred and finite. Pearl, thus, urges her followers to avoid reading books they find unrewarding. Give a book 50 pages; if it doesn’t grip you, move on without regret.

Sadly, I find it difficult to heed these rules. What if a book gets better after
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. Must read. Will probably on my shelf to read every year.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-books
3.5 stars

Reading this book felt like eating expensive ravioli. The pasta was al dente, the sauce was delicious, and the garlic bread side dish was amazing.
The general design of the dish however, was not my favourite. The chef had somehow seen fit to make the pasta dough too thick so that the ravioli tasted rather 'Deja vu-ey' each week before breaking into the content of the little pasta pockets.
Unfortunately there was also too much sauce and to few vegetables. The entire dish seemed to be rough
Gary B
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017, read-2014
There is some good stuff in this book. I found the first third-or-so to be somewhat tedious, but the author does say he needs to lay the groundwork for the rest of the book.

The approach of heat - thorns - cross - fruit was helpful. I will need to re-read the book shortly because I missed a fair bit the first time through.


I first read this in 2014 and decided it was time for a re-read. I think I found the book to be better and more helpful the second time through. There is so much packed into
Benedict Tan
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-living
So far the best book that I've read on how the gospel changes people. They spend enough time locating the foundation for change - the gospel, setting forth principles for change, and providing encouragements and challenges to keep growing in Christlikeness.

I found their illustrations very real and practical, thereby very helpful in concretising ideas and concepts. Any Christian desiring to change should read this!
Katie Bliss
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
Second time through this book because it definitely bears a reminder every now and then! Still excellent too with every bit of it focused on our own hearts being the culprit to reacting to life in a sinful way and how that can change by God's grace. Helps me stop and think/pray through my own sinful responses to life events and apply biblical truth and repent and move forward.
Chrys Jones
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gospel Centered and Excellent!

Excellent book with a very powerful and strong focus on true gospel change. This is a book that has changed and will continue to change my life and the life of my church as well! I highly recommend this book for ministers and counselors alike!
Chad Stutzman
Dec 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a book we use at NewPointe to train our mentors. It describes the process of how a person changes. It is a very practical, easy to understand look at the change process. A great book to help you examine your spiritual and emotional life and help you begin to make some changes.
Benjamin Alexander
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
a great book on sanctification. Good.
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have ever read. It takes a while because there is lots to think about and questions to answer. But it will be read again I'm sure and more will be taken from it.
Lacey Michael
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing

How People Change is an insightful, biblical exploration of how people can actually transform, from the inside out, in our modern world of stress and sin. The authors highlight the distressing fact that many Christians have missed how the Gospel can free us up and compel us to change- not just our behaviors but our hearts. They show that there is more to the Christian’s journey between our initial salvation and our dreams of heaven. Jesus opened up the way for us to walk in freedom and developme
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful truths and a much needed perspective on true repentance and faith! This book uses Scripture in great depth to present a clear picture of how we as believers stray from God and how we can truly experience growth and maturity, no matter how hopeless we feel. The church is full of people who know and believe the Gospel but find themselves stagnant and discouraged in their daily walk.
The authors’ use a simple formula of heat, thorns, cross and fruit to explain the process of real change. T
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Basically, this book encourages Christians to grow by rooting their values in the gospel. Profound, lasting change can only happen when people come before (or, in the case of longtime Christians, come "back") to the gospel. The book provides a framework for readers to evaluate what they are going through: Heat - Thorn - Cross - Fruit. Heat is whatever situation you are going through. It could be struggles, but it also could be something good. This Heat brings out whatever is inside your heart. I ...more
Collin Smith
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
People can change, but not without Jesus. How do they change? By faith in Jesus. The authors offer a model that is helpful in counseling. This model is drawn from Jer. 17:5-10. “In verse 8, the image of Heat describes life in a fallen world. In verse 6, a Thorn bush in the wasteland represents the ungodly person who turns away from God. Verses 5 and 7 give a clear reference to the Lord as the Redeemer who comforts, cleanses, and empowers those who trust him. We represent this part of the passage ...more
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is really a book on sanctification but from a practical-ish perspective. The book's main picture of Heat-Thorns-Cross-Fruit offers a helpful picture of separating circumstances from our responses. This also offers a good perspective on hardship and the Christian life. This would be a good book to give a new believer but it's also good reminder for any time and helpful to meditate on . . . "The Christian life is a state of thankful discontent or joyful dissatisfaction". . . "God does not cal ...more
Hanna Lee
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Read this book over the course of the semester which might have lowered my rating a bit. While it included many helpful points it felt longer than needed and at times repetitive.
The summary is that change (sanctification) happens over time through a number of different means. As we face heat (trials, blessings, even every day life!) our thorns come out (sinful flesh). Rather than continue in sin the cross shows us how the truth of the Gospel can radically change our thoughts attitudes and ac
Kelsey Beachy
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I highly recommend this book if you want to read a solid Biblical book about lasting change-change of the heart (how God intended) and not simply behavior. If you want to change and you're struggling with knowing how, this book is a great place to start. It's not methods or ideas they came up with-they take the reader to God's Word and expound on it. Not only do they write balanced truth, they also show what Biblical change looks like in practical life. I gave only 4 stars because of the repetit ...more
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: taking-a-break
I've cheated a bit here - I haven't actually finished the book yet. I got to 75% and needed to take a break. It's good stuff, almost too good stuff. You need to be in the right place to read this book I think, otherwise it can feel like quite an onslaught. Not quite there myself at the moment, so will need to return to it at a later date to finish I think...
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A terrific book

How People Change has the potential to change any Christian's life. Lane and Tripp point out that change is a process and needs to be done in a community of believers. At the core of their message is the gospel and the person of Christ. Change is possible with a firm understanding of the gospel and the willingness to be shape and pruned by the Holy Spirit.
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Timothy S. Lane, M. Div., D. Min.
Born in Sylvania, Georgia, Tim enjoyed a good relationship with his parents in his formative years, but he did not become involved in church until his later teens. Just before his senior year in high school, Tim became aware of his sin and his need for Jesus. God used simple salvation sermons at a local church, as well as a group of friends, to bring him to Christ

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30 likes · 15 comments
“Scripture makes it clear that these responses are not forced upon us by the pressures of the situation. What I do comes from inside me. The things that happen to me will influence my responses but never determine them. Rather, these responses flow out of the thoughts and motives of my heart.” 4 likes
“You and I will only be able to understand what is valuable when we examine things from the perspective of eternity.” 3 likes
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