Awe by Paul David Tripp – Book Review

(Photo by Philip Schroeder on Unsplash)

Awe by Paul David Tripp is a book about awe. Awe controls what we do and how we live. When we live in pursuit of the world, we become more like the world. Living in awe of God makes us more like Him. This book is about how all our happiness, contentment, and joy in life is found in being in awe of God, realising He is in control of everything and loves us. The writing quality of the book was good, but every chapter basically repeated the same thing as the last one.

Awe has a good message—one I think people need to hear. When we are truly living in awe of God, all of our worries in this world seem less significant. We realize we aren’t as big of a deal as we thought we were. Compared to God, our own accomplishments, belongings, and special snowflake-ness are so small they don’t matter. We get along better with others, don’t worry about the world under the control of a sovereign God, and are generally happier people. Our sin starts at the heart. When we look at ourselves and see how messed up we are, as the book says, “we need to realize that we don’t just have an “anger problem” or a ‘contentment problem’—we have an awe problem.

The trouble with the book is; the previous sentence about our “awe problem”, while true, is repeated every other chapter, with the first minor problem swapped out depending on what chapter it is about. In three different chapters, the book says something like “If you aren’t living in awe of God, you may be experiencing: Anger; Fear; Restlessness; Selfishness, and more.” The lists are very similar in each chapter, and though each focuses on how that sin relates to the chapter topic, it has already been established that being in awe of God will make us more like Him. Every chapter sat you down and said “Look, all of your problems are caused because you aren’t living in awe of God. Live in awe of God more.” It wasn’t even that each chapter was working to the overall message of “Live in awe of God.”—the message of every chapter itself was “Live in awe of God.” I really think that the book can be made into an online article, or perhaps a series of articles, without losing content.

Even repeating itself every chapter, however, the book wasn’t boring. The writing quality was excellent. It wasn’t dense or overly technical, but it wasn’t fluffy either. Word choice and the way everything fit together made it easy to read. I don’t know exactly what it is about the book that makes me say it is good, but I don’t normally notice the writing quality of a book unless it was terrible, and by the third chapter of Awe I had made a mental note about the quality of the book—it was good. Perhaps most tellingly, although content repeated itself, I didn’t necessarily want the book to end.

Awe by Paul David Tripp has a message I think more people should hear. Just trying to stop sinning won’t work—we need to turn to God and live in awe of Him. Next to God, we realize how small we are. The book was also well written. So, despite the fact that Awe repeats itself much too often, I would recommend it to others.


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