Words are one of the most important and prevalent themes in Scripture. God spoke the world into existence; the serpent used words to deceive Eve; God spoke ten "words" to the Israelites at Mt. Sinai; Christ is the Word of God; and with one little word Jesus defeats the Devil and all his evil hordes. Words are central to understanding God and his plan for humanity.
They are also one of the most dangerous parts of creation. We use words to hurt each other, to boast about ourselves, to argue and to fight, to lie, and for just about every other sinful purpose we can think to put them. Because of this, and the fact that God uses words for the opposite purpose, Paul Tripp identifies the ongoing struggle between good and bad communication as a War of Words.
Because we live in a fallen world, there is always a dark side to communication. God speaks to build, to create, to heal, and to redeem, but Satan speaks to tear down, to abort, to erode, and to condemn. Our own words, therefore, either reflect the truth of the Word made flesh, or the lies of the idolatrous words of the Devil.
As Christians, we speak both. We are being sanctified, but we are also contending with our remaining sin natures that continually introduce disease and decay where God intends life. Fortunately, Christ empowers us to speak his words after him, and to win the war of words with grace and truth.
Like most of Paul Tripp's books, this one is meant to be a practical and theological guide to redeeming communication. As the latter, it is excellent. He demonstrates the biblical source of his categories clearly and admirably, and uses them to incite us to ever increasing efforts at godly communication between husbands and wives, parents and children, friends, etc.
Unfortunately, there's little practical content here. While grounding his book in the Gospel is excellent and important, he simply uses the Gospel as encouragement to stop talking destructively. For some, this may be all that is needed, but for others more direct guidance as to how to employ Gospel principles is needed.
This criticism shouldn't detract from the book's usefulness, however. While it is true we may need a more practical guide for the nitty-gritty of daily communication, it is also true that we need a theological foundation for such guidance, and War of Words provides it superbly. Excellent for small group discussion or husband-and-wife devotions.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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