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Understanding People Paperback – November 12, 1987

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Understanding People

"Every attempt to help people must first begin with an effort to understand people," says Dr. Larry Crabb. "And the only fully reliable source of information on that topic is the Bible." In this Gold Medallion Award-winning classic, Dr. Crabb affirms the power of the Scriptures to address the intricacies and deep needs of the human heart.

Exploring the inseparable link between spiritual and psychological realities, Understanding People offers a vital lens on how we’re put together—who we really are and what makes us tick in our relationships with other people, with God, and with ourselves. In three parts, this book first points us to the Bible as our source of insight into perplexing heart issues. Then it helps us come to grips with our brokenness as God’s image-bearers, and it shows how we can reclaim our ability to reflect him in our growth toward maturity and healed relationships.

About the Author

Dr. Larry Crabb is a well-known psychologist, conference and seminary speaker, Bible teacher, popular author, and founder/director of NewWay Ministries. He is currently Scholar in Residence at Colorado Christian University in Denver and Visiting Professor of Spiritual Formation for Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta. Dr. Crabb and his wife of forty-six years, Rachael, live in the Denver, Colorado area. For additional information please visit www.newwayministries.org
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (November 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310226007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310226000
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #686,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Larry Crabb is a well-known psychologist, seminar speaker, Bible teacher, author, and founder/director of NewWay Ministries. In addition to various speaking and teaching opportunities, Dr. Crabb offers a week-long School of Spiritual Direction and a weekend conference, Life on the Narrow Road. He is also Scholar in Residence at Colorado Christian University and serves as Spiritual Director for the American Association of Christian Counselors. His many popular books include Inside Out, Finding God, Becoming a True Spiritual Community, The PAPA Prayer, Soul Talk, and his life work, 66 Love Letters. For additional information visit www.newwayministries.org.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Kellemen on May 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Understanding People" marked something of a turning in Crabb's writing and ministry. In some of his previous works such as "Effective Biblical Counseling" and "Basic Principles of Biblical Counseling," Crabb focused more on integrating biblical and psychological concepts. With "Understanding People," Crabb emphasizes a biblical model of the "imago Dei" (the capacities of the image of God in human nature).

The first section, consisting of four chapters on the sufficiency of Scripture, is perhaps the most vital material in the book. Crabb logically, practically, and biblically states his well-thought-through model of the Scriptures as a foundation for Christian counseling.

The bulk of the book then focuses on the nature of human nature. Here Crabb describes the four fundamental capacities of the human personality: we are relational (we long), rational (we think), volitional (we purpose), and emotional (we feel).

Interestingly, some have criticized Crabb's teaching on relational longings, stating that no one in Church history prior to Crabb made longings an aspect of the "imago Dei." These folks should read more Church history. Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Baxter, Edwards, and so many more stalwarts of the Christian faith, not only taught about religious affections and relational longings, they taught that they were essential components of the human personality as designed by God.

One could wish that "Understanding People" said more about our physicality and the inner-play between mind and body. One could also wish for more "how to" based upon the excellent insights into our inner nature. However, no one book can do it all.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michael Taylor TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
Even though I am not a professional counselor like the author, I did find the title to be an informative read on human nature. The book covers basic Christian viewpoints of human nature: we are fallen and yet are on a search for deep and lasting fulfillment.

The book is divided into 3 major areas:

1. A Sufficient Bible - Finding answers in scripture.

2. Understanding People - A tarnished image and broken relationships.

3. Growing Toward Maturity - A restored image and healed relationships.

The book covers principles such as:

1. Different positions on how the Bible addresses problems.

2. Describing human nature (we are emotional, free to choose, personal, can truly change).

3. How we and our relationships can be improved (move out of an emphasis on self-protection from pain and become more involved in other people's lives, realize that pain is a normal in life and we should not expend too much energy trying to feel good, and realize that Christ is our sufficiency).

Understanding People is an enjoyable read and is recommended for the professional counselor, minister, or anyone who wants to know more about human nature from a Christian worldview.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mandy Gorman on July 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
I was required to read this book for my Biblical Foundations of Counseling class, and I am so glad I actually read it! This book seriously helps you understand the workings of your own mind and even if you don't have deep rooted issue, you still are able to understand things like your thought process better! I recommend anyone who wants to understand the way sinful humans think to read this book! I loved it! I hate to read and I couldn't put it down! If you like to read interesting books(cause usually one likes to read boring books) read this one! Crabb has done it again!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
Crabb sets forth the idea that our deep longings for true relationship inevitably lead to pain and hurt. Attempts to avoid the pain of sorrow, disappointing relationships, or conflicts rob us of the experience of our true humanness. In reality, these circumstances can push us on to a deeper awareness of our dependency on God, which in turn frees us to love ourselves and others as fallen, not-yet-glorified human beings. Though the book is intended to assist counselors and others who facilitate change in others, it also offers many insights for anyone who is seriously interested in understanding human behavior.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Pushin' Fifty on January 31, 2005
Format: Paperback
With Understanding People, Larry Crabb hopes to set forth the sufficiency of Scripture as the necessary tool for effective counseling, to categorize the nature and condition of humankind that presents itself to the counselor, and to recommend to counselors a path toward their client's wholeness. The book is therefore necessarily ambitious in its scope, but Crabb succeeds in pulling off large sections of the project successfully. The book has a amiable tone throughout, and one reads with the sense that the author hold considerable experience with, and has given great thought to, the largest issues facing those in counseling professions.

In the first of three book sections, A Sufficient Bible, Crabb examines the four conventionally held sources of (practical) epistemological certainty: intuition, reason, experience, and revelation. The first three are useful as far as they go, but are necessarily insufficient for understanding people. What stirs in the human soul and motivates behaviors can only be viewed through the fourth category, and the Christian Scriptures alone can properly focus the lens on the seemingly inscrutable behavior of human beings.

Given the utility of Scripture, Crabb distinguishes between two models for making use of it. The commonplace but wrongheaded model proposes that every relevant behavioral matter is directly addressed within the Bible. But Crabb argues for a more sensible view: that the Bible provides a sufficiently capacious group of moral and spiritual categories, and that all counseling issues will always fall within these larger categories. Thus, while the Bible may not address bulimia per se, it does supply ample information about what drives the bulimic person's behavior.
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