Respectable Sins: A Book Review

1 book down – 34 to go!


“This book, as the title announces, is about sin – not the obvious sins of our culture but the subtle sins of believers, the target audience of this book.” – Jerry Bridges

Let me be honest with you, I’ve never really thought of myself as a sinner. I was always slightly embarrassed at being a goodie-goodie. This book changed that.

Does that make you want to pass on it? Are you thinking, “Why would I want someone to tell me how bad I am?”

I thought the same thing! Every time I went to pick it up I felt slightly reluctant. However, Jerry Bridges handles this topic with grace; at the same time not pulling his punches.

{How much?} $13.59

{What’s included}

Thankfully, the author starts by reminding us of the gospel. Bridges reminds us that we’re sinners and that the gospel is only for sinners. He spends several chapters on this topic; discussing the freedom that comes from realizing our total dependence on God’s forgiveness of our sins through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Bridges says,

“…I need the assurance that my sin is forgiven before I can even acknowledge it, let alone begin to deal with it.”

Before introducing the individual sins, Bridges provides his “directions for dealing with sins.” Briefly these are:

  1. Apply the gospel
  2. Depend on the Holy Spirit
  3. Recognize your responsibility
  4. Identify specific respectable sins
  5. Memorize and apply appropriate Scriptures
  6. Cultivate the practice of prayer
  7. Involve one or a few other believers with you.

Then comes the heart of the matter: the sins. Bridges discusses ungodliness, anxiety and frustration, discontentment, unthankfulness, pride, selfishness, lack of self-control, anger, envy and jealousy, sins of the tongue, and worldliness. He breaks each sin down into multiple areas and provides scriptures to support its classification as a sin and how to deal with it.

After twelve chapters of realizing that you’re not as good as you thought you were (ouch!), Bridges reminds us once again of the gospel. His last chapter is like a hug, telling you that it’s all going to be OK.

{What I Liked}

  • Grace is the prevailing theme of this book. It would be easy for the author to have just pointed out, with Scriptural authority, that we’re all hypocrites. Instead, he spends a large amount of the book talking about the gospel and God’s love for us, despite our sin.
  • For many of the sins, Bridges provides examples from his own life. His genuineness in describing his continued struggle with these sins makes it easier to identify with him and acknowledge your own struggles.

{What I Didn’t Like}

  • Sometimes I felt like Bridges was a little conservative in what he included as a sin. This could be from a difference in generation, or it could just be that I still don’t want to acknowledge some things as sin.
  • I was hoping for a little more advice on how to combat some of the sins in my life I already knew I struggled with (the reason I bought the book in the first place). This might not be the fault of the book though. I might have gotten more out of it if I read it slower; in a small group setting, for instance. I think it would have been more helpful to have spent more time on a chapter and discussed it with others who were reading the book.


Read it! I found that as I progressed through the book God confirmed things that He wanted me to focus on. I can see this book as one I will turn to again and again; almost like a doctor’s yearly exam. Bridges does a great job of addressing many of the overlooked sins in the church because we’re so focused on the “bigger” sins of society around us.

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2 thoughts on “Respectable Sins: A Book Review

  1. This is on my reading list for this year. Thanks for the book review, and I’m glad to hear that it is one of those must reads to go back to again and again.

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