Talk the Walk: How to Be Right without Being Insufferable

Steve Brown
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This attitude-altering book invites Christians to cultivate boldness and humility in communicating gospel truth. By uncovering self-righteousness and spiritual arrogance, Talk the Walk by pastor and author Steve Brown shatters stereotypes and helps believers consider how they present the good news without watering it down.

The Christian faith is true, and while we may be right on issues of salvation and theology, we may miss the less articulated truths of humility, love, and forgiveness. We live in a culture that is increasingly hostile to Christians and their faith. Talk the Walk unpacks the call to “go out into the world” and share faith by being truthful and winsome. By helping men and women love others out of a deeper love in Christ—the one who first loved us—Talk the Walk helps Christians present the gospel clearly and with compassion.

Take a step back and look at others’ perceptions. Explore the tools necessary to accomplish an attitude change of confidence and humility, repentance and truth. Share the message of Christ without distorting it. Speak confidently without being cold. By operating out of humble gratitude for the gospel, begin to talk the walk of Christian faith, reflecting the love and truth of Jesus.


Steve Brown is a radio broadcaster and the founder of Key Life Network. A former pastor, he is also a frequent in-demand speaker and visiting seminary lecturer. He is the author of many books including How to Talk So People Will ListenThree Free Sins, and Hidden Agendas.

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"I have yet to figure out how to be confident enough to speak truth to people and yet humble enough to close my mouth when all I'm doing is showing off how smart I (foolishly) think I am. It's for this reason that I'm really thankful for this book. Steve is a wise and gentle pastor and he'll help you (as he has me) feel the pinch of truth while he pours in the gentle love of the Christ who knows you. Get this book. Your unbelieving friends will thank you."

Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, Author and speaker

"The believing and beloved community of God is polarized, fragmented, and often tediously self-righteous. It is not uncommon to bear the belligerence of a believer on a rant about the most recent political or scientific debate. Steve Brown's brilliant new book is a life-giving, irenic call to speak truth with the playful, kind ferocity of Jesus. Reading this book felt like taking a warm shower to rinse off the vitriol of ugly truthtellers and cleanse me of my own self-righteousness. This is a desperately needed book for a bitter and angry age."

Dan B. Allender, Professor of Counseling Psychology and Founding President, The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology; author of The Wounded Heart and The Healing Path 

"Ours is an increasingly post-Christian culture. For decades, old norms have been giving way to a new cultural ethos. For Christians, this new landscape has been disorienting and, at times, even discouraging. All too often, we've been tempted to respond with sharp and shrill expressions of fear rather than compassionate faith. In this timely and necessary book, Steve Brown shares how to be right the right way. I loved it."

Kevin Labby, Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Presbyterian Church

"If ever there were a time to learn how to speak the truth in love, this is it. For those of us who may have never known how to best speak the truth to our non-Christian friends, Steve Brown instructs us to lace our words with kindness, gentleness, and self-control. Looking to communicate the truth of the gospel without being a pain in the neck? Talk the Walk will undoubtedly get you there. And as always, thanks, Dr. Brown. Christendom needs your talk and your walk."

Kendra Fletcher, Author of Lost & Found: Losing Religion, Finding Grace, and Leaving Legalism

"Steve Brown knows that grace and truth are always flip sides of the same coin. In this touching and accessible book, he reminds us that prayerful tears are the most powerful way to share the gospel. As someone deeply interested in asserting Truth in a world full of false alternatives, I would eagerly put Talk the Walk in the hand of someone seeking answers."

Andrew Petiprin, Author of Truth Matters: Knowing God and Yourself

"I'm raising children and regularly wish to stick my head in the sand about the state of the world today, but . . . I'm raising children, so I can't. The Church is in desperate need of good, real conversations about what it looks like to stand on truth without wavering and exude grace without apologizing. Talk the Walk is just such a conversation starter, and I am grateful for it."

Jenni Young, Homeschooling mother; former Key Life staff member; blogger at Key Life Network

"Steve Brown does it again! A master at teaching grace, Steve gives us permission to believe and say what we Christians know and feel at the core of our being: 'We're right about Jesus!' Then Steve shows us how to hold to the truth in love and what that really means. This is Jesus's way of living. Don't miss this book—it is possible to be right without being insufferable!"

Pete Alwinson, Pastor Emeritus and executive director, FORGE

"Ive always appreciated Steve's ability to hold close to his convictions while simultaneously avoiding the need to police others' behavior. In our highly divided times, we need voices like Steve's to guide us through the complexity of holding onto Christian truth while communicating it with love, humility, and humor. That's a rare gift."

Matt Johnson, Author of Getting Jesus Wrong: Giving Up Spiritual Vitamins and Checklist Christianity

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11 Reviews

  • 5
    Talk the Walk: How to Be Right Without Being Insufferable

    Posted by Jennifer DeFrates on 01 03 2020

    Not every book I read is life changing, but this one is because it takes the deepest and most important parts of the Christian faith and uses that to help us share that faith. As Christians, we are often encouraged to walk the talk, put our lives where our mouths are, but Steve Brown turns that expression on its head and challenges us to Talk the Walk, sharing his insights on how we can talk about the Christian walk in a way that demonstrates Christ and opens doors to sharing our faith. His subtitle is humorous and poignant: How to be Right Without Being Insufferable. In a post-truth culture, learning how to share THE truth with those who need to hear it is more difficult than ever, even as it is more important than ever. Brown’s first point starts with our own heart and motivation as Christians. Too often Christians approach non-Christians as the enemy. Brown rightly teaches that we need to come from a place of love and compassion before we can share the truth of Jesus and His desire for a relationship with us. Steve Brown writes profoundly in a way that is uplifting and inspiring while deeply convicting. His writing is a rare gift that is eloquent and conversational. His ideas are effective and helpful, whether you're a relatively new believer or have been in ministry for decades. Every chapter challenges us to change the way we see ourselves, and others, and maybe even how we understand God/theology as we seek to grow in how we approach sharing the truth with others. Recognizing that we’re not always right in every way even if we hold a primarily correct worldview helps us tear down barriers to being heard. As the author of How to Talk so People Will Listen, Steve Brown certainly has the depth of knowledge to teach people to communicate more effectively and uses his wisdom to help Christians be better ambassadors for Christ in Talk the Walk. He encourages us to share mindfully, without watering down the truth. Talk the Walk shows Christians how to be bold and confident enough in our faith to learn to share it in a way that doesn’t offend, even though the truth often will. Brown does address the fact that the truth offends. Brown suggests that how and when (or if) we share the truths of our faith in this climate requires deep spiritual discernment, as does knowing how much to share. He gives many tangible examples of how we can openly share the gospel without using a fire hose when a cup would do. The truth will do the offending. We should not. Brown points out that the biggest risk to our faith is the fact that we are right because holding the truth can make us mean and arrogant. We start placing divisions and setting requirements that Christ never did. Brown’s book challenges us to let Jesus really change us before we seek to change the world. When we approach sharing the Gospel with humility and grace, armed with knowledge and wisdom, we will reach people with the love of Christ. Steve Brown’s Talk the Walk is page after page of convicting wisdom. Based in scripture, Talk the Walk uses the lessons of the Bible to teach us to be better purveyors of God’s truths. Some books are worth reading and some books are worth reading over and over. Any Christian who hopes to share the Gospel effectively should read this book regularly. I know I will. I received a copy to review from the publishers, but all opinions are my own. I could not recommend this book more highly.

  • 4
    A Book on Getting the Right Attitude

    Posted by Theron St. John on 08 26 2019

    I’ve noticed a problem among Christians and in churches. It has caused me to examine and evaluate my own heart too. As we find ourselves in a culture that does not believe in absolute truth, we see our role to be bearers of the truth. We have a message of truth we are called to share. The problem, though, is not in the content of the message we share. The issue I've witnessed is in the way we share it. This is what Steve Brown gets at in his book Talk the Walk: How to Be Right Without Being Insufferable. Over the course of 13 chapters, Mr. Browns writes about the value of truth while also highlighting the importance of a humble attitude. The danger for Christians is the danger of being right. This is the case because one can be right but go the wrong way about it. They can hold to the right beliefs but can express it in careless ways and an arrogant manner. That's why this book points to the Christian's attitude. Each chapter opens with a Bible verse to set the tone for the content that follows. The author reminds the reader (and himself) that truth is shared with those who have been through life and are personal beings. He also takes time to speak to the place of silence in being truthful with a humble attitude. All in all, from the first chapter to the last, the thrust of the book is to how to be truth-tellers in a winsome way. Only Suggestions As bearers of truth, however, people will not always agree with us. Even within Christian circles, some do not see eye-to-eye. The case is true for this book as well. In a couple of places, Steve Brown makes suggestions to the reader that should be seen as just that. For instance, in chapter 3 he counsels to remain silent about sharing your faith unless given permission (see Brown 25-26). While one can understand his point, this general guidance should be taken as a suggestion based upon the context of the person's relationship or conversation. A more perplexing suggestion comes in chapter 11 where he uses a phrase that is meant to translate what we culturally deem a cuss word. He then uses it throughout the chapter too. While he does use it to illustrate his point, I personally did not see it as necessary to the chapter and it may end up being a hindrance rather than a help in making his point. Speak Truth with a Humble Heart These critiques do not keep Talk the Walk from being a commendable resource. Steve Brown's humble approach in this book, that he did not write it to correct others but to remind himself (Brown 3), offers an example to the character of the book. This resource reminds Christians what they say must be backed up with how they say it. If you are a Christian who wants to help others and remind yourself how to speak truth with a humble heart, then consider reading Talk the Walk: How to Be Right Without Being Insufferable by Steve Brown. I received this book from New Growth Press in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

  • 4
    Talk the Walk: How to be Right without Being Insufferable

    Posted by Connie Porter Saunders on 07 16 2019

    In this new book from author Steve Brown, readers are urged to speak the truth even when people don't want to hear it. Using his own experiences and those of others, Brown urges Christians to "talk the walk of Christian faith, reflecting the love and truth of Jesus" and make sure that their true message can be heard and that others will want to hear that message. Christians who are self-righteous and arrogant may be tuned out but those speaking with love, humility, and forgiveness are more likely to be heard. On page 30, Brown shares that "Sometimes it is best to be silent and to let love, freedom, and joy do the talking." There are so many sections and so many statements that deserve to be highlighted and this is a book that needs to be read over and over. Some of his statements gave me pause and some made me seek the ultimate authority: The Holy Bible. Talk the Walk isn't a "light" book but it is a book filled with light. I received a complimentary copy from New Growth Press but a positive review wasn't required. These are my honest thoughts.

  • 4
    A conversation that must be had

    Posted by Kim Martinez on 07 16 2019

    "Christians are different because of the way they love the unlovely, forgive the unforgivable, and care for those about whom nobody else cares." (location 1068). The topic of this book is one that must be discussed in Christian circles. Steve's heart to love others while maintaining convictions is becoming more and more of a volatile subject in American culture. Many of us aren't doing it well at all. "Christians faked love for so long that, most of the time, they do not even know what it is anymore." (location 1120). Seriously! Steve calls us out on our stuff. At the heart of this book is that we stop pretending to be good Christians and just let Jesus live through us - that we get real instead of trying so hard. This is (IMHO) the very first step in following Jesus. I won't say that I agreed with everything Steve says - he comes from his own background and speaks from his experience - but I will say that every Christian needs to confront the duplicity of his or her own relationship with Jesus and how that is lived out in the world. I suspect that many of us are trying to "look right" so that we protect God's reputation. The God of the Universe who holds the sun and moon in place can protect His own reputation. If we are trying to protect Him then we aren't letting Him shine...we are trying to do it for Him. As Bob Newhart says, Stop it! God loves those around us much more than we can imagine - and He knows how to deal with all the difficult moral issues we face today - He isn't surprised. He loves people - and He sees our sin of trying to do it ourselves as equal to those who have more "material" know the list. Once we start from this point of real love (which is horribly hard to get to, let's face it) then we can share faith with those who don't know Jesus without fear of "doing it wrong." "Never take advice from anyone about anything that is hard - unless the one giving that advice knows just how hard it is. . . . I have been wise sometimes and insufferable sometimes." (location 1925-31) - this is perhaps the best part - Steve has the humility to share his experience without thinking he knows it all - anyway he doesn't come across as someone who thinks they know it all. Instead, he comes across as someone who has a heart for people who don't know Jesus and wants the rest of us to do a better job of relating in such a way that our love is genuine and the Truth is not compromised (which is tricky to say the least). The only reason this got a 4 instead of a 5 is actually a picky reason - the formatting was not smooth and there were some sections that could have used more work with an editor. The content is something we all need to contemplate and have conversations around.

  • 5
    Consider how you speak of Christ

    Posted by Wendy on 07 11 2019

    An insightful book that will help Christians reassess the way they speak about Jesus to an unbelieving world. It’s an easy read at about 160 pages, with lots of illustrations and examples. If you are someone who struggles to share your faith, this will give you some wise ideas as you proceed into the world with love and gentleness and truth, standing along people and getting to know them. If, on the other hand, you are very keen to share your faith, but tend to be a little forceful or strong willed as you do so, this might help you reconsider the way you go about it, and challenges you to consider more silence, more grace, more understanding and more wisdom. Recommended reading. (I received an copy in exchange for an honest review)

  • 5
    Overall Great Message

    Posted by The Scarlet Rope on 07 08 2019

    I have received the paperback copy of this book and I found that the back description of this book did not provide an adequate synopsis about the topic. I had to read the press release description of the book to truly understand the foundational message. Note: You will need to be in the right mindset to read this book—in other words, get ready for some deep reading! If you’re looking for a light read, you may want to postpone this one. Overall, I agree with what the author’s message is: that Christians can speak up about faith with confidence and humility. It does, however, take the author two chapters in to get to the point of the book. I found it difficult to follow because there were so many points in each chapter that I lost sight of where it was going. There was great humour and reference to Scripture throughout. There is a lot of content that can be thinned out and sifted. I was given a free copy and all views are my own.

  • 5
    A challenge to all Christians

    Posted by Joan Nienhuis on 07 02 2019

    Steve Brown has reached the age where he feels comfortable sharing his thoughts no matter what others think. (1450/2386) That's exactly what he does here. Brown is convinced Christian faith is true but he is also convinced Christians do not have to be insufferable about it. Many Christians push truth and end up waving a red flag in front of a raging bull. Christians know how to be self-righteous, he says. Brown reminds us about the more important characteristics of humility, love, and forgiveness. I found many welcome surprises in this book. Brown writes that Christians are not called to be fixers. (364/2386) We're not here to fix others, fix our culture, fix our nation. We do bring our witness to the world but the results are up to God. Brown is strong on God's sovereignty. God's in charge and we need not worry so much. We can love our neighbor well while not constantly worrying about how to share the gospel with them. God's got it. Brown identifies the presupposition of his book: Christians are called to speak truth, often to people who do not want to hear it. (381/2386) One's heart attitude in communicating and living truth is so important. Be honest in life, Brown encourages. “When Christians hide their pain, they do not have a message to give.” (1865/2386) Be real to neighbors and let them see and inquire about the life and truth within. I really like this book. He tells great stories on himself and others to illustrate how Christians can be more irritating to others than salt and light. This book is a wake up call to Christians, challenging our honesty and effectiveness in being like Christ. Many self-righteous Christians may not like this book. It might undermine their drive to be the savior of the declining culture or the declining nation. It might make them think again about what they really believe about God and what He is doing in the world. I think this book needs to be read by every Christian. You'll be challenged. You might feel uncomfortable as Brown will encourage you to rethink how to live your witness in the world. Perhaps most interesting of all, you'll get to learn a little Latin too. I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

  • 5
    Talk The Walk is an engaging, challenging read.

    Posted by Becky on 06 10 2019

    Talk The Walk is an engaging, challenging read. I found myself strongly agreeing and strongly disagreeing with the text--sometimes within the same paragraph. At the very least it is a thought-provoking read. Do I agree? disagree? why is he right? why is he wrong? Does the Bible really mean this? and say that? Am I guilty of what he's describing? Has my mind been changed about this or that? Brown believes that it is important how we put into practice our beliefs, how we live out the faith in the day to day. He does not seem to be advocating throwing out the truth. "As someone has said, once you see truth you cannot simply un-see it." He is not one of those that redefines the virtue of humility as introducing doubt, embracing uncertainty, and throwing assurance out the window. Where the Bible is clear, plain, obvious, assertive, believers should have confidence and certainty. To not trust in God's promises is not a virtue. What Brown does seem to be advocating is selectively sharing the truths we believe. Brown seems to be saying that just because you know something to be true or something to be false does not mean you have to share that. You can remain silent and perhaps should remain silent in many situations. Sometimes speaking up or standing up for the truth you hold so dear makes the situation worse not better. You may feel satisfied that you defended God's truth, but the person on the other end, the other side, now has even more reason to distrust or despise Christians.

  • 5
    starsSteve Brown at his outlandish and wonderful best!!!

    Posted by Carl A. Dixon on 06 10 2019

    I just finished Steve Brown’s latest book. It was a wonderful read - I laughed and even cried! I cried because I was convicted of how ‘right ‘ I am about the Truth without love! Chapter 12 was my favorite. I hope you will purchase the book and laugh and cry like I have. Steve Brown is one of the most outlandish and profitable authors who have impacted my life. I love this man even though he won’t come and preach in my church!

  • 5
    Talk the Walk book review

    Posted by Tom M Saunders on 06 10 2019

    Steve is the shock jock of Bible ministry. This book took enormous guts to write, and even more to read! If you prize religious rules to control your life, and the lives of others around you, even the Introduction will be a severe challenge. Both as an author and a real person, Steve disturbs the most confident Christian to take a second look to determine if the ethic of my belief matches the moral of my do. Are you ready…? Tom M. Saunders, Ph.D.

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