Monday, January 30, 2012

The Meaning of Marriage (Part 1)

The Meaning of Marriage, Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller

Another book on marriage has entered the Christian world and it is a good one.  

Timothy Keller has done his Christian audience a great service with this book. This is not another ‘how to be married book’: how to communicate, how to deal with arguments, etc.  Those types of books do have great value, especially for those who are engaged or in the early years of marriage (one of our recent favourites is Now That You Are Engaged reviewed here).

What Keller has done is to lift our vision of marriage much higher that just the husband and wife. He places God squarely at the centre of every marriage and as the creator of marriage.

He seeks to provide an answer to questions such as: What is meaning of marriage? Why does marriage exist? What does it mean to enter a covenant? What is Christian friendship, and how does it find its fullest expression in marriage? Where does the power to continue in marriage come from? How then shall we view singleness?

Keller strongly grounds this work in the word of God, and ends up providing a very helpful framework of marriage as being a relationship of Christian friendship, promised in a covenant of love, powered by the Holy Spirit.

Last year, I reviewed Married for God by Christopher Ash in some detail. At the time I thought it filled a void in the market for marriage books: one that actually described marriage from God’s perspective. This one stands beside it well.

It would be very good for:
  • already married couples to raise their eyes to the purpose of their relationship
  • for engaged couples, to give them a solid grounding in God’s view of marriage and the importance of the relationship
  • for anyone wanting to think ‘theologically’ about marriage
  • for young people, to ensure they have a God-centred view of marriage as they approach their relationships and life choices.

I think is probably an easier read than Married for God and I found it more logical on some points.  Personally, I also found it more encouraging and less dry.

All in all a very good book for anyone who wants to think about marriage theologically. Which all of us should!

Over the next two days, I will delve into this book in a bit more depth, covering Ch 1-3 tomorrow and Ch 4-8 on Wednesday. That gives me a chance to think through it more, and to whet your appetite to read it yourself! 


Alison Blake said...

Hi Wendy,

Thanks for reviewing this book - I bought it over Christmas holidays but hadn't got around to reading it yet. I was very curious to see if Keller grounded marriage in Scripture, how it compared to Ash's books,and whether it could be recommended - it sounds like the Keller's have ticked the boxes, and I'm motivated to get reading!

Alison Blake

Wendy said...

Hi Alison,

Yes, give it a try - I'd love to know what you think of it.

I think it is well grounded in Scripture, although I realise that the last two detailed posts don't interact with that part of it much.

I think I prefer it to Ash's book, but that may just be personal preference - I'd be more comfortable recommending this one to couples I think. I think it will appeal to a wider Christian audience.