The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller


Tim Keller is always good. Usually when I read a Tim Keller book it is the best book I’ve read on the subject. That would be true for his book on prayer, as well as for his book on preaching.  

His book on marriage is very good. Probably not the best I’ve read, but quite good and near the top of the list. He focuses on Ephesians 5, the great text in the New Testament on marriage. In chapter one he talks about today’s cultural context and focuses on two of the biblical teachings on marriage: that it has been instituted by God and that marriage was designed to be a reflection of the saving love of God for us in Christ.


In chapter two, he focuses on Paul’s thesis that all married partners need the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. The work of the Spirit makes Christ’s saving work real in our hearts, giving us supernatural help against the main enemy of marriage: sinful self-centeredness.


In chapter three, he delves into the heart of what marriage is all about – namely, love. He discusses the relationship of feelings of love to the acts of love in relationship of romantic passion to covenantal commitment.


Chapter four addresses what marriage is for. It is a way for two spiritual friends to help each other on their journey to become the persons God designed them to be.


Chapter five lays out three basic skill sets with which married couples help each other on that journey.


Chapter six discusses the differences in the sexes and their roles in marriage. Timothy Keller’s wife Kathy wrote this chapter.


Chapter seven focuses on singleness and how to live the single life well. I would say that this is the best material on singleness that I have ever read.


Finally, chapter eight focuses on the topic of sex in marriage.


Keller is an excellent exegete and he is also very good at understanding the contemporary cultural context.


As always, with Keller it is worthwhile to read his end notes.


This is a highly recommended book.