There are so many books on marriage. There are a lot of good ones and a lot of not so good ones. Each has their focus and many of them are helpful. When couples read them they are often times looking to them for their wisdom. What can they tell me about marriage that I don’t know yet? What can they tell me about how to deal with this or that issue?
With the proliferation of marriage books out there today, one might come to the conclusion that the church has only been offering marital wisdom in the last generation or so. But this would be wrong. The Church has had much to say abut marriage since its inception.
This is exactly what Robert Plummer and Matthew Haste want to share with Christians in their new book Held In Honor: Wisdom for Your Marriage from Voices of the Past (Christian Focus, 2015). “Many approach marriage as if it were an adventure into the unknown” (13). While not intending to, marriage couples can act as if they were the first to be married and have a sense of loneliness amidst their marital problems and struggles.
When we study history we find that the questions and struggles we are having today are the same ones other Christians were having centuries ago. The times may be different but the struggles of marriage are always the same. Plummer and Haste draw upon centuries of Christians who have spoken to the realities of marriage. Though there is much wisdom to gain from contemporary voices, the voices of the past have much to say as well.
Held In Honor is structured as a devotional. Each day has a short passage on marriage from the past along with a brief historical introduction on the person who wrote it and the context for what they wrote. Then a short devotional is written based on their advice. The authors are chosen from five eras in Christian history beginning with Igantius of Antioch in the early 100’s and ending with John Piper from the present day.
What is striking about the selections is that the authors have not just chosen the best of the best marital wisdom. They have included some advice that is unwise or unbiblical in order to point us to the truth fund in Scripture. For instance, Ambrosiaster, writing in the 4th century, gives us a window into how the early church viewed marriage as opposed to singleness. The authors point out that singleness was held above marriage and to be preferred. In the accompanying devotional the authors show how marriage is to be valued as an institution of God and how to properly view singleness as a gift from God.
Held In Honor is an easy to read devotional drawing on the wisdom of the past concerning the many issues related to marriage and how Scripture speaks to them. This is an enjoyable read and proves that Christians of the past have as much to teach us abut marriage as those in the present. This book will help you gain a greater appreciation for voices of the past in regards to the churches teaching on marriage.
I received this book for free from Christian Focus for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”