Recently there has been a great deal of conversation in the media about who gets to define marriage. Is marriage only between a man and a woman or can a man and a woman, or a woman and a woman be married? Furthermore, and I think this also needs to be discussed, what are the consequences of changing the definition of marriage on the home? Rather than focusing on individual rights we should be primarily concerned as a society with the impact of what we are saying about marriage on the home. Of course that may be secondary to some, but I think it should be primary since it is in the home where children learn much of what will equip them for the rest of their lives. Into our postmodern environment a classic book Building a Godly Home by the Puritan William Gouge on Christian family life has been released. Scott Brown and Joel Beek divide Gouge’s original book Domestical Duties considered to be the foremost Puritan treatment of Christian family life into three manageable volumes with updated language to modern standards and given it the title Building a Godly Home.
In this first volume Gouge lays out the old paths for family life in the Bible. Here Gouge’s exegetes Ephesians 5:21-6:4, where he lays out the wife’s voluntary submission to her husband, the husband’s sacrificial love for his wife, the child’s obedient honoring of parents, and the parent’s nurturing leadership of their children. This book would be good for parents to read to their children, or grandparents to read to their grand children.
As I read this book I was struck by how refreshing it was that the author was so unoriginal. By unoriginal I mean faithful to the text of Scripture. He wasn’t trying to come up with some fancy formula for a successful life but just explain and apply the text of Scripture under consideration to the people who would read his book. This is one of the primary reasons why I enjoy the Puritans and pray earnestly that Christians today would learn from their example in explaining and applying the Scriptures to all of life. As I read this book I was struck by this and the fact that while I’ve read dozens of books on marriage and family worship, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that was so packed full of sound exegesis and application on this topic.
Whether you are a parent or a grandparent, or about to get married, this first volume in this series has something for you. The family is under attack from many quarters in our society. Marriage is the foundation stone of society. God established marriage between man and a woman not only for procreation but also for intimacy between one another as an expression of His for His redeemed bride. I’m thankful for this book and excited that it’s been republished and the language has been updated. I’m looking forward to reading the other volumes in this series, and pray that you will also read this book (and the other’s) in this series to learn (as I am everyday) to build your family life more on the rock of the Word of God and less on our own opinions and feelings. Gouge’s book is pastoral, clear-headed, thoughtful, and Bible-focused focused will help us to that end, and it is for that, that we as Christians should thank God that this book has been republished at such a time as ours.
Author: William Gouge
Publisher: Reformation Heritage (2013)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Reformation Heritage. 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