I am excited about the new book that I co-authored with James La Belle on marriage that arrived yesterday. In this book we collate what 29 Puritans have said about marriage, and present their material in 300 pages in a contemporary way, sprinkled with their inimitable quotations. We have also provided study questions that will facilitate numerous group discussions in various churches.
Though quaint on occasion, the Puritans are amazingly contemporary in their understanding of living a godly marriage for God’s glory. In fact, in some ways they are far beyond us. For example, in expounding Ephesians 5:21ff., they stress that the secret to a very good marriage is when both spouses are minding their own business—that is to say, when the husband does not pay attention to how his wife is treating him (because that is her business), but is wholly devoted to loving his wife the way Christ loves the church, and the wife does not pay attention to how her husband is treating her (because that is his business), but is wholly devoted to showing respect and submission to her husband the way the church does to Christ. In nearly four decades of counseling marital couples, I can honestly say that if all Christian husbands and wives would truly heed just this one piece of advice, 80 percent of all marital counseling would not be needed.
Let some wise pastors of three to four centuries ago provide you with wise advice on how to live your marriage every day in a more godly way that purposefully aims for glorifying God!
Joel R. Beeke and James A. La Belle
Foreword by Michael A. G. Haykin
Paperback, 296 pages
Page Size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches
eBook ISBN 978-1-60178-464-3
Retail Price: $15.00
To order your copy at a discounted price, click here.
The Puritans believed that godly marriages were foundational for the future life of families, churches, and nations. Therefore, they wrote prolifically on the subject of marriage, seeking to bring biblical reformation to this subject in a comprehensive way. Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other previous Reformers had begun this task, but the Puritans took it much further, writing a number of detailed treatises on how to live as godly spouses. Out of the wealth of material available to us from the seventeenth century, Joel R. Beeke and James A. La Belle have gathered together insights from the past and summarized them in a contemporary form in order to encourage modern-day couples to glorify God in marriage.
“It is an established, if little known, fact that the Puritans rescued marriage from the dreary ascetic grasp of the Roman Church and returned it to its full, biblical, Christ-centered estate—overflowing with creational joys, pleasures, and duties. In this book, eminent Puritan scholars and pastors Joel Beeke and James La Belle provide us with a rich gift, as they have mined the writings of twenty-nine of the great Puritans and then arranged their wisdom into brilliantly organized user-friendly chapters and subheadings (complete with penetrating study questions)—all done with a skill that only “hands-on” pastors could have. The Puritans were Word-centered wordsmiths, and the chapters are packed full of memorably stated theology and application. What a pleasure to commend this book!” —R. Kent Hughes, senior pastor emeritus of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois, and visiting professor of practical theology at Westminster Seminary Philadelphia
“The reason for the resurgence of interest in the Puritans today is found in their extraordinary devotion to the things of God and the depth of their understanding and exposition of sacred Scripture. I welcome this series of books that make the Puritans even more accessible in our day on a variety of important but often neglected subjects.” —R. C. Sproul, founder and president of Ligonier Ministries and author of The Intimate Marriage
“In the midst of the cultural confusion as to the definition of marriage comes this refreshing work from Joel Beeke and James La Belle that provides all Christians with a biblical view of this God-sanctioned institution through the wisdom of the Puritans. Living in a Godly Marriage serves both the husband and wife who have been married many years and those just beginning on the path. Use this book to breathe new life and new joy into your marital relationship while seeking to live together for God’s glory.” ––Steven J. Lawson, president, OnePassion Ministries, Dallas, Texas
“This book is a true treasure. It provides profound theological insights on marriage from the great Puritans of the past while simultaneously rendering contemporary, relevant, practical, and timeless counsel to the married couples of the present. Biblically based and Christ-centered, this volume offers vast riches of wisdom and knowledge that are equally suitable for those contemplating marriage and for those who have been married for decades. This is an eminently helpful and godly guide to one of the most fundamental ordinances of God’s kingdom and human experience.” —Anthony T. Selvaggio, minister, lecturer, and author of What the Bible Teaches about Marriage
JOEL R. BEEKE is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and a pastor of the Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He and his wife, Mary, are blessed with three children. JAMES A. LA BELLE is the pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Cape Cod (OPC), Massachusetts, and a doctor of divinity candidate with The North American Reformed Seminary (TNARS). He and his wife, Chantry, are blessed with seven children.
Abbreviations and Select Bibliography
1. The Institution and Honor of Marriage
2. The Purposes and Benefits of Marriage
3. Securing a Good Entrance into Marriage
4. Preserving the Honor of Marriage
5. The Mutual Duties of Love and Chastity
6. The Mutual Duties of Help and Peace
7. The Wife’s Duties in Marriage
8. The Husband’s Duty of Love
9. The Husband’s Duty of Authority
10. Concluding Counsel
Appendix: George Swinnock’s Prayers for Husbands and Wives
Deepen Your Christian Life
From the late 1500s to the early 1700s, Puritan ministers wrote thousands of Christian books that contain massive amounts of biblical, doctrinal, experiential, and practical instruction to energize your Christian life. In the early seventeenth century, nearly 20 percent of the material coming off English presses consisted of Puritan sermon material popularized in book form. Unfortunately, many believers today find it difficult to read the antiquarian Puritan language and, when they attempt to do so, find themselves more frustrated than energized.
This new series, Deepen Your Christian Life, presents in contemporary language the major teachings that several Puritans wrote on subjects that are seldom addressed adequately, if at all, today. Finally, you too will be able to enjoy the Puritans and see, by the Spirit’s grace, that they really do energize your Christian life.
- Living by God’s Promises, Joel R. Beeke and James La Belle (2010)
- Living with Zeal, Joel R. Beeke and James La Belle (2012)
- Living with a Good Conscience, Joel R. Beeke (forthcoming)