Book Review: The Meaning of Marriage

Tim Keller is a New York Times best selling author, speaker, and the founding pastor of the 5,000-person Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. Based on Keller’s sermon series on marriage, this book explains to Christians, skeptics, singles and married, the vision of what marriage should be according to the Bible.

Keller, with his wife Kathy, helps us see what a biblical marriage is and is not. This book shows us the dangerous and damaging concepts that are put in our head by secular society. Hollywood, pop culture and secularism have sold us a bill of goods on marriage and have created an unobtainable and unhealthy view of matrimony in our minds. Keller helps to clarify what God intended in marriage and how our spouse is to help us point to and reflect Christ.

Keller tells us that God devised marriage to reflect his saving love for us in Christ, to refine our character, to create stable human community for the birth and nurture of children, and to accomplish all this by bringing the complementary sexes into an enduring whole-life union. If we look to our spouse to fill up our tanks in a way only God can, we are demanding an impossibility of our other half.

A Christ-centered marriage finds each partner sacrificing for and serving his spouse. A marriage is a daily opportunity to provide examples of the unconditional love, grace and mercy that Christ showed us. In the secular world this example of selfless service and sacrifice are contrary to what we are taught. The world tells us to find our own version of the perfect mate and when you grow apart and are no longer happy you can move on.

Keller outlines a wonderful biblical example of the marriage that Christ molded with his bride, the church. The Christ honoring union Keller describes is not an easy one to achieve, but it is the most rewarding.