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Book Review: This Momentary Marriage by John Piper

September 20, 2012

  The underlying thought in this book is not only about an earthly marriage, but also about the picture it portrays: the picture of the marriage of Christ to His bride, the church. The author points again and again to the fact that our personal marriages are  temporary, because they are  an example of the reality. When the “real thing” is here, we won’t need the illustration any longer.

This teaching may seem to marginalize the earthly marriage, but John Piper actually raises the bar for those joining into the covenant of marriage, for the very reason that it is a picture of Christ and His church. It is an example of the searching-out, providing, reconciling, and self-sacrificing love displayed by Christ. For the wife, our Godly submission exemplifies a trust not only in our husband, for they are human, but in God Himself. Our marriages are to show the world this type of permanent love that bears all things, believes all things, and never fails.

That kind of love is not natural and can only come from above. That is why such a high value is placed on this picture, on marriage. A marriage that does not show this kind of love and Godly submission to authority is failing to be the example that God intended.

John Piper elevates the role of the single person too. I am so glad he included several chapters in this book on the single Christian. In the big picture, a Christian is to “make disciples” and for the single person this is the focus. When God dealt with Israel as His people, it was with a nation, and the way that citizens were added to the nation was primarily through birth of children into families. But now, disciples are made of all nations through re-birth, salvation.

The thoughts about “making disciples” lead to the chapters that deal with the purpose of having and raising children in marriage.  The book has a message for those dealing with infertility too. Because making children is not always the same as making disciples and making disciples is the primary focus.

The last chapters of the book discuss divorce and remarriage. The author does not shy away from explaining his views.  He explains from the scripture how he has come to his conclusions, while at the same time, showing compassion for those in this situation.

This is one of the best marriage books I have read in many years. I liked its emphasis of marriage being more about God and His plan than about us. It confirmed that marriage is supernatural; it is something that requires self-sacrifice and long-suffering, but ultimately it is fulfilling and satisfying, because God created it to be so.

This book is available to download as a PDF for free. I used this version but wished I had purchased so I  could have highlighted and made notes in it.

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