August 10, 2012

Marriage and the Family: Biblical Essentials

When I was offered Marriage and the Family: Biblical Essentials to review, I knew I wanted to read it.  I'm so glad I did!

Andreas Kostenberger, with David W. Jones, examines what the Bible says about much of what is being discussed these days in regard to family and marriage.

Marriage and the FamilyThe chapters are full of information, including differing views based on what the whole Bible says.  In addition to the introduction and conclusion, the chapters are:
  1. Marriage in the Bible
  2. Marriage and Sex
  3. Family in the Bible
  4. Reproduction and Parenting
  5. Singleness
  6. Homosexuality
  7. Divorce and Remarriage
  8. God, Marriage, Family, and the church

Within the chapters abortion, contraception, infertility, adoption, homosexuality, and divorce are examined.  Within each chapter, the authors examine the Old and New Testaments.  I thought they addressed the topics firmly, while not causing offense.

The chapter of "Reproduction and Family Planning" was especially of interest to me, likely because of where I am in life and several recent discussions with friends.  I appreciated how it discussed Roman Catholics reason (Genesis 38:10) to accept the view that no contraception is acceptable.  Marriage and the Family went on to explain that "Upon closer scrutiny, however, it appears that the Lord's displeasure in Genesis 38:10 ought not be to be equated with the prevention of pregnancy per se but with the particularly exploitive, abusive, and wasteful way in which Onan carried out his sexual relations with Tamar."  (See Deuteronomy 25:5-10 to examine Onan's duty to his brother's wife.)  The chapter goes on to discuss what is (ones that exclusively prohibit conception)  and is not (a good number, according to the authors) morally permissible  to a Christian, as well as methods requiring special attention (some of the most popular ones of our culture).  The chapter also examines the challenge of infertility-and options available for couples facing choices proivided by the medical community.  This chapter also addresses single parenting, physical discipline, and more.

Marriage and the Family is a good resource-and not just for married folks.  Whether married, single, divorced, or widowed, I think it is a valuable book to read.  The book was smaller than I expected, well under 200 pages, but is not a light read.  The examination of the  Scriptures-many verses- seems to be thorough, which is what I appreciate the most.  Though each chapter ends with "Practical Implications" I really wanted a "Practical Implications, Applications, and Summary"-especially the summary- with each chapter.

For the sensitive topic of homosexuality, I appreciated that they made it clear that a gay lifestyle is not the unpardonable sin and that it can be overcome.  Nor did they take this sin lightly.  Though I don't agree with "forgiveness implies repentance," -because we are not called to forgive only those who repent of sin- I do believe we can accept a person living in a homosexual lifestyle, as a friend or family member, without embracing the practice or seeing it for anything but sin.  Though it wasn't clear, maybe they were speaking of the person's restoration to the church?

Now I'm going to be a little picky, despite my own grammatical errors, possibly even in this post.  Early in the book there was a grammatical incidence that I would consider an error that I found a tad distracting.  Actually, it was this sentence.
"This is reflected in Jesus's and Paul's teachings..." ~ page 11, chapter 1
1.) Scholars usually agree that it should be Jesus' teachings.
2.) When two people possess something together, and both are named, only the second should be given the apostrophe and s.  So it should read Jesus and Paul's teachings.  But if the word order would be changed, it would say Paul and Jesus' teachings.  
I'm not sure that both uses can be said to be the writer and editor's preferences.  Personally, I know one usage of commas which I was taught in high school.   I was required to teach the same rule differently (AGH!!!) when I was teaching it to my class.  I say that to acknowledge that not everyone agrees to proper grammar, and I may even be wrong to draw attention to this.  It may seem odd that I mention this, but it was on the first page of chapter one.  It stuck with  me for quite a while.

I am happy to have this resource on my book shelf and do recommend it.  Thank you, Crossway, for providing a review copy in exchange for this honest review.
~ Annette {This Simple Mom}

1 comment:

  1. This one does sound really awesome! Thanks for the review and for highlighting what you found particularly insightful.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for the conversation!