Marriage & the Mystery of the Gospel: A Review

Since our culture has a very distorted moral compass when it comes to marriage and sexuality, many Christian authors and publishers have been giving us quality resources to help us think biblically of these things.  Ray Ortlund’s new book, Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel is one of these quality resources.

This book isn’t a lengthy and detailed exploration of what the Bible says about marriage.  Instead, it is a short and concise overview of the Bible’s teaching on marriage.  In the first and longest chapter, Ortlund walks through Genesis 1-3 to talk about marriage as instituted before the fall and what happened to it after the fall.  The second chapter, which is around 2o pages, is a brief look at some marriage texts in the Law, the Prophets, and Wisdom literature.  The third chapter is where Ortlund explains a few prominent NT texts that talk about marriage, ending with Revelation 21.  The final chapter is a six page defense of biblical marriage in light of culture today.

I appreciated this book because it is what it says it is: a short (100 page) study of the biblical view of marriage.  Ortlund takes the historic Christian view of gender and marriage, a view that is a minority position today.  He does a nice job centering the book on the gospel and the fact that marriage is not a prison, but a God-given blessing.  The contents of this book are solid and based well on Scripture.

I have to admit that this book covers the same material that many other Christian marriage books cover.  Other marriage books on my shelves are very much like Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel.  If you’ve read other books on the historic view of Christian marriage, you might not need this one (unless you want to review what you’ve already read elsewhere).  Sorry if I’m being too blunt, but I like to point out what endorsements usually don’t!

In a word, although this book is like other books on the topic, it is a solid, concise resource that summarizes the biblical view of marriage.  May God use these good books on marriage to help his people stand firm on the truth, believe it, live it, and love it!

Ray Ortlund, Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel (Wheaton: Crossway, 2016).

Shane Lems

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