Neither a comprehensive marriage manual, nor a complete exploration of the theological significance of marriage, Friends and Lovers focuses on two key ingredients in a vital marriage: friendship and sexual intimacy. Drawing from the wisdom of the Bible, especially the Book of Proverbs, Joel Beeke shows you how to grow closer to your spouse both emotionally and physically.
Joel R. Beeke
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There appears to be a marriage book renaissance going on within the Reformed-ish circles of evangelicalism and this is a very good thing indeed. One only has to look at the divorce rates both inside and outside the church to see that marriage is in crisis. But why? Why are we so unhappy in our marriages? In Friends and Lovers: Cultivating Companionship and Intimacy in Marriage, Joel Beeke argues it's a gospel issue--and the true hope for a God-glorifying marriage is found in Jesus:
"By nature we are ignorant of what true love and marriage should be, but Christ our prophet offers us guidance in the Bible. We are guilty of dishonoring marriage through our disobedience towards the God who designed it, but Christ our priest shed his blood for the forgiveness of our sins and now intercedes for us. We are rebels without the strength to overcome the evil that distorts and disrupts our human relationships, but Christ our king conquers sin and rules us by his mighty Spirit, making...
Based on two lectures given by Beeke at a conference in 2011, the book is rather short at 96 (small) pages. In concise, pointed language, Beeke makes the most of the short amount of space, providing a wealth of biblical counsel and wisdom on the matters of friendship and sexuality in marriage.
The first part (pp. 11-44) is on friendship and is divided into three chapters: on the biblical foundation for friendship in marriage (marriage as created and intended by God), on the cultivation of friendship in marriage (through sharing yourselves, your faith, your trust, and your joy), and on various temptations that marital friendships face. This first part is loaded with biblical wisdom as Beeke ably takes passages from the book Proverbs that speak of friendship and relationships in general and applies them directly to marriage.
He uses one section, for example, to expound upon Proverbs 27:5-6: "Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a...
Joel Beeke is the President of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and he has served as pastor of a local church for nearly three decades. That experience combines beautifully, here resulting in a book that is theologically excellent and targeted at practical application. Beeke writes to help married couples, and he succeeds at targeting his words to the common weaknesses.
The first section of Friends and Lovers focuses on the need for friendship between the partners in a marriage, then it offers suggestions for how to cultivate that relationship. The second -- and far larger -- section targets sexual intimacy in a tasteful and helpful manner.
I'd describe Friends and Lovers as a mix of encouragement and small suggestions to married couples. Due to its small size (93 pages), this book is tailored more to suggestions than comprehensive theology but that is also part of its appeal. Don't pick this title up for a theology of marriage; pick it up to help your...
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