Marriage Resources Compiled by David Craig

(Revised: 4/17/2023 – Those Marked with an “*” are Highly Recommended)


  • Clarke, David E. Enough Is Enough: A Step-by-Step Plan to Leave an Abusive Relationship with God’s Help.
  • *Strickland, Darby A. Domestic Abuse: Help for the Sufferer
  • *Strickland, Darby A. Domestic Abuse: Recognize, Respond, Rescue.
  • *Strickland, Darby A. Is It Abuse?: A Biblical Guide to Identifying Domestic Abuse and Helping Victims.


  • *Brand, Dr. Paul and Philip Yancey. Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God’s Image.
  • Hoekema, Anthony A. Created in God’s Image.
  • Kilner, John F. Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God.
  • Lints, Richard. Identity and Idolatry: The Image of God and Its Inversion.
  • Seamands, Stephen. Ministry in the Image of God: The Trinitarian Shape of Christian Service.
  • *Sproul, R.C. The Hunger for Significance: Seeing the Image of God in Man.
  • *Wilkin, Jen. In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character.


  • *Alberry Sam. 7 Myths About Singleness.
  • Ballenger, Mark. The Ultimate Guide to Christian Singleness.
  • Chediak, Alex. With One Voice: Singleness, Dating & Marriage to the Glory of God.
  • Cloud, Henry and John Townsend. Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships
  • Chapman, Gary. The 5 Love Languages Singles Edition: The Secret That Will Revolutionize Your Relationships
  • *Hiestand, Gerald, and Jay S. Thomas. Sex, Dating, and Relationships: A Fresh Approach.
  • Maxson, J. Robin and Garry Friesen. “I Do” or “Do I?” Are You Ready To Change Your Relationship Status?
  • Maxson, J. Robin and Garry Friesen. Singleness, Marriage, and the Will of God.
  • *Pokluda, J.P. and Kevin McConaghy. Outdated: Find Love That Lasts When Dating Has Changed.
  • *Pokluda, J.P. and Kevin McConaghy. Welcome to Adulting: Navigating Faith, Friendship, Finances, and the Future.
  • *Pokluda, J.P. Welcome to Adulting Survival Guide: 42 Days to Navigate Life.
  • Rineheart, Stacy T., and Paula Rinehart. Choices: Finding God’s Way in Dating, Sex, Marriage, and Singleness.
  • *Phillips, Richard D., and Sharon L. Holding Hands, Holding Hearts: Recovering a Biblical View of Christian Dating.
  • Priolo, Lou. Danger Signs of an Unhealthy Dating Relationship.
  • *Segal, Marshall. Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness and Dating.
  • Smith, William P. Starting Over: How Not to Screw Up Your Next Relationship.
  • Smith, William P. Who Should I Date?: Relationship Advice for the Real World.
  • *Strachan, Owen. Whole in Christ: A Biblical Approach to Singleness.
  • *Stuart, Ben. Single, Dating, Engaged, Married: Navigating Life and Love in the Modern Age.
  • *Sweet, Jenilyn. Singleness: Living Faithfully (31-Day Devotionals for Life).


  • *Baker, Ernie. Marry Wisely, Marry Well.
  • Burns, Jim & Fields, Doug. Getting Ready for Marriage: A Practical Road Map for Your Journey Together.
  • Chapman, Gary. Things I Wish I’d Known Before We God Married.
  • Green, Rob. Tying the Knot: A Premarital Guide to a Strong and Lasting Marriage.
  • *Harley, Jr. Willard F. I Promise You: Preparing For A Marriage That Will Last a Lifetime.
  • Mack, Wayne A. Preparing for Marriage God’s Way: A Step-By-Step Guide for Marriage Success Before and After the Wedding.
  • McKinley, Mike. Engagement: Preparing for Marriage (31-Day Devotionals for Life).
  • Parrott, Les & Leslie. Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions To Ask Before and After You Marry.
  • Piper, John. Preparing for Marriage: Help for Christian Couples.
  • Roberts, Wes & Wright, H. Norman. Before You Say “I Do.”
  • Smalley, Greg and Erin. Before You Plan Your Wedding…Plan Your Marriage.
  • Smalley, Greg and Erin. Ready to Wed: 12 Ways to Start a Marriage You’ll Love.
  • Smith, William P. Should We Get Married?: How to Evaluate Your Relationship.
  • Thomas, Gary. 9 Must Have Conversations For a Doubt-Free Wedding Day.
  • Thomas, Gary. Preparing Your Heart for Marriage: Devotions for Engaged Couples.
  • *Thomas, Gary. The Sacred Search: What if It’s Not about Who You Marry, but Why?
  • *Wright, H. Norman. 101 Questions to ask Before You Get Engaged.
  • *Wright, H. Norman. Before You Say “I Do”: A Marriage Preparation Guide for Couples.
  • *Wright, H. Norman. Before You Say “I Do” Devotional: Building a Spiritual Foundation for Your Life Together.
  • *Wright, H. Norman. Starting Out Together: A Devotional for Dating or Engaged Couples.


  • *Ash, Christopher. Married For God: Making Your Marriage the Best It Can Be.
  • Begg, Alistair. Lasting Love. How to Avoid Marital Failure.
  • Chan, Francis and Lisa. You And Me Forever: Marriage In Light of Eternity.
  • Chapell, Bryan. Each For The Other: Marriage As It’s Meant To Be.
  • Chapman, Gary. Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage.
  • *Chapman, Gary. The 4 Seasons of Marriage: Secrets to a Lasting Marriage.
  • Chester, Tim. Gospel-Centered Marriage: Becoming the Couple God Wants You to Be.
  • Crabb, Larry. The Marriage Builder. Creating Oneness To Transform Your Marriage.
  • *Farley, William P. Marriage In Paradise: How to Have a Genesis two Marriage in a Genesis three World.
  • *Curt Hamner, John Trent, et al. Marriage: Its Foundation, Theology, and Mission in a Changing World.
  • *Girgis, Sherif, Ryan T. Anderson, Robert P. George, eds. What Is Marriage: Man and Woman: A Defense.
  • *Ingram, Chip. Marriage That Works: God’s Way of Becoming Spiritual Soul Mates, Best Friends, and Passionate Lovers.
  • *Keller, Timothy and Kathy. The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God.
  • Kostenberger, Andreas J. & Jones  David W. God, Marriage, and Family. Rebuilding The Biblical Foundation.
  • *LaPierre, Scott. Your Marriage God’s Way: A Biblical Guide to a Christ-Centered Relationship.
  • Lewis, Robert & Hendricks, William. Rocking The Roles: Building a Win-Win Marriage.
  • Mead, Peter. Lost in Wonder: A Biblical Introduction to God’s Great Marriage.
  • *Ortlund, Ray. Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel.
  • Piper, John. This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence.
  • Rainey, Dennis & Barbara. Starting Your Marriage Right: What You Need To Know In The Early Years To Make It Last a Lifetime.
  • Rainey, Dennis & Barbara. Staying Close: Stopping The Natural Drift Toward Isolation in Marriage.
  • *Savage, Timothy B. No Ordinary Marriage: Together For God’s Glory.
  • Smalley, Erin. Reconnected: Moving from Roommates to Soulmates in Marriage (Focus on the Family)
  • Smalley, Gary. The DNA of Relationships: Discover How You Are designed for Satisfying Relationships.
  • Smalley, Gary & Trent, John. Love is a Decision: Proven Techniques to Keep Your Marriage Alive and Lively.
  • *Smalley, Gary and Shawn Stoever. The Wholehearted Marriage: Fully Engaging Your Most Important Relationship.
  • Smith, Winston T. Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change Through Ordinary Moments.
  • *Sproul, R.C. The Intimate Marriage: A Practical Guide To Building A Great Marriage.
  • *Swindoll, Charles R. Marriage From Surviving to Thriving.
  • Thomas, Gary. A Lifelong Love: How to Have Lasting Intimacy, friendship, and Purpose in Your Marriage.
  • Thomas, Gary. Cherish: The One Word That Changes Everything For Your Marriage.
  • Thomas, Gary. Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?
  • Towns, Ruth and Elmer. How To Build a Lasting Marriage: Lessons From Biblical Couples.
  • *Tripp, Paul David. Marriage: 6 Gospel Commitments Every Couple Needs to Make.
  • Wright, H. Norman. After You Say “I Do.”
  • Wright, H. Norman. 101 Ways To Build a Stronger, More Exciting Marriage.
  • Young, Ed. The 10 Commandments of Marriage: The Do’s and Don’s for a Lifelong Covenant.


  • Callahan, Patti. Becoming Mrs. Lewis.
  • Curtis, Carolyn and Mary Pomroy Key, eds. Women and C.S. Lewis: What his life and literature reveal for today’s culture.
  • DeRusha, Michelle. Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk.
  • Gerstner, Edna. Jonathan and Sarah Edwards: An Uncommon Union
  • Lane, Rachel. Francis & Edith Schaeffer: Taking on the World (Trail blazers Series).
  • Lewis, C.S. A Grief Observed.
  • *Mack, Wayne A. and Carol. Sweethearts For a Lifetime.
  • Parkhurst, Louis Gifford. Francis & Edith Schaeffer.
  • Rhodes Jr., Ray. Yours, Till Heaven: The Untold Love Story of Charles and Susie Spurgeon.
  • *Shaeffer, Edith. The Tapestry: The Life and Times of Francis and Edith Schaeffer.
  • Welman, Sam. Francis & Edith Schaeffer.


  • *Eggerichs, Emerson. Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs.
  • *Harley, Jr. Willard F. He Wins, She Wins: Learning The Art of Marital Negotiation; His Needs Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage; Love Busters: Protect Your Marriage by Replacing Love-Busting Patterns with Love-Building Habits.


  • Burke, H. Dale. Different by Design: God’s Master Plan For Harmony Between Men and Women in Marriage.
  • Crabb, Larry. Men and Women: Enjoying The Difference.
  • *Farrel, Bill and Pam. Men Are Like Waffles Women Are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in Your Differences.
  • *Farrel, Bill and Pam. Why Men and Women Act The Way They Do.
  • Leman, Kevin. Have a New Husband by Friday: How to Change His Attitude, Behavior & Communication in 5 Days.
  • MacArthur, John. Divine Design: God’s Complementary Roles For Men and Women.
  • Peacock, Gavin & Strachan, Owen. The Grand Design: Male and Female He Made Them.
  • Smalley, Gary. For Better or for Best: A Valuable Guide to Knowing, Understanding, and Loving Your Husband.
  • Smalley, Gary. If Only He Knew: A Valuable Guide to Knowing, Understanding, and Loving Your Wife.
  • Strauch, Alexander. Men and Women: Equal Yet Different.
  • *Strachan, Owen and Jonathan Parnell. Designed for Joy: How the Gospel Impacts Men and Women, Identity and Practice.


  • Bechtle, Mike. How to Communicate with Confidence.
  • Brown, Steve. How to Talk So People Will Listen.
  • *Chapman, Gary. Now You’re Speaking My Language: Honest Communication and Deeper Intimacy for a Stronger Marriage.
  • *Eggerichs, Emerson. Cracking The Communication Code With Your Mate: The Secret of Speaking Your Mate’s Language.
  • Petersen, James C. Why Don’t We Listen Better?: Communicating & Connecting in Relationships
  • *Tripp, Paul David. War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles.
  • *Wright, H. Norman. Communication: Key to Your Marriage – The Secret To True Happiness.


  • Chapman, Gary. Everybody Wins: The Chapman Guide to Solving Conflicts without Arguing (Chapman Guides).
  • Chapman, Gary. Home Improvements: The Chapman Guide to Negotiating Change with Your Spouse (Chapman Guides).
  • Chapman, Gary. The 5 Apology Languages: The Secret to Healthy Relationships.
  • *Chapman, Gary & Thomas, Jennifer. When Sorry Isn’t Enough: Making Things Right With Those You Love.
  • *Harvey, Dave. When Sinners Say “I Do”: The Power of the Gospel for Marriage.
  • *Hoppe, Steve. Marriage Conflict: Talking as Teammates (31-Day Devotionals for Life).
  • *Kendall, R.T. Total Forgiveness.
  • *Lutzer, Erwin W. When You Have Been Wronged: Moving From Bitterness To Forgiveness.
  • *Priolo, Lou. Resolving Conflict: How to Make, Disturb, and Keep Peace.
  • *Sande, Ken. The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict.
  • *Scott, Stuart. Communication and Conflict Resolution: A Biblical Perspective.
  • Smalley, Greg. Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage: How Healthy Conflict Can Take You to Deeper Levels of Intimacy.
  • Smalley, Greg. Reconnected: Moving from Roommates to Soulmates in Marriage.


  • Begg, Alistair. Lasting Love: How To Avoid Marital Failure.
  • Buzzard, Justin. Date Your Wife: A Husband’s Guide.
  • Harley, Jr. Willard F. Fall In Love, Stay In Love.
  • *Mack, Wayne A. Sweethearts for a Lifetime: Making the Most of Your Marriage (Strength for Life).
  • *Smalley, Greg and Erin Smalley. Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage: 12 Secrets for a Lifelong Romance.
  • *Smalley, Gary. Making Love Last Forever.
  • *Smalley, Gary and Shawn Stoever. The Wholehearted Marriage: Fully Engaging Your Most Important Relationship.
  • *Ziglar, Zig. Courtship After Marriage: Romance Can Last A Lifetime.


  • Chapman, Gary. The One Year Love Language Minute Devotional: A 365-Day Devotional for Christian Couples.
  • Chapman, Gary. The Love as a Way of Life Devotional: A Ninety-Day Adventure That Makes Love a Daily Habit.
  • Dobson, James C. Night Light: A Devotional for Couples.
  • Harley, Willard F. and Joyce S. Joyce. Draw Close: A Devotional for Couples.
  • Keller, Timothy and Kathy Keller. The Meaning of Marriage: A Couple’s Devotional: A Year of Daily Devotions.
  • Kendrick, Stephen and Alex. The Love Dare Day by Day: A Year of Devotions for Couples.
  • Rainey, Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Moments Together for Couples: 365 Daily Devotions for Drawing Near to God & One Another.
  • Thomas, Gary. Devotions for a Sacred Marriage: A Year of Weekly Devotions for Couples.
  • *Wright, H. Norman. After You Say “I Do” Devotional: Meditations for Every Couple.


  • *Adams, Jay E. Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible: A Fresh Look at What Scripture Teaches.
  • *Grudem Wayne. What the Bible Says About Divorce and Remarriage
  • *Newheiser, Jim. Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage: Critical Questions and Answers.


  • *Alcorn, Randy. Managing God’s Money: A Biblical Guide.
  • *Alcorn, Randy. Money, Possessions, and Eternity: A Comprehensive Guide to What the Bible Says about Financial Stewardship, Generosity, Materialism, Retirement, Financial Planning, Gambling, Debt, and More.
  • *Alcorn, Randy. The Law of Rewards: Giving what you can’t keep to gain what you can’t lose.
  • *Alcorn, Randy. The Treasure Principle, Revised and Updated: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving.
  • Blue, Ron. Master Your Money: A Step-By-Step Plan For Experiencing Contentment. 
  • Blue, Ron & Burkett, Larry. Your Money After The Big 5-0. Wealth For The Second Half of Life.
  • *Dayton, Howard. Marriage and Money God’s Way.
  • *Dayton, Howard. Your Money Counts: The Biblical Guide to Earning, Spending, Saving, Investing, Giving, and Getting Out of Debt
  • Keller, Timothy. Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters.
  • *Lowe, Cherie. Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After.
  • MacArthur, John. Whose Money Is It Anyway?
  • Ramsey, Dave. Financial Peace Revisited; The Complete Guide to Money; The Money Answer Book; The Total Money Makeover; The Financial Peace Planner: A Step-by-Step Guide to Restoring Your Family’s Financial Health.
  • Tripp, Paul David. Sex and Money: Pleasures That Leave You Empty and Grace That Satisfies. 
  • *Wood, William C. Getting a Grip on Your Money: A Plain & Simple Christian Guide to Managing Personal Finances, Eliminating Debt, Spending, Saving & Giving, Investing for the Future.
  • Yates, Cynthia. Living Well On One Income: In a Two-Income World. 


  • *Chapman, Gary. The Five Love Languages: How To Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.
  • *Eggerichs, Emerson. The Language of Love and Respect: Cracking the Communication Code with Your Mate.
  • Rosberg, Gary and Barbara Rosberg. 6 Secrets to a Lasting Love: Recapturing Your Dream Marriage.
  • Rosberg, Gary and Barbara Rosberg. The 5 Love Needs of Men & Women.
  • *Smalley, Gary & Trent, John. The Language of Love: The Secret To Being Instantly Understood. 
  • *Trent, John and Gary Smalley. The Two Sides of Love: The Secret to Valuing Differences.


  • *DeYoung, Kevin. Men and Women in the Church: A Short, Biblical, Practical Introduction.
  • Gilbert, Greg. Can Women Be Pastors?
  • *Grudem, Wayne, ed. Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood.
  • *Kostenberger, Margaret E. God’s Design for Man and Woman. A Biblical-Theological Survey.
  • *Kostenberger, Andreas J. and Thomas R. Schreiner, et al. Women in the Church: An Interpretation and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9-15.
  • *Piper, John and Grudem, Wayne. 50 Crucial Questions: An Overview of Central Concerns about Manhood and Womanhood.
  • *Piper, John and Grudem, Wayne editors. Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood: A Response To Evangelical Feminism.
  • Saucy, Robert, and Judith TenElshof. Women and Men in Ministry: A Complementary Perspective.


  • *Biehl, Bobb. Why You Do What You Do.
  • *LaHaye, Tim. Spirit-Controlled Temperament.
  • *LaHaye, Tim. Why You Act The Way You Do.
  • *Leman, Kevin. The Birth Order Book: Why You Are The Way You Are.
  • *Littauer, Florence. Personality Plus.
  • *Littauer, Florence. Personality Plus At Work.
  • *Littauer, Florence. Personality Plus For Couples: Understanding Yourself and the One You Love
  • *Littauer, Florence. Wired That Way: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Maximizing Your Personality Type.
  • Smalley, Gary and Robert S. Paul. The DNA of Relationships for Couples.


  • Ash, Christopher. How Should Christians Think about Sex? (Questions for Restless Minds).
  • *Ash, Christopher. Marriage: Sex in the Service of God.
  • Cutrer, William & Glahn, Sandra. Sexual Intimacy In Marriage.
  • Dobson, James. Head Over Heels: How To Fall In Love and Land On Your Feet.
  • Harley, Jr. Willard F. Five Steps To Romantic Love: A Workbook for Readers of Love Busters and His Needs, Her Needs.
  • Howes, Ryan, Rupp, Richard, Simpson, Stephen W. What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Sex: A Guide For Christian Men.
  • LaHaye, Tim & Beverly. The Act of Marriage: The Beauty of Sexual Love.
  • Leman, Kevin. Sex Begins In the Kitchen; Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage.
  • McBurney, Louis & Melissa. Real Questions, Real Answers About Sex.
  • McCluskey, Christopher & Rachel. When Two Become One: Enhancing Sexual Intimacy In Marriage.
  • Rosberg, Gary and Barbara Rosberg. The 5 Sex Needs of Men & Women.
  • *Wheat, Ed & Gaye. Intended For Pleasure: Sex Technique and Sexual Fulfillment in Christian Marriage.


  • *Chapman, Gary. Hope For The Separated: Wounded Marriages Can Be Healed.
  • *Chapman, Gary. Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away: Real Help for Desperate Hearts in Difficult Marriages.
  • *Chapman, Gary. One More Try: What to Do When Your Marriage Is Falling Apart.
  • *Clarke, David E. Enough is Enough: A Step-by-Step Plan to Leave an Abusive Relationship with God’s Help.
  • *Clarke, David E. and William G. Clarke. Honey, We Need To Talk: Get Honest And Intimate In 10 Essential Areas.
  • *Clarke, David E. Married But Lonely
  • *Clarke, David E. and William G. Clarke. What Happened To Happily Ever After?
  • *Clarke, David E. What To Do When Your Spouse Says, “I Don’t Love You Anymore”: An Action Plan To Regain Confidence, Power and Control.
  • *Dobson, James. Love Must Be Tough: New Hope For Marriages In Crisis.
  • Gambola, Michael Scott. After an Affair: Pursuing Restoration.
  • *Harley, Jr. Willard H. & Chalmers, Jennifer Harley. Surviving An Affair.
  • Jones, Robert D. Restoring Your Broken Marriage: Healing After Adultery.
  • *Kruger, Mellissa and Michael Kruger. 5 Things to Pray for Your Spouse: Prayers That Change and Strengthen Your Marriage.
  • Smith, Winston T. Help! My Spouse Committed Adultery: First Steps for Dealing with Betrayal.
  • *Strobel, Lee & Leslie. Surviving A Spiritual Mismatch In Marriage.
  • *Summers, Mike. Help! My Spouse Has Been Unfaithful.

Web Resources For Marriage Chapman Resources for Marriage) by Larry Burkett – Excellent Financial Resources) (Resources for Dave Ramsey on Finances) (A Cru Ministry with Resources for Marriage and Parenting) (Founded by James Dobson – Marriage and Parenting) (The Ministry of Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs) Resources of Dr. Willard F. Harley) (Resources for Marriage and Parenting from Paul David Tripp) (Resources from Gary and Greg Smalley on Marriage)

Biblical Manhood

  • Briscoe, Stuart. The One Year Devotions for Men with Stuart Briscoe.
  • Challies, Tim. Sexual Detox: A Guide for Guys Who Are Sick of Porn.
  • Challies, Tim. Run to Win: The Lifelong Pursuits of a Godly Man.
  • Chapman, Gary. The 5 Love Languages for Men: Tools for Making a Good Relationship Great.
  • Coekin, Richard. Men of God.
  • Crabb, Larry. Men of Courage: God’s Call to Move Beyond the Silence of Adam.
  • Doriani, Daniel M. The New Man: Becoming a Man After God’s Heart.
  • Evans, Tony. No More Excuses: Be the Man God Made You to Be.
  • Farrar, Steve. Tempered Steel: How God Shapes a Man’s Heart through Adversity.
  • *Foster, Michael. It’s Good To Be A Man: A Handbook for Godly Masculinity.
  • *Getz, Gene. The Measure of a Man: Twenty Attributes of a Godly Man.
  • Hanson, Brant. The Men We Need: God’s Purpose for the Manly Man, the Avid Indoorsman, or Any Man Willing to Show Up.
  • *Hughes, R. Kent. Disciplines of a Godly Man.
  • *Lambert, Heath. Finally Free (pornography).
  • MacDonald, Gordon. Ordering Your Private World.
  • Metaxas, Eric. Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness.
  • Metaxas, Eric. Seven More Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness.
  • *Morely, Patrick. How God Makes Men: Ten Epic Stories. Ten Proven Principles. One Huge Promise for Your Life.
  • *Morely, Patrick. The Man in the Mirror: Solving the 24 Problems Men Face.
  • *Ortlund, Ray. The Death of Porn: Men of Integrity Building a World of Nobility.
  • *Phillips, Richard D. The Masculine Mandate: God’s Calling to Men.
  • Rainey, Dennis. Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood.
  • Scott, Stuart. Biblical Manhood: Masculinity, Leadership and Decision.
  • *Smalley, Gary, Greg Salley, and Michael Smalley. Men’s Relational Toolbox.
  • Smith, Rhett. What it Means to be a Man: God’s Design for Us in a World Full of Extremes.
  • *Storms, Sam. Daily Strength: A Devotional for Men.
  • *Weber, Stu. Tender Warrior: Every Man’s Purpose, Every Woman’s Dream, Every Child’s Hope.
  • Wolgemuth, Robert. Lies Men Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free.

Being a Good Dad

  • *Beeke, Joel. How Should Men Lead Their Families?
  • Chandler, Matt and Adam Griffin. Family Discipleship: Leading Your Home Through Time, Moments, and Milestones.
  • *Farrar, Steve. Anchor Man: How a Father Can Anchor His Family in Christ for the Next 100 Years.
  • *Farrar, Steve. King Me: King Me: What Every Son Wants and Needs From His Father.
  • *Farrar, Steve. Point Man: How A Man Can Lead His Family.
  • *Farrar, Steve. Battle Ready: Prepare to Be Used by God.
  • *Farrar, Steve. God Built: Forged by God … in the Bad and Good of Life.
  • *Farrar, Steve. Real Valor: A Charge to Nurture and Protect Your Family.
  • *Farrar, Steve. Standing Tall: How a Man Can Protect His Family.
  • Fuller, John. First Time Dad: The Stuff You Really Need to Know.
  • Leman, Kevin. Be the Dad She Needs You to Be: The Indelible Imprint a Father Leaves on His Daughter’s Life.
  • *Lewis, Robert. Raising a Modern-Day Knight: A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood.
  • Michael, David. A Father’s Guide to Blessing His Children (Family Discipleship).
  • *Smalley, Gary and John Trent. The Blessing.
  • Tyson, Jon. The Intentional Father: A Practical Guide to Raise Sons of Courage and Character.

Being a Good Husband

  • *Buzzard, Justin. Date Your Wife.
  • *Dobson, James. What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women.
  • *Eggerichs, Emerson. The Love & Respect Experience: A Husband-Friendly Devotional That Wives Truly Love.
  • *Evans, Tony. For Married Men Only: Three Principles for Loving Your Wife.
  • Howes, Ryan, Rupp, Richard, Simpson, Stephen W. What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Sex: A Guide For Christian Men.
  • *Kruger, Michael and Melissa Kruger. 5 Things to Pray for Your Spouse: Prayers That Change and Strengthen Your Marriage.
  • Mahaney, C.J. & Carol. Sex, Romance, And The Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs To Know.
  • *Priolo, Lou. The Complete Husband: A Practical Guide for Improved Husbanding.
  • *Scott, Stuart. The Exemplary Husband: A Biblical Perspective.
  • *Smalley, Gary. If Only He Knew: A Valuable Guide to Knowing, Understanding, and Loving Your Wife.
  • *Smalley, Gary. Winning Your Wife Back Before It’s Too Late.
  • Weathers, Mark A. How to Pray for Your Wife: A 31-Day Guide.

Mid-Life Helps

  • Arterburn, Stephen. 6 Ways for Men to Thrive in Midlife.
  • Arterburn, Stephen. Midlife Manual for Men: Finding Significance in the Second Half.
  • *Buford, Bob. Finishing Well: The Adventure of Life Beyond Halftime.
  • *Buford, Bob. Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance.
  • Chester, Tim. You Can Change: God’s Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions.
  • Dunlop, John, MD. Finishing Well to the Glory of God: Strategies from a Christian Physician.
  • MacDonald, Gordon. Mid-Course Correction: Re-Ordering Your Private World for the Second Half of Life.
  • Peppin, Bruce. The Best Is Yet to Be: Moving Mountains in Midlife.
  • *Swenson MD, Richard. Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives.
  • *Tripp, Paul David. Lost in the Middle: MidLife and the Grace of God: Mid-Life Crisis and the Grace of God.
  • Wright, H. Norman. What’s Next?: Navigating Transitions to Make the Rest of Your Life Count.
  • Ziglar, Zig. Better Than Good: Creating a Life You Can’t Wait to Live.

Biblical Womanhood

  • *Dodds, Abigail. (A)Typical Woman: Free, Whole, and Called in Christ.
  • *Elliott, Elisabeth. Let Me Be A Woman.
  • *Elliott, Elisabeth. Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control.
  • Furman, Gloria and Kathleen B. Nielsen. Word-Filled Women’s Ministry: Loving and Serving the Church.
  • *Haykin, Michael A. G. Eight Women of Faith.
  • *Hughes, Barbara. Disciplines of a Godly Woman.
  • *Hunt, Susan. By Design: God’s Distinctive Calling for Women.
  • *Hunt, Susan. The True Woman: The Beauty and Strength of a Godly Woman.
  • *Hunt, Susan. The Legacy of Biblical Womanhood.
  • *Hunt, Susan. Women’s Ministry in the Local Church.
  • *Kassian, Mary A. The Feminist Mistake: The Radical Impact of Feminism on Church and Culture.
  • *Kassian, Mary A. The Right Kind of Confident: The Remarkable Grit of a God-Fearing Woman.
  • *Kassian, Mary A. The Right Kind of Strong: Surprisingly Simple Habits of a Spiritually Strong Woman.
  • *Kruger, Melissa. 12 Faithful Women: Portraits of Steadfast Endurance.
  • *Kruger, Melissa. Growing Together: Taking Mentoring beyond Small Talk and Prayer Requests.
  • *Kruger, Melissa. Identity Theft: Reclaiming the Truth of our Identity in Christ.
  • Nielson, Kathleen. Women and God: Hard Questions, Beautiful Truth.
  • McLaughlin, Rebecca. Jesus though the Eyes of Women: How the First Female Disciples Help Us Know and Love the Lord.
  • Metaxas, Eric. Seven Women: And the Secret of Their Greatness.
  • Ortlund, Anne. Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman.
  • Ortlund, Jani. Fearlessly Feminine: Boldly Living God’s Plan for Womanhood.
  • *Peace, Martha. Becoming a Titus 2 Woman.
  • *Saffles, Gretchen. The Well-Watered Woman: Rooted in Truth, Growing in Grace, Flourishing in Faith.
  • *Scazzero, Geri. The Emotionally Healthy Woman: Eight Things You Have to Quit to Change Your Life.
  • *Wolgemuth, Nancy DeMoss. Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together.
  • *Wolgemuth, Nancy DeMoss. Biblical Portrait of Womanhood: Discovering and Living Out God’s Plan for our Lives.
  • *Wolgemuth, Nancy DeMoss. Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free.

Being a Good Mom

  • *Eggerichs, Emerson. Mother and Son: The Respect Effect.
  • *Engelsma, Esther. How Can I Feel Productive as a Mom?
  • *Ferrer, Hillary Morgan. Mama Bear Apologetics: Empowering Your Kids to Challenge Cultural Lies.
  • *Ferrer, Hillary Morgan. Mama Bear Apologetics: Guide to Sexuality: Empowering Your Kids to Understand and Live Out God’s Design.
  • Furman, Gloria. Labor with Hope: Gospel Meditations on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood.
  • *Furman, Gloria. Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God (The Gospel Coalition).
  • Furman, Gloria. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms.
  • Gresh, Dannah. A Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free (Lies We Believe).
  • Halberstadt, Abbie. M Is for Mama: A Rebellion Against Mediocre Motherhood.
  • *Hunt, Susan. Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women.
  • Jensen, Emily and Laura Wifler. Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments.
  • Leman, Kevin. What a Difference a Mom Makes: The Indelible Imprint a Mom Leaves on Her Son’s Life.
  • Wann, Liz. The End of Me: Finding Resurrection Life in the Daily Sacrifices of Motherhood.

Being a Good Wife

  • *Evans, Tony. For Married Women Only: Three Principles for Honoring Your Husband.
  • *Kruger, Michael and Melissa Kruger. 5 Things to Pray for Your Spouse: Prayers That Change and Strengthen Your Marriage.
  • Leman, Kevin. Have a New Husband by Friday: How to Change His Attitude, Behavior & Communication in 5 Days.
  • *Peace, Martha. The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective.
  • *Smalley, Erin. *10 Things a Husband Needs from His Wife: Everyday Ways to Show Him Love.
  • *Smalley, Erin, Greg, and Gary. The Wholehearted Wife: 10 Keys to a More Loving Relationship.
  • *Smalley, Gary. For Better or Best: A Valuable Guide to Knowing, Understanding, and Loving Your Husband.
  • *Smalley, Gary. Winning Your Husband Back Before It’s Too Late.
  • Thomas, Gary L. Loving Him Well: Practical Advice On Influencing Your Husband.

Vocation and Calling

  • Chapman, Gary. The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People.
  • Challies, Tim. Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity.
  • Doriani, Daniel M. Work: Its Purpose, Dignity, and Transformation.
  • Doriani, Daniel M. Work That Makes a Difference.
  • *Grudem, Wayne. Business for the Glory of God: The Bible’s Teaching on the Moral Goodness of Business.
  • Guinness, Os. The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose for Your Life.
  • *Hamilton, James M. Work and Our Labor in the Lord. 
  • Kaemingk, Matthew and Cory B. Willson. Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy.
  • *Keller, Timothy. Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work.
  • *Littauer, Florence. Personality Plus At Work.
  • *Nelson, Tom. Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work.
  • O’Donnell, Michaela. Make Work Matter: Your Guide to Meaningful Work in a Changing World.
  • Perman, Matt. What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done.
  • Rodin, R. Scott. Stewards in the Kingdom: A Theology of Life in All Its Fullness.
  • Smith, Gordon T. Consider Your Calling: Six Questions for Discerning Your Vocation.
  • Stevens, R. Paul and Tom Force. Aging Matters: Finding Your Calling for the Rest of Your Life.
  • Stevens, R. Paul. Doing God’s Business: Meaning and Motivation for the Marketplace.
  • Stevens, R. Paul. The Other Six Days: Vocation, Work, and Ministry in Biblical Perspective.
  • Stevens, R. Paul. Taking Your Soul to Work: Overcoming the Nine Deadly Sins of the Workplace.
  • Stevens, R. Paul. Work Matters: Lessons from Scripture.
  • Palmer, Parker J. Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation.
  • Pennings, Ray. How Can I Serve God at Work?
  • *Veith, Gene Edward Jr. God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life.

Relational Help

  • Brauns, Chris. Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds.
  • Chapman, Gary. Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion.
  • Clinton, Tim and Gary Sibcy. Why You Do the Things You Do: The Secret to Healthy Relationships.
  • Cloud, Henry and John Townsend. Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to say NO To Take Control of Your Life.
  • Crabb, Larry. Connecting: Healing Ourselves and Our Relationships.
  • Crabb, Larry. Understanding People: Why We Long for Relationship.
  • Crabtree, Sam. Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God.
  • Crabtree, Sam. Practicing Thankfulness: Cultivating a Grateful Heart in All Circumstances.
  • Dykas, Ellen Mary. Toxic Relationships: Taking Refuge in Christ (31-Day Devotionals for Life).
  • Gifford, Greg. Heart & Habits: How We Change for Good.
  • Ingram, Chip and Becca Johnson. Overcoming Emotions that Destroy: Practical Help for Those Angry Feelings That Ruin Relationships.
  • Jones, Robert D. Pursuing Peace: A Christian Guide to Handling Our Conflicts.
  • *Kendall, R.T. Controlling the Tongue: Mastering the What, When, and Why of the Words You Speak.
  • *Kendall, R.T. Total Forgiveness.
  • Kassian, Mary. Conversation Peace: Improving Your Relationships One Word at a Time.
  • Lane, Timothy S., and Paul David Tripp. How People Change.
  • Lane, Timothy S., and Paul David Tripp. Relationships: A Mess Worth Making.
  • Lane, Timothy S. Unstuck: A Nine-Step Journey To Change That Lasts.
  • Lutzer, Erwin. When You’ve Been Wronged: Moving From Bitterness to Forgiveness.
  • Marshall, Cheryl and Caroline Newheiser. When Words Matter Most: Speaking Truth with Grace to Those You Love.
  • Maxwell, John. Be A People Person: Effective Leadership Through Effective Relationships.
  • Miller, Paul E. A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships.
  • *Powlison, David. Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness.
  • Priolo, Lou. Bitterness: The Root That Pollutes (Resources for Biblical Living).
  • *Priolo, Lou. Pleasing People: How not to be an “approval junkie.”
  • Rainer, Thom S. and Art Rainer. Simple Life: Time, Relationships, Money, God.
  • Robinson, Jeff. Taming the Tongue: How The Gospel Transforms Our Talk.
  • Satrom, Hayley. Forgiveness: Reflecting God’s Mercy (31-Day Devotionals for Life).
  • *Sande, Ken and Kevin Johnson. Resolving Everyday Conflict
  • *Scazzero, Peter. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It’s Impossible to Be Spiritually Mature, While Remaining Emotionally Immature.
  • Smalley, Gary. The DNA of Relationships: Discover How You Are Designed for Satisfying Relationships.
  • Smith, William P. How To Love Difficult People: Receiving and Sharing God’s Mercy.
  • Townsend, John. Boundaries in Marriage: Understanding the Choices That Make or Break Loving Relationships.
  • Tripp, Paul David. Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change.
  • Viars, Stephen. Overcoming Bitterness: Moving from Life’s Greatest Hurts to a Life Filled with Joy.
  • Viars, Stephen. Putting Your Past in Its Place: Moving Forward in Freedom and Forgiveness.
  • *Welch, Edward T. Blame It On The Brain: Distinguishing Chemical Imbalances, Brain Disorders, and Disobedience.
  • *Welch, Edward T. Caring for One Another: 8 Ways to Cultivate Meaningful Relationships.
  • *Welch, Edward T. A Small Book about a Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace.
  • *Welch, Edward T. A Small Book about Why We Hide: How Jesus Rescues Us from Insecurity, Regret, Failure, and Shame.
  • *Welch, Edward T. Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love.
  • *Welch, Edward T. When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man (Resources for Changing Lives).
  • Whitman, Lauren. A Painful Past: Healing and Moving Forward (31-Day Devotionals for Life).
  • Wytsma, Ken. Redeeming How We Talk: Discover How Communication Fuels Our Growth, Shapes Our Relationships, and Changes Our Lives.


  • Anthony, Michael and Michelle Anthony. A Theology for Family Ministry.
  • Anthony, Michelle. Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family: Avoiding the 6 Dysfunctional Parenting Styles
  • *Beeke, Joel. How Should Men Lead Their Families?
  • Chandler, Matt and Adam Griffin. Family Discipleship: Leading Your Home Through Time, Moments, and Milestones.
  • Chapman, Gary and Shannon Warden. The DIY Guide to Building a Family that Lasts: 12 Tools for Improving Your Home Life.
  • Chapman, Gary. The Family You’ve Always Wanted: Five Ways You Can Make It Happen.
  • Chester Tim. Gospel-Centered Family.
  • Earley, Justin Whitmel. Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms.
  • *Eggerichs, Emerson. Love and Respect in the Family: The Respect Parents Desire; The Love Children Need.
  • Elliot, Elisabeth. The Shaping of a Christian Family: How My Parents Nurtured My Faith.
  • Hughes, Kent and Barbara. Disciplines of a Godly Family.
  • Jones, Timothy Paul. Family Ministry Field Guide: How Your Church Can Equip Parents to Make Disciples.
  • Jones, Timothy Paul, ed. Perspectives on Family Ministry: Three Views.
  • *Kostenberger, Andreas J. God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation.
  • Kimmel, Tim. Grace-Based Parenting: Set Your Family Tree.
  • Leman, Kevin. Have a Happy Family by Friday: How to Improve Communication, Respect & Teamwork in 5 Days.
  • *Lewis, Robert. Real Family Values: Leading Your Family into the 21st Century with Clarity and Conviction.
  • *Newman, Randy. Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well.
  • Powell, Kara and Steven Argue. Growing With: Every Parent’s Guide to Helping Teenagers and Young Adults Thrive in Their Faith, Family, and Future.
  • Powell, Kara. The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family: Over 100 Practical and Tested Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Kids.
  • *Sande, Ken. Peacemaking for Families: A Biblical Guide to Managing Conflict in Your Home.
  • *Schaeffer, Edith. What is a Family?
  • *Smalley, Gary and John Trent. The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance.
  • Whitney, Donald S. Family Worship: In the Bible, In History, and In Your Home.

What Did Jesus Say About Divorce?

“Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce” in Matthew 5:31-32

(This excellent sermon has been excerpted from Chapter 14 in R. Kent Hughes excellent book of sermons [pictured below] from  Matthew 5-7 entitled: The Sermon On The Mount: The Message of the KIngdom. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2001.

A Sermon From R. Kent Hughes

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” – Matthew 5:31–32

The February 1973 issue of McCall’s magazine carried an article entitled, “Is Anyone Faithful Anymore?” in which the author included the following story. A young wife was at lunch with eleven of her friends, who had been meeting together regularly to study French since their children had been in nursery school. As they conversed, one of the women, the group’s leader, asked, “How many of you have been faithful throughout your marriage?” Only one woman at the table raised her hand. That evening when the young wife told her husband about the conversation, she revealed that she was not the one who had raised her hand. He was shocked and devastated. “But I have been faithful,” she added. “Then why didn’t you raise your hand?” She replied, “I was ashamed.”

Times have changed, have they not? It used to be that most people would go to extremes to hide their infidelity, but today many people are ashamed of their fidelity. We live in a day when some experts speak of “healthy adultery” and the married faithful are less vocal than the unfaithful in promoting their ways.

I think no one would disagree that our contemporary culture is not intrinsically receptive to Biblical teaching regarding sexual relationships, marriage, and divorce. Because of this hostility, some preachers seem reluctant to speak out on these issues. Other ministers hesitate to address these topics because there is major disagreement about divorce in the church. Because there are numerous opinions as to what the Bible means, because the subject is complex, and because contemporary marital relationships are often incredibly tangled mazes, the subject becomes overwhelming. Sadly, we sometimes find it easier to just leave it unaddressed.

Some surveys indicate that eight of ten people are either directly or indirectly affected by divorce. The mere mention of the word divorce is painful to some. Many have been deeply wounded by broken marriages, and a discussion of the subject brings up memories and feelings they would like to forget. For these reasons preachers find little joy in preaching on the subject. But since Jesus brought it up right in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, the greatest sermon ever preached, he obviously thinks it is an important subject, one we dare not ignore. To see this matter through Jesus’ eyes is good for us as individuals, good for the church, and good for society.

What is to be the Christian’s attitude regarding divorce? Is divorce always forbidden? Or is it sometimes allowable? What is the Christian position amidst the marital tragedy that surrounds us? As we answer these questions, I will try to be sensitive to those who are hurting. But at the same time I will do my best to be Biblical. The bottom line in all of this is, what does God’s Word say?

To understand our Lord’s statements on divorce, we must know something of the controversial social and theological context in which he made them. The controversy centered over the interpretation of a phrase in Deuteronomy 24:1, the stated ground of divorce: “If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce …”

That verse taught that a husband could divorce his wife if he found “something indecent” in her, and that is where the controversy lay. The burning question in Jesus’ day was, what does “something indecent” mean?” Those in the very liberal rabbinical school of Hillel interpreted “indecent” in the widest manner possible. They said a man could divorce his wife if she spoiled his dinner! They also extended “indecent” to mean a wife’s walking around with her hair down, speaking to men in the streets, or speaking disrespectfully of her husband’s parents in his presence. A wrong word about a mother-in-law and a woman could be out on the street! Rabbi Akiba, who was of this school of thought, went even further, saying that the phrase “becomes displeasing to him” (“she find no favor in his eyes,” kjv) meant that a man could divorce his wife if he found a woman who was more beautiful. Such husbands were bigoted and arrogant.

Fortunately, they were opposed by the school of Shammai, which limited “indecent” to offenses of marital impropriety short of adultery. “Indecent” did not refer to adultery, which was punished by execution, but rather suggested other types of sexual misconduct such as shameful exposure.

This conservative-liberal controversy over the meaning of “indecent” as a grounds for divorce was the backdrop of the Pharisees’ coming to Jesus about this matter. Matthew 19:3 describes the situation: “Some Pharisees came to test him. They asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?’ ” They were obviously trying to draw Jesus into the long-standing debate and then exploit his response for their own ends. Some even think they were hoping to use Jesus’ answer to get him in trouble with Herod because a negative answer would publicly align him with the point of view that caused John the Baptist to be beheaded. Significantly, Jesus did not begin by directly answering their question but took the conversation back to God’s creation design, giving us the most extensive teaching on divorce in the New Testament.

Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce (Matthew 19:4–12)

Jesus began by stating the ideal:

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?” (vv. 4, 5)

In the beginning divorce was inconceivable—and impossible. Jesus quoted lines from Genesis 2:23, 24 to emphasize two things. First, the intimacy of the marriage relationship. He says “the two will become one flesh.” There is no other intimacy like it. It is deeper than one’s relationship to one’s own children. When my children were born, there was an amazing bonding that took place when I saw those babies. In the ensuing months and years the bonding increased, and my wife and I are close to our children, interwoven with them. But we are not one flesh with them. The Scripture says that a man becomes “one flesh” with his wife. Marriage is the deepest human relationship.

After intimacy, the emphasis is on permanence. There was no thought of divorce—ever! God’s ideal was, and is, monogamous, intimate, enduring marriage. This is what he approves of. Anything less is a departure from the divine model. And the Fall did not change that ideal. We all know that some things possible before the Fall were not possible afterward. But regarding divorce, God’s standard did not change. We not only see this in the very first book of the Old Testament but also in the very last one:

“Why has God abandoned us?” you cry. I’ll tell you why; it is because the Lord has seen your treachery in divorcing your wives who have been faithful to you through the years, the companions you promised to care for and keep. You were united to your wife by the Lord. In God’s wise plan, when you married, the two of you became one person in his sight. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. Therefore guard your passions! Keep faith with the wife of your youth. For the Lord, the God of Israel, says he hates divorce.… (Malachi 2:14–16, tlb)

God hates divorce! Whenever divorce occurs, it is an aberration. It is something that was not meant to be. All of this talk about “creative divorce” is pseudoscientific and pseudo-liberated baloney. Those who become tired of their marriage because it is solid, predictable, and not very exciting should cast away their fantasies. Besides, there is nothing more boring than evil and its fruit.

The conversation between the Pharisees and Jesus is most enlightening. The Pharisees have alluded to the controversy in Deuteronomy 24, asking if a man may divorce his wife for any reason at all. Jesus has responded by saying divorce is not God’s ideal. Now the Pharisees respond with another reference to Deuteronomy 24: “ ‘Why then,’ they asked, ‘did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?’ ” (Matthew 19:7). The idea is this: “Moses made provision for divorce in Deuteronomy 24:1. How then can you say it is not part of the ideal?” Note Jesus’ answer in verse 8: “Jesus replied, ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.’ ”

Jesus’ answer corrects the Pharisees, for Moses only permitted divorce—he didn’t command it as the Pharisees asserted. What Moses did command was the granting of a divorce certificate for the woman’s protection. Without a certificate she could be subject to exploitation, even recrimination. The certificate also prevented the man from marrying her again. Thus she could not be treated like chattel. Marriage was not something one could walk in and out of. The reason God allowed divorce was the hardness of heart to which the men of Israel had succumbed. It was a divine concession to human weakness—reluctant permission at best!

Understanding this, we come to the very center of Christ’s teaching and the heart of our study—Jesus’ explanation as to when and why divorce is permitted: “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery” (Matthew 19:9, nasb, emphasis mine).

Here everything rests upon the correct interpretation of the phrase “except for immorality”—and especially the single word, “immorality.” The Greek word here is porneia, from which we derive the English word pornography. The Greek dictionaries tell us that porneia means unchastity, fornication, prostitution, or other kinds of unlawful intercourse. When porneia is applied to married persons, it means marital unfaithfulness, illicit intercourse that may involve adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, and the like. We should note (and this is very important!) that all these offenses were originally punished by death under Mosaic Law. These sins terminated marriage not by divorce but by death. However, by Jesus’ time the Roman occupation of the country and its legal system had made the death sentence very difficult to obtain. Jewish practice had therefore substituted divorce for death. Thus the rabbinical schools of Hillel and Shammai were not discussing whether divorce was permissible for adultery. That was taken for granted by everyone. The point is, Jesus was far stricter than Hillel and Shammai because he superseded the teaching of Deuteronomy 24 and said that the only ground for which one may divorce his or her spouse is marital unfaithfulness. This is the simple, plain meaning of Jesus’ words in verse 9: “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” That is, divorce is allowed if your mate is guilty of marital unfaithfulness. But if you divorce for any other reason and remarry, it is you who commits adultery. This is likewise the meaning of Jesus’ similar statement in the Sermon on the Mount:

“But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress [if she remarries], and anyone who marries the divorced woman [a woman who has been divorced for something short of unchastity] commits adultery.” (Matthew 5:32)

Jesus’ teaching is clear. Some of the interpretations of these texts are unbelievably convoluted, but we must hold to the plain, unadorned sense of the text. Jesus meant what he said!

Some object that these exception clauses don’t jibe with Jesus’ teaching in two other Gospel passages, Mark 10:11, 12 and Luke 16:18, which contain no exception clauses. For instance, Mark records:

He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

No exception clauses! Because of this, some have argued that Mark represents the earlier and pure teaching of Jesus, but Matthew contains a scribal addition of the exception clause and is thus unauthentic. However, we must hold that it is authentic because none of the ancient manuscripts omit it—all of them have it. Why the difference between the Gospels of Matthew and Mark then? John Stott gives the answer:

It seems far more likely that its [the exception clause’s] absence from Mark and Luke is due not to their ignorance of it but to their acceptance of it as something taken for granted. After all, under the Mosaic Law adultery was punishable by death (although the death penalty for this offense seems to have fallen into disuse by the time of Jesus); so nobody would have questioned that marital unfaithfulness was a just ground for divorce.

The Lord Jesus Christ permitted divorce and remarriage on one ground and one ground only—marital unfaithfulness.

But notice that he permitted it—he did not command it. If you learn that your mate has been having an adulterous affair, it does not follow that you have license to seek a divorce. Too often men and women eagerly pounce on the infidelity of their mates as the opportunity to get out of a relationship they wanted to end anyway. It is so easy to minimize one’s own behavior and to maximize the sins of the other party. Many look for a way out instead of a way through the problems. I want to be careful not to minimize the sin of adultery like the man who said to his wife, “I don’t understand why you’re so disturbed. All I did was have an affair.” Yet I believe (this is my personal opinion) that we should not regard a one-time affair in the same way as a mate who persists in his or her adulterous ways and refuses to repent. Jesus’ exception clauses should be viewed like this: No matter how rough things are, regardless of the stress and strain, whatever is said about compatibility and temperament, nothing allows for divorce except unfaithfulness—and even then it is not to be used as an excuse to get out of the relationship.

The Radicalness of Jesus’ Teaching (Matthew 19:10–12)

Jesus’ teaching was radical. He had done away completely with the Mosaic divorce provision (Deuteronomy 24:1). This was revolutionary. The disciples’ response indicates just how radical Jesus’ teaching was: “The disciples said to him, ‘If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.’ ” They were blown away. If the only ground for divorce was unfaithfulness, if none of the exceptions suggested by Hillel and Shammai were valid, it was better to stay single! The radicalness of what Jesus taught is further underlined in Matthew 5 by its being one of the six statements that begin with variations of “You have heard it said, but I tell you,” demonstrating the superior righteousness of Christ. The point of these statements is: This is the way a righteous person lives! Thus his or her marital relationship is supremely sacred. Nothing can sever it but unrepentant unfaithfulness—and then it is not an excuse for ending the marriage but is the sorrowful ground of divorce.

Such teaching is radical today. It is out of sync with our culture. Today even Christian counselors are recommending divorce and remarriage on grounds that are in opposition to the clear teachings of Christ. The sanctity of marriage has been corrupted by Christ’s own church and his authority flouted. Marriage has been trivialized into a provisional sexual union that dissolves when our puny love gives out. But this is not the way the righteous person approaches marriage. According to Christ, marriage demands total commitment that only death or the most flagrant, ongoing sexual infidelity can bring to an end.

Having seen Christ’s teaching, the question now is, does the Bible say anything else about divorce? The answer is yes.

Jesus’ Teaching and Paul’s (1 Corinthians 7:8–16)

In 1 Corinthians 7:8–16 the Apostle Paul gives consecutive advice, first to the unmarried (vv. 8, 9), then to married believers (vv. 10, 11), and finally to those who have mixed marriages—when one’s spouse is not a believer (vv. 12–16). It is on this final category that we will focus.

Paul begins his teaching by saying in verse 12, “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord) …” which has been misunderstood by some as meaning that Paul is saying that his teaching is not as authoritative as Christ’s. What he really means, however, is that what he is going to say was not said by Jesus in his earthly ministry but is now being said by Paul as part of his apostolic teaching. “He is saying in effect, ‘I am now going to deal with cases on which the Lord Himself did not give a verdict.’ ” Paul speaks with full apostolic authority. Notice what he says:

To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. (vv. 12, 13)

Paul knew that in Corinth there were many marriages in which either the husband or wife had become a Christian after marriage, thus producing a spiritually mixed marriage. His advice was that the Christian must not leave his or her pagan spouse—it was not permitted. Then in verse 14 he gives the reason:

For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

The reason for staying together is that the unbeliever and the children will be influenced toward Christ by the life of the believer. I find this fascinating because we often think of the believer being corrupted by the unbeliever, and indeed sometimes this happens. But Paul lays down that it is generally otherwise! If you are in an unequal union, take heart! The general thrust is that you and your faith will prevail—though, sadly, not always.

Then in verse 15 we have Paul’s new teaching: “But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.”

The sense is, if the unbeliever deserts and is determined not to come back, let him or her go. The Christian is “not bound in such circumstances,” which means that the believer is free from the marriage because the unbeliever has broken the marriage bond. The result is that the believer is free to divorce and remarry. The consistent use of the word “bound” in this passage and others means “is not bound in marriage.” There is no need to seek some other interpretation. This is the plain sense—this is what it means.

A Summation of Biblical Teaching

So we see that the Bible allows divorce for two reasons—marital unfaithfulness such as adultery and homosexuality, and the desertion of a believer by an unbelieving spouse.

As to the question of remarriage, the Scriptures allow it in three instances.

First, if one’s mate is guilty of sexual immorality and is unwilling to repent and live faithfully with the marriage partner, divorce and remarriage are permissible.

Second, when a believer is deserted by an unbelieving spouse, divorce and remarriage are again permitted.

And third, as an extension of the allowance for divorce and remarriage when deserted by an unbeliever, I personally believe that when someone has been married and divorced before coming to Christ, remarriage is allowed. Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” “New” here (kainos) means new in quality. “New” means what it says—really new, as contrasted to the old. The same word is used of the “new man” in Ephesians 2:15 and the “new self” in Ephesians 4:24. Not only are believers really new, but Paul says that “the old has gone, the new has come.” A new believer is completely forgiven. I believe that among the old things that have passed away are all sins, including divorce prior to salvation. If it were otherwise, divorce would be the only sin for which Christ did not atone, and that would be inconceivable.

I hope no one misunderstands me, for divorce is not the ideal. It is a divine concession to human weakness. God hates divorce! We must realize that divorce (and remarriage) according to the Biblical guidelines is not sin—though it is due to sin. We must mourn every divorce!

How foreign to the Biblical mind are phrases like “creative divorce” or “the magic of divorce” or the ad that appeared on the back of a TV Guide: “Order your DIVORCE RING BAND today.… Now is the time to celebrate your new beginning.”

We have discussed the issues primarily with the non-offending party in view. What advice is there for the offending party? Here I can do no better than quote the concluding words of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

“Have you nothing to say about others?” asks someone. All I would say about them is this, and I say it carefully and advisedly, and almost in fear lest I give even a semblance of a suggestion that I am saying anything that may encourage anyone to sin. But on the basis of the gospel and in the interest of truth I am compelled to say this: Even adultery is not the unforgivable sin. It is a terrible sin, but God forbid that there should be anyone who feels that he or she has sinned himself or herself outside the love of God or outside His kingdom because of adultery. No; if you truly repent and realize the enormity of your sin and cast yourself upon the boundless love and mercy and grace of God, you can be forgiven and I assure you of pardon. But hear the words of our blessed Lord: “Go and sin no more.”

Finally, what do we say to the church, to ourselves?

First, we must resist the permissiveness of our culture and solidly take our stand against divorce or remarriage on any grounds other than those taught in God’s Word.

Next, we must refrain from self-righteous judgmentalism. All of us are adulterers in heart. We must exercise our dealings with those who have fallen, realizing that we are ourselves under Christ’s omniscient dictum: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).

Finally, toward those who have fallen to or suffered divorce, we must be forgiving, like our Lord. We must not call unclean that which he has called clean (Acts 10:15). We must endeavor to share the suffering of those ravaged by divorce. And lastly, the church should make provision for the remarriage of those who have Biblically divorced.

About The Preacher: Dr. Kent Hughes

Dr. Hughes’s thirty-five years of ministry divides evenly into ten years as a youth pastor, five years as a church planter, and twenty years as senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL. He is the author of more than twenty-five books, among which are Disciplines of a Godly Man and Liberating Ministry From the Success Syndrome. He is in the midst of a life-long project of completing the Preaching the Word commentary series of the entire New Testament, and is the editor of the Old Testament for the same series. College Church is noted for its world-wide missions outreach, because half of its total budget goes to world missions. The Hughes are the parents of four children and fourteen grandchildren.


  • D.D. 1991, Biola University, La Miradad, CA
  • D.Min. 1981, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, IL
  • M.Div. 1972, Talbot Seminary, La Mirada, CA
  • B.A. 1964, Whittier College, Whittier, CA

Professional Experience

  • 1979 to present: served as Senior Pastor of College Church in Wheaton, noted for its missions program. Presently, the missions budget is approximately 1.6 million annually.
  • 1974-79 founded a new church in the Orange County area of Southern California, and served as an adjunct professor at Talbot Seminary, teaching Greek and homiletics.
  • 1963-74 ministered on the staff of Granada Heights Friends Church, serving for seven years as High School Pastor and three years as Associate pastor and Minster to Collegians.
  • 1960-61 served as Youth for Christ Club Director.

In addition to regular pastoral, administrative and preaching duties at College Church, Pastor Hughes ministers to several outside conferences each year. He is a Staley lecturer, and in addition speaks at spiritual emphasis weeks for many Christian colleges and universities. Pastor and Mrs. Hughes speak regularly at pastors’ conferences.

Pastor Hughes has served on the Board of Americans United for Life (the legal arm of the pro-life movement), the Board of Trustees of World Radio Missionary Fellowship (HCJB), and the board of Operation Mobilization. Presently he is a member of the Board of Crossway Books.

Dr. Hughes is also a Former senior editor of Christianity Today.

Books Published

  • Behold the Lamb, (Exposition of John 1-10), Victor Books, 1984.
  • Behold the Man, (Exposition of John 11-21), Victor Books, 1984.
  • The Christian Wedding Planner, Muzzy/Hughes, Tyndale House, 1984.
  • Blessed Are the Born Again, (The Beatitudes as a checklist for authentic Christianity), Victor Books, 1986.
  • Abba Father: The Lord’s Pattern for Prayer, Crossway Books, 1986.
  • Living on the Cutting Edge: Joshua and the Challenge of Spiritual Leadership, Crossway Books, 1987.
  • Liberating Ministry From the Success Syndrome, Tyndale House, 1988, co-authored with Mrs. Hughes
  • Mastering the Pastoral Role, Paul Cedar, R. Kent Hughes, Ben Patterson, Multnomah, 1991.
  • Disciplines of a Godly Man, Crossway Books, 1991.
  • Disciplines of Grace, Crossway Books, 1993.
  • The Gift, Crossway Books, 1994.
  • Are Evangelicals Born Again?, Crossway Books, 1995.
  • Common Sense Parenting, Tyndale House, 1995, co-authored with Mrs. Hughes.
  • The Saviour, Crossway Books, 1995.
  • 1001 Great Stories & “Quotes”, Tyndale House, 1998

Preaching the Word Series, Crossway Books

  • Colossians and Philemon, The Supremacy of Christ, 1989.
  • Mark, Jesus Servant and Savior, Vol. 1, 1989.
  • Mark, Jesus Servant and Savior, Vol. 2, 1989.
    Note: The Mark volumes were presented the E.C.P.A. Gold Medallion Book Award for the best commentary of 1990.
  • Ephesians, The Mystery of the Body of Christ, 1990.
  • Romans, Righteousness from God, 1991.
  • James, Faith that Works, 1991.
  • Hebrews, An Anchor for the Soul, Vol. 1, 1993.
  • Hebrews, An Anchor for the Soul, Vol. 2, 1993.
  • Acts, The Church Afire, 1996.
  • Luke, That You May Know the Truth, Vol. 1, 1998.
  • Luke, That You May Know the Truth, Vol. 2, 1998.
  • John, That You May Believe, 1999.
  • 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, Guard the Deposit, with Bryan Chapell, 2000
  • The Sermon on the Mount, The Message of the Kingdom, 2001.
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