Book Review: This Momentary Marriage (John Piper)

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I own quite a few Piper books, and it is no secret that I like his writings.  However, this happens to be one of my favorites: very practical and pastoral.  I do believe it started out as a series of messages that were formed into a book – that’s why it seems very pastoral and shepherding in its style.

This Momentary Marriage stressed the theological foundations for the outworkings of the gospel in your marriage.  Although it touches on singleness and divorce and child-bearing and rearing – it sits on marriage and its base in the Word of the God for the majority of the book.

I really appreciated the chapter on singleness and wish that I had read it while I was single.  I can’t return (nor would I want to), but it is very encouraging and some words and hope I can share with other single ladies in my circle of friends and sphere of influence.

I have been struggling with some thoughts toward infertility and the universal command to procreate and fill the earth – and Pastor John’s chapter on child-bearing was quite helpful and hope-giving. 

One of the little blessings in this book: at the beginning of each chapter he posted a Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote from Letters and Papers from Prison – which were quite helpful.  I love his writings (though I am struggling through Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxes just because it is such a weighty book and its on my Kindle).

Here are some helpful quotes and I hope they prove to be a blessing to you:

“Romance, sex, and child-bearing are temporary gifts of God.  They are not part of the next life.  And they are not guaranteed for this life.  They are one possible path along the narrow way to Paradise.  Marriage passed through breathtaking heights and through swamps with choking vapors.  It makes many things sweeter, and with it come bitter providences.” (pg 16-17)

“The ultimate thing to see in the Bible about marriage is that it exists for God’s glory.  Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God.  Most ultimately, marriage is the display of God.  It is designed to display His glory in a way that no other event or institution does.” (pg 24).  Ask my husband, he knows this was the biggest fear of mine going into marriage: and it still is.  But, I see so much of the gospel offered to me by my husband that it is such a sweet detail and life-giving action to me. 

“Marriage was designed from the beginning to display the new covenant between Christ and the church.  The very essence of this new covenant is that Christ passes over the sins of His bride.  His bride is free from shame not because she is perfect but because she has no fear that her lover will condemn her or shame her because of her sin.” (pg 33-34) ** One of the most pivotal statements to me in this book – or any other marriage book – or book on the gospel or forgiveness.

“A Christian woman does not put her hope in her husband, or in getting a husband.  She does not put her hope in her looks or her intelligence or her creativity.  She puts her hope in the promises of God.” (pg 97)

“I am not sentimentalizing singleness to make the unmarried feel better.  I am declaring the temporary and secondary nature of marriage and family over against the eternal and primary nature of the church.  Marriage and family are temporary for this age; the church is forever.” (pg 111)

“Faith is the confidence we feel in all that God promises to be and do for us in all the tomorrows of our lives.” (pg 129).  As my pastor is preaching through Hebrews, and just got to chapter 11 – this is very helpful in my understanding. 

Picture taken by Erica Cooper during our engagement session with her.