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The Meaning of Marriage–Discussion Questions

The Meaning of Marriage–Discussion Questions

Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

My wife, Stacey, and I enter into our third year of marriage tomorrow, February 5th. We'll be celebrating our 2nd Anniversary, as we celebrate many things, by going out to a nice dinner.

Eating—as well as ministry—are the two things that bonded us most closely together when we were dating. We like to do both of those things as often as we can to keep that bond as strong as possible. We often fail in keeping that bond strong, because we're deeply in need of the Grace that God provides most readily through his Son Jesus Christ. But as we have failed/fallen/been self-ish/you-name-it, we have found that getting through those failures together has increased our bond even more tightly.

So as we enter into our third year, we want to proactively push ourselves deeper in our relationship both with each other and with Christ—to whom we give credit for bringing us together. When we were engaged, we listened to Tim Keller's sermon series he did in the early 90s on marriage and now that he has published The Meaning of Marriage, we're going to read through it. Keep that bond strong.

Since there are no study questions provided in the book, I'm making up my own and will be posting them here if anyone else is interested in them. I've tried to gear them both for married couples and singles. If you have the opportunity to use them in a small group setting, try to get both married and singles in on the conversation. It would have blessed me to have been around more married couples talking about their marriage when I was single as well as it would behoove me to get around more singles now that I am married.

Introduction Questions:

  1. How did you and your spouse meet? What was your "secret thread?"
  2. What is the longest marriage you are intimately aware of? Why are they still together? The shortest? Why did it end?
  3. If you are married: what do you hope to learn about marriage through reading this book? If you are single: What do you hope to learn about marriage through reading this book?
  4. How has marriage compared to your single life?
  5. What has been your experience with marriage; parents, grandparents, friends? What is your general conception of marriage? How do you understand society's conception of marriage: positive, negative, neutral? (p. 11)
  6. Have you thought of the Bible as a "reliable guide" in your married or single life? Why would you look to Scripture rather than your own "fears or romanticism, particular experiences, or culture's narrow perspective?" (p. 17)
  7. Do you agree with Keller's statement that 3 human institutions stand apart from all others—family, church, and state?
  8. What have you understood the purpose of marriage to be? What new ideas, insights are being raised in the introduction?
  9. Keller states on p. 13 that the Bible begins and ends with a marriage. What, in your mind, is the significance of this?
  10. Keller states that marriage "has been instituted by God and that marriage was designed to be a reflection of the saving love of God for us in Jesus Christ. How have you seen/experienced this? How have you not?
  11. Keller states, "the main enemy of marriage [is] sinful self-centeredness. How has your marriage fought this enemy? How have you as a single fought sinful self-centeredness?
  12. Keller states that "marriage is…a way for two spiritual friends to help each other on their journey to become the persons God designed them to be." What do you think he means by this? Why is this important for marriage?

All The Meaning of Marriage Discussion Questions.

Manly Reads

This is my lazy man's blog for Monday. Last Tuesday, I sat down with another brother from North Park in regards to my posts back in November that caused such a stir. You remember those? While not agreeing with my position, he did share some concerns about the future of male leadership and the emasculation of male leadership. Further we talked about if the complementarian position is fully lived out, in regards to the vision in Ephesians 5:25-33, it would place women above men. I would say it does place women in a seat of honor as their husbands seek to love their wives a Christ loves the Church. Since then I've found some really good reads on being a Godly man and what that means in regards to women. And since I haven't caused much drama in the past few months, I figure it's about time again. So with that, here's my top-- well, we'll see how many I get.

  1. Piper's still going with his sermon series on marriage. He said he was going to get to headship soon, so it could be yesterday's, which at this time is yet to be posted.
  2. Tim Challies is a great blogger that posted a couple entries entitled The Extraordinary Value of Women I & II. Both of which I highly recommend.
  3. Justin Taylor, who used to work at Desiring God Ministries and is now in Wheaton, posted an excerpt of an old sermon by Albert Mohler that he had recently reread entitled The Seduction of Pornography and the Integrity of Christian Marriage. He has links to both it's full text and audio.
  4. Justin's also posted a few other dated posts to take note of: Wayne Grudem on his marriage, and an older sermon by Piper on submission.

So it's only four, but I think there are enough hyper links up there to give anyone ADHD. I do hope they're for your edification.

Stark Contrast

I've been getting into the great habit of working out in the mornings after class, either running my bacon off, or throwing some plates around. The downside of all this is that I don't shower before class, which for my classmates, is a little much, but I sit in the corner and keep my arms by my side.

The gym is a part of North Park and it's only a couple of months old, so all the equipment is brand new and the treadmills still work. Plus they have about 5 flat-panels in front of the equipment with everything from the Food Network-- my personal favorite-- to VH1-- which I've decided has the dirtiest programming allowed on television. And if you're down in the weight room, you have to deal with 103.5 KISS FM being blasted at volumes to make the most hearing impaired ask you to turn it down. I typically have my iPod with me loaded up with great music; right now it's The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, and David Gray. But because I download more podcasts than a college students does keg stands, I typically listen to the latest sermon from Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, or John Piper.

As you've probably already gathered, there is a stark contrast between what I have going on in my headphones and what is out there for the rest to hear. This became very clear to me as I was listening to Piper's latest sermon series on marriage. Right now he has about 4 sermons the beauty of marriage drawn up by God and how it mirrors Christ and the Church. How Jesus laid down his life for her and what that means today. As he was expounding on this great truth, when leaking in from the speakers came smack that, all on the floor, smack that, give me some more, smack that, till you get sore, smack that, o-o-o-o-oh.

As Christians, how different is our picture of sex and relationships than what the world has to offer? Immensely different. We are called to live in such a way that honors God, not ourselves. Ultimate fulfillment will not come in smacking it, but knowing that God has designed marriage to be the ultimate reflection of the relationship between Christ and his bride. This deep intimate knowledge, where we are not ashamed of who we are or how we look before one another, but we know the forgiveness that Christ has laid out for us on the cross and how that brings about forgiveness and understanding in our marriages.