Overview

Part 1 (chapters 1-2): “God’s Design for Decision Making”

The prerequisite to wise decision making is an approach that is established by biblical instruction. Rather than relying on one’s “own understanding” (Prov. 3:5), believers’ choices are to be made in accordance with the will of God. This does not mean that the individual is to discern the choice that God wants him/her to make in a specific situation (his “ideal” will), as is commonly taught. Rather, Christians are called to make wise decisions within the moral will of God, trusting in the sovereign will of God to accomplish his good purposes in and through us. The four principles comprising the “Way of Wisdom” are explained in chapters 1-2.

Part 2 (chapters 3-6): “God’s Design for Marriage”

In order to make choices consistent with God’s moral will, one must know God’s moral will. In particular, marital decision making must be guided by God’s design for marriage and singleness. Part 2 explores the central biblical passages that reveal God’s purposes for marriage. The reader encounters the unfolding “symphony of marriage” through the four movements of redemptive history. These chapters set out the component elements of God’s design, expose and correct common misconceptions, and explain the ramifications for marital decision making.

Part 3 (chapters 7-9): “God’s Design for Singleness”

During his ministry, Christ signaled a startling reversal of perspective on singleness, elevating it to a position of significance (alongside marriage) within his spiritual family. Following the Lord’s precedent, the Apostle Paul actually recruited believers in Corinth to remain single in order to give “undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:35). From a careful analysis of Matthew 19 and 1 Corinthians 7, these chapters identify five key principles and seven practical applications for contemporary single Christians.

Book 4 (chapters 10-13): “God’s Design for Sex”

In the context of a culture that disdains sexual restraint and promotes cohabitation as a viable alternative to solitary singleness or marriage, Christian singles must possess clarity on the moral will of God. In the stewardship of one’s sexuality, the single believer is called to be celibate for as long as God wills him or her to be single. The ability to remain faithful to this calling will be strengthened by a mature comprehension not only of biblical ethics (what believers are to practice) but of biblical theology (God’s design for sex and sexuality). Grasping God’s purposes will promote the establishment of strategies and boundaries that are grounded in personal convictions rather than simplistic rules. A mature biblical perspective will also enable the Christian single to recognize the fallacies and dangers of the common practice of cohabitation.

Part 5 (chapters 14-18): “Looking for a Mate”

While extended celibacy is a common experience and a legitimate choice, most single adults aspire to marriage. But the courtship protocols of the past have been jettisoned, and the terrain to be

navigated en route to a wedding is permeated with landmines. These chapters alert Christian singles to common errors in marital decision making and provide constructive guidance for the process of courtship. Individuals who would like to marry are obliged to develop a plan for finding a spouse. This plan must include criteria for mate selection and a course of action that creates opportunities to form relationships that might lead to marriage.