Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.

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June 14, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include His Loving Law, Our Lasting Legacy by Jani Ortlund ($2.99); Jesus, Justice, and Gender Roles by Kathy Keller ($1.99); The Pastor’s Family ($2.99) and The Pastor’s Ministry ($3.99) by Brian Croft; The Unbelievable Gospel by Jonathan Dodson ($2.99); How God Became Jesus by Michael Bird ($3.99).

You can download a free album called When Trials Come. It was put together for The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference but is free for anyone who cares to download it.

Why You Should Care About Theology

David offers three good reasons that you should care about theology. “God has graciously revealed himself through his Word, and every follower of Christ should take pains to know him well. Every Christian, therefore, is a theologian.”

The Gospel: 2016 West Coast Conference

Ligonier has posted the audio and video of the 2016 West Coast Conference. You’ll find a long list of sessions there, including five short ones I did with Nathan Bingham that focus on life in a digital world.

18 Theses on the Father and the Son

Fred Sanders, who has written an excellent book on the Trinity, provides 18 theses on the Father and the Son.

Planned Obsolescence

I’m sure you’ve heard of devices that have planned obsolescence built right into them. This article discusses how it works. “For a fully modern example, consider smartphones. These handsets often get discarded after a mere couple years’ use. Screens or buttons break, batteries die, or their operating systems, apps, and so on can suddenly no longer be upgraded. Yet a solution is always near at hand: brand new handset models, pumped out every year or so, and touted as ‘the best ever’.”

Crafting Expository Sermons

H.B. Charles has a helpful article on crafting an expository sermon. “Expositional preaching gets a bad rap for being dry, boring, and lifeless. But zombie preachers should be indicted, not expository preaching.”

This Day in 1936. 80 years ago today, G.K. Chesterton, an influential Roman Catholic apologist and wit noted for his use of paradox, died at age 62. *

Patience

This guy spent two years shooting timelapses across Europe. In just two minutes he shows off some of his favorites.

No Automatic Holiness

D.A. Carson explains how knowing the Bible does not automatically produce personal holiness.

Flashback: How Should Christians Fast?

Here are six quick guidelines for Christian fasting.

Horton

Evil is not a principle in creation itself but is the willful distortion of good gifts into an arsenal deployed against God’s reign. —Michael Horton

The Worst Form of Failure
June 13, 2016

I’m not afraid of failure. I’m afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.” You may recognize those words as belonging to the great missionary William Carey who was giving voice to thoughts many of us have had at one time or another. There are a lot of things in life we could do, there are a lot of things in life we could succeed at, but we come to realize there are very few that actually matter. There are very few that will make a difference to the world and to the people we care about. We know it would be tragic to look back on life and see that we had succeeded at all kinds of lesser things but we had failed at the greater things.

Just think how many people have gone to the grave with extravagant wealth and all kinds of nice possessions but with a broken marriage and with children who barely know them. I recently stayed with a family whose next door neighbor had built a huge home but who lived there alone. He and his wife had built it to live in together and then doubled it so they could host great parties. But their marriage had failed and she had left and now he was living alone in ten thousand square feet. By one measure he had succeeded—he had a giant home and an amazing car and the wealth to support it all. But by more important measures he had failed. By those measures he had nothing. He was wealthy but destitute all at once. He was an object of envy but an object of pity.

Don’t we all live with this fear that we will succeed at the lesser things in life while failing at the greater things? It’s not like those lesser things are always bad things. Some of them are actually very good. It’s just that they are, by definition, lesser things. They are not the matters of first importance. There is an order to life and we all know that sometimes those lesser things can look so attractive. They can be so distracting. They can keep us from giving attention to the things that matter far more.

See, succeeding at the lesser things at the cost of the greater things is its own form of failure. What does it matter if you become CEO but lose your family? What does it matter if you win the gold medal but lose your wife? Or like Jesus said: What does it matter if you gain the whole world but lose your soul (Matthew 16:26)? We are so bad at making these assessments. We are so tempted to throw away all the big things to succeed at the lesser things. But we can’t deny it: Succeeding at lesser things at the cost of the greater things is the worst form of failure.

There is a solution. The solution to this kind of failure is productivity—productivity that is rightly defined according to the Word of God. It’s this kind of Bible-based and Bible-defined productivity that helps us identify what matters most and then helps us accomplish it. It helps us identify and pursue those very few things God means for us to succeed at and helps us avoid the million-and-one lesser things that matter so much less. Or, at least, it helps us put those million-and-one lesser things in their proper place.

The art of productivity is the art of succeeding at things that matter. At its best, productivity is ensuring that you succeed at the things that matter most. It is meant to ensure that you don’t look back over your life someday and realize you’ve only succeeded at the fleeting things, the minor things, the things that just don’t matter.

I believe we can read through the Bible and see something like this: Productivity is effectively stewarding your gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God. What matters most in life, what matters most in the universe, what matters most to God, is the glory of God. God calls us to bring glory to him in every way we can in every area of life and especially by doing good to others (see, for example, Matthew 5:16). We do good to others and God gets the glory. That means that the greater things in life are the things we do for others, not the things we do for ourselves. The greater things in life are the things meant to benefit other people. The lesser things are the things meant to benefit ourselves.

Do you want to succeed at life’s greater things? Then direct your life toward glorifying God by loving others. Take everything you are and everything you’ve got and deliberately direct it at doing good to others so God can receive the glory.

Do you want to think more about this? My book Do More Better is a challenge to live this kind of life. Also, everything I have written here is drawn from a recent seminar at the Ligonier Ministries West Coast Conference and perhaps you will find that video helpful.

June 13, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include several Father’s Day deals from Crossway: Disciplines of a Godly Man by Kent Hughes ($2.99); The Shepherd Leader at Home by Timothy Witmer ($2.99); Family Shepherds by Voddie Baucham ($3.99); Man of God by Jack Graham ($1.99); No More Excuses by Tony Evans ($3.99). Also consider: Becoming Worldly Saints by Michael Wittmer ($2.99); Margin by Richard Swenson ($3.99); Finally Free by Heath Lambert ($3.99); The Gospel at Work by Greg Gilbert ($2.99).

Can We Still Weep Together After Orlando?

Russell Moore writes for TIME in the aftermath of the shootings in Orlando. “Our national divisions increasingly make it difficult for us not just to work together, but even to pause and weep together. We become more concerned about protecting ourselves from one another’s political pronouncements than we do with mourning with those who mourn.”

A Quick Guide to the Trinity Debate

You may have noticed a little Trinity debate racing through social media last week. Andrew Wilson provides a reader-friendly recap and explanation.

My Neighbors Ate My Dog, and I am Sad

You know (or hope, at least) you’re reading a missionary blog when the article has a title like that.

Selah: What does it mean in the Psalms?

Chris briefly lays out the possible and probable meanings for that little word selah that appears so often in the psalms.

Mecca Goes Mega

“The Italian photographer Luca Locatelli, visiting Mecca this year during the umrah period, captured how radically the city has changed to accommodate this growing influx of pilgrims.” It’s a neat photo essay and a sad testimony to works righteousness.

This Day in 1525. 491 years ago today, German reformer, Martin Luther, formerly a monk, married Katherine von Bora, formerly a nun, who had escaped from her convent in a fish barrel. *

Lord, Make Me Viral

Barnabas Piper shares a poem about being viral.

Little Eyes Are Watching in Worship

“Three small communion cups, drained empty, are stacked together in my hand. My two little girls sit on my right, not so little anymore.”

Flashback: It’s Not a Blind Faith

We don’t need faith when we have all the answers. We need faith when we don’t have all the answers.

Spurgeon

Do what the Lord bids you, where he bids you, as he bids you, as long as he bids you, and do it at once. —C.H. Spurgeon

June 12, 2016

I received quite a lot of interesting letters to the editor this week and their topics ranged from Arminianism to ebooks and just about everywhere in between. I have captured a few of the most noteworthy and hope you enjoy reading them.

Comments on Why I Am Not Arminian

First off, I love this series you are doing “why I am not…” It has been extremely edifying to me personally and has helped answer a lot of questions, especially regarding Roman Catholicism. I really appreciate your willingness to share your experiences with these differing view points.

I was wondering if you had thought about putting in more scripture references throughout the next steps in your series? From this post forward (based upon your schedule of this series), we’re dealing with differences between brothers and sisters in Christ (as you stated in this article about Arminianism). I know that you said in your introductory post to this series, you’re not writing this to persuade us to believe what you believe, however, I think that Scripture references, even if they are not exposited, would be extremely beneficial.

Again, I really appreciate all of the work and thought you put into these articles, and you certainly are in a better position to know what would be beneficial to include in your posts. I guess I just wanted to hear your thoughts on including more scripture references in these future posts. Thanks so much for having this feature on your site, I appreciate having the opportunity to communicate with you easily.
—Charlie L, Marietta, GA

Tim: I appreciate the suggestion. I feel a bit “caught” between keeping the series descriptive and prescriptive, especially as we move into these finer points of theology. A defense of adult baptism, for example, is different from my story of coming to embrace it. But I will definitely keep your suggestion in mind as I go forward.

Comments on 10 Lessons from 10 Years of Public Schooling

Tim: I am not in the habit of posting letters to the editor based on “Flashback” articles, but did want to make an exception since I appreciated this young lady getting in touch. Then it only seemed fair to share the second letter on the topic as well.

I am a 16 year old public school student. If you would like a bit of background of who I am: I take a mix of AP and IB classes; I run my own blog, and I am looking into a future in missionary aviation. In 2 weeks I will be at a Christian aviation camp, and I am terribly excited.

I do not think that public school has ruined me. That said, my public school has about 2000 kids. We have 2 different Bible Clubs (Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Bible Club) and also sing a 20 minute long “Song of Christmas” in our winter concert- complete with a cast of student actors who carefully complete the nativity scene as we hum, recite, and herald the Christmas message.

Still, I have had teachers that hate religion, the sort that parents choose to either homeschool or private school because of. And there are plenty of students who listen to their memos. But I agree with Tim’s statement that those who have good, faithful parents and an active tie to the church will make it out (spiritually) alive and well.

At the same time, I don’t deny that schools are definitely changing. I remember days when we used projectors and wet erase markers and today, we sit in a world a million times more wired. In light of the different changes happening, I have noticed when adults look at high schools, there is a lot of fear about what the future will look like. Or maybe not so much the schools, but what America will look like in ten or twenty years. I write this letter because there is one thing I would like us to remember: It can never be “us” and “them.” We are all in this together.

I have had teachers who have voiced being hurt by Christians and friends who have only had bad church experiences. I have watched friend and after friend struggle with identity and mental illness. It’s not just in schools: If you look around, there are so many people who feel shattered, youth who are lonely and no one gives them a hug. Soon, “maybe a little depressed” turns into a life certain that there is no hope and no one would understand.

It’s so easy to think we are better than the “them.” It’s so easy to point fingers at the trans kids or to look at someone who denies the existence of God and raise our voice a little. But we must consider that the gospel requires all of us to go through some pretty critical “heart surgery” and we must create communities that will help us share the hope of the gospel with all people.

I am going to propose something fairly radical, but hear me out: In a few months when school starts up, it likely wouldn’t be too difficult for you to take a day off from work and visit the local public high school. We are probably never going to have prayer in schools again, but I think if we want schools to be places where God is welcome we must listen to the young generation, learn what the struggles feel like through a student’s eyes. Instead of looking at the differences, it’s time to focus on our own hearts and how we can demonstrate the love of God; kids’ll notice, I promise. After all, we are all in this together.
—Kate G, Chambersburg, PA

Your work has been a blessing for me in my life, especially your work with modern struggles, such as technology. Recently, we used The Next Story in my adult Sunday school class at our church. But I wanted to write a quick note concerning this article in defense of public schooling. I think you should remember the influence you have over many believers right now and know this post will be used by parents who should not have their kids in the local public school, to continue in that stead, even though you say it’s not meant to defend that choice in every place and every time. What I have noticed is that those sending their children to public school see that choice through very rose tinted glasses, I would challenge you and your wife to do this as well. Make a list of scripture verses that cover how we should be educating our children, what they should be taught, when they should be taught (how often) etc. Then make your choice off what you think is the most biblically accurate path. Often time it’s easy for us Christians to become post modern in our thinking on certain issues, in other words, we think we can make our own choices in areas where I believe scripture is actually very clear. I will continue to follow you, read your books, etc, and am very thankful for the work you are doing here, but since I am hoping a very direct email will be easiest here, I want to say, that I think you are wrong here. The article is not wrong, but it doesn’t really have any argument as to why you think public school is more scriptural than homeschool or Christian school. I truly believe that if you are 100% honest with yourself here, meditate on the Lord’s revealed will through scripture and pray on this, you would change your position. I would suggest listening to Voddie or Sproul Jr’s arguments, and consider very closely what Dueteronomy 6 is requiring that we provide as Christian parents to our children. Thanks again for all you do.
—Anthony S, Kansas City, MO

Tim: Aileen and I have done those very things. We have considered what the Bible demands of us as parents as well as what it does not demand of us, and we are comfortable with our choice. We consider this the kind of conscience matter Paul addresses in Romans 14 where you and I may come to different conclusions each while affirming the other’s right to come to such a decision.

Comments on Imagine If eBooks Came First

Your article posed some major advantages of electronic books over paper books. However, I wondered if you had considered some of the advantages of paper books that are not typically offered. For example, those without access to electricity for charging a device cannot access electronic books (we cannot assume that electricity will continue to be widely available in decades to come as our country is in a state of decline). Daylight should continue to be available until the end of the world, however! Also … our living room is filled with bookshelves and when I sit there, alone, and look at the rows of books, I feel as if I were surrounded by friends. Iain Murray and the Puritans, biographies of John Newton, Mary Winslow and Elizabeth Prentiss, favorite children’s books and novels gather around me. It is perfectly delightful. I am sure that even in the triumph of ebooks, paper books will continue to be used as decorations in many homes, because as your article’s featured image shows, a Kindle just can’t compete for sense of presence.
—Alyssa B, Ridgeway, WV

Tim: So much comes down to what we are accustomed to and to matters of personal preference. I do not disagree with anything you say here, but we could also flip many of them. Consider, for example, the pastor in the developing world who can be given a device containing thousands of books that take up no space and can easily recharge using solar power. We can give him an entire library in one simple device. Since migrating to ebooks I do miss being surrounded by books at times, but not nearly as much as I would have imagined.

***

From the tone of this article, I am assuming your “year of the eBook” challenge is going quite well! I have considered transitioning my book purchasing to all-digital, but I am concerned by the near-monopoly that Amazon has on the market. I know there are other ways to buy eBooks, but as far as eReaders, the Kindle is king and has little serious competition. I worry, as Amazon corners the market, that the proprietary nature of kindle could lead to an unsafe pricing or even censorship of content. Maybe you could speak to this at some point, but it has always been a concern of mine when going “all-in” on a particular content platform
—Colin S, Dayton, OH

Tim: I quite agree and share your concerns. It is not enough to keep from going all-in, but it is enough to cause me some concern and to hope that proprietary formats will eventually be relaxed.

***

In your article, you refer to the challenge of “proprietary or defunct formats in ebooks.” Speaking as an IT guy with nearly 30 years of experience, I can confirm that one of the biggest challenges with digital information is the migration of that information from a dead or dying format to a newer format. I understand that there is much digital information that’s only accessible if you load a floppy disk, hoping that the magnetic information is still readable, and fire up an ancient program that understands its format.
—Dave U, Belvidere, IL

Tim: Quite right and, again, that is one of my concerns. I would like to think that as our digital technologies mature and become less dependent upon a particular medium (such as a floppy disk) we will see less of those situations where our files become unusable.

***

The part I found most interesting in this was the “security” section. Interestingly enough, I don’t see eBooks as having more security than physical copy, only having a “different” kind of security. Take for instance the ironic Kindle snafu with George Orwell’s 1984. Amazon pulled the book remotely from people’s Kindles without any kind of confirmation. They just woke up one day and the book was gone.

Now, consider this with the Bible. If we are trusting an organization to supply us with an un-edited version of the Bible, how do we verify that? The excellent thing about paper manuscripts and physical books is that if you read a book a year ago, returning to it guarantees the same content. Even if someone were to sneak into your home and replace it with a changed copy, there are other existing copies to which it can be compared for accuracy. Contrast that with a company that routinely issues “updates” to books, some of which have been the Bible! Who ultimately controls the content in the book? This underpins the importance of a “purchase-to-own” rather than a “license-to-read” model of eBook commerce as well as DRM-free alternatives to Amazon’s (as well as others) model of “ownership” (i.e. you don’t own it, you have a license to read it).

We should take what happened with the Qur’an and Uthman, when the disagreeing Qur’an were burned, as a warning. Text can be validated against human altering by widespread dissemination so that human-introduced changes can be detected, not by consolidating responsibility with a single person or company.
—Matthew H, Denver, CO

June 11, 2016

This weekend’s Kindle deals include Hide or Seek by John Freeman ($0.99); The Pastor’s Kid by Barnabas Piper ($1.99); When Lightning Struck by Danika Cooley ($3.99); Treatise on Good Works by Martin Luther ($3.99); Atlas of the European Reformations by Tim Dowley ($7.99).

Change the Definition, Claim the Right

This is exactly what has been happening in a few of our recent cultural conversations: First you change the definition, then you claim the right.

California Bill Threatens Freedom of Religious Colleges

Joe Carter provides one of his FAQs: “Legislation pending in the California State Senate threatens to strip some private colleges and universities of an exemption that protects them from lawsuits and allows them to function as faith-based organizations.”

Help Launch TGC Canada

A movement is afoot to launch The Gospel Coalition Canada. Canadians will want to be sure to check out the link and consider getting involved.

Read Scripture: Ecclesiastes

The Bible Project has moved to Ecclesiastes in their series of short videos giving an overview of each book of the Bible.

“Um” and “Like” and Being Heard

Seth Godin provides wise (and practical) counsel on ridding your speech of those little filler words. These are the words you don’t notice that drive everyone else crazy.

Tomorrow in 1744. 272 years ago tomorrow, David Brainerd was ordained a missionary at age 26 to the Indians in Colonial New England by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SPCK). *

Surprised by Suffering

R.C. Sproul shares some of what he has been learning as he has grappled with serious health concerns.

Flashback: When My Fashion Accessory Told Me To Take a Hike

“There was a day when one of my fashion accessories talked back. It told me to take a hike. I had said something about it on Facebook or Twitter or snapped a picture of it for Instagram and it was none too pleased. It said it to me nicely enough, but the point was clear: cut it out.”

What Type of Vacation Reader Are You?

My thanks goes to The Good Book Company for sponsoring the blog this week with “What Type of Vacation Reader Are You?”

Ferguson

Repentance is not a discrete external act; it is the turning round of the whole life in faith in Christ. —Sinclair Ferguson

Free Stuff Fridays Updated
June 10, 2016

This week’s Free Stuff Fridays is sponsored by The Good Book Company who also sponsored the blog this week. They are giving away a set of the God’s Word For You series (11 books in total) to 3 different winners.

God's Word For You is a series of expository guides which walk you through books of the Bible verse-by-verse.

These flexible resources can be used for reading, for feeding and for leading: read them simply as a book; use them to feed on God's word as a daily devotional, complete with reflection questions; or use them as you prepare to lead small-group Bible studies or teach in your church.

Every title is written by a trusted Bible teacher—so you can rely on the God’s Word For You series to give you accurate exposition and insightful application of the text.

The God’s Word For You series continues to grow, but so far it encompasses:

Gods Word For You

Enter Here

Giveaway Rules: You may enter one time. As soon as the winners have been chosen, all names and addresses will be immediately and permanently erased. Winners will be notified by email. The giveaway closes Saturday at noon. If you are viewing this through email, click to visit my site and enter there.

The Bestsellers
June 10, 2016

Some time ago I began a series called “The Bestsellers” and am picking it up again after a hiatus. In this series I look at the history and impact of some of the Christian books that have sold more than a million copies—no small feat when the average Christian book sells only a few thousand. We have already encountered books by a cast of characters ranging from Joshua Harris and Randy Alcorn all the way to Joel Osteen, Bruce Wilkinson, and William Young. Today we continue the series by looking at a book that has become a perennial fixture on the bestseller lists and one of only a handful of Christian books to top the ten million mark.

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Gary Demonte Chapman was born on January 10, 1938. A graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, he went on to become a pastor, a counselor, the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, and the host of a radio program devoted to relationships and marriage.

In 1971 Chapman joined the staff of Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Even as a young pastor he had a heart for marriage and family and began to host seminars for couples. Naturally, many of the people he taught approached him to ask for help with their marriage conflicts. He met with many of these couples and over time came to see that a common root cause of their conflict was poor communication that left one or both spouses feeling unloved. “Adults all have a love tank,” he says. “If you feel loved by your spouse, the whole world is right. If the love tank is empty, the whole world can begin to look dark.” Different people have this love tank filled in different ways, he observed, and he came to describe these as “love languages.” He encouraged spouses to learn their partners’ love language and then to deliberately display their love in that way. What he taught in his church formed the basis for his 1992 book The 5 Love Languages.

The heart of the book is a description of the five common languages people use to express love: affirming words, gift-giving, physical touch, quality time, and acts of service. Each person has tendencies toward some of these languages and away from others. And, indeed, most of us can look at the list and quickly put them in order of personal preference. The key application is that each person needs to understand his or her spouse’s love language and then learn to show love in that way. It is implied that the spouse will reciprocate and a happy marriage will ensue—the communication mismatch that lies at the heart of so much conflict will be resolved.

5 Love Languages

Sales & Lasting Impact

The 5 Love Languages was released by Moody Publishers in 1992 and immediately exceeded the publisher’s modest expectations. Remarkably, for 19 of its first 20 years it would outsell its total from the previous year. In 1998 it surpassed 500,000 copies sold, just two years later surpassed 1 million, and in 2015, after selling its 10 millionth copy, received the Diamond Award from the Evangelical Christian Booksellers Association. Twenty-four years after its publication date, the book remains at the top of the New York Times Love and Relationships list of bestsellers and is fixed at number 2 overall on the ECPA list, bested only by Jesus Calling. It has been translated into 50 languages.

While The 5 Love Languages has proven undeniably helpful to many struggling couples, it has not been without its critiques. The most notable of these is expressed by David Powlison in a 2002 edition of The Journal of Biblical Counseling. Powlison explains that “Part of considering the interests of others is to do them tangible good. But then to really love them, you usually need to help them see their itch as idolatrous, and to awaken in them a far more serious itch! That’s basic Christianity. 5LL will never teach you to love at this deeper, more life-and-death level.” In other words, the book subtly teaches that the desires we feel within are legitimate needs even though they may actually be idolatrous lusts.

A second critique is that “Chapman’s model is premised on a give-to-get economy: ‘I will give to fill your love tank. But in the back of my mind I’m always considering whether and when I’ll get my own tank filled.” In Powlison’s words, “The 5 Love Languages replaces naked self-interest with civilized self-interest. ‘I give, hoping to get.’” The love languages can mask a kind of selfishness that is the very opposite to the Bible’s selfless love.

Those critiques lead to this one: “The love language model does not highlight those exquisite forms of love that do not ‘speak your language.’ … The greatest love ever shown does not speak the instinctively self-centered language of the recipients of such love.” The saving love of God, expressed in the death of Christ, does not speak anyone’s natural love language. And yet it is the greatest love and our most desperate need. In this way Christ fails the love language test! We wanted to be loved in all sorts of ways—but none of us wanted to be loved in the way Christ has loved us, by dying for us, sending his Spirit to indwell us, and being Lord over us. And yet this is what we needed more than anything in all the world.

These critiques do not render the book or its “love languages” terminology invalid, but they do demand that we approach it with care and discernment.

Since the Award

The overwhelming success of The 5 Love Languages begat an entire industry of related material including God Speaks Your Love Language, The 5 Love Languages for Men, The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, The Love Languages Devotional Bible, The 5 Love Languages of Children (which has surpassed 500,000 copies sold), and many others. Chapman hosts a daily radio spot called A Love Language Minute and regularly hosts marriage conferences and seminars. He remains Senior Associate Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church.

A Personal Perspective

I find the love language terminology helpful and use it quite often. Aileen and I are sure to bring it up in pre-marriage counseling and in one session have the engaged couple place the languages in order of their preference. They also try to guess the preferences of their future spouse and compare their results. We are confident that this helps them better understand how to communicate their love for one another. However, we always make sure to provide the caveats Powlison expresses. Not only that, but we turn it all the way around to help them understand that they need to learn to receive love in their spouse’s language. It is more important for a husband to learn to receive love as his wife gives it than to demand that she learns to offer love in the way he wants to receive it. This, I think, is the book’s most important lesson.

Sources: Wikipedia, New York Times, 5 Love Languages, Journal of Biblical Counseling.