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God's Unfaithful Wife: A Biblical Theology of Spiritual Adultery (New Studies in Biblical Theology) Paperback – March 28, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Not only does the development of this theme link large swathes of the canon together, but it simultaneously discloses the profoundly personal nature of God's covenanted love, exposes the odium of spiritual adultery, and conversely, enriches our view of marriage." (D. A. Carson, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, Illinois))

About the Author

Ortlund (Ph.D., Unversity of Aberdeen) is senior minister at Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He has pastored churches in California, Oregon and Georgia and was formerly professor of Old Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is also the author of A Passion for God (Eerdmans).
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Product Details

  • Series: New Studies in Biblical Theology (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (March 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830826149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830826148
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #393,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James R. Carmichael, Jr. on August 28, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has given me a fresh perspective from which to view the OT. I think it also gives new understanding to the Song of Songs. This book has been an eye opener into how to read the OT, as he traces Israel's adultery, from Scripture, throughout the OT. This work provides another means of viewing our own bondage to sin, and how marvelous is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in saving us from it. Ortlund's knowledge of Hebrew is impressive, which I expected, and his in-depth study, exploring Hebrew syntax and grammar, BHS, the Talmud, Vulgate and LXX in his exegesis is very helpful in my own study. Thank you sir. I highly recommend this work.
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In God's Unfaithful Wife, Ray Ortlund, Jr traces the common theme of spiritual adultery through the Bible. This book is the second in the series, New Studies in Biblical Theology. It is the fourth book in this series I have read, and all have been excellent. In chapter one,
Ortlund explores the “one-flesh” unity for male and female as described in Genesis 2 because the marital bond provides the foundation for the biblical use of the metaphor of the harlot. He traces the specific theme of marital unfaithfulness, first through selected passages in the Old Testament historical books and then through the prophets, particularly Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Micah. He then moves toward completion in the New Testament, demonstrating that Jesus and the NT writers share the OT’s concern that God’s people remain faithful in their relationship with the Lord. In addition, the NT writers anticipate a day when Jesus Christ will take the church as His bride. In a brief conclusion, Ortlund reflects on some the hermeneutical, theological and pastoral implications of his study.

Ortlund has created a work that is needed in the church today. By taking us beyond the academic to the practical, he shows us that God treats our spiritual adultery, our idolatry, pretty seriously. The drastic nature of the Bible’s language in this area brings us face to face with the ugliness of our sin and our deep need for a Savior. Although this is a work of scholarship and careful exegesis, Ortlund’s work is quite readable.
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Format: Paperback
An important element of sound Bible study is recognizing the patterns and principles and flow from Genesis to Revelation as consistent messages to the reader. One such pattern is that of God’s relationship with His people, namely what is described as a marriage relationship. Subsumed in that covenant relationship are guidelines that define what it looks like for this marriage to be healthy, vibrant, and as God intended. Things looked quite promising in the formative chapters of Genesis – at least until sin entered into the picture with its raging desire for self rather than loving God within the bond of covenant relationship. What we find throughout Scripture is God reaching out to His bride as the bridegroom to restore and redeem the called out bride. Unfortunately, more often than not, the bride was and is not always willing to abide by the terms of the marriage/betrothal agreement.

While it may not seem at first glance a subject matter worth tracking through Scripture, in reality, looking closely at the topic of spiritual adultery is quite essential as it provides us an understanding of what God expects from us as well as being a teaching tool for grasping where spiritual adultery leads and how God responds. Ray Ortlund, Jr. in his excellent book God’s Unfaithful Wife: A Biblical Theology of Spiritual Adultery, walks the reader through what the Old and New Testament has to say on this issue, digging into the text along the way to extract sound theological nuggets on what exactly this has to do with us today.

As alluded to earlier, any successful biblical theological endeavor must inherently begin in Genesis, especially when it comes to this subject matter.
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Format: Paperback
As I am currently wading my way through InterVarsity Press’ New Studies in Biblical Theology, I come to the second volume in the series, authored by one of my favorite authors and preachers, Ray Ortlund. Ortlund is a key voice on a host of subjects with a Christian worldview, one of which that is most significant is marriage. I saw Ray and his wife at a marriage conference recently, and was blown away at what I had learned about Scripture that weekend. Coming to God’s Unfaithful Wife, I see some of the backdrop not only for some of that conference’s material and for much of Ortlund’s teaching, but I gather an important piece towards building a healthy framework for reading and interpreting Scripture.

God’s Unfaithful Wife is a volume dedicated to examining the theme of spiritual adultery throughout Scripture, primarily the Old Testament. Ortlund, noted commentator on books such as Proverbs and Isaiah, is a man fit for the challenge of introducing such a unique doctrine to Bible readers. Like all other NSBT volumes, Ortlund beautifully weaves together biblical theology, clear exegesis, and practical application.

The focus of the entire book is on how God’s covenanted people relate to God. Ortlund begins this journey by positing a healthy understanding of human marriage. Ortlund’s emphasis lies on marriage being a “one-flesh union” (21), and he takes time to unpack God’s design for human marriage “for an understanding of the covenanted nation’s relationship with Yahweh” (23). We know, of course, that from here God’s people explicitly become a covenant people later in Genesis. Along the way, however, God’s people begin to lose their understanding of this union with God. There is a “loss of a vivid sense of boundaries” (33).
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