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Holding Hands, Holding Hearts: Recovering a Biblical View of Christian Dating Paperback – January 9, 2006
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"Required reading for every single adult." --Justin Taylor, co-editor, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ
"If singles read and apply the biblical counsel of this book, many of the painful problems that couples might face after the wedding will be prevented." --Wayne A. Mack, author, Strengthening Your Marriage
"In biblical, practical, down-to-earth ways the Phillipses show how, by grace, love is really supposed to work." --Phil and Lisa Ryken, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia
About the Author
Rick and Sharon Phillips met at a church singles group and were married twenty months later. After answering God's call to enter the ministry, Rick served as the pastor to the singles ministry in which they had met. Through their shared ministry to singles, they perceived a great need for clear biblical teaching on dating and singleness. The fruit of their ministry and of their love for singles is found in the pages of this book. They are the parents of five children and live in the upcountry of South Carolina, where Rick is senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville, SC. He is co-editor of the Reformed Expository Commentary series and author of numerous books on the Bible and Christian living, several of which feature discussion questions written by Sharon.
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Top Customer Reviews
Thankfully, into this debate comes a third and welcome approach. Richard Phillips and Sharon Phillips are both aware of the modern context that singles live in, but also have attempted to create a thoroughly Biblical rationale for single males and females to follow as they "date". Holding Hands, Holding Hearts is all that a book on practical theology should be. It is grace-based, well thought out, Scripturally supported and developed, and it gives practical applications for its readers. (While I believe all theology is practical, many books fail to thoroughly examine the practical outworkings of theology in day-to-day life).
The book is divided into two parts. Part I is called A Biblical View of Dating and Relationships. In this half, the Phillips spend a significant time explaining why we are what we are and how that affects our relationships. It uses the classical set up of categories for mankind - Creation, Fall, and Redemption. All three need to be understood BEFORE a model of relationships is developed, and the Phillips do this in a clear, Biblical and understandable way. The second half is titled Biblical Wisdom for Dating and Relationships. It takes the Bibles teachings on marriage and works backwards from them. The patterns that God desires in marriage do not magically appear once one is married, and this book describes how a couple can and should learn, grow and prepare for the roles they are called to if the Lord calls them to marriage.
One highlight that I have not seen in any dating/courtship book before is the section on idolatry in our hearts. Here's a sample: "Different people have different idols as we saw in Genesis 3, the woman's idols will often be relationship-oriented; she desires to possess him as the key to her happiness....Similarly, Genesis 3 tells us that men will often be motivated by idols eternal to the relationship: money, power, excitement. Whatever they are, the point is that idols must be served, and the dating or marriage partner must be coerced into contributing to that service. This, by the way, is often what the world means by 'compatibility'. The key to a happy relationship, the experts tell us, is to find a companion who worships the same idols as you do, or whose idols are at least not in conflict with your own. This is a fool's paradise, for sin and idolatry never truly produce harmony but always strife." (pp. 61-62). This section, in addition to many others, has what many other Christian books on the subject lack, a proper understanding and focus on the heart, as well as practical guidlines for conduct based on that understanding. Pastor Phillips is definitely a shepherd, and a man who "has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15 ESV).
If you are a single adult, and want to have the best theological and practical undestanding of how to keep Christ at the center of your dating relationships (or your courtship relationships) - this is the book for you! It is easy to read, Christ-honoring, and very practical. It also is very pastoral, and has the benefit of both male and female input, and all this from two people who worked with hundreds of singles over the years.
As one final note, my girlfriend(now wife) and I read this together, and it was a great resource and catalyst for our thinking as we sought the Lord's will for our relationship. Check it out and buy a copy for a single friend!
The authors recognize that it's hard to "kiss dating goodbye," so instead they help singles navigate the tricky road of getting to know a potential mate. They spend time talking about what should be expected from both men and women in a relationship, and they tackle the issues that are prevalent - men not wanting to define the relationship or be willing to commit, and women expecting too much or pressuring the guy for more commitment than he's ready for. They help the reader see what qualities men and women should look for in the opposite sex, and how to be properly choosy without expecting perfection.
All in all, a very useful and practical book. I hardly ever give a book five stars, but this one deserves all five.