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Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ's Control Paperback – April 1, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 206 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Elisabeth Elliot's story centers around one pivotal question: "Does God want everything?" Her emphatic answer--"Yes"--is what makes Passion and Purity the foremost Christian book on dating ever written. Based on stories, journal entries, and letters chronicling her own five-year courtship with Jim Elliot, she gives frank advice, scriptural directives, and compassionate examples of what it means to follow Christ in the midst of heartache and impatience. The perfect antidote for those who flounder in the thinking that "the Bible doesn't say anything about dating," Elliot's short chapters are filled with nuggets of wisdom that spell out exactly the opposite. "Until the will and the affections are brought under the authority of Christ, we have not begun to understand, let alone accept His lordship. The Cross, as it enters the love live, will reveal the heart's truth." Whether in a dating relationship, married, or pursuing a call to single life, readers will find Elliot's message challenging them to a true faith in a Christ who lovingly calls us to surrender all. --Courtenay Kehn --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"The book you're holding tells a very moving love story. It's honest. It's practical. But even as it addresses the real questions and concerns of single men and women it always lifts our gaze upward-above our immediate preoccupations, above our longings for human companionship to the Maker who created us for Himself." --from the foreword by Joshua Harris

In Passion and Purity, Elisabeth Elliot emphasizes the need to commit daily to Christ all matters of the heart and to wait upon Him. She teaches this often-painful yet rewarding discipline by candidly tracing her love story with Jim Elliot as evidence that she has been there.

Through letters, diary entries, and memories, she shares the temptations, difficulties, victories, and sacrifices of two young people whose commitment to Christ took priority over their love for each other. These revealing personal glimpses, combined with relevant biblical teaching, will remind you that only by putting your human passion and desire through His fire can God purify your love.

Passion and Purity gives honest direction in such areas as:

* loving passionately while remaining sexually pure
* whether or not to marry, and who is the right one
* the man's and woman's role in relationships
* putting God's desires ahead of personal desires
* how far is too far, physically

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Revell; 2 edition (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800758188
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800758189
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Olgren on January 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
I first read this book in my early teens, before I'd ever done any real dating. I kept going back to it, both when someone of the opposite sex was interesting me, or when down about there being no one in the picture. She offers a lot of very practical sound advice as to how to go about dating in the right way. I also found it extremely valuable when I realized that I was single, out of college, and had NO prospects on the horizon. I was able to accept that I didn't need to worry about that. God would find me a spouse, so I didn't have to. And that's exactly what He did.
Some have suggested that her personal experience was too different from most people's to be applicable. To anyone with such a perspective, I would suggest that you are reading it all wrong! I don't think Elisabeth Elliot would suggest that everyone needs to have a Jim and Elisabeth duplication in their own lives before marrying. She offers principles that apply regardless of your personal circumstances.
A couple of very valuable highlights that stand out to me, years after getting married. Her chapter on "What can a kiss tell you?" was really right on. Physical communication is tempting, but actually, it shuts down the more important forms of communication for finding Mr. Right, and can actually give you a lot of regret.
I also valued the romance in Jim's perspective when he wrote to her, "I have you now unravished." He was grateful to look forward to the time when physical intimacy was right, and to leave something to look forward to! That is so completely romantic, and I think it is almost tragic that in today's society, that romance is almost unheard of. People take what isn't theirs don't relish the anticipation of getting it AT THE PROPER TIME.
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Format: Paperback
Until "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" hit the evangelical Christian scene, "Passion & Purity" was the de facto standard for dating and marriage. And while the former book has gathered more press, Elliot's is still as useful and has stood the test of time.
Having read some of the one and two star reviews here, I would simply say that virginity, making sure one's relationships are upright, asking serious questions about the worthiness of a potential mate, surrendering one's sexuality to God, dealing with loneliness, and knowing how to die to self daily are practices and beliefs that never go out of style.
Frankly, I believe this book has as much to offer as anything out there. That it is coming up on twenty years in the market does not diminish the power of the words contained inside. With the rampant promiscuity among young people, even those who claim the name of Christ, and the fallout that results in young lives because of a shattered soul given away in pieces to one sex partner after another, "Passion & Purity" still calls to all who will hear.
As for me, I heeded the words of the author as a young man and was able to hold on amidst the storm of sexual imagery and waning morality. This book was invaluable in that regard, helping me to see that I was not my own - I was bought with a price. How could I trample on that price?
Let me also say that after reading this book, I wrote Elisabeth Elliot and she wrote me a very kind and thoughful reply. If there is anything anochronistic about the author and her views, I will take her position any time. I mean, when was the last time an author personally responded to a letter you wrote? It just doesn't happen anymore.
If you are struggling with your sexuality, your dating life, and your desires for marriage, by all means read "Passion & Purity". It helped me. It can help you, as well.
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Format: Paperback
If you want to see a real example of a couple keeping themselves pure before God, this is an awesome book. Yes, she is a little dry but that is what is good about it. She isn't selling fluff that isn't what God is about. She tells a story of her courtship with Jim Elliot, an awesome man of God. I don't care what people say about "I kissed dating goodbye" being better they are wrong. God used this book to change my perspective on purity to be a Godly woman and to know how I conduct myself and not chase after relationships. To enjoy my role and to then encourage other women to stay pure until their wedding day and not pursue men. God used this woman tremendously in my life and the lives of the other ladies in a single women's study to understand what God wanted from us as women. I married a year ago and our first kiss, EVER, was when the pastor said you may now kiss your bride and I am so glad she was obedient to write this book. Buy extra copies you'll need them for your kids.
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Format: Paperback
After I finished reading this book (which took my about a week, I didn't want to rush through it), I took a look at the one star reviews here. Not to discredit anything that they all have said, but I don't believe that any of those people read the book to the end. One person says that she doesn't believe that Jim was not attracted to his "beloved Bett" and used her to fulfill his selfish needs. If you want a rough translation of a few chapters from the Song of Solomon, read the chapter entitled "Love Letters." You'll then realize why many pastors didn't give sermons from that book up until recently.

A few others have said that it doesn't apply to our lives today because it's outdated and "old fashioned." Well, last time I checked the Bible was old fashioned and outdated. Yet, those of us who call ourselves followers of Christ still live our lives by it. We live in a society that wants instant gratification. Neither Elizabeth or Jim stopped what they were doing. Their work in their missions fields never deviated until the doors were closed in Africa and they both were in South America. They waited for God's timing. If they just got it over with (like Paul suggests to the Corinthians) they may have never gone to South America. Their ministry would've been totally different!

This book has a lot to offer and I would recommend reading Jim's Journals along with it. I certainly recommend reading it carefully. It does encompass 5 years of their lives. It would not be a bad read for teenagers too. Of course, if you're the parent, read it first and make the decision when your child is ready for the book. It may not apply to where they are with their walk with God.

I myself found it difficult to read and found myself hating it at times.
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