• Author: Paul E. Miller
• Category: Christian Living
• Book Publisher: Crossway (2014)
• Page Count: 172
• Audio Publisher: christianaudio (2014)
• Audio Length: 6 hours – unabridged
• Read by: Arthur Morey
• Format: audiobook
• ISBN: 9781433537325
• List Price: $12.99 / $14.98 (audio)
• Rating: Must Read
“I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the most honest, timely, and helpful book I’ve ever read about the costly and exhausting demands of loving well. And at the same time, A Loving Life is the most faithful, alluring, and encouraging presentation of God’s love for us in Jesus I’ve fed on in years. These two themes go hand in hand. Through the biblical story of Ruth, Paul Miller gives us hope, not hype—the freedom to suffer well, stay present, and live expectantly in all of our relationships. Thank you, Paul, for making the gospel more beautiful and believable to me.”
—Scotty Smith, Teacher in Residence, West End Community Church, Nashville, TN
“The word love is often either a vague sentiment or just another four-letter word. But in Paul Miller’s hands, the quiet, compelling reality emerges. You will witness how love is thoughtful, principled, courageous, enduring, and wise—all the things you know deep down it should be. And even more than those fine things, you will be surprised and delighted at how true love is grounded in God.”
—David Powlison, Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation
“A Loving Life is a worthy successor to Paul Miller’s much-appreciated book on prayer. It is a careful, thorough analysis of the book of Ruth, understanding it as a love story and making good applications to our own experiences and needs for love. Paul here shows not only a deep understanding of God’s Word, but also a rich knowledge of human nature, both in the ancient world and today. He offers biblical responses to many of the misunderstandings and problems we have with love of all kinds. May the Lord give this book a broad readership!”
—John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary
Like he did with A Praying Life, Paul Miller once again has given us a book that doesn’t fit the mold. This is not just any old book on Christian love. This book turns love inside out and gives hope and help to readers at all stages of their Christian life. A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships describes the perils and pitfalls, as well as the promise and pleasure of love.
Miller begins with a personal story from a man he has counseled. The man was a former elder at a conservative evangelical church who walked away from his wife and dove headlong into immorality. Stories like this, and the counseling insights Miller shares illuminate this book. Miller’s insights into love and the human heart, stem from Scripture and ring true. His application is always poignant and helpful. ANd the stories of real one-on-one ministry flesh out the theory of his approach with real tangible spiritual fruit in the here and now.
But Miller’s book is not about his own experiences. He anchors it all on a careful exegetical look at the book of Ruth. Ruth’s story, of course, may very well be the greatest love story ever told. And it has much to teach us about what it means to love unconditionally, and to live in Christian hope. Miller’s account is shaped and ruled by the gospel, and he brings us back over and over again to the importance of gospel-centered living.
“Whatever the source of the broken relationship, the result remains the same—the loneliness of a fairy tale gone bad. What do you do when you are abandoned by your husband? How do you survive when no matter how much love you pour into your wife, she becomes more demanding? How do you endure in love? How do you endure without love when you long to get married? How do you keep your spirit from shutting down?
To these modern widows and widowers, I write this book—to encourage you, to give you a hope and a future. We’ll pursue that by joining two ancient widows, Ruth and Naomi, on their journey. The book of Ruth is an ideal narrative for our post-Christian world, where breaking covenants—not enduring in love—is the new norm. Ruth offers a template for love that understands both the craziness of our modern world and a way forward. Ruth is all about surviving and even thriving in a collapsing world.” (p. 14)
See also this excerpt from Crossway.org.
Having been incredibly blessed by Miller’s previous book, A Praying Life, the format of A Loving Life took me by some surprise. But as the book developed, I found myself enjoying the account of Ruth more and more, and seeing how it truly dovetailed with Miller’s thoughts on love and his counsel for dealing with broken relationships and living out our faith in this broken world. This book may be a slower and harder read than the earlier volume, but it repays any effort spent to mine its riches. Miller’s wisdom and insight into the struggles of human suffering shine through its pages. His personal experience of ministry (including to his own autistic daughter) give a depth to his thoughts. You feel like you are sitting down over a cup of coffee with an incredibly open and helpful friend as you read this book. And this friend repeatedly points you to a greater walk with Christ and a deeper understanding of yourself and the glory of the gospel.
I listened to the Christianaudio.com version of this title, and found it a blessing to tune into Ruth’s exciting story on my drive each day to work and back. The reader of the audiobook was easy to understand and hear, and his voice was warm and encouraging. I didn’t miss endnotes (if there were any) and it was easy to follow along even though the book was broken up into smaller pieces than it may have been if reading the book in another format.
If you haven’t read anything by Paul Miller before, I encourage you to give this title a try. His approach is similar in spirit to what you may get from Timothy Keller or some of the authors connected with the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (CCEF). This is biblical counseling at its gospel-centered best. I highly recommend it.
About the author:
Paul E. Miller is executive director of seeJesus as well as the best-selling author of A Praying Life, among other works. With the help of his ministry staff, Miller creates and conducts interactive discipleship seminars throughout the world. He and his wife, Jill, live in the Philadelphia area and have six children as well as a growing number of grandchildren.
This book was provided by christianaudio.com. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a positive review.