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9Marks Explained : A Letter From Mark Dever

The Christian Man and His Wife


The following is a guest post from Brian Croft. Brian serves as the senior pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to contributing to the 9Marks blog, Brian writes regularly on his own blog called Practical Shepherding. Brian is married to Cara, and they have four children.


What does it look like for a Christian man to faithfully serve and care for his wife?

The great Princeton Theologian, B.B Warfield, is known as one of the toughest, boldest, and most biblically faithful American Theologians of the late nineteenth century. Even his typical burly glare in most of his pictures would send a liberal theologian running. Because of this, it may surprise you to read of Warfield’s legendary example in his joyful, sacrificial service to his invalid wife. David Calhoun, in his book on Princeton Seminary, vividly captures this powerful example:

Through all the years of their married life Dr. Warfield faithfully cared for his invalid wife. He guarded, protected, and stood by her while carrying his full teaching load and pursuing demanding writing assignments. The seminary students often noted his gentle and loving care for Mrs. Warfield as they walked together on Princeton streets and, later, back and forth on the porch of their campus home. Finally she was bedridden and saw few people besides her husband. By his own choice Dr. Warfield became almost confined to his house; he was never away from her for more than an hour or two at a time. He set aside time to read to her every day. They left Princeton only once in the ten years before her death, for a vacation that he hoped would help her. With his excellent health and varied interests Dr. Warfield must have felt this restriction, but he never complained.

Despite Warfield’s constant care of his wife, Gresham Machen believed Warfield had done “about as much work as ten ordinary men.” Warfield, like many others, can teach us much about theology, but he may be one of just a few celebrated men of history who by his life example can squash our weak excuses of neglect and challenge us to serve our wives with consistency, sacrifice, and longevity.

Once you have picked yourself off the floor from the beating of Warfield’s example, here are 5 previous posts to consider how to move forward from here:

What might be a surprising way to love your wife?

What is a surprisingly difficult task for some pastors to do with their wives?

How can you communicate love to your wife in the midst of a pastor’s demanding schedule?

What questions can a husband ask his wife to encourage needed discussion?

How important is it that a pastor love his wife more than his ministry?

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