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This devotional will help you chart a course through four relational stages: singleness, dating, engagement, and marriage. Learn to embrace God’s design for each stage and invest your life in what matters most.






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This devotional will help you chart a course through four relational stages: singleness, dating, engagement, and marriage. Learn to embrace God’s design for each stage and invest your life in what matters most.

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Day 02


Who to Date

Day 03


How to Date

Day 04


Pursuing Purity

Day 05



Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.

Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.

At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

2 Timothy 4:9-18


Sometimes the best way to figure out how to do something is to watch someone else do it. Why else would the Internet be filled with how-to videos? Often it’s easier to show than to tell. This same principle applies to navigating singleness. We need someone we can look to who lived the single life well.

The Bible doesn’t let us down. The apostle Paul exemplified godly singleness. He even said, “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). The final portion of his letter to his young protégé, Timothy, written from prison, shows us a well-lived single life. His example gives us a vision of what our single years, when lived to the glory of God, can be and accomplish.

Paul showed us even from a prison cell, close to his death, he was directing ministry. He concerned himself with the people who would carry the torch of the gospel after he was gone. Notice that Paul’s ministry strategy involved mentoring young people who, in turn, would use their lives to help others.

Paul was surrounded by protégés and good friends. In addition to the people we’re investing our lives in, we need others who can share our burdens and struggles—brothers and sisters to lock arms with. From Paul, we see singleness as a stage to cultivate deep friendships. Many of us have acquaintances and coworkers we see and interact with. But we’re talking about relationships that go beyond a surface level—friends who push us forward in God’s call.

God’s presence filled Paul with the courage to proclaim the gospel, even while on trial for proclaiming that same gospel. Paul leveraged his time in prison and his life of singleness to advance the gospel. He didn’t seek to be put into prison, but he used his imprisonment as a platform for evangelism.

Whereas most people would have ended the letter by asking for help in getting out of prison, Paul found a way to rest in God. He had a broader view of the work of God, trusting Him with his ultimate redemption and rescue. Therefore, nothing could touch him. It’s impossible to control everything in life, but it’s possible to be both known and loved by the Creator of life itself. This truth gave Paul peace, and it can give us peace as well.

When you rest in God, you recognize your life is about your relationship with Him.

The way you relate to God is far more important than the way you relate to other human beings. Identity isn’t found in your friends, your dating relationships, or even your spouse. Identity is found in your relationship with Christ. He’s the only person who’s able to define you. When you’re in Christ, you’re adopted into the family of God as a son or a daughter of the King. Ultimately, flourishing in singleness (and in every other stage) depends upon having an identity that isn’t found in your relationships (or lack thereof) but in Christ.


Genesis 24

Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh. I want you to swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.”

The servant asked him, “What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land? Shall I then take your son back to the country you came from?”

“Make sure that you do not take my son back there,” Abraham said. “The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.” So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.

Then the servant left, taking with him ten of his master’s camels loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim and made his way to the town of Nahor. He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water.

Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”

Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.

The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”

“Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.

After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.

When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels. Then he asked, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”

She answered him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milkah bore to Nahor.” And she added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as room for you to spend the night.”

Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord, saying, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”

The young woman ran and told her mother’s household about these things. Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, and he hurried out to the man at the spring. As soon as he had seen the nose ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man said to her, he went out to the man and found him standing by the camels near the spring. “Come, you who are blessed by the Lord,” he said. “Why are you standing out here? I have prepared the house and a place for the camels.”

So the man went to the house, and the camels were unloaded. Straw and fodder were brought for the camels, and water for him and his men to wash their feet. Then food was set before him, but he said, “I will not eat until I have told you what I have to say.”

“Then tell us,” Laban said.

So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant. The Lord has blessed my master abundantly, and he has become wealthy. He has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys. My master’s wife Sarah has borne him a son in her old age, and he has given him everything he owns. And my master made me swear an oath, and said, ‘You must not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live, but go to my father’s family and to my own clan, and get a wife for my son.’

“Then I asked my master, ‘What if the woman will not come back with me?’

“He replied, ‘The Lord, before whom I have walked faithfully, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success, so that you can get a wife for my son from my own clan and from my father’s family. You will be released from my oath if, when you go to my clan, they refuse to give her to you—then you will be released from my oath.’

“When I came to the spring today, I said, ‘Lord, God of my master Abraham, if you will, please grant success to the journey on which I have come. See, I am standing beside this spring. If a young woman comes out to draw water and I say to her, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar,” and if she says to me, “Drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels too,” let her be the one the Lord has chosen for my master’s son.’

“Before I finished praying in my heart, Rebekah came out, with her jar on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water, and I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’

“She quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too.’ So I drank, and she watered the camels also.

“I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’

“She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel son of Nahor, whom Milkah bore to him.’

“Then I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms, and I bowed down and worshiped the Lord. I praised the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me on the right road to get the granddaughter of my master’s brother for his son. Now if you will show kindness and faithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so I may know which way to turn.”

Laban and Bethuel answered, “This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or the other. Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has directed.”

When Abraham’s servant heard what they said, he bowed down to the ground before the Lord. Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother. Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night there.

When they got up the next morning, he said, “Send me on my way to my master.”

But her brother and her mother replied, “Let the young woman remain with us ten days or so; then you may go.”

But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the Lord has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master.”

Then they said, “Let’s call the young woman and ask her about it.” So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?”

“I will go,” she said.

So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,

“Our sister, may you increase
    to thousands upon thousands;
may your offspring possess
    the cities of their enemies.”

Then Rebekah and her attendants got ready and mounted the camels and went back with the man. So the servant took Rebekah and left.

Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev. He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”

“He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.

Then the servant told Isaac all he had done. Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.


The longest chapter in Genesis is about finding a wife.

Abraham called his most trusted servant and made him swear in the Lord’s name with one of the most serious of oaths in that day. Why this ceremony? Because Abraham knew that the person Isaac married would have more influence on him than any other person. Therefore, a wise person approaches the process of finding a spouse with an appropriate amount of seriousness. Our casual approach to dating doesn’t always reflect the seriousness with which God takes marriage.

Abraham was serious because marriage is serious. As we’ve seen and will continue to see, dating exists for evaluation. Dating provides spaces and context to evaluate whether you should marry someone. This doesn’t mean you should go on every date expecting to marry the person sitting across from you. However, it does mean you should discontinue the relationship at the point it becomes clear that marriage isn’t an option. To do that, you need to be armed with the proper criterion for evaluation.

Abraham was commanding his servant to find a wife for his son who was of the same faith. He told his servant not to get a Canaanite woman, because these people were polytheists, with the worship of their gods centering on violence. The only criterion Abraham specified was that the woman must be a believer in the one true God. And he was sending his servant on a journey of over five hundred miles to find her! Maybe the person God has for you isn’t part of your current relational circle, just as Isaac’s future wife wasn’t part of his.

Notice the resolve in Abraham’s instruction. If the servant didn’t find the right woman, he was free to come home. More often than not, we feel that compromise happens after we begin dating someone; when we’re tempted to compromise our standards of sexual and emotional purity. But integrity starts well before that.

God won’t always reveal His choice like this. It would be nice if we could pray, “Lord, let the person I sit beside at the coffee shop today be my future spouse,” and they show up. However, it’s significant to see the types of activities this servant hoped to find the woman engaged in. 

Abraham’s servant was hoping the woman would offer to give water to his camels, so he was looking for someone who was gracious and hospitable, even to a stranger. The implications are huge for relationships today. Our posture toward hospitality and generosity speaks volumes about our character and love for people.

Usually, when we talk about having chemistry with someone, we’re talking about physical compatibility.

Although this is important, it’s not the only form of chemistry we should look for. Through observation, Rebekah realized she had chemistry with Isaac. She observed his faith and theological compatibility (see vv. 26-27), his vocational compatibility (Abraham’s servant had brought camels with him, v. 10), and his social compatibility (Abraham’s servant stayed with her family, v. 31). These factors of chemistry and compatibility are vital in deciding who we’ll date.

Both character and chemistry should drive us when deciding who to date. When we focus on only one quality, we’ll ultimately be disappointed. But when we prioritize both characteristics, we’re likely to find people worth dating.  


2 Samuel 11

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”

So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.

David was told, “Uriah did not go home.” So he asked Uriah, “Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?”

Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”

Then David said to him, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.

In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”

So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.

Joab sent David a full account of the battle. He instructed the messenger: “When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle, the king’s anger may flare up, and he may ask you, ‘Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? Who killed Abimelek son of Jerub-Besheth? Didn’t a woman drop an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?’ If he asks you this, then say to him, ‘Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.’”

The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say. The messenger said to David, “The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance of the city gate. Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king’s men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.”

David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage Joab.”

When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

Luke 15:11-12


In addition to providing ideas for who to date, Genesis 24 also shows us principles for dating in a way that honors God.

  1. Start in the right place. If you’re going to date the right person in the right way, you’ve got to start by going to the right place. Nahor was Abraham’s brother, and Abraham sent his servant to Nahor’s town to search for a wife for Isaac. This makes sense, right? When it was time to choose a wife for Isaac, he sent his servant to the area with the highest concentration of believers. Yet today we don’t often make that explicit connection. If we’re looking for a man after God’s heart, we should go to places where men after God’s heart congregate. If we want a woman who prizes godly character, it follows that we should search for them in places where they might be found.
  2. Start with the right posture. Abraham’s servant humbly asked God for success in finding the right person. Notice at the beginning and the end of the prayer he invoked God’s “steadfast love,” “lovingkindness,” or “kindness.” These various words all translate the Hebrew word hesed, which refers to God’s loyal love, a major theme in the Old Testament. This love binds God to His people, promising not to let go. The servant rooted the search for a spouse in his understanding that God cherished and promised to be with His people. He was confident that God cared about this search because He knew God cared about His people.
  3. Strive for clarity. Initiate the dating relationship with clarity. Truthfully express your thoughts and intentions. Much of the anguish in modern dating could be alleviated if we mustered the courage to graciously tell each other what we think, how we feel, and what we’d like to do. Though it might feel easier in the moment to travel the path of ambiguity, establishing clarity serves both parties well. We can give each other the gift of freedom from anxiety simply by providing clarity. Simple statements like, “I’d like to get to know you. Could we go to dinner sometime?” help clarify relationships from the beginning. At the end of a date, asking, “Can I call you?” sets a clear expectation. If things aren’t working out, saying so gracefully lets the other person off the hook. No one likes being left in limbo.
  4. Watch and learn. Clarity is an ever-growing process, aided by time and observation. Because dating is primarily designed to allow you to determine whether the other person is the right fit, you should prioritize that period of your life. That priority is reflected in Genesis 24. Anybody can be charming for an hour on a first date. There’s nothing wrong with charm, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. We need time to learn whether character lies beneath it. We should watch; observe; and learn in multiple, varied environments. By starting in the right spot, praying honestly, seeking and offering clarity, and observing the other person in action, you can begin to date with wisdom and intentionality.


Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:9-20


Corinth was wild.

As a port city with a lot of money, it could provide travelers with the opportunity for illicit encounters. Liberating sexuality from the confines of marriage didn’t bring freedom. In fact, one reason the church grew in the earliest days of Christianity is exactly because the sexual ethic of Jesus’ followers led to healthier, happier lives, particularly for women.

Paul teaches us that the physical union of sexual immorality directly violates our identity as people who’ve been united with Christ.

No other sin carries this consequence. Our bodies were purchased with a price: the death of Jesus. We don’t have rights over our own body, much less someone else’s. Therefore, Paul tells us to flee sexual sin. Modern culture, like the culture in Corinth, has a casual view of sexuality, but Paul elevated the often unseen yet dangerous consequences.

The Greek word for “sexual immorality” (v. 18) is the root of our English word pornography. It refers to any sexual activity outside the bounds of marriage. If someone isn’t your spouse, they’re your brother or your sister in Christ. Our dating lives should be marked by God-honoring purity. That means recognizing that sex is a good gift from a God who loves us, to be enjoyed inside the boundaries of marriage. However, If you’ve ever made a sexual mistake, there’s hope. Paul didn’t leave us with guilt and shame.

Paul listed a litany of sins, one of which was sexual immorality. People who practice these sins “will not inherit God’s kingdom.” (v. 9). Paul said some of us were defined by the sins he listed. However, three words give us hope: “used to be” (v. 11). Now we’re free from the sins that once had a grip on our hearts. Through Jesus, the sin that used to master us has been washed away. Our Savior has justified and sanctified us through the cross.

It’s worth mentioning that in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he seems to give us the rest of the story about the guy who was unrepentant of sexually inappropriate behavior. The community confronted him, and he repented. Writing in his follow-up letter, Paul called the Corinthians not only to forgive the man but also to comfort him and love him. God’s goal isn’t to shame or punish us. On the contrary, a good friend honestly tells you when you’re making serious mistakes. The goal is restorative, not punitive. This is good news. If you’ve been reading this and feel condemned, that isn’t the goal. Conviction is, but God convicts us so that He can comfort us. You can change. And the people of Jesus are meant to come around you and support you in the restoration process.

A study of the dangers of sexual immorality can tempt us to think God is anti-sex, but that’s not true. The good news is that God is pro-sex. Sex was His idea. 

God isn’t against sex, but He’s against its distortion. Why? Because God is pro-people. He’s for you and your dating partner. He wants what’s best for you because He loves you even more than you love yourself.



Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
    for your love is more delightful than wine.
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
    your name is like perfume poured out.
    No wonder the young women love you!
Take me away with you—let us hurry!
    Let the king bring me into his chambers.


We rejoice and delight in you;
    we will praise your love more than wine.


How right they are to adore you!

Song of Songs 1:1-4

Listen! My beloved!
    Look! Here he comes,
leaping across the mountains,
    bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
    Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
    peering through the lattice.
My beloved spoke and said to me,
    “Arise, my darling,
    my beautiful one, come with me.
See! The winter is past;
    the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit;
    the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
    my beautiful one, come with me.”


My dove in the clefts of the rock,
    in the hiding places on the mountainside,
show me your face,
    let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
    and your face is lovely.
Catch for us the foxes,
    the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
    our vineyards that are in bloom.

Song of Songs 2:8-15


When it comes to young, budding love, the Bible has a great example for us.

Beautifully written with symbols and imagery, this book expounds on the beauties of love in all of its passion, showing us a picture of the kind of love we should aim for as we experience the season of engagement. Song of Solomon shows us how we can have confidence we’re with the right person.

  1. Look for excitement. “Your name is perfume poured out” (v. 3) is a poetically beautiful way of saying when his name is brought up, it causes a pleasant reaction in her and in others. It’s a way of saying that he has a good character. A sweetness. A solid reputation. She’s excited to hear his name. Four people or groups speak in Song of Solomon: God, the man, the woman, and the woman’s friends.
  2. Look for friendship. Notice the excitement the man has for the woman. He doesn’t walk to her. He leaps over the mountains and bounds over the hills. The Hebrew word used in 2:10, translated as “darling,” is translated elsewhere in the Old Testament as “neighbor,” “companion,” or “friend.” In other words, their relationship isn’t built on physical attraction alone. It’s knit closer and closer together by their continued kindness and friendship, which drives the excitement we see in these verses. One biblical mark of a love that lasts a lifetime is friendship.
  3. Look for growth. How do you know you’re with the right person? They produce growth in you over time. Different areas of your life begin to blossom and ripen. Because of your relationship with that person, your life begins to look more and more like Jesus. If your life is already growing because of your partner, imagine what it could look like over a lifetime. Conversely, if your partner isn’t causing growth in you, imagine the spiritual decline that could occur over a lifetime.
  4. Look for vulnerability. Maybe you, like this couple, have arrived at a place in your relationship where you’re increasingly convinced this is the person you’re supposed to marry. On the first few dates the risk you took was limited to a little time and money. But as you continued to evaluate each other during the season of dating, the risk increased. The potential of getting hurt grew as you became more vulnerable with each other. One way we expose the hidden places of our hearts is through confession. For all of us, it means being honest about ways we’ve failed to live with purity or integrity. And for all of us, it means being honest about sins we’ve personally committed. Before you’re engaged, you should have weathered a moment of confession between each other. That process continues during engagement. Revealing your missteps during engagement is vital to avoid surprises in marriage, and to establish the freedom of knowing all of the doors in your lives are open in your home. This might be a difficult conversation, but wading into these waters signals a deep level of trust in your partner and greatly increases the bond between the two of you.
  5. Look for trust. When a vulnerability is received and reciprocated, it allows trust to deepen. The man is extolling the beauty of the innermost places of the woman’s heart, the places she may be inclined to hide from view, fearing that if they were exposed, they would leave her raw, ugly, and rejected. The man builds incredible trust by affirming and valuing her as she reveals more and more about herself. How do you know you’re supposed to be with someone? You have a relationship marked by trust. Wisdom is found in community. Some threats are hard for us to see until we’ve experienced them. Bad communication, inappropriate relationships, poor financial planning, and relationships in each other’s family all have the potential to cause stress during engagement. Part of building trust is allowing your community to speak into your relationships from their experience to the glory of God


Acts 18

After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized.

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews of Corinth made a united attack on Paul and brought him to the place of judgment. “This man,” they charged, “is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.”

Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to them, “If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law—settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.” So he drove them off. Then the crowd there turned on Sosthenes the synagogue leader and beat him in front of the proconsul; and Gallio showed no concern whatever.

Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken. They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. When he landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch.

After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.


Marriage is intended to be both a picture of Jesus and a pursuit of Jesus. To live and thrive as a married couple, we’re called to leverage our marriage for God’s mission. Aquila and Priscilla are beautiful examples. 

The latter half of the Book of Acts focuses primarily on the missionary work of Paul. In this passage we find him in the middle of his second missionary journey, when he met this remarkable couple. In a time when the Jewish population was experiencing much unrest, arguing over whether Jesus was the true Christ, the Roman emperor Claudius had driven the Jews, Aquila and Priscilla among them, out of the city of Rome.

Paul was one of the central figures creating unrest as he worked to spread the gospel. Aquila and Priscilla, driven from their homeland to a city called Corinth, might have been frustrated with Paul. After all, it was because of him they had lost their home. But let’s read about their first interaction with Paul.

Aquila and Priscilla let Paul move in! Paul went out every Sabbath to persuade people that Jesus was the Christ. Then he came back to stay with this couple. Paul didn’t just stay with them a couple of nights. He stayed for a year and a half! Remember, Aquila and Priscilla didn’t just take in a nice guy who was their friend. Looking back now, thousands of years later, we would gladly welcome the apostle Paul into our home. He literally met Jesus and wrote much of the New Testament. But at this point in history, Aquila and Priscilla were making a risky move. This move, though, made it obvious they were committed to the mission of Jesus, willing to leverage their home and their safety for the advancement of the gospel. Aquila and Priscilla’s hospitality is the first characteristic that shows us they were a couple who lived on mission for Jesus.

When Paul set sail from Corinth to Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla left with him (see v. 18). When they arrived in Ephesus, Paul left them and returned to Antioch (see vv. 19-22). Why did Paul leave them in Ephesus? Apparently, God had other plans for this married couple. While in Ephesus, they met a man named Apollos.

Apollos was a talented preacher, and Aquila and Priscilla listened to him teach in the synagogue. Though Apollos was talented, his theology was a bit off in his understanding of Christian baptism. Aquila and Priscilla didn’t complain to others in the synagogue about Apollos’s poor theology. They didn’t post a video online to shame him. They didn’t whisper behind his back. They also didn’t wait for Paul or another pastor to arrive and correct him. “They took him aside” without humiliation or public shame, correcting him in a redemptive, edifying way. Their words served to build him up rather than tear him down. Why did they approach Apollos this way? Because their primary concern as a couple was for the gospel to go forth with integrity and power.

Not only were Aquila and Priscilla willing to leverage their home and business for the sake of the gospel, but they also saw every situation as an opportunity for ministry.

They took great ownership and care in God’s mission, so they couldn’t let doctrinal error stand. Instead, they lovingly corrected Apollos. This couple embodied living on mission.


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Devotional Topics

Scripture References

  • 2 Timothy 4:9-18
  • Genesis 24
  • 2 Samuel 11
  • Luke 15:11-12
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-20
  • Song of Solomon 1:1-4
  • Song of Solomon 2:8-15
  • Acts 18
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.

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