“What is the Meaning of Sex?” by Denny Burk

This book provides an in-depth look at the meaning of sex, delving into the Scriptures (instead of culture) for answers to the questions one can have about sex, marriage, and sexual mores.

It is written in the style of an elaborate essay. The wording is rather technical, but the logical flow of paragraphs and ideas make it a worthwhile read. I appreciated that the author took the time to talk about hermeneutics (an entire chapter is devoted to this) before discussing what the Scriptures have to say about sex.

This is definitely not a “How To” book; nor is it a “What do I need to know about sex?” book. It is a meaningful study of the purpose of sex and of the responsibilities and joys that this gift of God entails. The author begins the book with a true sexual dilemma (the issue of how to counsel inter-sexed persons) and treats the issue carefully and compassionately. The author uses this starting point to springboard into finding the answer to the questions not only about sex, but about sexuality in general.

My only criticism would be to nitpick on one re-occurring scriptural error and to mention one in-congruency. In speaking about the polygamist patriarchs he names Isaac as being one of them; while Isaac was a patriarch, he was NOT a polygamist (his only wife was Rebekah—see Genesis). The author also talks about marriage being non-incestuous and says Genesis 2:24 assumes going outside the family circle to find a wife (that it was God’s intent all along). This does not take into consideration the sons and daughters of this first pair who MUST have married their siblings. While I agree that God hates incest, I think God’s commands as later revealed in Scripture (ie. Leviticus 18) should be the basis for this argument.

The fact that I was able to nitpick is a compliment to the author; his ideas and meaning were so clear that I was able to interact with the content and ideas he presented. Since the author’s conclusion has a conclusion of its own, I think I will add a quick summary of my thoughts about this book.

Good quotations, especially the first one.

Good intro

Technical, literary tone and logical progression

Reads like well-written essay

Deals with a serious subject, in a serious manner

Is an excellent reference book for people who have questions about sex

(but not how to do it)

Deals with relevant issues thoroughly and compassionately.

Engages the reader’s thinking abilities

Thanks to Net Galley (https://www.netgalley.com/ ) and Crossway for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.


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