The Preface is Over, the Introduction Begins: an Engagement Announcement

As a pastor most of my tools are books. I read in order better to understand and apply the best of all books. Most books have a “Preface,” which when I was much younger I thought was Latin for “skip me.” Over the years, however, I have come to appreciate the value of a good preface. In those few pages the author gives the back story to the book, telling how it came to be and often stating its objectives and thesis.

After the preface, a book’s “Introduction” is where the real literary work is begun. Here the story or argument is mapped out; the groundwork is laid for the chapters that follow. Though good books can sometimes suffer from bad introductions, making a good start tends to accentuate the strength of what follows.

That is true not only for literature but also for life in general. A good beginning can provide a strong foundation for a life well-lived. That is true both in parenting and in marriage.

One of my children has just finished the preface of marriage is about to start writing the introduction. Rachel, our third-born, became engaged this week to Ricky Davis, a young man who is a member of Grace. Both of our families are encouraged by the ways the Lord has guided them this far and are very hopeful about their future prospect as husband and wife.

Over a year ago Ricky came to me and expressed his desire to pursue a relationship with Rachel. They were already friends and had served in various ministries together at the church. He wanted permission to try to become something more than just a friend. He and I met together for several months and he read several resources that I recommended to him. We talked about the gospel and its implications for manhood, work, business, money, relationships, marriage and home life.

As a preacher most of my tools are books. I read in order to understand and apply more of the truth of the best of all books. Most books have a Preface, which is tempting to skip but, when done right, actually sets you up for getting into the text more usefully than if you ignored it. A Preface enlightens you about the background of the book, telling how it came to be and often stating its thesis and objectives. Over the years I have learned not to skip prefaces, but to use them to help guide me into the book.

The Introduction is another important feature of a good book.

Marriage, like a good book, should begin with a good preface. That is, there ought to be some