Subscribe now

First Wives’ Club

By Clare Heath-Whyte
March 2015 | Review by Gladys Nash
  • Publisher: 10ofthose.com
  • ISBN: 978-1-90961-176-4
  • Pages: 176
  • Price: 7.99
Buy this book »

Book Review

Why would we want to read about the lives of sixteenth-century wives? One good reason is that, although living in a completely different world to ours, they had the same human nature, strengths, challenges and frailties as we do.

We can be enlightened and encouraged as we read these accounts of six ordinary women who aimed to live godly lives and put into effect all they were newly learning.

One was a former nun, one was married to an antagonistic unbeliever, and three were widowed. All but one were married to Reformers and one was widowed four times and married to three Reformers in succession.

One marriage was a partnership of equals, while another woman married her Reformer-husband to help curb his womanising! Two of the wives addressed in the book became public figures and were writers who used their gifts to defend the gospel, sometimes at the risk of their lives. One enjoyed discussing theology with the men — unusual for the times!

One Reformer married because his friends persuaded him that he should. His wife was rarely well and the marriage was often troubled, while another saw marriage as a place to serve Christ and his people. Her home was a place of refuge for many fleeing persecution, and we see how she gladly and selflessly ministered to their needs.

They all managed busy households, where there were many children, stepchildren and usually house guests to care for. There were trials and difficulties, bereavements and infant deaths, opposition to the gospel and persecution and exile.

Few of these couples married for love, but most came to love one another deeply. Luther wrote of his wife, ‘I love her more than myself’; a formerly womanising Zwingli became a devoted family man; Calvin, who married somewhat reluctantly, described his wife as ‘the best companion of my life’. Until the light of the gospel shone into their hearts, they would have lived by the accepted values of society as it then was, but now they sought to live by the rediscovered values of the Bible.

A short study at the end of each chapter invites the reader to consider issues faced by these Reformation wives, pointing to New Testament teaching about marriage and the way that believers should live. This book would be ideal as a gift.

Gladys Nash

Greens Norton

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
If I Could Speak: Letters from the Womb
Mark Jones

Abortion statistics for the UK are eye-watering and outrageous. There are about 220,000 abortions per year. That is 25 every hour, of every day. At least one baby will have been murdered in the time taken to read this short…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Pray Big: Learn to Pray Like an Apostle
Alistair Begg

Of the making of books on prayer there seems to be no end. That fact probably reflects the need that almost of all of us feel for more help in this vitally important area of our Christian lives The problem,…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
FILM REVIEW: Matthew Henry — The life and times of the Bible commentator
Dan Pugh

Although the name of Matthew Henry has become synonymous with the whole-Bible commentary which he authored in the early 18th century, there is also much to learn from his remarkable life and the tumultuous times through which he lived. This…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Ephesians (Tyndale New Testament Commentary)
Darrell L Bock

Whenever a new commentary is published from the conservative viewpoint on a book of the Bible which is already well covered, there ought to be few issues of concern because there is so much literature with which to compare it.…