The Bible contains great wisdom and guidance for married couples who want to build a strong, God-honoring relationship. While all of Scripture is useful, some books speak more directly to principles, challenges, and joys of marriage. In this post, I’ll highlight some of the best books of the Bible for couples to read and study together, along with key insights and discussion questions for each one.
- Song of Songs celebrates intimacy and romance within marriage.
- Genesis offers perspective on God’s design for marriage.
- Ephesians contains instructions on biblical roles in marriage.
- 1 Corinthians 13 explores the meaning of love.
- Proverbs provides practical wisdom for couples.
Song of Songs
The poetic Song of Songs (also known as Song of Solomon) is unique in Scripture. While other books speak about God and his interaction with humanity, Song of Songs focuses entirely on the joys of intimacy and romance between a husband and wife. Written like a lyrical dance between two lovers, it provides a beautiful picture of the passion, desire, and affection God intends for married couples to enjoy.
While some allegorize this book as depicting God’s love for the church, it seems best to take Song of Songs at face value as an ode to marital intimacy. Sex within marriage is celebrated and encouraged throughout its verses. Couples should read it as a reminder that their physical union is holy and good. It’s a beautiful resource for enriching marital intimacy.
“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine.” (Song 1:2 NKJV)
“My beloved is mine and I am his.” (Song 2:16 NKJV)
“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.” (Song 6:3 NKJV)
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death.” (Song 8:6 NKJV)
- What did you appreciate most about the way intimacy is depicted in Song of Songs?
- Which passage stood out to you as most helpful, encouraging or inspiring for your marriage? Why?
- How does this book expand or change your views on intimacy in marriage?
- What is one way you’d like to apply or reflect Song of Songs in your marriage?
The creation account and early stories in Genesis provide insight into God’s original design for marriage. We see principles such as the complementarity of husband and wife, the permanence of marital union, the value of procreation, and God’s blessing on the institution. Genesis also shows humanity’s departure from God’s plan through the entrance of sin, yet displays God’s faithfulness and provision even amid brokenness.
Though no marriage is perfect, studying Genesis gives an aspirational glimpse of what marriage can be. It reveals God’s intents and ideals. For Christians, Genesis provides the foundation and backdrop for all martial teaching that follows in the rest of Scripture.
“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.” (Gen 2:18 NKJV)
“Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Gen 1:28 NKJV)
- What purposes, values or principles for marriage did you see reflected in Genesis?
- How are God’s original designs still relevant for marriage today? Which feel most applicable to our current cultural moment?
- How has sin impacted God’s ideals for marriage, even in modern society?
- What is one thing you learned or were reminded about God’s views on marriage from studying Genesis?
Ephesians 5:22-33 contains a significant new testament passage on marriage roles. It instructs wives to submit to their husbands as head, and husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. At first read, these directives may seem offensive to modern sensibilities. However, in context they provide countercultural wisdom.
This passage teaches mutual service, care and sacrifice — not domination or superiority of one spouse over the other. It assigns husbands greater responsibility to love selflessly and lead humbly. Wives are asked to empower their husbands’ leadership, not enable abuse or control. Corinthians emphasizes we belong to each other in marriage, with spouses owing love and respect.
Studying these principles together invites good discussion about biblical models of mutual submission, distinct roles vs. value equality, and ways to apply timeless truths to modern marriages.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord…Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” (Eph 5:22-25 NKJV)
“Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Eph 5:33 NKJV)
“The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” (1 Cor 7:4 NKJV)
- What stood out to you most from the marital principles in Ephesians 5? Did any wisdom surprise you?
- How do you think these teachings on wifely submission and husbandly sacrifice can be applied in a healthy way today?
- How does the instruction about mutual authority over each other’s bodies challenge or inspire you?
- What is one change you feel convicted to make after studying these passages together?
1 Corinthians 13
The famous “love chapter” of 1 Corinthians 13 falls right in the middle of Paul’s teachings about spiritual gifts and church conduct. This placement is intentional, reminding that all areas of life and ministry should be marked by agape love. For couples, this chapter provides helpful characteristics to cultivate love within marriage.
Love is patient, kind, selfless, forgiving, enduring. It does not envy, boast, or keep record of wrongs. This “more excellent way” (1 Cor 12:31) of love encapsulates how spouses should treat one another. Studying and meditating on these verses together encourages couples to examine their words and actions toward each other in light of God’s Word. It’s a high standard, yet an important one for our marriages.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” (1 Cor 13:4 NKJV)
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor 13:7 NKJV)
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Cor 13:11 NKJV)
- Which description of love stands out most to you? How have you seen that lived out or neglected in our marriage?
- How would our marriage grow if we implemented more patience, forgiveness, and selflessness as depicted in this chapter?
- What “childish things” do we need to put away to love each other with greater maturity?
- What is one way you want to better reflect God’s love to your spouse after studying this passage?
Proverbs provides incredibly practical wisdom for living, often through short, memorable sayings. While not directly addressing marriage, it contains many truths applicable to couples. Proverbs frequently contrasts wisdom and folly, promoting virtues like integrity, hard work, justice, and righteousness which undergird healthy relationships. It warns against adultery, foolishness, anger, laziness, dishonesty and other vices that erode marital trust.
Studying Proverbs together reveals small attitudes and actions that build up or tear down marriage. Couples will find much material for growth and conversation. The principles and perspectives in Proverbs align with God’s values in other Scriptures, helping couples apply timeless truth to daily choices and interactions.
“Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” (Prov 19:14 NKJV)
“A wise man scales the city of the mighty and brings down the trusted stronghold.” (Prov 21:22 NKJV)
“A quick-tempered person does foolish things.” (Prov 14:17 NKJV)
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Prov 15:1 NKJV)
- Which Proverbs stood out to you as most relevant for our marriage? Why?
- What attitudes or behaviors do we need to cultivate more of, based on the wisdom in Proverbs?
- What habits or tendencies should we endeavor to avoid, according to these principles?
- Name 1-2 specific ways you want to apply Proverbs in improving your role as a spouse.
Additional Insights for Studying Scripture as a Couple
- Schedule regular time to read and discuss God’s Word together. This shows spiritual growth as a priority.
- Take turns choosing books or passages to read. Variety keeps things interesting!
- Read a few verses out loud, then use discussion questions to apply the text. Don’t just rush through long passages.
- Pray together before reading. Ask God to speak to you and transform you through His Word.
- Discuss how you’ve each seen growth from previous readings. Hold each other accountable.
- Memorize and meditate on key verses for your marriage. Post them in your home as reminders.
- Study chapters on marriage like Ephesians 5 in addition to devotional reading. Do exegesis, not just encouragement.
- Let God’s Word inspire romance and intimacy. Meditate on Song of Songs together before physical connection.
- Don’t just “check the box” of devotional time. Pursue true understanding of biblical principles for marriage.
The books highlighted in this post all provide significant insight and encouragement for marriages rooted in biblical truth. From celebrating intimacy in Song of Songs, to establishing roles in Ephesians, to gaining wisdom in Proverbs, God’s Word offers living guidance to strengthen unions. Additional keys like consistency, prayer, discussion, and application help couples reap transformation from Bible study.
There is no perfect marriage, but God’s principles pave the path for growth. As two become one flesh, choosing to nourish that union with Scripture allows partners to better reflect Christ’s love. When husbands and wives walk in humble obedience to biblical wisdom, marriage becomes the cherished relationship God designed it to be.