About the Author
Elisabeth Elliot (née Howard; December 21, 1926 – June 15, 2015) was a Christian author and speaker. Her first husband, Jim Elliot, was killed in 1956 while attempting to make missionary contact with the Auca (now known as Huaorani; also rendered as Waorani or Waodani) of eastern Ecuador. She later spent two years as a missionary to the tribe members who killed her husband. Returning to the United States after many years in South America, she became widely known as the author of over twenty books and as a speaker in constant demand
In Passion and Purity, Elisabeth Elliot emphasizes the need to commit daily to Christ all matters of the heart and to wait upon Him. She teaches this often-painful yet rewarding discipline by candidly tracing her love story with Jim Elliot as evidence that she has been there. Through letters, diary entries, and memories, she shares the temptations, difficulties, victories, and sacrifices of two young people whose commitment to Christ took priority over their love for each other. These revealing personal glimpses, combined with relevant biblical teaching, will remind you that only by putting your human passion and desire through His fire can God purify your love.
I first read this book in my early teens, before I'd ever done any real dating. I kept going back to it, both when someone of the opposite sex was interesting me, or when down about there being no one in the picture. She offers a lot of very practical sound advice as to how to go about dating in the right way. I also found it extremely valuable when I realized that I was single, out of college, and had NO prospects on the horizon. I was able to accept that I didn't need to worry about that. God would find me a spouse, so I didn't have to. And that's exactly what He did.
Some have suggested that her personal experience was too different from most people's to be applicable. To anyone with such a perspective, I would suggest that you are reading it all wrong! I don't think Elisabeth Elliot would suggest that everyone needs to have a Jim and Elisabeth duplication in their own lives before marrying. She offers principles that apply regardless of your personal circumstances.
A couple of very valuable highlights that stand out to me, years after getting married. Her chapter on "What can a kiss tell you?" was really right on. Physical communication is tempting, but actually, it shuts down the more important forms of communication for finding Mr. Right, and can actually give you a lot of regret.
I also valued the romance in Jim's perspective when he wrote to her, "I have you now unravished." He was grateful to look forward to the time when physical intimacy was right, and to leave something to look forward to! That is so completely romantic, and I think it is almost tragic that in today's society, that romance is almost unheard of. People take what isn't theirs don't relish the anticipation of getting it AT THE PROPER TIME. My husband and I went about it that way, and I found it very romantic, both the anticipation of the consumation of my marriage, as well as when that actually took place. I wouldn't have wanted to have cheated myself out of that beautiful memory!
Old fashioned? I suppose it is. Relevant and needed in this day and age? Absolutely. When you put your love life in God's hands, that is a safe place to leave it.