Book Review: “What He Must Be…”
“What He Must Be… if he wants to marry my daughter”
by Voddie Baucham
The Short Review:
This is an excellent book that I highly recommend; pretty much everyone should read it. Seriously.
The Long Review:
As a single guy (an introverted one at that), I do a lot of thinking – especially about marriage, family, and dating. I’ve read quite a few books about dating and courtship, but none have challenged me as consistently, as thoroughly, or as deeply as “What He Must Be.” Dr. Baucham takes a gospel-centered view on preparing for marriage from a father’s perspective, and he does so in an engaging, widely applicable way.
Dr. Baucham’s primary audience is both young single men and fathers of daughters, but his understanding of what the Scriptures lay out for marriage is one of value for single ladies (especially those without a spiritually strong father), for couples without children (for laying a blueprint for intergenerational legacy), and pretty much anyone else who cares to delve into the countercultural biblical view of marriage.
The first chapter lays out an incredible vision for building and planning for multigenerational legacies in families, which stands in stark contrast to our culture’s ‘microwave mentality’ and lust for instant gratification at all costs. In chapter two, Baucham goes on to present a gospel-centered view of the ministry of marriage – that men have an obligation to be the spiritual leader in the home, which involves being a Christ-like husband and father. The third chapter goes more in-depth with the role of a father in his daughter’s life as her spiritual protector, provider, and primary male influence. The next five chapters deal with non-negotiable qualifications for men who are of marriage-quality. Baucham asserts that an aspiring husband must be: a Christ-follower; prepared to lead (and do so in a Christ-like way); committed to fathering children; and must be a protector, provider, and spiritual leader for his home. The last two chapters challenge fathers to step up and protect their daughters in very concrete, practical ways, and to do their part to ensure a spiritual legacy by discipling and sharpening their future sons-in-law for the sake of their grandchildren.
What He Must Be has left a deep imprint on me and has emboldened me to step up as an aspiring husband and father. Dr. Baucham’s understanding of the Scriptures as they address men in relation to marriage has challenged me, driven me to Scripture and prayer, and I pray has made me a better man. Though the effects are largely untested as of yet, I hope that time will tell that God has used What He Must Be to shape me into a man of multi-generational vision and excellent character who pastors his home well, honors his wife, and protects his daughters’ hearts – just the way God intended for daddies of little girls to be.