Book Review – The Purity Principle by Randy Alcorn

Nobody can deny that our culture is obsessed with sex.  It’s everywhere.  It has been elevated to idol status for many.  And this can cause issues for anyone who decides to make purity a priority in his or her life.

Several books have been written to help people (especially men) live lives of holiness and purity, such as Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is) by Joshua Harris and Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker.  I recently finished another one that is short, but good.

The Purity Principle by Randy Alcorn comes in at 93 pages with an additional page of notes.  As such, it is a quick read (maybe taking an hour or two for most people).

It is a basic book covering the importance of purity and providing some strategies to help people remain pure.  While it is basic, that does not take away from the book.  Sometimes being reminded of the basics is the best thing that we can do for ourselves.

One thing I like about Alcorn is that he never pulls any punches.  This is evident in the explanation that he gives for what the purity principle is: “purity is always smart; impurity is always stupid.” (p. 16; italics in the original)  Basic?  Sure.  But who could forget a principle like that?  Sometime we are so used to the normal way of saying things that we need to hear it differently.  We have all heard that purity is holiness and impurity is sinfulness.  Or that purity pleases God while impurity grieves Him.  All of these things are true, but hearing it as Alcorn states it just sort of makes it hit home a little more.

Alcorn provides strategies in the book to help people overcome impurity, such as avoiding tempting situations, memorizing Scripture, and so on.  One thing he points out that I love is that the Bible’s first recommendation for avoiding impurity is to flee (see 1 Corinthians 6:18).  Alcorn puts it this way: “When it comes to sexual temptation, it pays to be a coward. He who hesitates (and rationalizes) is lost.  He who runs, lives.” (p. 53)  Amen!  We can all try to avoid temptation to impurity (which is harder and harder in our society), but if we are tempted, the only smart thing to do is run away.

The book is geared mainly toward men (although with more sexually explicit books and movies being advertised toward women, this book could help them, as well).  There is also a chapter for singles and a chapter for those who are married.

If you are looking for a good book for yourself or someone you know who needs help and encouragement in the area of purity, this would be a great investment.  While not the deepest treatment of the issue, it is nevertheless a great one, and at such a quick read, even those who normally don’t like reading can benefit from this book.

You can purchase the book from Amazon here, or from Randy Alcorn’s ministry page here.


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