As a child Chip grew up attending St. Alban's Church in Bovina, Mississippi. His first job was as a janitor for St. Alban's, while his father Al, a locally renowned musician, played organ during Sunday services. After leaving the Navy in 1962, Chip was called to serve the Episcopalian Church. He entered the School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Receiving his seminary education there, he obtained his Masters of Divinity degree in 1967. During his seminary education, he also traveled to Scotland, and studied at the Theological College of Edinburgh for one year. He was soon after ordained a deacon at his home church, St. Alban's, in Bovina, Mississippi.

In 1968 Chip was ordained a priest at St. James Church in Jackson, Mississippi. Throughout this period Chip served numerous churches across Mississippi, including Olive Branch, Southaven, Water Valley, and Oxford. In Oxford Chip became the Chaplain, and later the rector, of St. Peter's Church at Ole Miss. While in Oxford he also met his wife-to-be Diene Harper, a native of Jackson, Mississippi and then a psychology student at Ole Miss. Following his service in Oxford, Chip was elected rector of Church of the Mediator in Meridian, Mississippi. Here Chip joined and helped foster a strong and vibrant community, while his pastoral leadership found a strong and original style. It was in Meridian that Chip and Diene were wedded in 1974 and bore two sons, Matt Marble (b. 1979) and Jonathan Marble (b.1982).