In this sermon “what is marriage according to the bible”?, we are going to cover a whole subject about the marriage institution, and I pray God to open the eyes of your understanding to get the message through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

“Be fruitful and multiply”

As we already know, God ordained marriage right from the creation of the world when He said to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28; “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it…”.

And in Genesis 2:24, after God remove Adam’s rib to create Eve for her, the scripture reveals how marriage was instituted; “therefore a man shall leave his mother and father and bejoined to a woman and they shall become one flesh”.

Immediately after they were evicted from the garden, Adam and Eve fulfilled this commandment of God. And the result was the birth of the first sons of the world, Cain and Abel.

And today we have seen how that word of God has been fulfilled; as the world has over 7 billion population and still counting.

Before we can answer the question: what is marriage according to the bible? let us survey certain facts about marriage to gain full understanding of the subject.

Features of marriage.

Features of marriage
Features of marriage

1. Brideprice.

Origin of brideprice.

Before a man takes a woman away from her parents; he has to pay a certain sum that is known as brideprice.

The origin of brideprice traces itself back to when Shechem raped Jacob’s daughter, Dinah; and requested to pay money for it as we can see in the scripture below:

“Ask me ever so much dowry and gift, and I will give according to what you say to me; but give me the young woman as a wife.”

(Genesis 34:12)

The laws concerning brideprice.

And afterwards, we can see how what Shechem did was formulated into one of the laws of Moses; in the next scripture.

”If a man entices a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall surely pay the bride-price for her to be his wife. “If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the bride-price of virgins.

(Exodus 22:16-17)

And as we can now see; brideprice was money that was supposed to be paid only to the parents of a woman a man disvirgins.

Deuterenomy’s record of the law concerning brideprice even forbids a man to divorce that woman she disvirgined and paid her brideprice.

If a man finds a young woman who is a virgin, who is not betrothed, and he seizes her and lies with her, and they are found out. “Then the man who lay with her shall give it the young woman’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife because he has humbled her; he shall not be permitted to divorce her all his days.

(Deuteronomy 22: 28-29)

How Jacob paid his own brideprice.

In Genesis 29:15-30; we see how Jacob served his father’s inlaw for fourteen years to marry her two daughters Leah and Rachel.

And from this example we can also see that if a man does not have money to pay the brideprice of a woman; he can as well serve the father in-law to marry the daughter.

This however will depend on what both parties agree.

How we pay brideprice today.

But sadly today, marriage has become or looks like one expensive event; that one dares not step in if he is not financially sound i.e. rich.

Plainly speaking, the idea of bride-price has been misused; as parents continue to collect so much money and items from their would-be in-laws as bride-price.

But according to the bible as we see above, bride-price was just a punishment for the rape of virgins.

So if we want to follow it biblically, bride-price should only be paid to the parents of a virgin who has formally been raped; and not as it is being done today.

Where Parents make use of the opportunity to sell out their children, whom most are not even virgins at their time of marriage. And worst of all they were not disvirgined by their husband to be. 

2. Traditional marriage/wedding.

After paying a brideprice for a woman’s hand in marriage; there ought to be a ceremony that binds the couples together.

And that ceremony is what we refer to today as traditional marriage or weddings.

Traditional marriage/wedding in the Old Testament.

The old testament does not give a direct record of a traditional marriage/wedding; except in Judges 14, where Samson went to marry Delilah from Phillistine; against the commands of God that the Jews should not intermarry.

In verse 10 of that scripture, we see how Samson gave a feast after Delilah was given to her in marriage. And the bible even says that giving of feast in marriage was what the young men used to do back then.

But again, we should note that this event was not done in the land of Israel; but away in a foreign land.

Traditional marriage/wedding in the New Testament.

We can see traditional marriage/wedding as a feature of marriage in the New Testament when Jesus attended one in Galilee.

In John 2:1-2, the scripture says that there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee; and Mary the mother of Jesus was there.

Even Jesus Himself and His disciples were invited to the wedding ceremony as the scripture relates.

It was in this very wedding ceremony that Jesus performed his first miracle, which was changing water into wine.

According to the story, at a point in the wedding; the wine ran out and was not enough for the guest.

And when the mother of Jesus saw this, she told her Son that they had ran out wine; and Jesus commanded that jars be filled with water. When that was done, he performed His first miracle.

From this instance or example, we can firmly say that traditional marriage/wedding is biblical.

Traditional marriage/wedding today.

It is so unfortunate that traditional marriage/wedding has taken a whole new form today in Christendom.

In fact, the occasions are no longer seen as one, as Christians continue to perform traditional marriage and wedding seperately.

Parents see the marriage ceremony as a means of exchanging their children, who are not even virgins for money.

Forgeting that Jacob only had to serve his father in-law, Laban for fourteen years in order to marry his daughters.

So if you find a son in-law who can humble himself to serve you; when he doesn’t have the money for the bride price, allow him do so

Do not forget that Jacob’s presence made his father in-law Laban to become so prosperous. (Genesis 30:27), which was the very reason he did not want to set Jacob free after he served him.

And as Jacob afterwards became a very prominent man, your son-in-law can also end up that way.

How churches should respond to traditional marriage/weddings today.

Now the saddest part about this marriage issue is the way our churches respond to it.

Infact, our churches do not help matters at all; as they continue to conduct wedding ceremonies that involves a lot of expenditure.

Forgeting that God commands that: a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

Which goes to say that, once two people love themselves and decide to become one flesh; marriage has already taken place.

1. Advicing intended couples.

But then, these two people at first have no experience about marriage, this is why the parents; family and church must come in to assist them.

And they can do so through counseling i.e. older couples sharing their own experiences and showing the intending couple how they managed to overcome every temptations and stick together to the present day.

And also, by using the word of God to advise as well as build their faith in the decisions they have both made, after which they will bless and continue to help them in prayers.

But since we do not approach marriage this way, many jump into marriage because they’ve seen their friend do so; while some marry because the man or woman involved is rich and good looking or because of pressure from parents or church.

And because of this facts, marriage is no more a thing of the heart these days, that is why we have a lot of marriages breaking up, a lot of divorces in court.

All this arises from the fact that couples did not understand themselves well, plus they lack the idea of what marriage really means, therefore, cannot overcome trials and temptations when they come.

2. Supporting/sponsoring those who loves themselves and want to marry but has no money for wedding.

And so my second advice is; if two people really love themselves and decide to become one flesh, let us support and make it possible for them to follow their heart.

The church should not look on expensive weddings before they can bless intending couples, rather, they should find ways to support, prepare, bless and allow them settle down.

Don’t we have the rich among us who can sponsor the not well to do couples?

Also we must never forget that, Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding in Canaan. (John 2:1-11). 

And what you must note there is that, the couple had not enough money, that was why they ran out of wine; but still they decided to marry.

And Jesus changing their water into wine means that every married couple must look up to Him to provide for them so they can do what is necessary in their marriage.

Another thing you have to note is that the most important and only thing that will uphold your marriage forever is Love.

The scripture itself commands: Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8).

What is marriage according to the bible?

What is marriage according to the bible?

The meaning of marriage according to the bible.

According to the bible in Genesis 2:24, marriage is the process where a man leaves his mother and father and joins himself to a woman for them to become one flesh.

And this happens for procreation, which is to fulfill the scripture in Genesis 1:28, “be fruitful and multiply.”

That is to say, marriage happens when a man leaves his mother and father and joins with a woman to produce and raise children.

We will understand this better on our next sub-topic.

Why God ordained marriage.

In Malachy 2:10-17, the scripture clearly reveal why God ordained the marriage institution.

It makes it clearer in verse 16 when it states that God ordained the marriage institution so that human beings could raise godly children.

In other words, that scripture helps us to perfectly come to the understanding that God wanted people to marry so that they can stay together and raise children who will be God fearing; and in so doing cut out the menaces in the society.

But it is however sad to realize that most families, because of the father or mother lacking the understanding of how to handle a marital home; end up getting divorcing and in so doing abandon their offspring’s to become wayward in the society.

It is also important to mention that even if most of these couples do not end up being divorce;, their often conflicts at home in the presence of their children ends up not making them to achieve the purpose of marriage.

Now psychology helps us to understand that the things children experiences while growing up turns out to influence them when they get to maturity.

That is why you will find a child from a polygamous home likely to be a womanizer; even though he ends up marrying one wife. And all this happens because he used to see his father living with more than one woman in the house.

Plus the envy and strife of a polygamous home did not allow his parents pay proper attention to his upbringing.

Wht the devil wars with the family.

Now permit me to reveal something more deeper to you.

The devil’s main battle against human beings is in the marital homes. And this is because he understands that the purpose why God ordained the marriage institution was for parents to live together in peace and love; so that they can succeed in bringing up godly children.

That is why he works tirelessly to make sure that couples are always fighting, fusing and quarrelling every now and then.

Or worst still busy cheating on each other and he will never rest until the culprit is caught one day; and divorce slowly crawls in and separate them.

Therefore, couples must ensure that they pay more attention to their children’s upbringing; rather than engaging in one conflict or the other, so that they can achieve the purpose for which God brought them together as one.

How couples should consider marriage.

what is marriage

1. Couples need to see themselves as one flesh.

The first thing we must understand about marriage is that the man is incomplete without the woman and vice versa; this is because the woman was taken from the man.

Thus a man who finds a wife has really found a part that was taken from him; and a woman who finds a husband has found a part she was taken from.

And as the scripture in Genesis 2:21-24 affirms, the couples have now have become as one flesh, even though they remain two individual beings.

Now if you read the story of the fall of man as recorded in Genesis chapter 3; you will find out that the serpent was able to deceive the woman because she was without the man.

But it’s unfortunate that people are fond of putting the blame on the woman for causing the downfall of man.

Because they fail to realize that, even if it was the man that the snake came and met alone; he would have been able to also deceive him to eat of the fruit. since he too would have been incomplete without the woman by her side.

You will understand my point better when you study verses 6 and 7 of Genesis chapter 3.

I hope you can now discover that the woman did not realize she was naked; when she ate the fruit alone. But when she gave it to her husband, and he finished eating it; both of them immediately realized they were naked. 

Thus it took both the woman and man to eat of the fruit before they both realized their nakedness.

2. Submission and love.

love

According to Ephesians 5;22-27, wives are commanded to submit to their husbands because he is the head of the house. While husbands are commanded to love their wives and offer themselves as a sacrifice for them.

And that is by going out to hustle and provide for her needs.

As we have come to the understanding that marriage properly means that the man and woman who decide to leave their parents and join with each other are no longer two individuals; but one flesh and blood.

And for this reason we can go on to realize that couples should always keep it in mind that they are one.

Ahe being one means that they must make sure they do not stay separated because if Adam and Eve were always in each other’s company the devil would have not seen the opportunity to deceive them.

From this knowledge we can establish that in order to be able to overcome the devil couples must always stay together whenever and wherever.

But the staying together here does not mean they must follow each other about like bees; or carry each other around like a handbag.

Rather, it means that couples must have each other at the center of their hearts no matter the distance and time that separates them.

Why Eve was not submissive to Adam.

And this is where you can further realize that Eve did not have Adam at the center of her heart. Because if she did, she would have told the serpent to wait until her husband comes back.

Since as the head of the family he is the one who must decide whether they should eat of the fruit or not.

The devil, knowing that it won’t be possible for him to deceive them while in each other’s company; would have left her alone.

This is where we get the understanding that; when the scripture above tells the wife to submit to her husband and the husband to reciprocate that submission with love. It doesn’t mean that the wife should become a slave or allow the husband to overpower her.

Rather it means that she must learn how to wait for, seek the consent of, and come to a final conclusion on any matter, only after she and her husband have both agreed on it.

And from here we discover that the worst thing a woman would do in a marital home, is taking any decision by herself; and afterwards trying to use any means of forcing that decision on her husband; like our first mother did to our first father.

Because even if it wasn’t in the intention of the husband to do the wives bidding; he would do so because of the love he has for her.

And the husband too must make sure that, if what his wife suggests seems not to be good or proper, he must take all patience and long-suffering to calmly make her see the reason why they should not do what she suggests. Rather than submitting to her wives demands all in the name of love.

It was love that made Adam eat the fruit.

That is why, if you further analyze the case of our first parents; you will discover that Adam was in love with Eve.

That was why when he saw that she had disobeyed God and would die, as God had already said; he had no option than to eat of the fruit so that both of them would die together.

And this turned out to be a sacrifice that the second Adam (Christ); must pay to redeem the children of the woman (church), who was the cause of their downfall.

We derive this knowledge in the scripture above where it says: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy without blemish.

And as the church cannot do without Christ, and Christ cannot do without the church; so also the husband cannot do without the wife, and the wife cannot do without the husband.

3. Denying each other.

denying each other

It is worthy to note here that most Christian ladies are fond of using their sexuality to make their husbands yield to their demands.

And should the husband prove stubborn, she will never allow him get close to, talk less of touching her as a husband should do.

In so doing they fail to realize that the scripture had forbidden Christian couples to deny each other except by mutual consent; which can only be to fast or pray for a while.

I bet you, many Christian wives have forced their husbands; who lack self-control, into committing adultery because of denying them their sexual responsibilities in marriage.

It is however worthy to also mention here that most husbands are also fond of denying their wives because they have a mistress outside.

And the only comment I can make on this issue is that any husband who decides to have another woman outside is trying to find a rib that is not his own.

Worst still he is going to steal, or rob from someone else, because the rib surely was taken from another man; and only God knows what destruction awaits him when the extra rib begins to forcefully fit into him.

The worst part of this issue is the case where the woman is sleeping with another man who is not her husband while the husband is alive. This then is what takes us to the next point: Divorce.

4. Divorce.

divorce

Furthermore it has been said, ‘whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ “but I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except s3xual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries another woman who is divorced commits adultery.

(Mathew 5:31-32)

Because of this very scripture, so many Christians come to a conclusion that; s3xual immorality is the only reason a man should divorce his wife.

And in so doing, they end up painting a picture that shows that s3xual immorality is the worst sin a woman can commit in a marital hom.

Which goes to say that, if a commits other worst sins like killing or stealing; the husband must still keep her as his wife.

And if we judge perfectly from such angle, we will discover that killing is worse than s3xual immorality; which often times do not involve the shedding of blood, or destruction of a human being created in the image and likeness of God.

Furthermore, if we study the background of the other two synoptic evangelists; especially Mark, who is considered as the first writer of the synoptic gospels, we will discover that they did not give account of Jesus making such statement.

And because of that, we can be quick to dismiss the statement with the fact that; Mathew decided to add it in the course of his redaction.

Mark and Luke’s account on divorce.

Permit me to outline Mark and Luke’s account before we proceed.

So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

(Mathew 10:11-12)

“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.

(Luke 16:28)

A believer is free to marry and unbeliever.

Now while Paul was giving instructions on marriage to the Corinthians; (1 Corinthians 7:12-14) he said that a believeing husband is free to marry and unbelieving wife and vice versa.

And from this statement we discover that supposing the believing husband catches the unbelieving wife; who does not have the knowledge of the above scripture, sleeping with another man and serves her a divorce papers.

And while the wife is back home with her parents, she is converted and afterwards comes with the church to beg her husband to forgive and take her back as a wife; giving the assurance that since she now has full knowledge of what God forbids to be done in marriage, she will never ever sleep with any other man apart from her husband again.

Should the husband still stand by what Jesus said and never forgive the wife?

If he does, didn’t the same Jesus preach about forgiveness on occasions that we cannot count? He even made an example of it when He set free the woman caught in adultery and was to be stoned to death by the mob (John 8:1-11)?

If you say that it was in Jesus place to forgive as a God, aren’t we called upon by the scripture to have the same mind which was in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5)?

And if you still say that Jesus was never the husband of the woman and for that reason; He did not understand the pains that a husband always feel when he catches his wife in adultery.

Then you must have forgotten that since He, Jesus, bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24) He only is in a better position to understand all we can ever and will ever feel.

Having come this far, let us, through the power of the Holy Spirit; Who was given to teach us all the wisdom and knowledge hidden in the Master Jesus Christ, seek for the understanding of why Jesus made that statement.

Marrying a woman who is divorced means committing adultery.

Now the understanding of that statement is in the sentence itself; and in order to uncover it let us once again outline it:

Furthermore it has been said, ‘whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ “but I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except s3xual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries another woman who is divorced commits adultery.

(Mathew 5:31-32)

Now from this last statement: and whoever marries another woman who is divorced commits adultery. 

We can gather the understanding that Jesus was trying to keep the Jewish women away from committing s3xual immorality by letting them to know that should they ever leave their husband and sleep with any other man, the man they sleep with, and every other man must never get married them.

This can be understood more from Luke’s account as we note again: and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.

Jesus was giving instructions that was hard to the Jews

Now in another passage that Mathew relates the same account of this statement; that is (Mathew 19:8-9) we come to discover that before Jesus made that statement, He had already told the Jews that Moses was giving them commandments which were forceful and hard because they were always fond of being disobedient.

And for that same reason He too must give them a commandment which must look forceful to them:

At this point I hope we can clearly understand that it was necessary for Mathew to include that part of Jesus statement since He was writing his gospel to the Jews.

While Mark who wrote to the Gentiles and Luke who specifically wrote to Theophillus, also a Gentile, had no need of including it.

Other sinful acts includes: seeking independency from their husbands by working to earn their own living and lacking respect for their husbands in doing so, stealing, envy, lasciviousness, etc.

Finally, the scripture shows us in Malachy 2:25-16 that the LORD hates divorce tbecause it covers one’s garments with violence.

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Last modified: March 30, 2022

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