There is no clear definition of “Biblical Marriage”

I am not back blogging at the pace I was before, but I wanted to weigh in on what I know (which is not much) about this whole marriage thing.

There are two sides to this marriage debate, one is for gay people to marry and the other is for marriage to stay defined between a man and a woman… or the so-called “biblical marriage” definition.

(I actually think it should be the tax code that we should be discussing and changing, but that is another post.)

Well I am going to come out and just say it… the definition of “biblical marriage” is a bunch of bullshit, because to this day I cannot find how the bible even defines marriage clearly.

I know what you are thinking, how can I call myself a follower of Christ and say such things… well let me explain.

When you attend a wedding at a church, what passages of Scripture do you expect to hear?  I know of two that are most common.

Typically, 1 Corinthians 13, the famous “love” chapter is pretty much always picked.  It talks about love, but it does not talk about marriage.  You likely have heard the verse before… “Love is patient, love is kind…”

This verse is wonderful advice for marriage, but Paul was not talking about marriage when he wrote it.  He was addressing a fight going down in the church of Corinth.  The church there was competing for prestige and influence.

The next typical verse that comes up is Genesis 2:24 which says “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh”  This passage is certainly appropriate to marriage, as it reflects the level of intimacy and commitment that distinguishes marriage from other relationships.

However, the interesting thing here is that when Jesus brings this passage up in Matthew 19 and in Mark 10, he is not exactly discussing marriage.  Instead, Jesus is talking about divorce.

So I have always thought it weird to hear the Genesis 2 passage read at weddings, because the only reference I have from Jesus Himself of this verse is about divorce, and we are at a wedding… very odd.

So, which “biblical marriage” scenario should Christians embrace?

Here are all the scenarios I could find in scripture.

Of course, Genesis 2:24 gives us the “nuclear family” definition of a man and a woman where the wife submits to her husband and interfaith is frowned upon (but isn’t it interesting that Jesus never brings up and defines marriage and the one time he does bring this verse up it is about divorce.. hmmm)

Well what about the other types of marriages ..

The next is the man + brother’s widow in Genesis 38:6-10.  So should biblical marriage be about marrying your brother’s wife if your brother dies?

What about man + wives + concubines?

What about rapist + victim in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 that says a rapist must marry the one he rapes?

There was also man + women + women’s property in Genesis 16, and there was male soldier + a prisoner of war in Numbers 31.  What about these?

The last two I could find was man + woman + woman + woman + woman + woman… and on and on (polygamy).  And the last being male slave + female slave where the slave owner could assign a woman slave to whatever male slave he wanted (Exodus 21:4)

Unfortunately, many Christians use the Bible to support their own prejudices and bigotry.  They talk about “biblical marriage” as if the Bible had a clear message on marriage.

Let’s be clear: I do not see anything about “biblical marriage” because the Bible does not speak to the topic clearly and consistently.

So how do we define marriage?  This is where I get really truly confused.  I believe a man and a woman makes complete common sense, but I do not look to the bible for that belief.  I look to the bible to reveal Christ.

I will go on loving others more than myself and loving Christ who is all of us who make up His Church.

What do you think?

4 thoughts on “There is no clear definition of “Biblical Marriage”

  1. Glad you are back, even if less frequently than before.

    I do think that the definition of “marriage” should be “1 man and 1 woman” but this should not necessarily stop the government from giving legal rights to people who do not fall within this definition. Though once the floodgates open, where does the line get drawn?

    I hear many “Unitarians” are practicing Polyamories (or something like that), which is essentially “multiple men + multiple women” all living together in happy harmony. Should these “unions” get the same legal rights as gay unions might? If not, why not?

    1. Jeremy – I too think that marriage should be defined that way too, but I am of the thought that the government should not be involved in the marriage business.

      I really think this latest issue has nothing to do with marriage, and has everything to do with fixing a terrible tax code and benefits. The inheritance death tax is one that needs to be dissolved.

      If two sisters lived together their whole lives and shared the house, expenses, and everything else and one dies and leaves all the money to the other sister, the sister that is alive would be taxed on that inheritance that she receives. If they pass marriage between anyone.. I can see blood sisters getting married too just to avoid paying the taxes.

      It this all about love or is it about getting the same benefits married couples get. I say give everyone benefits and scrap the death tax and leave the definition alone.

      But even though I am for marriage as it is defined today, I still have no idea where scripture gives us this definition… it is a tough one.


  2. I think you’re bringing Hebraic law into this where it doesn’t have so much relevance. It is my opinion that the law was there to show us we could never follow it and only the blood of the Messiah could rescue us from our sin. In that case, I don’t think polygamy (which God never commanded) and marrying your rapist are necessary for Christians to practice today any more than abstaining from bacon.

    I think we call a man and a woman the biblical definition of marriage because in no part of Scripture that I can recall do we ever see a woman and a woman married or a man and a man married. Sure, we do see polygamy at times (and most argue that while God allowed it, it was not ideal for those engaged in the practice. Look how it ruined Solomon.)

    I feel as if Romans 1:27 is clear about the sin of homosexuality. As written in the NLT:

    “And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.”

    I assume, since I know of no biblical example of homosexual marriage that God calls holy and since such statements as Romans 1:27 are in Scripture, that homosexuality is a sin and that homosexual marriage is not God’s definition of marriage.

    That being said, I don’t have a problem with the states legalizing homosexual marriage. I am not offended by it because my marriage is God-ordained, and though I went through legal channels to get it on paper, the marriage license doesn’t make the marriage any more than the garage makes the car.

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