Marriage is one of the oldest institutions in the world. It was established by God in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:21-25), was blessed by the presence of Christ in the wedding at Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11), and is declared by the Apostle to be honorable in all men (Heb. 13:4).
The Old Testament records plural marriages, and that with the most prominent of the saints. However, according to the record in the primeval Garden of Eden, it was doubtless God's intention that a man should have one wife and the wife but one husband. It was clearly taught in the New Testament that, because of an advance in the relationship between God and His saints, there should be the most careful recognition of this more exalted ideal of one wife and one husband (Eph. 5:22-33).
According to the New Testament, then, the husband is to function as the head of the wife, to love his wife and cherish her even as Christ loved the Church. So, also, the wife is to reverence her husband and be obedient to his wishes. There will be little difficulty about the wife so adjusting herself to her own husband if he is carrying out the instructions for him by loving her as Christ loved the Church.
Certain questions arise which are not easily answered. Is marriage a rite binding upon unregenerate people? May divorced people be married again? If so, then under what conditions? So, also, there is a problem which appears on mission fields: Should any man who is the husband of plural wives abandon all of them excepting one if he were to become a Christian? Is this requirement altogether necessary? One thing is certain: a believer should never be married to an unbeliever. All such practices ought to be discouraged on every hand. The reason, too, is obvious: God cannot bless one in a household without blessing all, but the blessing He would design for a believer cannot rightfully be extended to an unbeliever. If the saved person proposes to marry an unsaved person, let them first consider whether they are pleased to live on such limited blessing as God might extend to the unsaved person of the couple.
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