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Monday, October 03, 2011

Biblical Marriage

I suppose to this graphic, we should add psuedo Paul's language from Ephesians.
Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind--yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.
Consistent throughout the Old and New Testament is the notion that marriage is an institution of male dominance. But, you see cracks in this at the end of the passage from Ephesians. And indeed, it is quoting Genesis 2:24. I wonder if the creation myths found in Gensis were more widely repeated among the population at large. I wonder if the hiearchy that is assumed in the passage from Ephesians, and made explicit in the various laws, was more a product of the power brokers in society. It would make me happy if the notion of love-based marriage co-existed among the people at-large with the explicit rule of domination-based marriage.


lmw said...

This IS love based marriage. Read it again. The male is the head of the home, yes. Biblical dominance is not about the exertion of power over another and scripture commands husbands to submit to their wives as well. Most men skip over that verse. Submission is not a one way street. This passage commands the husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church, giving Himself sacrificially for her well-being. Marriage is supposed to be the earthly model of this perfect love (we fall waaayyyy short). When a man takes his role of the spiritual head of the home seriously, being invested in the eternal value of the souls in his care, believe me, wives will want to submit themselves to his leadership.

lmw said...

Sorry - the chart above is NOT love based marriage, nor is it Biblical. Those relationships existed in Biblical times, but "Biblical Marriage" is that which is described in Ephesians Chapter 5. Sorry if I was misunderstood.

JimII said...


I find your position on the chart to be an interesting one. I do not feel compelled to follow components of the Bible that are nothing more that recitations of the cultural norms of that time. So, I find it more intersting that Ephesians says for masters to be kind to their slaves than that the passage explicitly endorses slavery.

That reasoning, I think, applies equally well to the notion that husbands are spiritual heads of the household. That wasn't new. That, just like the passages about taking multiple wives, was the cultural norm of the time.

The new thing psuedo-Paul adds in Ephesians is the loving requirement. (Or perhaps not based on the cite from Genesis.)

I guess my question for you is this: Do you believe we should live by the cultural norm found in Ephesians (men as dominant; women as submissive) but not the cultural norms found in the Old Testament? And does it bother you that this amounts to rejecting the Scripture held sacred by Jesus in favor of letters written by a follower of Paul?

Anonymous said...

In the beginning God created one man and from that man he made him a helper- Woman. He did not make 5 woman to one man nor did he make 5 men to one woman. This was his creation and it was good to Him. In the old testament God does not punish each man for everyone of their sins nor does it list each sin. Also Genesis 2:24 "for a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they will become one flesh," not plural. And now that we have Christ as our savior lots of things change we are called to live pure and Paul and Timothy discribe this very well- Timothy states that to be an overseer you are to be the husband of one wife- 1 Tim 3. Marriage is based on Christ. And his example of leadership, love, guidance, sacrifice, and so on. and the brides part is to submit in respect. -That your husband maybe won over by your purity and reverance- 1 peter 3:2.

1 Corinthians 7:2 ESV
But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

Deuteronomy 17:17 ESV And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.

1 Corinthians 7:1-40 ESV
Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. ...

1 Timothy 3:2 ESV Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

Mark 10:8 ESV And the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.

1 Timothy 3:1-16 ESV The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? ...

JimII said...

How does the Scripture from Genesis jive with every Patriarch having multiple wives?

What does sexual immorality of Corinthians mean?

Does the evolution of marriage into a loving relationship show in Mark exclude a loving relationship between two men?

Does the passage in Timothy that condones both slavery and male dominant marriage mean that both are okay, or is slavery wrong now? Or are both wrong now?

This listing of Scriptures certainly provides much food for thought. Thank you for providing it.