What The Bible Says About Marriage

Bible Book: Genesis  2 : 18
Subject: Marriage

We have the unique privilege and opportunity this morning to have a wedding at the end of our service.

I read about a young couple who did this very thing. They did not want an elaborate wedding and a big reception, so they were married during a regular Sunday morning service at the church where they met. The bride said, “We are being married, not having a wedding, and we view the church as a family. Here, the members of the congregation can share our joy.” And after the sermon, just as we will do here this morning, the couple stepped forward and, in a brief ceremony, they were married by the pastor.

When I am preparing to preach, and I look for stories and readings to illustrate what I am preaching about, there are some weeks when I don’t find very much. But there is plenty of illustrative material when it comes to the subject of marriage and weddings. For example, Church typewriters are notorious for embarrassing blunders in church bulletins. One that should have used the word “life,” printed the sermon topic: “How to Change Your ‘Wife’ Through Prayer.” When the error was shown to the pastor, he said, “Let it alone. Someone might need it.”

A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.
For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife’s bedside.
She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000. He asked her about the contents.
”When we were to be married,” she said, “my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.”
The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.
“Honey,” he said, “that explains the doll, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?”
“Oh,” she said, “that’s the money I made from selling the dolls.”

A little boy was in a relative’s wedding. As he was coming down the aisle he would take two steps, stop, and turn to the crowd (alternating between bride’s side and groom’s side). While facing the crowd, he would put his hands up like claws and roar … so it went, step, step, ROAR, step, step, ROAR all the way down the aisle. As you can imagine, the crowd was near tears from laughing so hard by the time he reached the front. The little boy, however, was getting more and more distressed from all the laughing, and was almost in tears by the time he reached the front. When asked what he was doing, the child sniffed and said, “I was being the Ring Bear...”

At Sunday School they were teaching how God created everything, including human beings. Little Johnny seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created out of one of Adam’s ribs. Later in the week his mother noticed him lying down as though he were ill, and said, “Johnny what is the matter?” Little Johnny responded, “I have a pain in my side. I think I’m going to have a wife.”

Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her mother, “Why is the bride dressed in white?” Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life.” The child thought about this for a moment, then said, “So why is the groom wearing black?”

Now Maurice is not wearing black this morning, but he has been telling us for weeks that he would be wearing his dress military uniform. So when I read the following story, it seemed appropriate...

One Sunday morning a couple came to an Atlanta church eager to wed. The minister agreed to marry them after the church service and asked the congregation to stay in witness. When the pianist asked their preference in music, the couple said they hadn’t thought about it, but the bride-to-be finally said “Onward Christian Soldiers” would be all right. And sure enough, they went down that aisle to “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war…” (Tan’s “Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations – #7418 – excerpt from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

I read about a wealthy British woman who went through a time of sickness, and her doctor happened to be a bachelor. One day she told him that she had made up her mind to get married. When he asked her who the lucky man was, she told him to go home and open his Bible to 2 Kings 12:7 and there he would find out. That verse has the words of Nathan to David and it says, “Thou art the man.”

(Tan’s “Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations – #7432)

In the December 1992 issue of the Reader’s Digest, Valerie L. Runyan wrote…

Soon after our last child left home for college, my husband was resting next to me on the couch with his head in my lap. I carefully removed his glasses. “You know, honey,” I said sweetly, “without your glasses you look like the same handsome young man I married.” “Honey,” he replied with a grin, “without my glasses, you still look pretty good too!”

A third-grade teacher asked her students to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up. The pictures came in, and there were pictures of nurses, of astronauts, of firemen. But one little girl handed in a blank piece of paper. The teacher said, “Don’t you know what you want to be?” And the little girl said, “Sure I know. I want to be married. But I don’t know how to draw it!”

Well that little girl is not the only one that doesn’t know what being married is supposed to look like. But God knows what a marriage is supposed to look like. In fact, He’s the one that came up with the original design. And He has shown us through various passages in His Word what He wants marriage to look like.

Because we are ending the morning service today with a wedding, it’s on my heart to preach a message today and share with you “What The Bible Says About Marriage.”

First of all…

I. The Bible Tells Us About The Origination Of Marriage

(Genesis 2:18) And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

A. God Originally Meant For Marriage To Be A Superior Relationship

1. God Gave Man A Solution For His Aloneness

Seven times in chapter one, God saw things in His creation that were good. In Genesis 1:4, the light was good. In Genesis 1:10, the dry land and the sea was good. In Genesis 1:12, the fruitful earth was good. In Genesis 1:18, the division of light and darkness was good. In Genesis 1:21, the living creatures of sea and air was good. In Genesis 1:25, the beasts of the earth and the cattle and the creeping thing was good. And in Genesis 1:31, “God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” But when we get to Genesis 2:18, “the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone.” The Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words says that this word “good” has the idea of being favorable, or pleasing, or pleasant, or better, or right, or best. So God concluded that Adam being alone would not be pleasant; it would not be right; it would not be the best situation.

Ingrid Trobisch said, “There is only one thing harder than living alone, and that is to live with another person.” But fortunately, this was not God’s opinion.

alone – Hebrew OT:905. bad; it has the idea of separation; by implication it means a part of the body or the branch of a tree; it means by themselves, only, or apart from. There is a subtle irony in the Hebrew word that we find here that is translated “alone.” It is the Hebrew word “bad.” So God said, “Bad (or alone) is not good.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary says that this word means “a part or portion of something.” Man was incomplete. He was only part of what needed to be there.

2. God Gave Man A Spouse For His Assistance

(Genesis 2:18) And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

help – Hebrew 5828. 'ezer, ay'-zer; from H5826 (to surround, i.e. protect:-- succor); aid:--help. Literally, it means “one who helps.”

meet – Hebrew 5048. neged, neh'-ghed; from H5046; a front, i.e. part opposite; spec. a counterpart, or mate.

God made an opposite, or a counterpart as one who would help man.

B. God Originally Meant For Marriage To Be A Singular Relationship

(Matthew 19:4-6) And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, {5} And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? {6} Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

1. There Is A Singular Cleaving – An Adhering – In This Relationship

shall cleave – Greek NT:2853. kollao (kol-lah'-o); from kolla (“glue”); to glue, i.e. (passively or reflexively) to stick (figuratively): -- KJV - cleave, join (self), keep company.

A. T. Robertson says that this means that the man “shall be glued to” his wife.

2. There Is A Singular Cooperation – An Agreement – In This Relationship

one – Greek 3391. mia, mee'-ah; irreg. fem. of G1520 (a primary numeral – one); one or first:--a (certain), + agree, first, one, X other.

Note “what,” not “whom.” The marriage relation (is what) God has made. The word for “joined together” means “yoked together,” a common verb for marriage in ancient Greek. (From Robertson’s Word Pictures in the NT)

The Barnes’ Notes commentary says…

They two, or they that were two, shall be united as one-one in law, in feeling, in interest, in affection. They shall no longer have separate interests, but shall act in all things as if they were one – animated by one soul and one wish.

II. The Bible Tells Us About The Obligations Of Marriage

A. There Are The Obligations Of The Man

1. Notice How He Is To Love His Wife

(Ephesians 5:25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

(Ephesians 5:28) So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

Warren Wiersbe said…

Paul had much more to say to the Christian husbands than to the wives. He set for them a very high standard: Love your wives “even as Christ also loved the church.” Paul was lifting married love to the highest level possible, for he saw in the Christian home an illustration of the relationship between Christ and the church. … If the husband makes Christ's love for the church the pattern for loving his wife, then he will love her sacrificially. Christ gave Himself for the church; so the husband, in love, gives himself for his wife.

love – Greek NT:25. agapao; to love, to be full of good-will and exhibit the same: to have a preference for, wish well to, regard the welfare of the person loved; to take pleasure in the thing, prize it above other things, be unwilling to abandon it or do without it. (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

This is unconditional, sacrificial love.

(Colossians 3:19) Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

Love your wives (agapate tas gunaikas). Present active imperative, “keep on loving.” That is precisely the point. Be not bitter (mee pikrainesthe). Present middle imperative in prohibition: “Stop being bitter” or “do not have the habit of being bitter.” This is the sin of husbands. (From Robertson’s Word Pictures in the NT)

(The word “bitter”) denotes “exasperation,” prompting to hasty severity. Bengel defines it as “hatred infused into love.” (The Pulpit Commentary)

Here it is used figuratively “be embittered against, be cruel to, be harsh with” (so most translations). Do not be harsh may be rendered idiomatically as “do not treat her like a maid” or “do not make a slave of her.”

(From the UBS New Testament Handbook Series)

This word has the idea of being exasperated, irritated, or harsh with the wife.

2. Notice How He Is To Live With His Wife

(1 Peter 3:7) Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Michael Ventura said, “Marriage is a journey toward an unknown destination – the discovery that people must share not only what they don’t know about each other, but what they don’t know about themselves.”

“Dwell with” (is an) an old verb for domestic association. “According to knowledge” (means) “with an intelligent recognition of the nature of the marriage relation.” (From Robertson’s Word Pictures in the NT)

honour – Greek 5092. time, tee-may'; from G5099; a value, i.e. money paid, or (concr. and collect.) valuables; by anal. esteem (espec. of the highest degree), or the dignity itself:--honour, precious, price, some.

“Vessel” has the idea of an implement or a utensil or a furnishing. And the word “weaker” suggests that which is more delicate. This can be illustrated in the fact that my desk is of solid and simple construction, but my wife’s desk has some intricate details, and it seems more fragile.

B. There Are The Obligations Of The Mate

1. She Has An Obligation To Respect The Positional Leadership Of Her Husband

(1 Peter 3:1) Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

I read a story that said there were two lines of husbands in heaven, one for the dominant husbands and one for the passive, submissive husbands. The submissive husbands’ line extended almost out of sight. There was one man in the dominant husband line. He was small and timid, and he appeared to be anything but a dominant husband. When the angel inquired as to why he was in this line, he said, “My wife told me to stand here.”

Be in subjection to your own husbands; literally, submitting yourselves. The participle seems to look back to the imperative, “submit yourselves.” The present participle implies that this voluntary submission is to be habitual. (From The Pulpit Commentary)

Cf. (Colossians 3:18) Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

2. She Has An Obligation To Respect The Personal Life Of Her Husband

(Ephesians 5:33) Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

(Ephesians 5:33 – The Living Bible) So again I say, a man must love his wife as a part of himself; and the wife must see to it that she deeply respects her husband – obeying, praising, and honoring him.

The word “reverence” is phobeo, “to fear, to be afraid of, to reverence, to venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience.” Expositors defines: “fear in the sense of reverence; spontaneous, obedient regard.”

(From Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)

reverence – Greek NT:5399. phobeo; to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience. (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

This word has the idea of admiration, awe, and respect.

Unfortunately, some wives have the same perspective that a little boy named Rusty had. It seems that Rusty had misunderstood what the preacher said at his uncle’s wedding, because later he was overheard reenacting it in play saying, “Rosemary, do you take this man for your awful wedded husband?”

A man came to his pastor, and this man was a respected leader in the church who had attended for 25 years. He said, “Pastor, I’ve got something to tell you. I’ve never told this to a soul, and it’s extremely difficult to tell you this now, but my wife and I have had a fight every day for the past 30 years of our marriage.” The pastor was surprised by the confession and didn’t know what to say to the man. Finally gathering his thoughts, the pastor said, “Did you have a fight today before you came to church?” And the man said, “Yes.” The pastor said, “Well, how did it end up?” He said, “She came crawling to me on her hands and knees.” “What did she say? the pastor replied. To which the man responded, “Come out from under that bed you coward and fight like a man!”

III. The Bible Tells Us About The Operation Of Marriage

(Hebrews 13:4) Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

When you first read Hebrews 13:4 in the context of its passage, it seems to be out of place. But when you realize that the subject of this passage is holy living that is manifested through holy loving, then you see how verse 4 fits. This verse speaks of holy living that is manifested through holy loving in the context of the home and marriage relationship.

A. Let’s Consider The Honorable Operation Of Marriage

(Hebrews 13:4) Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

‎Gamos ‎(the Greek word translated “marriage”) elsewhere in the New Testament, means the wedding or wedding feast (From Robertson’s Word Pictures in the NT) It has the idea of the nuptials or the wedding ceremony.

1. There Is Value In The Institution Of Marriage

honourable – Greek NT:5093. timios; means a. properly, held as of great price, i. e. precious: ‎ b. metaphorically, held in honor, esteemed, especially dear. (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

honourable – Greek 5093. timios, tim'-ee-os; valuable, i.e. (obj.) costly, or (subj.) honored, esteemed, or (fig.) beloved:--dear, honourable, (more, most) precious, had in reputation.

The object here is to state that “honor” is to be shown to the marriage relation. (Barnes’ Notes)

Translate, ‘Let marriage be treated as honourable;’ as Hebrews 13:5 is an exhortation. (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown)

(Hebrews 13:4 – English Standard Version) Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

2. There Is Virtue In The Intimacy Of Marriage

(Hebrews 13:4) Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

undefiled – Greek 283. amiantos, am-ee'-an-tos; from G1 (as a neg. particle) and a der. of G3392; unsoiled, i.e. (fig.) pure:--undefiled. (What happens in the marriage bed between husband and wife is not prohibited or sinful.)

B. Let’s Consider The Harmful Operation Of Marriage

(Hebrews 13:4) Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

In contrast to the sanctity of marriage and the marriage bed…

1. There Is A Warning About Offensive Practices

whoremongers – Greek 4205. pornos, por'-nos; from pernemi (to sell; akin to the base of G4097); a (male) prostitute (as venal), i.e. (by anal.) a debauchee (libertine):--fornicator, whoremonger.

This word suggests a debauchery; fornication and sexual promiscuity that takes place. It refers to one who indulges in unlawful sexual activity.

2. There Is A Warning About Outside (or) Other Partners

adulterers – Greek 3432. moichos, moy-khos'; perh. a prim. word; a (male) paramour (lover); fig. apostate.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says that the word “denotes one ‘who has unlawful intercourse with the spouse of another’.”

John Calvin said…

Let this then be the main point, that fornication will not be unpunished, for God will take vengeance on it. And doubtless as God has blessed the union of man and wife, instituted by himself, it follows that every other union different from this is by him condemned and accursed. He therefore denounces punishment not only on adulterers, but also on fornicators; for both depart from the holy institution of God. (Calvin’s Commentaries)


As we close this morning, I want to go back to Matthew 19:6 for a moment. The Bible says…

(Matthew 19:6) Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

put asunder – Greek 5563. chorizo, kho-rid'-zo; from G5561; to place room between, i.e. part; reflex. to go away:--depart, separate. It has the idea of dividing.

In my study, I have a framing of my first college degree. It has the certificate and a couple of photos taken on graduation day, and these have been placed in a blue mat set beneath a piece of glass surrounded by an oak frame.

Now the combination of these elements have produced something together that they could never have been separately. And it was my design that brought these elements together in this way, and I don’t want anyone dismantling this framing.

Similarly, God brings a man and a woman together, and as they are joined in marriage, this unit becomes something together that they could never have been separately. And God doesn’t want anyone, the man or the woman or someone outside of their home, to separate or divide this divinely formed unit.

“Let not man put asunder!” That’s what the Bible says about marriage.