What the Bible Says about
Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage

John Coblentz

What Are Biblical Purposes for Marriage?
Pages 6 - 10

1. God arranged marriage for procreation.

"Male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth" (Genesis 1:27, 28).

"Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord" (Psalm 128:3, 4).

God arranged marriage to propagate the human race. The attempts to "safeguard" modern marriages from the experiences of childbearing and child rearing (or severely limiting family size) in the interests of maintaining Western lifestyle have directly and indirectly made many marriages hollow. The pro-sex/anti-children attitude has contributed much to the disintegration of marriage and family life.

2. God ordained marriage to meet some of our most basic human needs.

"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).

"And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).

"She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her" (Proverbs 31:27, 28).

God's purposes for children as the fruit of marriage extend beyond the mere fact of populating the world. People need other people. As marriage takes place in love and commitment according to God's design, homes are established, children are born, and the family becomes the center of social interaction, old and young mingling and relating in the variety of life's activities.

Humans have daily needs for food, clothing, shelter, and rest. On a deeper level, we need love, acceptance, a sense of belonging, encouragement, understanding, and security. God ordained marriage and the home to be a center where these needs are met. Parents provide for their children food, clothes, love, security, etc., and the children provide for their parents opportunities and responsibilities for which manhood and womanhood were made. Husband and wife provide intimate acceptance and love needs in the bonds of marriage. Thus, marriage, home, and family become the setting for growth and maturity from infancy to old age, generation after generation.

3. God planned marriage to establish a stable center of learning from generation to generation.

"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up" (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7).

"We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments" (Psalm 78:4-7).

Children are learners. They need teachers who instruct them in ways of truth and righteousness. God planned that the husband and wife as a teaching/ training team raise their children in His ways for His glory. It takes failure in only one generation for the knowledge of God to be cut off from succeeding generations.

4. God planned marriage to be a picture of the relationship of Christ and the church.

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. . . . This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church" (Ephesians 5:22-25, 32).

God often uses the tangible to illustrate the spiritual. He commanded Moses, for example, to make the tabernacle exactly according to plan in order to faithfully typify the realities of the New Covenant. Even so marriage today must follow God's directions faithfully to typify the spiritual reality of Christ's relationship to the church. This analogy often provides practical guidance in working through problems in marriage.

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