New Testament Marriage —

Wedding-Cake-Top

Dispensations

There are things that God has not told us. That is no surprise, because it would be impossible for us to learn the vast depth and expanse of all wisdom, even if God told us all of it. Yet, each one of us is responsible for the wisdom that we have been told.

The Bible clearly teaches of certain truths that had not been revealed earlier. God has given added revelation throughout history and the final dispensation was given at the time of Jesus, as confirmed by His Twelve Apostles.

The patriarchs had not been given as much revelation as we have today. That also gives us a higher responsibility. They were not held to this standard before because it had not been revealed before.

Clarity of Scripture

The Holy Bible is our source of Truth. God wants us to know the Truth. Yes, it will require study. Yes, we can study the Scripture for a lifetime and still find deeper and broader understanding. Yet, we are responsible for doing what is right, so God will help us understand well enough to do right.

Satan’s first attack is against the authority, and clarity, of God’s Word.

Genesis 3:1 “Yea, hath God said?”

Marriage

This is an institution of God that was ordained on day six of creation, when Adam and Eve were created. Marriage is defined by God as one man and one woman becoming one flesh for life. This couple does not end until death parts them. Though it was established from the beginning, it was not confirmed until the dispensation of the new testament. Some people had figured this out before Jesus explained it, so they were able to benefit from the blessing of living their lives according to God’s design.

The biblical term “help meet” explicitly indicates that one wife is sufficient. In all of God’s creation, no animal exists that could fit this degree of helpfulness. As helpful as a horse is, or an ox, or a dog, etc., “help meet” does not apply to any of them. This same Hebrew word is used to describe the help we get from God. There is no way such help could be considered insufficient. We need to be content with what God has provided.

Jesus expected that anyone should be able to see, from Genesis, that God designed marriage for one man and one woman. When Jesus pointed this out, He was exhorting us to a standard that was established from the beginning of creation. Those who lived in accord with this design received a blessing, and those who did not, suffered the consequences.

It seems quite clear, from the below verses, that the intent, plan, design, and expectation is that this would be done once, rather than repeatedly.

Ephesians 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Thou shalt not commit adultery

We have a new dispensation regarding marriage. Jesus said it was designed this way all along, but He was now making the picture complete for those who did not already understand. He said that Adam and Eve were the true model for God’s design in marriage. One man and one woman to become one flesh as long as they both shall live.

Fornication is the general term for sexual sin, and adultery is a form of fornication that is specifically denoting involvement by someone who is married.

When a married man is longing after another woman, that is a form of adultery. We need to be faithful to our spouse both in action and in thought. We are being sinfully unthankful to God for the spouse that He has given us, when we long for someone else.

Jesus has one bride

Highlights below: The plural for wife is only used when the plural for husband is also used. In other words, there is a group of husbands, and their wives. But when the singular for the man or husband is used, the singular for the wife is always used. This aligns with the singular form of the word when the church is mentioned as the bride of Christ.

Revelation 21:9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.

Ephesians 5:22-33
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 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.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
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.

Elders and Deacons

Paul understood this requirement, thus the reason for its inclusion in the qualifications for deacons and elders.

1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

1 Timothy 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

Titus 1:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

Each elder, and each deacon, has the requirement to be the husband of one wife. If this was ambiguous, it could mean:

  1. No more than one wife, OR
  2. Exactly one wife, OR
  3. No less than one wife.

It is pointless for this requirement to be included in Scripture, if there is no way for us to know which of the three options is the correct meaning. In other words, this requirement is not ambiguous.

  • Considering the teachings of the New Testament, there is no doubt that the requirement is to have exactly one wife.
  • Considering the context of the passage, there is no doubt that the requirement is to have exactly one wife.
  • Considering the structure of language, there is no doubt that the requirement is to have exactly one wife. The question is asked, “Do you have one wife?” If a man has exactly one wife, only then can he answer, “Yes.” If a man has two wives, then answering, “Yes” would be a lie.

The fact that a man is disqualified as an elder or deacon, if he has more than one wife, makes the doctrine even more clear.

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