Did You Know The Bible Says Nothing About Marriage?

Done with Religion
4 min readMay 29, 2024

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By Mike Edwards

There is no word for “husband” or “wife” in Hebrew (the older testament). There is also no word for marriage (pairing up) in Hebrew. The English Bible should more accurately use “to take” rather than using the word “marriage.” I will let you decide in a patriarchal society which gender is taking who. In the older testament, the man didn’t marry but took the women. Even the Greek (newer testament) didn’t have a word for husband or wife. We must be careful what we assume a biblical marriage is when biblical writers had no such concept of the marriage institution as we know it. Please see Jennifer Bird Marriage In The Bible for many of the insights below.

In the Bible marriage was between two men

In the Bible marriage was typically a contract between two men — the father of the man and the father of the woman. A payment was often made by the father of the woman to the father of the man. In a patriarchal culture a woman was basically viewed as property — first to her father and then to the man given to by the father. Was this really God’s ideal? I’m not a woman, but I doubt women want to go back to biblical pairings. The women in the Bible seem given to the man to have children and build his legacy. Men, if this is your cup of tea, you are reading the wrong blog!

In the Bible marriage (pairing) often was not between just one man and one woman

It was a very common arrangement in the OT for men to have multiple women. Most are familiar with the stories of two supposed spiritual giants in the Old Testament — Kings David and Solomon. Who hasn’t heard David was a man after God’s own heart. Not always the God I know! Solomon had hundreds of women at his disposal. Polygamy was never condemned in the Bible. Do we really want to go back to biblical pairings? My wife would argue one man is enough of a cross/burden to carry!

In the Bible relationships weren’t based on mutual respect and love

We have laws in the Bible, supposedly advocated by God, where men were required to impregnate their brother’s woman if her man died. (Deut. 25:5) I don’t read where the woman has any say so in the matter, in case she didn’t want to have a child with her “brother-in-law.” My wife’s sisters probably feel the same way. Then in Deut. 22:13–21 God supposedly advocates a woman being forced to stay with a man who lied about her virginity. Again, the woman had no say so. Biblical relationships were hardly built on mutual respect and love. Times have changed hopefully?

Newer Testament didn’t exactly advocate for more women rights

It doesn’t seem much changed from OT times to when Jesus lived. When Jesus advised that a man could only divorce a woman for adulterous reasons, the disciples said “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” (Mt. 19:9–10) They seemed to think marriage is about men’s rights. Also, though Jesus didn’t exactly say so, you mean to tell me Jesus didn’t think women could divorce for the same reason? This passage has multiple interpretations, so we are free to speculate what an ideal marriage is in God’s eyes.

What about gay marriages?

If the Bible doesn’t speak about heterosexual marriages based on mutual and respect, it can’t possibly report on gay relationships based on mutual respect and love. We Must Rethink The Bible When It Comes To Gays!

What kind of marriage does God want?

Personally, I don’t want anything to do with biblical pairings (marriages). And biblical marriages didn’t happen in churches administered by a preacher-type. Do my partner and I need a redo to have a godly marriage? I admit I can’t read God’s mind, but I know how I ought to treat others especially women. I don’t want any father telling a woman who she must marry for money. I certainly don’t want my parents telling me who to marry. They struck out. I have been married 41 years with three great kids. Turns out she is the saint, not their beloved son. Read the Bible for possible wisdom, but seek to have a godly marriage instead of a biblical marriage.

Did You Know The Bible Says Nothing About Marriage?

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. He couldn’t find enough people to discuss God openly so he started blogging years ago. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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Done with Religion

Done with religion does not mean done with God, but done with religious traditions. We post articles weekly about living for God outside the walls of religion.