By Mike Edwards
I think the Bible can become an idol depending on one’s view of the Bible. See here. We are encouraged to have a biblical business, family, life, church, or marriage. But we can’t prove God dictated or controlled the biblical writers’ pens or reeds (I can google) to record God’s thoughts perfectly. The Bible is God’s story beginning with Israel and culminating with the life of Jesus that we don’t possess in any other document, but it is important to read the Bible with a questioning and open spirit. Do we really want biblical marriages?
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 (you guessed it) to the father of the man. Also, there was no Hebrew word for “husband,” or “wife.” These words were added in translations of the Bible later. See here. 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 marriages must less before they could vote!
Then, in the Bible marriage often was not between just one man and one woman
It was a very common marital arrangement in the Old Testament for men to have multiple wives. 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 marriages? My wife would argue one husband is enough of a cross/burden to carry!
In the Bible marriage was more about procreating than romantic love
There is not a Hebrew word for husband, wife, or even marriage. You don’t read of marriage ceremonies or honeymoons. In Hebrew it’s more about the man “taking” the woman. You never of course read a woman taking a man. An example of this is Genesis 29:23 — “he (Laban) took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob made love to her.” It may sound like it but this wasn’t the father giving the daughter for prostitution. One could argue in the Bible the woman was more like property given to the man to have children and build his legacy. If this is your cup of tea, you are reading the wrong blog.
What if a woman’s man dies?
We have laws and stories in the Bible where men were required to impregnate his sister-in-law 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.
Even in the New Testament women had few 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 kind of marriage does God want?
Personally, I don’t want anything to do with biblical marriages. And biblical marriages didn’t happen in churches administered by a preacher-type. The wife and I need a redo. Should we stop this practice? I admit I can’t read God’s mind. But somehow, 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.
Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org