Home   e-Library       中文 
e-Library Home |  Browse By Category |  Study the Bible    
 (Manna 18)
To Marry In The Lord
TOC | Previous | Next

To Marry In The Lord

Marriage is a union between a man and a woman, a source of begetting off-springs. If the bond of marriage is terminated in the world then the order of man’s life will be destroyed. Other than the people who live in the heavenly kingdom do not get married, marriage remains a top priority to be solved by man.

The Institution of Marriage

When God had created everything on the earth, including the first man. Adam, He allowed Adam to have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over everything that moves upon the earth. Later, God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone. Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should he alone; I will make a helper fit for him.” So God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and took a rib bone from him and made a woman called Eve. God brought Eve before Adam. Adam was delighted and said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh ... Therefore, a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:18-24). This records the first and foremost marriage of mankind. By studying it carefully we can find the following teachings:

1.      The marriage was instituted by God

It was out of God’s mercy and not out of the request made by Adam.

2.      The system of monogamy:

God did not create two women or two men (Mal ).

3.      The relationship between husband and wife is very intimate:

They are of one body and two become one.

4.      Marriage between husband and wife for purposes of helping each other:

God made Eve so that Adam will have a helper to administrate the earth.

5.      Unless one is endowed with the special gift it is not good to remain single (Mt ; 1 Cor 7:7). One should lawfully be married.

6.      Husband and wife should love each other:

As told in the Bible, “bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh”.

7.      The woman was made for the man and not the man for the woman:

Generally, a woman is weaker than a man and so as a man, he should show love and concern for the woman who is weaker.

Parents’ Responsibility Towards Their Children’s Marriage

Since the first marriage was instituted by God, that is after God had created Eve, He brought Eve before Adam indicating that our heavenly Father has concern for His children. As parents, we should be concerned over our children’s marriage. But as children they should emulate Adam and Eve when they were in the Garden of Eden, to obey the heavenly Father as obedient children, and not to go for free courtship. For when Eve was created God did not encourage Adam to go and woo Eve nor did Eve go to Adam by showing him her love. But it was God Himself who had brought Eve before Adam and so the two were married (Gen ).

Apart from the marriage of Adam and Eve mentioned in the Bible, there are two other marriages which were also being mentioned vividly. First, the marriage of Isaac and then the marriage of Jacob; each representing its own type which is extracted as follows for our reference.

1)   The marriage of Isaac

“Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years: and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his house, who had charge of all that he had, ‘Put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, hut will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” After the old servant had sworn to his master, he went to the city of Nahor, praying in his heart by asking God to accomplish the great errand that his master had entrusted him to do. He prayed, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, grant me success today ...” In the end God accepted the faith of Abraham, granted the request of the old servant by allowing him to meet Rebecca. Rebecca’s father, Bethuel, had consented the proposal but would not decide for himself and so he had to seek the opinion of his daughter, Rebecca, saying, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will go.” Then the old servant took Rebecca to Abraham’s house. Isaac obeyed the will of God and submitted to his father. He brought Rebecca into the tent of his mother arid married her.

From the above marriage, we may derive the following teachings:

a)   The parents of Isaac wanted their son to marry within their kindred. “My kindred” denotes the house of God or the church.

b)   The old servant (Gen 24:4) denotes the ministers of the church. They are entrusted by God to see that the believers married within the Lord.

c)   The old servant had carried out the duty faithfully by first seeking the will of the Lord (Gen 24:12) and not his own will. Then he took a long journey in order to get to the country where the kindred of Abraham are (Gen 24: 10) without murmuring a word.

d)   Bethuel, as a father, did not force the issue through but was kind enough to seek the opinion of his daughter if she was willing to go with the man (58).

e)   Abraham sent his old servant to seek a wife for his son with only one condition, that is, that the girl must come from his country and his kindred. As for Bethuel, he wanted God to fulfill His will and so he did not say yes or no (50).

f)   Concerning the beauty of Rebecca and the wealth of Isaac, all these were God given. Neither of them had actually asked for it.

g)   Despite Rebecca having only seen Isaac once and after which they were supposedly engaged, yet she did not reveal her emotion as a fiancée but instead took the veil and covered herself (65).

2)   The marriage of Jacob

Rebecca gave birth to two sons. Esau and Jacob. Esau despised the status of his birth-right, even so he had also despised the will of the Lord. When Esau was forty years old, he took to wife Judith, the daughter of Beeri, the Hittite, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon, the Hittite and they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebecca. And so when Rebecca saw that the belief of her two daughters-in-law was different she said sadly to Isaac, “I am weary of my life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women such as these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?” (Gen 27:46). Isaac, too, was worried that Jacob might also marry a Hittite woman and so he sent for Jacob and charged him not to marry a Hittite saying. “You shall not marry one of the Canaanite women. Arise, go to Paddan-Aram to the house of Bethuel, your mother’s lather arid take as wife from there one of the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother” (Gen 28:1-2). Later, when Esau learned that his father, Isaac, was not pleased of him marrying a gentile woman, he went to Ishmael and took to wife, besides the wives he had, Mahalath, the daughter of Ishmael. To Esau, Mahalath was the kindred of his father, but actually she was the offspring of the gentile. Similarly, today, there are members of the church who marry members of other churches by thinking that they are also children of God, when in fact they are not. They are but children of the flesh and not children of promise (Rom 9:7,8). As members of the True Church, we should take note of this. Although Isaac was not responsible for Jacob’s marriage because the latter had to escape from Esau’s revenge, but before he escaped to Laban’s house, Isaac did not spare the chance to exhort him not to marry a gentile woman.

From Jacob’s marriage we can derive at the following teachings:

a)   Jacob stayed in his uncle’s house as a refugee. He had entrusted his marriage to God. He did not ask for the hands of Laban’s daughter before Laban made a deal with Jacob (29:15-18).

b)   The good thing about Laban was that he did not measure Jacob based on his position and wealth. It was possible that Jacob did not have much money when he escaped to Laban’s house.

c)   The bad thing about Laban was that he had lied to Jacob by first marrying his daughter Leah to Jacob on account of practising their tradition. As a result, Jacob did not show affection to Leah throughout their entire marriage life (29:30-32).

d)   Jacob by obeying his father’s instructions left him no choice but to marry his uncle’s daughter. Even though he was deceived by his uncle, Laban, in marrying Leah whom he had no love for on account that Leah’s eyes were weak he had not forgotten the beauty of Rachel. Jacob had deep affection for Rachel because she was beautiful but little realizing that she was a barren woman (30:1).

e)   By right, Jacob should love Leah after marrying her and he should give up the idea of marrying Rachel so as to avoid the quarrel between Leah and Rachel later on (30:15).

We can see from the above that the parents of both Isaac and Jacob had played an important role in their marriage, and more importantly, the old servant (the church) who had done his best. Therefore, as parents, we should be concerned over our children’s marriage and to learn the good example of Abraham. As children, Isaac’s marriage is worthy of our emulation. Whereas the marriage of Samson during the period of Judges may well serve as admonition to young Christians today. Samson had no regard for his parents’ advice by taking a Philistine woman to be his wife (Judg 14:1-3). When he came back from the war to his disappointment he found that his wife had gone to another man. Then Samson took a harlot, Delilah, to be his wife and eventually his two eyes were gouged out and he perished together with the Philistines (Judg 16).

How To Choose A Partner

As husband and wife are to live together, to be life partners and to go on a pilgrimage to heaven, it is vital that they should be careful in choosing a life partner. However, it is difficult to fix a standard or a marriage pattern for every one to follow, since each one has his or her own view points. But generally there is a common requirement for two, both the brother and the sister, to follow, ie, they must marry within the Lord. It goes beyond doubt that influence brought about by a wife to a husband and vice versa can be very great. For example, the eternal condemnation Adam received by taking the forbidden fruit, the destruction of Esau by marrying gentile women, the destruction of Solomon by marrying Pharaoh’s daughter and other gentile women and Samson, the Nazirite, once consecrated to the Lord, was killed by marrying a Philistine woman. This also happens in our present church community. There are brothers as well as sisters who had suffered untold miseries on account of their marrying to the unbelievers. Perhaps some one may say that Paul ever spoke to the church in Corinth. “To the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband…” (1 Cor -14). Here, Paul was clearly instructing those believers who were already married to the unbelieving spouses to influence them to believe the Lord lest they should break up their families. It is in no way that Paul was indicating that he gives the consent to marry the gentiles. Paul even advocated that a widow should marry only in the Lord (I Cor ), what more of the first marriage?

Perhaps some one may be so naive to say that we marry the non-believers out of common interest and mutual consent. In future, we can move our spouse to believe in the Lord. This is too great a risk to gamble with. Who knows, you yourself may be influenced by your spouses’ unbelief? Besides, the Bible says, “Do not be mismated with unbelievers (2 Cor ). This is the greatest difference between the spiritual and the unspiritual. With regard to conversion through marriage, the one media of evangelism our church does not advocate is due to the fact that risk bearing is too great. Surely, the Lord has many other ways open to us in preaching the gospel. Before the Israelites took possession of the promised land. God told them to clear the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Ammonites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites; altogether seven nations. The Israelites were also told not to make marriage with them (Deut 7: 1-7). But afterwards, the Israelites had forgotten the words of God. In the period of Judges, Samson had violated the ordinance of God by marrying the gentile women. During the period of the Kings, Solomon loved and married many foreign women: they were the daughter of Pharaoh, the Moabites, the Ammorites, the Edomites, the Sidonians and the Hittites (1 Kgs 11:1-8). The foreign women led King Solomon into apostasy. God’s wrath was kindled against Solomon and so his kingdom was torn down and his people suffered untold miseries for many generations. Until the Persian king, King Cyrus came into power, when Ezra. Neheniiah and Zerubabel revived the Israeli nation. Nehemiah admonished the people, saying, “Did not Solomon, king of Israel, sin on account of such women?” (Neh 13:27). Nehemiah contended with them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair and made them swear in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves (Neh ). Nehemiah also chased out the Horonite, the son-in-law of Sanballat, and threw all the household furniture of Tohiah out of the chamber, than only the Israeli nation was thoroughly revived. From the above we can understand that by marrying the gentile not only we ourselves will suffer losses but can also bring hardship to the church.

When considering the choice of a wife in the Lord, Lemuel, King of Massa has the following to say,

“A good wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchants,
she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and tasks for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she
plants a vineyard.
She girds her loins with strength
and makes her aims strong.
She perceives that her merchandise
is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night
She opens her mouth with wisdom
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and called her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
‘Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.’
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord
is to be praised.” (Prov 31:10-30)

From the above passage of the Bible we are told that a virtuous woman has the following qualities

1.      She is God fearing

2.      She is not vain

3.      She has wisdom and is gracious

4.      She is cheerful and lovable

5.      She can do the house chore very well

6.      She is generous to the poor and the needy

7.      She is entrusted by her husband so that he lacks nothing

8.      She clothes herself with strength and dignity

9.      She receives praises from her husband and her children

10.  She rises early in the morning and is diligent in her work

Indeed, a virtuous woman is far more precious than jewels. So in choosing a wife one should not he attracted by her beauty, knowledge, status, dowries, etc. Since no one is perfect, it is not easy to find a worthy woman. However, if we were to rely on God, we shall be able to achieve our objective as everything is determined by God, including marriage which is joined together by Him. Please read this verse, “House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord” (Prov ).

Now we turn to the question of a sister who wants to marry in the Lord. Generally, it is more difficult for a sister, to find a life partner in the church, for her scope of activity in the church is rather small, especially those who are shy to mix around. Therefore, the church and the parents should pay more attention to such sisters. With regard to the conditions of choosing a husband, generally, people of the world would look for the wealthy and the educated. Of course, it is nothing wrong for a girl to look for such a candidate. After all, who does not want to live a good life? But a spiritually enriched life is far more important than many splendors of physical life. This is particularly true to one who is religious and who wants to live a triumphant religious life.

As a sister in Christ, when choosing a life partner, she should set her mind base on the teachings of the Bible. She must see to it that the brethren she chooses to marry is Faithful. Then she must see if he is compassionate. Will he give a ready hand to help others whom he does not know. If he is compassionate, even though he may not be able to provide her with a luxurious living, yet the care, attention, and consolation given to her are far better than material comfort. Rebecca married Isaac not for wealth but because Isaac was from her own tribe and also by obeying the will of God. So as long as we can be firm in our faith and in everything rely on God, God will surely fulfill His beautiful will.

From Engagement To Marriage

It is a customary practice for a couple to get themselves engaged before proceeding to solemnize their marriage. There are similar recordings in the Bible, “... when his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together ...” (Mt ). Paul wrote in his second epistle to the Corinthians also said, “... for 1 betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband” (2 Cor 11:2). Again, in the case of Abraham who had sent his old servant to the house of Bethuel. After the old servant had explained himself, with the consent of Bethuel, he brought forth jewelry of silver and gold and ointment and also costly ornaments to Rebecca’s household as token of engagement between Rebecca and Isaac. Later, Isaac brought Rebecca into his mother’s tent and married her.

Normally, there is a passage of time set aside for preparation after engagement. It can be anything from six months to three years. In the case of Jacob and Rachel they had waited for 14 years. But it was unscrupulous on the part of Laban. It would be ideal to marry within 18 months after engagement. After the engagement both parties must keep their promise. Unless one of the parties is proven to have committed grave crimes they should not nullify the engagement. In order to avoid the arousing of passion it is advisable to keep a distance between the betrothed. In this regard, Paul has this to say, “It is well for a man not to touch a woman” (1 Cor 7: 1).

Concerning the Unmarried

If one wishes to remain unmarried, Paul has this to say, “I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has special gift from God, one of one kind, and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passions” (1 Cor 7:7-9). In the same chapter, Paul said again, “Now concerning the unmarried, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. I think that in view of the present distress it is well for a person to remain as he is ... If any one thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to he, let him do as he wishes: let them marry ... it is no sin. But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. So that he who marries his betrothed does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better” (1 Cor -38).

From the above passage of the Bible, we can understand that to remain single is a gift from God. Not every one can do it. To those who have the gift of God to remain single so that the can devote their full attention to serving God, of course, it is good but to those who do not have such a gift, and in order to avoid immorality, Paul advocated that each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband and to those who cannot exercise self—control, they should marry lest they be aflamed with passion. Therefore, we should accomplish the will of God according to the gifts given to us.

The Relationship And Obligation Between A Married Couple

There are people who say that the relationship between a husband and a wife has changed with the passage of time. For example, in ancient times, man enjoyed greater honour than woman. In today’s context, women rank equal with men. But is this really true? Please read Genesis 2:24. “Therefore, a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” This verse speaks well that the relationship between a husband and a wife will never change. The Lord Jesus also said, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and he joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” When the Lord said, “one flesh” it means that there is no distinction in status between the two. For God did not create another human out of the dust but He had created Eve out of the rib of Adam. What appears to be of two persons but in reality the two had become one. So the husband and the wife are considered as one person.

With regard to the obligation of a married couple Paul said, “Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself’ (Eph ). This kind of love is not an ordinary one. Paul mentioned it to denote the love between the Saviour and the church. Paul has said it rather aptly. He elaborated further by saying, “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, ... Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself up for her” (Eph 5:22-25). The obligation is reciprocal. When two are married they should have concern for each other. Their wealth should not be divided, their enterprises should not be divided, their children should not be divided. Instead, they should help each other. “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song 6:3). The Bible stresses further that a married couple should give each other conjugal rights such that, “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not rule her own body, but the husband does; likewise, the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wile does. Do not refuse one another except perhaps by agreement for a season, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, lest Satan tempt you through lack of self-control” (1 Cor 7:3-5).

Can Believers Divorce?

The Pharisees asked Jesus. “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” Then Jesus replied saying, “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery”(Mt 19:7-9). Both Peter and Paul had encouraged believers to win over their unbelieving spouses by their good conduct. They did not encourage them to divorce (1 Pet 3:1; 1 Cor 7:15, 16).

Therefore, we can understand from here concerning the unbelieving partner if he or she desires to separate let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. But since a brother or a sister is married to an unbelieving partner it is the duty to bring his or her spouse to believe the Lord. With regard to unchastity it is the only possible reason for one to divorce. Paul said. “The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord…. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do YOU not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her?” (1 Cor -16). Essentially, there is a difference between adultery and one who continues to live with an unbelieving spouse. For there is still a chance for the unbelieving spouse to come to believe in the Lord, whereas a believing brother who commits mortal sins there is no way we can exhort him to repent (Heb 6:6).

Can Believers Remarry?

The question of remarrying refers to two different categories of believers: one who has lost his/her spouse, the other, a divorcee.

To the widow, Paul has this to say, “A wife is bound to her husband as long as she lives. If the husband dies, she is to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord” and “To the unmarried and widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflamed with passion” (1 Cor ; 8, 9). We know then, to a widow or a widower who can exercise self-control it is good, otherwise it is best that they marry again. To a divorcee:

1.      If a husband or a wife was found to have committed adultery and that he or she has been excommunicated by the church authorities, then the remaining brother or she can marry again but must marry in the Lord.

2.      A wife must not separate from her husband, if she has left him then she cannot marry again but she can reconcile with him if both parties are agreeable (1 Cor , 11).


Marriage is an important matter to one’s life. So, we should be very careful in choosing a life partner. It is vital to marry in the Lord for we know that two cannot be “yoke together” unless they come from the same faith. Since the church does not advocate divorce as we are taught in the Bible, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” (Mk 10:9), we should not be influenced by the people of the world. Instead, we should consecrate ourselves as children of God (2 Cor ). Bearing this in mind immorality is the root of evil. For the sake of our belief, our eternal life, our home and children, even for our church, we should come out from the corrupted world and to keep ourselves undefiled.



PDF Download