As with most subjects addressed in the Bible, the definition of marriage is not clearly stated. There are contradictory messages about what marriage actually is when I look at the Bible's interpretation of the word. Are you talking about the meaning of marriage in the Old Testament or the New Testament? The meaning evolved between these two large sections of the Bible. In the Old Testament marriage was about a man essentially owning a wife, as in:
(a wife's) dignity and worth as one created in the image of God is subordinated to the needs and desires of men. As chattel, women are often equated with a house or livestock (Dt. 20:5-7), as demonstrated in the last commandment, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, wife, slave, ox or donkey” (Ex. 20:17).
Men could have as many sexual partners as they could afford. The great patriarchs of the faith, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah, had multiple wives and/or concubines, and delighted themselves with the occasional prostitute (Gen. 38:15). King Solomon alone was recorded to have had over 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3).
These references to marriage are all taken from the Old Testament. The New Testament has a different approach. Men and women suddenly became two sinners trying to internally stay true to their faith, but the marriage is not the seen in the same way it was in the Old Testament. The idea of sexuality and sin became more important issues, as described here:
Sexuality is a gospel issue. What we do with our body betrays what we believe about the gospel. We show who we are with what we do with our bodies. This is best seen in 1 Corinthians 6 & 7. Sexual immorality is a sin against the body (6:18-20). It is using the body in a way that violates the gospel by destroying the picture of one flesh union between man and woman which is supposed to point to our one flesh union with Christ.
And the idea of celibacy was introduced in the New Testament. The New Testament breaks with the Old Testament concept of marriage. Which one should you teach your children about? And why should men from 6000 years ago, or even 2000 years ago, define marriage for men and women of today. If the definition of marriage could evolve between Old and New Testament, why can't it evolve again? I live today, not 2000 years ago.
· 6 years ago