What Establishes a Marriage According to the Bible?

Even though marriage ceremonies today look a lot different from those in biblical times, the nature of what makes a marriage hasn’t changed.



00:01 Is marriage defined by the state or by God? Well, let me tell you.

00:10 Marriage today looks a lot different than marriage in biblical times. Isaac and Rebecca, for

00:15 example, simply entered into a tent and then they were married with no

00:18 certificate or paperwork. So how should Christians define marriage today?

00:22 Well, Christians should define marriage the same way it's been defined by the

00:26 Bible for thousands of years. It's when a man leaves his father and his mother and

00:31 becomes joined to his wife, and the two become one flesh. Marriage then is the

00:36 covenant relationship between a man and a woman before God. And Jesus, in fact,

00:41 also fully endorses this definition. In Matthew 19, He quotes the Genesis account

00:45 of marriage because He believes it's still valid, and then He adds His own

00:49 commentary by saying, "what therefore God has joined together, let no one separate."

00:54 In other words, Jesus believes marriage is a God-ordained institution. And so

01:00 when Isaac and Rebecca got married, they made a commitment to each other that's

01:03 recorded in Genesis 24. And when the Bible says "Isaac brought Rebecca into

01:08 the tent" well, this is just a reference to them consummating their marriage. Now,

01:12 it's true, there is no mention of a certificate or paperwork. They never even

01:17 went to a courthouse. Why? Well, because marriage is an institution of God, not

01:22 the invention of the state. And that's why no legal documents are needed. In

01:27 fact, when I got married (to the most glorious woman, by the way), we exchanged

01:32 our vows in front of our pastor and before our friends and family. Most

01:36 importantly, we made our commitment to each other before God. Now sometime later

01:41 that day, my wife and I filled out the necessary paperwork to register our

01:45 marriage with the state. But that subsequent certificate we got from the

01:49 government did not make us any more married than when we exchanged our vows

01:53 before God. Our marriage began at the church, not later when the courthouse

01:58 stamped our certificate. Marriage, as you can see, is a pre-political institution.

02:04 It existed long before the state existed. And all that recent governments have

02:09 done is created legal protections and privileges that provide the married

02:13 couple with some benefits. Now, but the state though, did not create marriages.

02:17 And that, by the way, is why the state should not redefine marriage. Marriage is

02:22 a God-ordained institution, not a government-ordained institution.


video |
Alan Shlemon