Which business supports biblical marriage?

Questions about life

According to the Bible, can unmarried couples live together? When is a couple married?

According to the Bible, can unmarried couples live together?
When is a couple married: After the couple decided to stay together? After the first sexual intercourse? After the civil or church wedding?

In order to clarify these increasingly burning questions in our time, five points of biblical guidelines should be put in front. Here we apply a biblical principle of interpretation, in which the solution to the problem cannot be fixed on a single verse, but only emerges in the context of several basic statements (see interpretative principles A5 and A6 in the appendix, part II):

1. Marriage and gender: God established marriage in his order of creation. It is his will and his good idea: “It is not good that man should be alone; I want to make him an assistant who is around him " (Genesis 2:18). It is laid out as a lifelong community (Matthew 19: 6), which is why, according to the eagle formula, "until death do part". When this God-given community of man and woman began, the Creator said: "That is why a man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, and they will be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). "Being one flesh" means first of all the bodily, sexual community. This short formula, however, includes the whole person and thus also soul and spirit. Two people with different previous life paths find the most intimate community there is. They become one in their feelings and thoughts as well as in spiritual and physical relationship. Sexuality is a gift from God, and according to the biblical view, marital intercourse does not only serve to father children:

"Do not withdraw from one another, at most on the basis of mutual consent for a certain time, in order to devote yourself to prayer undisturbed" (1 Corinthians 7.5; quantity).

“May your spring be blessed that you enjoy the woman of your youth! The lovely deer, the graceful gazelle - may her breasts delight you at all times, in her love always be drunk! "(Proverbs 5: 18-19; quantity).

"Enjoy life with your wife whom you have come to love" (Ecclesiastes 9: 9; quantity).

The Bible shows us the right way to deal with sexuality. It is differentiated from both prudery (Song of Songs 4) and lust (Jeremiah 5: 8); Love and respect are the determining conditions (Colossians 3:19; 1 Peter 3: 7).

2. Marriage and the church as God's foundation: There are many forms of human fellowship in this world, of which marriage and family, church and state (Romans 13: 1-7) are according to the will of God. The church of Jesus Christ and marriage, however, are two special foundations of God and thus, contrary to some opinion, by no means human inventions: Both communities are therefore contested in a godless world (1 Timothy 4: 3; Revelation 2,9). There has been no human culture without marriage since creation. It has never overtaken itself and will survive all times, despite anti-marital trends and despite human misconduct, because it is based on God's care for people. Likewise, according to Jesus' promise, even the gates of hell will never be able to overwhelm the church (Matthew 16:18).

3. Marriage as a parable: The Bible often describes the faith and the relationship between God and man with the most intimate relationship of trust that is conceivable between humans, with marriage. "For as a man loves a woman ... and as a bridegroom rejoices in the bride, so will your God rejoice in you" (Isaiah 62: 5). That is why marriage is also used as a parable (Greek mystery = Mystery) chosen for the relationship of Christ to his community: "... just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it, ... so too should men love their wives" (Ephesians 5,25 + 28). From this analogy, God's Word tells us: "This secret is great!" (Ephesians 5:32). Already from the simile character of marriage for eternal communion with Christ it can be deduced that marriage is a communion for the entire lifetime. Every divorced marriage produces a caricature of the ideas of God and destroys the parable. This is how Jesus' uncompromising attitude to the question of divorce becomes evident (Matthew 19: 6-9).

4. Fornication as a parable: If a marriage led in love and fidelity represents the relationship between God and his people, the Bible consequently describes apostasy from God and the worship of foreign gods and idols as adultery or fornication:

“Have you also seen what apostate Israel is doing? She went up to every high mountain and under every green tree, and there committed fornication. And the land is defiled by the cry of their fornication; because she commits adultery with stone and wood " (Jeremiah 3,6 + 9).

"Because I've seen your adultery, your lust, your cheeky fornication, yes your horrors on hills and in fields" (Jeremiah 13:27).

5. What is fornication? For the two German words Fornication and Fornication there is only one expression in the language of the NT (Greek. porneia), which we find in the word pornography. The word "fornicator" (Greek. porn) is used in the NT on the one hand alongside adulterers and homosexuals (e.g. 1 Corinthians 6: 9) on the other hand as a generic term for each Satisfaction of the sexual instinct outside of the marriage community established by God (e.g. 1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 4,3). These include

- premarital sexual union (Deuteronomy 22:28)

- Intimate fellowship with a woman other than the wife (Leviticus 18:20; Jeremiah 5: 8-9; Matthew 5:32)

- Homosexuality (Genesis 19: 5; Romans 1: 26-27; 1 Timothy 1:10)

- Incest (1 Corinthians 5: 1)

- Offense with the cattle (Leviticus 18:23).

Those who commit fornication (fornication) are under a severe judgment of God:

"Neither the fornicators, nor the idolaters, nor the adulterers, nor the wimp, nor the molesters will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6: 9-10).

"God will judge the fornicators and the adulterers" (Hebrews 13: 4).

"Outside (in damnation) are the ... fornicators and the killers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices lies" (Revelation 22:15).

Conclusions: Based on these biblical foundations, the answers sought are obvious. The coexistence of unmarried couples, like premarital or extramarital sexual intercourse, is to be described as fornication according to the Bible and excludes from the kingdom of God, unless the concerned turn away from this sinful life and turn back (cf.Appendix, Part I , Point 10).

But when is a couple married? With the increasing alienation of our people from the commandments of God, we observe more and more that unmarried couples move in together and live in a "marriage-like" but non-committal relationship. They are still not married, even if some see no difference between their cohabitation and a marriage In point 5 above, we have already stated how God judges such relationships.

From the testimony of the Bible we learn that marriage Not starts with

  • when a couple intends to walk the common path in life: Jacob wanted Rachel to be his wife. When the agreed seven years until the marriage had passed, Jacob said to his father-in-law Laban: "Now give me my bride, because the time has come for me to go to her" (Genesis 29:21). This addressed the gender community. Two things emerge from the context of the text: Jacob did not have sexual intercourse with Rachel before the marriage, and the marriage was valid from the public wedding ceremony.
  • when a couple has had sexual intercourse: If a man had slept with a girl in Israel, he had to marry her and - as was customary at the time - pay the bride price (Deuteronomy 22: 28-29). Intimate relationships were not allowed until the officially closed marriage.

Definition of the beginning of marriage: A marriage is only considered concluded - also before God - when the husband and wife have undergone the official ritual of marriage that is customary in the respective society.

This definition can be traced back to all biblical examples of weddings. Here we find the following biblical principle of interpretation: From a plethora of individual events, what is common to all is extracted as a biblical teaching. This definition is also applicable to every remote tribe with its own rites recognized within this community, as well as to our culture with the establishment of the registry office. In all cases, it is important that the people around you know in a clear and official manner that two people are bound to belong together in a marriage. You are no longer available to others to choose a partner.
When a man looks at a married woman (or a married man at another woman and vice versa) to lust for her (him), he (she) becomes an adulterer according to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:28). Jesus told the woman at Jacob's well that the husband she had was not her husband (John 4:18). Had she been married to him by public marriage, Jesus would not have spoken to her like that.
The Bible nowhere specifies the outward form of marriage, but there is a defined day of the wedding from which man and woman officially belong together. At the time of Abraham this happened differently (Genesis 24.67) than at Samson (seven-day wedding celebration: Judges 14.10-30) or at the time of Jesus (wedding at Cana: John 2.1-11). In the Federal Republic of Germany, only the civil marriage is the form of the beginning of marriage recognized by public law, which, according to the biblically derived definition above, is also considered marriage before God.

From "Questions that are asked again and again" by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Werner Gitt. Christian Literature Distribution (CLV), 33661 Bielefeld. Published here with the kind permission of the publisher.