And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Sunday, January 27, 2013



Recently I presented a paper in my DMin class on what the Bible teaches about order in the marriage partnership.  This paper sought to define terms, exposit pertinent scriptures, and provide practical application. It also sought to make the reader aware of how some well intended Christian teachers have complicated the issue.  Thus, in a hopes that what I have found and written will benefit you,I am presenting this paper over the next several posts.  Should you have questions or comments, you may send them to

When it comes to defining the model wife, no scripture is more cited than Proverbs 31.  King Lemuel begins by describing an excellent wife.  The Hebrew word for excellence, hayil, carries the idea of strength and influence.  Throughout the chapter the King describes various aspects of a wife who is to be a treasure. This must be understood in the context that many women in that day were treated as chattel.  Yet within the culture of the people of God, a partner wife was greatly desired.  Here we hear the praises of one who fulfills the role of managing the home.

            This passage is a wonderful acrostic.  The woman has many facets of character.  Yet, it should not be expected that this is some type of super woman.  However, with character and a respect for her mate being central, we do see several virtues that run the course of her life.  The excellent wife is trusted by her husband; enjoys working with the needs of her family; and is diligent in caring for the needs of her home and children; she is wise with money in her considerations and purchases; she exhibits strength and dignity as she looks to the future and not the mere moment; and she fears the Lord.  Her husband is seen in the center of this passage.  It is here we find that he is regarded in the city gate, which is the place of respect.  His success is largely based upon the person of his mate.

Matthew 19:14-16 gives us many further insights as to God’s ordered intention for marriage.  This passage illustrates the mind of God regarding marriage and divorce.  The doctrine of a marriage being one flesh is bound in the idea of marital covenant.  God has joined people in this covenant as it brings Him glory.  To rend asunder a marriage is possible, but it goes against the intent of God.  Malachi emphasizes this truth when he writes “I hate divorce.” 

             “Marriage is not an indissoluble, mystical union; it is a covenant that, tragically, can, but ought not to be, violated.”[i]  Divorce is so vile to the covenant bond it is proportionate to the idea of tearing flesh apart. 

            The apostle Paul addresses sexual oneness in 1 Corinthians 7:1-9.  It is taught here that sex is to be a healthy component of love and protection. It is understood that sexual union maintains the bonds of unity and aids in overcoming temptation.  Each partner, in God honoring sex, gives of oneself to the other.

            No look at biblical marriage should ever overlook Ephesians 5.  The framework of the chapter begins with an admonition to be imitators of God.  It further forbids immorality, and instructs how one is to walk in the light of Christ.  The nature of Christians is to so abide in Christ and abstain from the world, that they naturally greet one another with “Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.”   It is in this context that advice is given on marriage, beginning with; “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”(Eph 5:22)

            As discussed above, the idea of a woman being subject to her own husband is often a point of dismissal for those who oppose the Bible.  Yet in the truth of God’s design for marital order, this being subject to, is a redemptive and protective design.  Verse 32 of the chapter clarifies how this is an illustration of Christ loving the church, and therefore the submission of the wife is provided not only application but validation. The order of the wife and husband’s relationship is consummate to the church abiding in Christ.  When the church abides it is nurtured and flourishes.  Without this abiding it can never bear fruit.  Therefore wives, in submission to husbands, will naturally benefit from this ordered relationship.  Husbands, as seen in verses 28 and 29, likewise will damage himself significantly if he does not love his mate, and vice versa.  Stated in another way, for a husband to not provide the love commanded unto his wife is to harm both parties of the marriage directly.  Given enough time, this lack of love axiom explains the atrophy that so many marriages suffer when either party fails at the ordered role.

[i] Ibid, 59.

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