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Taking Our Churches Back

This Blog is primarily a response to the question, ” HOW CAN WE KEEP THEM THERE ONCE WE GET THEM THERE!!!???”

The short answer is, “…by feeding their passion“. But to understand what that means and know how to do it, will take time for all of us. And it will take all of us working together filled with the Holy Spirit for it to work; we can’t do it without each other and we definitely can’t do it without the Holy Spirit.

 

The first thing we have to do is identify the problem before discussion a resolution. There are MANY problems but I personally feel they can all be summed up in one statement: Our churches have been hijacked.

 

The Body of Christ is the most powerful force on this planet because it has been empowered by the Holy Spirit of the Creator and Savior.  Naturally, that makes us the most important target of anything in this world that is not of God. We have innumerable enemies cunningly working against us and by and large in this country they have succeeded until now. Most of us probably don’t know it. That is no accident. But the purpose of this document is not to discuss how we are losing our place in the world. This document is all about how we are going to take it back.

 

Taking our Church Back via Social Media: 

 

The internet caused the largest and fastest social change in our history since the resurrection of the Christ.  While most of us have been impacted in the way we live our lives by this technology, we are only reaching part of the distance to the radical new possibilities this technology will create (and the concerns that we need to look out for).  The internet has become a tool that allows all mankind to communicate with each other regardless of location.  This powerful communication tool is becoming the primary way we receive information.  This information, unlike that from most pulpits or news outlets, is not controlled or altered by large moneyed institutional interests.  As a result, there is an increasing level of information and transparency. While this power to share information is increasingly obvious, it differs from the old ways in two fundamental ways:

 

 First, this communication form is bi-directional, allowing communication between anyone on the internet and anyone else instead of going to sit in a pew and listening to whatever is told to us or sitting in front of the television/ radio.  The second difference is built on the first; the internet is inherently about communities of people with common interests not unlike ‘church’ groups.  The internet can facilitate for the first time in history relationships with minute by minute dialogue without the need for physical interaction, although I am not suggesting we replace physical interaction. Rather we are supplementing it!

 

It is our responsibility and privilege as Christians to minister to souls in need. Not only to give them the Gospel, but to also introduce them to the Holy Spirit that will teach them how to live a better life and make better decisions; to manage their money and their families. By and large the Church is ignoring this medium and the opportunities to do Kingdom work more efficiently are passing them by. Simply put, all we need to do is MINISTER to the Christ’s followers and MENTOR them into leaders.  That is our mission.

 

Turning Millions of Christ’s Followers into Leaders

 

The Mission

I will summarize the premise of this Mission approach here because it is essential to defining our Unity in the Spirit while using the internet and mobile media.  A great Mission is successful because it has a large number of passionate “Followers” which ultimately become the Mission’s ‘Leaders’ or evangelists. I certainly understand that most of this is defined in the Bible in regard to our mission as Christians.

 

What I am proposing here is ideas that are NOT laid out in the Bible but are directly related to what the Christ told us to do. There is no mention in the Bible on how to specifically use today’s technologies.  So these are my personal thoughts based on my deep understanding both of what the Bible says  and how these technologies work and can be used for communication.

 

As REAL Christians with a mission, we have four basic goals::

              1.     Create more informed Followers;

              2.     Feed the passion of existing Followers;

              3.     Turn Followers into LEADERS;

              4.     Unite LEADERS who are intentionally divided!

 

Our mission is very different than trying to sell a product but some ideas cross over from the business world to the soul-nurturing.  This Mission recognizes that the ‘sale of the ‘product’ (Truth in Love that brings Salvation) is the result of having passionate ‘Followers’ who act and have the same objectives which are outlined in the Bible. Passionate Followers, (if we feed their passion regularly) will follow Christ for a lifetime and many will become leaders in the cause of Freedom and Truth in Obedience. This is a huge paradigm shift. But it is nothing more than what Jesus said to Peter:

 

John 21:15  So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

Joh 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Joh 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

 Joh 21:19  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, “Follow me.”

 

But let me briefly define another meaning of “Follower” to those who may not be familiar with Social Media. A Follower is someone who expresses interest; clicks on a button because they want to be notified if any new information or material is available. It is someone who has asked for or given their permission in receiving tweets, or videos, emails, or Event Invitations, etc. It is NOT in any way shape or form to be compared to a religious following, or subscription to any belief system, doctrine, or statement of ‘faith’. 

Social and mobile media allow us to deepen the bond between the Follower and the Mission.  But remember there is a thin line here, because while it is indeed our missions, our callings, our purposes etc. it is ultimately the Will of God not the will of us. It is the work we share with the Holy Spirit in us to get out the message of Him Who sent us. While pulpits efficiently distribute information and entertainment content, it is impersonal and not always true.  People do not have a relationship with a ‘preacher’, televangelist, a writer, or a guy on the big screen. But it is a personal relationship that is at the heart of a Follower- a personal Relationship through the Holy Spirit.

Most activists, preachers and politicians treat the internet like a mainstream medium, which potentially goes to anyone.  They are simply trying to connect with as many ‘listeners’ as possible hoping to sway, or to entertain them with no thought of secondary communication. Perhaps it is just the gift of evangelism at work/ fault here. I know that based on my certain gifts I naturally ignore certain things outside of my perview.  But we need to GROW past this primary form of communication and concentrate as much if not MORE on the secondary.

The goal then of secondary communications with Followers is to deepen the relationship with them, and inform them.  So we need to understand the Followers and their needs.  We also want to grow the number of Followers but NOT for the simple desire of growing the number of Followers. If we grow our numbers faster than our ability to equip them then we are defeating the purpose.   We want to understand people who have interests common to our already established Followers and empower and educate them to be filled with the Spirit so they are doing the work God has set before them!  For Freedom loving Christians this is very easy. EVERYONE on this planet except for about 1% of its inhabitants want to be Followers- there are just some of them that don’t know it yet.

Our job as ‘Kingdom Warriors’ is partly about numbers, true. But not impersonally and not separated from Spiritual growth.  The numbers we should focus on are 1. The number of Followers we know that need Spiritual Guidance and 2. The number of Followers we can add through the work of the Holy Spirit who need salvation.  Followers do not become Followers because they saw a sermon or DVD or a couple YouTube videos. Becoming a Follower is a process over a period of time which is different for different people. Today’s social media tools allow us to help with the process of relationship deepening in ways that were not previously available over the internet. The beautiful thing about true leadership is that it is a gift- we really don’t have to do any of the work there. God does all the work and we just have to be willing vessels for the Holy Spirit.

Also with the internet and social media we have a plethora of Truth we can share in 2 seconds. Your first reaction may be, how can I get this information?  How do I know where to look?  It is a huge world wide web of links and our time is limited.  One aspect of the emerging technologies is aggregation; the ability to combine or ‘roll up’ all of our ideas a a single or fewer locations.  Many of these ideas and other Followers have one or more web sites, social media sites, etc. that are already putting out information and truth in different forms and already have followers themselves. We just need to ‘poke them’, introduce them our tribe if you will. That has been my primary behind-the-scenes role for the last 4 years. I have been connecting the Leaders to each other.

But sometimes they become bogged down in their day to day processes and slowly become unknowingly arrogant.  They not only do not ask all the right questions, but simply stop asking questions at all because they feel their information is all they need to succeed because they forget to listen to the Holy Spirit.  But the key to growth and Truth dissemination is change which is directed by asking the right questions and utilizing available technologies always willing and able to drop the status quo and be open for the Holy Spirit to change our direction.  What we don’t know becomes the unified goal of all the leaders searching for truth. And when a million people who know most of what can be known start looking for the unknown, imagine the possibilities!

New internet technologies have allowed activist and Followers to interact and have allowed the formation of active online communities. A great example of this is the Survivalist/ Prepper communities. The value of a Follower which is engaged and with which we have dialogue is hundreds or thousands, and perhaps millions of times more than a casual Sunday encounter that is limited to the allotted 5 seconds of conversation.  It is this ability to engage and have dialogue that is the key to utilizing the new communication paradigms. The survivalist community model I think is very similar to our own mission- we are seriously dealing with the survival of a nation and its Constitution! Parallel to that is the coming apostasy of the Church. Even though Jesus told John it would happen, we STILL have a Christian obligation to get the Church BACK on the right path and be prepared ourselves while preparing others and allowing the Holy Spirit through us to show others how to have that same  relationship.

The words “Social Media” imply relationships and we are trying to build strong ones with as many people as possible.  Relationships are not built with a single contact. They are, as stated, built in steps.  To do this we need to know the steps to becoming a Follower then a Leader, and how this must shape our communications and strategies.

This is a great way to REDEFINE what we are used to doing as Christians; instead of counting BUTTS IN CHAIRS, count relationships and monitor the progression through the steps. This is much more true to the Bible than counting tax-exempt dollars to decide how many butts are necessary to be ‘successful’.

 

 

These stages of Follower development are very much like those which build any human relationship.

       1.       find

       2.       like

       3.       engage

       4.       join

       5.       lead

 

First, a person must find us.  This is the main purpose of any mainstream marketing.  It is an attempt to be noticed.  Where the mainstream church fails, is that there is no way to move directly to the next phase, liking.  There is limited ability for interaction. So now what?

This is very important: People find things that they are already interested in.  It is virtually impossible to get noticed if there is not already interest unless there is Divine Intervention.  Not only do we have to get past this filter in seeking Followers, but we have to have a compelling and truthful enough message to allow us to build towards the second phase, getting liked, with very little time to do this.

For example, the unified message can have a prominent mention of a special event or landing page on a website with information specifically relevant to the Follower that will then take that person to the next step in the relationship building process, i.e. a call to action, to DO SOMETHING.

One of the keys to successful marketing for decades was the ‘call to action’.  It has always been difficult for anyone to take time to DO SOMETHING.  We are surrounded by calls to action, even thousands sometimes per day. 

What has changed is that the response to a call to action is much easier- we are generally one click away from a response.  Another change is that the call to action can be much more specific and personal. To respond by commenting on an post involves having a relationship with the web site/ FaceBook and the people that frequent it.  This is much more powerful than a ‘church’ bulletin.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel. We sit on the shoulders of giants before us in the search for truth and freedom. But at least we need to stay current without losing those foundational necessities.

But…How shall they hear without a preacher?  

Being heard is the key to being ‘Liked’.

So we have been found.  The next step is being liked.  The natural human instinct is to talk about ourselves and why we are so wonderful. But people like people who listen to them talk about themselves. We should never be talking about ourselves when trying to build relationships. We should be listening to others.

The internet through social media allows us- the Mission/ the Movement- to listen.  People, who comment on a blog post, reply to Twitters, make a comment on a forum etc.,  all have the sense that the community of which we are part are listening and are interested in THEM.

Being a member of a community leads to personal involvement on a regular basis.  This can only take place if we have the physical AND virtual places where there can be dialogue with other community members which leads them to regular fellowship. And LEADERS will automatically start creating their own relationships.

A Leader will be responsible for forming and developing a community without being led because of the Spiritual Gifts they have.  They will DESIRE be responsible for developing a community for which they serve as a hub.  There is no head to this Body other than the Christ over the conglomerate of all the leaders. like the founding fathers of our Church and iour country intended. This community of freedom-loving Christian Americans is its own Leaders who are constantly interacting. People motivated by their personal passion are the life blood of internet communities and the catalyst for internet communities. The same should be said of members of the Body of Christ.

As an example, while there are millions of people that have posted to Wikipedia, there are only approximately 500 that spend many hours editing and organizing the information submitted to make it clear and useable.  These super users have been empowered through the tools which Wikipedia has made available.  500 people manage content that is used by 400 million people per month. With technologies, the Church too is moving in the same direction but we are just so divided (intentionally). This is how the Holy Spirit can use us to Take Back our Churches via Social and Mobile Media.

We all generate thousands of personal contacts every month (unless you live in front of a computer like me).  Yet we do not get contact information from the people we touch, nor do we otherwise engage them.  We approach them with a last century mode of thinking. 

We need to develop and empower the largest number of these leaders by giving them tools such as web space, submission tools, encouragement, information, support, high level access to information and encouragement.  These volunteers are ultimately the strength of communities on the internet and in local assemblies.  They are an invaluable resource gifted by the Holy Spirit that must be actively developed and actively supported and FED.  

There are numerous ways to reach out to Followers. And most Leaders will initiate this because they are natural-born Leaders endowed with Spiritual Gifts. They just need to be made aware of their Gifts and callings. The Holy Spirit wants to use us to ‘wake them up’ from their slumber. Also, there is an even more powerful way to engage Followers.  It is to organize global groups that actually meet face to face on a regular basis not in the same locations AT THE SAME TIME AND WITH THE SAME AGENDA!

We have the ability to now engage Followers throughout the world. Remember the True Church is a Global player on a Global stage. And the whole world has always been watching us. Until social media the world thought about American ‘churches’ whatever they were told to just the same way that our mainstream media tries to tell us what to think about other countries’ Christians. But it isn’t working any more. We are winning this information war because of the commitment of these Spirit-filled Leaders and the internet.

Commitment is about spending time regularly with our Followers and our community.  It is about membership to a Kingdom that is invisible and dedication to a vision and a lifestyle explained in the Bible and lived out by being filled with the Holy Spirit.  We need to embrace our Followers, who mostly stand alone today, and bring them actively into our community.  To do this we need to develop a social infrastructure which harnesses the ability to communicate easily and personally called the Social Media (web 3.0).  This goes far beyond the mainstream/ church mentality we have today, and beyond resources.  We need to interact with and engage our Followers and potential Followers.  We must solicit and support their contribution of time and content and encourage further interactivity.

The goal is to allow the Holy Spirit through us to invite millions of Followers globally and engage them in a personal fashion frequently. The social internet is in fact a network of people with many contacts.  These interconnections allow information to propagate like WAVES through the ocean with only a modest number of connections, but within a few iterations reach a very large number of people.  The following arithmetic shows that it will only take six people in a row to be able to connect personally with anyone in the world: 

 

“Six Degrees of Separation”—roughly, the notion that anyone can form a chain of  personal contacts leading to any other person, with no more than six links in the chain. —Joe Kissell http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation

 

This is the power of social media. Interaction of communities with links can propagate a single conversation to a very large group, with only a small number of conversations in every hop.  The communication trail is personal, rich and inclusive.

 

This powerful new technology, properly used can take help build a much larger Follower base and shower this much larger pool of Followers with dialogue, PASSION and constant Spiritual achievement, not the least of which is LIBERTY AND FREEDOM IN CHRIST FROM GOVERNMENT TYRANNY. Just think and meditate on how these idseas could change America.

 

There are 3,141 counties and county equivalents in the 50 States and the District of Columbia. That’s really not a whole lot of workload to unite and empower only 3 thousand people. So if we could reach just one of those people in each county, and those people reach out to just 500 people directly or indirectly, the equation would look like this- 500 X 3141=1,570,500 people. But let us say, that each of those 3 thousand people all had the exact same task list, the exact same resources, the exact same schedule and calendar, the exact same desire to be a willing vessel for the Holy Spirit.  

 

What if all of those almost 2 million people were PASSIONATE about Positive change and Unity of the Body of Christ in the Holy Spirit at the exact same time? Does anyone else believe in the power of thought? If not, then you don’t believe in prayer. I would hope that ‘prayer and fasting’ would be a regular occurrence on that calendar shared by 2 million people. And they could receive a text message and email reminder, instead of hearing it on Sunday radio but forgetting before the next advertisement is over. Or hearing it from the pulpit and forgetting about it before they get to Cracker Barrel.

 

What if someone catches wind of a big deal that should be prayed about immediately or may not EVER be covered by the corrupted media? They just pick up their phone and post the announcement, and immediately 2 million people, who are not just ordinary citizens alone- they are also Spirit- filled community leaders of a movement bigger than anything in history since the Holy Spirit began His Work at Pentecost know what to pray for! We are one Body, which is what Christ intended for the church. This is nothing more than ACTING LIKE IT.

 

Now let us also assume, that these people are Holy Spirit-filled, completely non-denominational and completely non-partisan who are simultaneously part of a concerted effort to remove that which divides us. In other words, actively seeking out others to show them that we love them and that we are on the same team and SOME of our differences are ok. Of course we will have to leave some to their own devices, but MANY are seeing the light and we have a lot of momentum. I don’t know what this awakening is, but no one who is filled with the Spirit can deny that it is going on.

 

What if these 2 million people all were willing to offer their expertise at no charge to any event, meeting, marketing endeavor, etc? Because out of these people would be plenty of IT experts, caterers, light and sound resources, artists, celebrities, singers, PR experts, organizers, webmasters, owners of mainstream equipment and cameras, writers, photographers, bloggers, real estate owners and renters, computer programmers AND WHATEVER ELSE you can think of!  Starting to sound a lot like the church we see in the first few chapters of Acts, isn’t it?  And we would all be united, not everyone off doing their own thing, and once we got the Church back on track we could concentrate on getting Federal Government back in line.

 

One of the reasons for choosing SharePoint and using Microsoft is the old 80-20, 90/10 problem with churches. Building it is complicated and tiring, but once you get all this in place and iron out the details, plugging people in will be a cinch.

 

 

 

When I used to manage restaurants, I built what I called “S.M.A.R.T.” lists and put them at every work area. They were checklists of everything that needed to be done before we could close up shop.

 

 

 

Before I made those lists and posted them in lamination so they could be reused, you can imagine how many people came to me every 5 minutes and said “what’s next?”.

 

 

 

I can see great benefit in having similar lists for churches in all the classrooms, the A/V area, the stage, the Awana office, the kitchen, by the alarms, under the thermostats for AC, by assistants’ computer for quick-reference on how to be an admin, at the connections desk, at the kid-check computer, and even to take home or print out to help the technically challenged. See where I am going? Like I always say, think of everything as a list, but add another dimension to it that includes CHECKlists. Some lists are fluid and dynamic but many lists are static for the most part, changing very rarely. Static lists can be printed out and anyone who can read can easily serve in the Kingdom and receive the blessings of doing God’s work.

 

 

 

The minister can’t do what he needs to do (and we can’t do what we need to do, and others can’t do what they need to do) if everyone is running to the leadership asking “what’s next?”. As leaders, I think one of our many focusses should be setting OTHER people up for success. That is where most of my focus is in this blog. SharePoint, the people management, Awana inventory, barcode scanners, organizational charts, lists, the website, et. Al…

 

 

 

When you are finished with all this setting up of how things are done and what needs to be done, we will begin to break the cycle of churches in America and focus our energy solely on God’s work.

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Relational Discipleship 101 Notes

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!”

Please share these notes with anyone who you think is ‘ready’ to hear it or is curious about Relational Discipleship (home groups). Remember to communicate to others that “small groups are the new constant while other things around them may fluctuate before they settle”. We want people to be attracted to us naturally from the results of real discipleship rather than promote the unknown.

  • As Shepherd-Leaders (whatever you decide to call it) we need to ‘catch’ the VISION so that we can SHARE the vision with others about what it looks like to share life together. Christian shepherds are really just ‘people taking care of people’.

 

  • In our first attempt at Relational Discipleship (groups) we tried ORALITY. Putting methodologies aside, though, our goal is to create relational environments where growth through discipleship can happen through love, encouragement etc.

 

  • Being a group leader is not about TEACHING, it is more about helping others to LEARN how to focus more of our lives on Jesus (That’s Discipleship!). Think of the ‘leadership’ role more as service, or servant-hood; like Jesus washing the feet of His Disciples.

 

  • The Great Commission is not just ‘leading’ someone to Christ and ONLY going to church with them on Sunday. Discipleship means you never stop learning and loving each other more. There is no ‘program’ that can do that. And there’s a reason that the word RELATIONAL comes before DISCIPLESHIP. We need to do this with people that makes us feel comfortable and safe. We aren’t designed to live this life in a vacuum. Without ‘small groups’ there is no accountability. Being honest about yourself allows others to be honest WITH you. Transparency is scary and SACRED. We are responsible as leaders to cultivate TRUST that leads to transparency and PROTECT what results from that transparency (information shared by others).

 

 

Some things we agreed upon regarding the next attempt at Sermon-Based Relational Discipleship Groups.

 

  • People have 2-3 weeks to decide if they want to stay in the group
  • Sermon cycles are 10 weeks long (small groups are based on sermon cycles)
  • 4 times a year (quarterly) we have another “RAMP-UP” on Relational Discipleship to share small group testimonies and get people connected

 

 

Actual Tasks before 2nd meeting:

 

  • Determine when leaders will be available to lead a group
  • Define the multiple ways we will connect people to groups
  • Define how we will develop new leaders and be ready when God bring them to us
  • Remember some basic guidelines when leading conversations:

 

  1. Keep your sharing focused on your own thoughts and feelings. Please limit your sharing to 3-5 minutes.
  2. Cross talk is when 2 individuals engage in dialogue, excluding all others. This is distracting.
  3. We are here to support one another. We will not attempt to “fix” another person.
  4. Anonymity and confidentiality are basic requirements. What is shared in the group stays in the group!
  5. Offensive language or alchohol has no place in a Christ-centered group. We should never exercise our freedoms where they could cause another to stumble.
  6. Small Groups are not an arena for deep theological discussions (unless the group is gathering for that purpose).

 

 

Marriage

What I am about to embark on will no doubt ruffle the feathers of many evangelical Christians. I ask the readers to be open-minded, filled with the Spirit of Truth as you read.  Don’t take for granted everything that you think is so because someone said so. Rather let us look at the world, and especially Marriage from God’s eyes.

When God created Adam, He gave Adam a wife and told them to “Be fruitful and multiply”. Genesis 5:2 says that God called them Adam. In God’s omniscience, he knew when He created Adam He would create for him a help-meet and in God’s eyes they were literally one- one flesh, one body and I dare say almost one person.

1Co 11:11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.  For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

It was Adam who gave Eve her name as well as all the animals. And Adam loved his wife unconditionally- he loved his wife as Christ loves the church.  When God looks down on us, as well, he sees our soul-mates as a part of us. Just as He created an Eve for Adam, So does He create one for all men, and so are all women created for their “Adam”.

The main problem with marriage today is that we are not waiting on our soul-mates. We are marrying other people’s Adams and Eves. Granted, there may be some specially gifted to remain single.  But most of us are not, and I thank God that He has for me my Eve……He truly gave me more than I could have hoped for or imagined. I admit that there were a few times before I met my soul mate that I thought perhaps I had found ‘the one’. But because I waited to be certain and let God work things out I was able to find the one that God intended on giving me.

Marriage is the second Divine (God-breathed) Institution. (1.Free will, 2.Marriage, 3.Family, etc.). It can be the most fulfilling relationship we can have on Earth if it resembles our relationship with Christ. If it does not, it can be a source of endless misery and regret.

Even when we do save ourselves and do things as God intended, marriage is difficult. Completely joining two separate people into one unit with different wants, needs, expectations, desires, callings, gifts, education and values is not easy! But that is precisely what we have to do in order to be successful in this lifetime. Anyone can succeed if they don’t have a family; if the only person they are responsible for is themselves.  The real challenge is being successful enough, Man enough to take care of a whole family and still have energy left over to assist in your community.

“Defining Marriage’”

Herman Hoeksema (1886-1965) is considered one of the founding “fathers” of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America. At one time or another he defined marriage as…

…the union between one man and one woman for life, a union that is based on a communion of nature, on a communion of life, and a communion of love, which is a reflection of the covenant relation between God and His people and of the relation between Christ and His church; a union, moreover, that has its chief purpose in bringing forth the seed of the covenant(plan of salvation). The marriage bond is absolutely indissoluble. It cannot be broken. No more than the union between Christ and His church can be dissolved can the marriage tie ever be severed. It is a most intimate union of life and for life, which only death can dissolve.

Especially attractive to me, is the use of the word communion. Webster defines it as such;

Main Entry: com·mu·nion
Pronunciation: k&-'myü-ny&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin communion-, communio mutual participation, from communis… an act or instance of sharing

Main Entry: 1union
Pronunciation: 'yün-y&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Late Latin union-, unio oneness, union, from Latin unus one
1 a : an act or instance of uniting or joining two or more things into one…

Seeing what the “uniting” is based upon, I reach further to define in its entirety this, “union”. Let us look at our government’s ideas on this union.

Legal Definition of Marriage

The joining of a male and female in matrimony by a person qualified by law to perform the ceremony (a minister, priest, judge, justice of the peace, or some similar official), after having obtained a valid marriage license.

The standard age for “legal” marriage without parental consent is 18 except for Georgia and Wyoming where it is 16, Rhode Island where women can marry at 16, and Mississippi in which it is 17 for boys and 15 for girls. More than half the states allow marriages at lesser ages with parental consent, going as low as 14 for both sexes in Alabama, Texas and Utah. Marriages in which the age requirements are not met can be annulled. Fourteen states recognize so-called “common law marriages” which establish a legal marriage for people who have lived together by agreement as husband and wife for a lengthy period of time without legal formalities.

Common-Law definition of Marriage

Main Entry: common-law marriage
Function: noun
1 : a marriage recognized in some jurisdictions and based on the parties’ agreement to consider themselves married and sometimes also on their cohabitation
2 : the cohabitation of a couple even when it does not constitute a legal marriage

Religious definition of Marriage

Not only do we have to examine the implications of common-law marriage, but my guess is that most  would also say that marriage is an ordinance given to us by God in Genesis, an institution inspired by God to create the proper relationship for creating and sustaining families- a union between the man, the woman and God. This causes a problem, however. Because God (or,  the lack thereof, depending upon one’s religious beliefs) is involved, the composition of any marriage is thus a religious question, not only a legal one.

According to the 1st Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In addition, the 14th Amendment states, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States,” thus making the protections afforded by the 1st Amendment (as well as the rest of the Bill of Rights) apply as restrictions to the State governments as well as the Federal government.

So, it seems neither the Federal nor the State governments have the power to make any judgement regarding the composition of marriage if you believe in God, leaving the answer to, “what is marriage” up to the people involved, their spiritual leaders and their own beliefs. So marriage in its simplest, divine form exists only in the minds of its participants. However, because there are legal implications of being married (i.e. property, divorce issues, liability, co-responsibilities, etc.) we have a civil/ social duty to more or less register our decision with the institution that acknowledges and helps to protect the sanctity and liberty to marry whom we choose. So it would seem in our fourth divine institution we have what God created indirectly for the enforcement, protection of the first three divine institutions. Especially since we would like our government to comply with our wishes as Christians to keep marriage pure.

But what if one has no spiritual beliefs? What if one is agnostic, and believes that nothing spiritual preceded the decision to become legally married-they simply believe that their highest calling is to marry and procreate? In the government’s eyes, they would be married. But in God’s eye’s they would not. And to one who doesn’t believe in God, I don’t guess it would matter unless at some later date they came to believe in the existence of God. The loss is theirs no matter how you look at it.

So it is necessary, it seems, to comply with the legality of marriage whether we act according to Biblical standards or believe it to be simply a matter of the social responsibility. But the difference being-as a Christian, we have two sets of laws that we must abide by…

Mt 22:21 Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

1Pe 2:13-14 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

So there is a religious sanction to comply with government on this issue. In other words, getting a marriage certificate is the ‘Christian’ thing to do. But like baptism, it is merely the outward expression of our inner conscious. You can be baptized without getting saved and you can have a ceremony without getting married (deciding to commit).

Another major point I want to highlight is that in the Bible, marriage and sex are synonymous. Sex is marriage and marriage is sex especially when spoken of in a positive light. Sexual immorality was that act of sex without the intention of staying or being responsible. In the Bible when a man ‘went into a woman’, or ‘knew her, or she ‘became his wife’ they all meant the same thing. It is clear in the bible that when a man went into a woman he was responsible for her. And he sometimes had to pay her father for her. After Israel became a nation there were rites in this regard (customs/ laws) but they pointed to something supernatural for a barbarious people who could not understand things outside of the Law. We see in the new testament quite clearly in all Scriptures that the opposite of a virgin, is a wife (or husband). It is not only that anyone who was not married was expected to be a virgin. It is equally so that anyone who was not a virgin was considered a wife/ husband. The act of two people becoming one flesh is a binding agreement- a marriage, a covenant, a commitment. That is why it is such a big deal.

1Co 6:16 clearly states that a man who joins to a prostitute is still one flesh…

1Co 6:16What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

I do believe that the Bible clearly has an ignorance clause. That is why the old Testament had offerings for sins that we were not aware of, and that is why confession (taught in 1John 1:9, rev 3:20)  gives us cleansing of known sins and our unrighteousness (sins we are unaware of). So we need to have a clear picture of marriage in the Bible in order to understand the religious implications of marriage. Of course no other ‘religion’ teaches us the powerful truths of marriage. In all others marriage is just something we do to pass our time and make babies. In fact some even hold marriage as nothing much more than the owning of a slave or slaves- that women are theirs to rear children and cook and clean. This is in no way the Christian model.

Same-sex Marriage

This separation of church and state opens a terrible state of awareness to honest, law-abiding Christians who rightfully oppose same-sex marriage. Under God’s law, it’s not recognized as a viable form of marriage. Nor is it presently recognizable in statute. But if we are not careful we may have to put a good fight up against it.  It is my opinion that same-sex marriage is an issue of censorship more than anything being that it isn’t something that our children should be forced to process until certain ages. However, because of religious freedom from persecution, if homosexuals choose to start their own religion who can make a law against it? The answer in America is ‘no one’. We MUST NOT however allow homosexuals to use Christianity as that religion.

Mr 10:6-9 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Corporate definition of Marriage

My own compiled definition of marriage from everything preceding, then, is a uniting of one man and one woman at least the ages of 18, that is based on a life-long act or instance of the sharing of nature, of life, and especially of love while becoming parents.

What ‘Legal’ Marriage is not

Marriage (by signing a piece of paper) is not a committed relationship contrary to popular opinion. Commitment is a matter of the heart, not the law. The agreement between two law-abiding citizens and their government are not half as strong as the covenant made between God and two Bible-believing individuals. It is not easier to break that covenant if two people have not gone before an authority recognized by government. The average citizen doesn’t have enough respect for that authority to amount to anything-especially not feelings of obligation to stay married based on the ‘authority’ that married them. Legal Divorce simply has more red tape and the time interval between start and finish is greater. Being committed as a matter of the heart will make for life-long partnerships. The problem is that our hearts aren’t right-which is certainly visible from divorce rates in the United States. If the heart is not pure a legal marriage is tainted from the start. But a Pure heart that commits to a true marriage can exist with or without a piece of paper from the state.

Marriage is not a joke…We also see in the Bible that the union of a man and woman is designed to bring about procreation. I dare say that two people who are not willing to become parents at God’s Will should be waiting until they ARE ready to consummate a marriage. Simply stated, if you aren’t ready to have children, you aren’t ready for a committed relationship. People who aren’t ready to have kids aren’t ready to get married. Playing around with sexual acts that are created for married people causes children to have children, and that s no joke. Sex is designed only for you and your soulmate.

Many Christians, in regard to “soulmates” would say that they see no biblical reference for their existence. I have a different opinion. I believe that is precisely the purpose of including Song of Solomon in our canon of Scripture. Most would say that the book represents Christ and the church. I say, though, that there is no reference to His church in the Old Testament, which is why it is referred to as a mystery. I exegete Scripture as literally as possible and the Canticles (Song of Solomon) are no different. It is the explanation of true marriage so that we can identify it when it is time. If this book of the Bible is indeed our single greatest reference to the doctrine of Marriage and soulmates, what does it tell us? Well the book both begins and ends with this very important statement…I say to you, O daughters of Jerusalem, do not let love be moved till it is ready.

The next piece of the puzzle is quite extensive. Before we can come to a starting point for discussion, we must first and foremost be aware of everything the Bible says that marriage is.

Marriage is…

– Divinely instituted

    Ge 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

This means simply that God is the one who invented marriage and therefore owns the patent. It is God who sets the rules and obedience is rewarded. But let us take a closer look at the original text here, because what is most interesting about verse 24, is that despite popular opinion it doesn’t seem to be God talking here, It is Adam.

Ge 2:24 Therefore <ken> shall a man <‘iysh> leave <`azab> his father <‘ab> and his mother <’em>, and shall cleave <dabaq> unto his wife <‘ishshah>: and they shall be one <‘echad> flesh <basar>.

Before the word “man” the first word in this sentence is from a root Hebrew word that means “ordained, appointed” but in its used sense also adds the idea of “in a like manner”, and “for which reason”(the reason of course being found in the previous sentence.)So if we remember here that the Bible was not written with verse numbers, and put it back the way it was intended, we can imagine perhaps Adam said,

because she was taken out of Man, In a like manner I ordain that a man leave his father and his mother, and cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.

But let us first take a closer look at another word to bring even more to light here. The word in King James’ is “cleave”. But the Hebrew word means really “to catch by pursuit, to overtake, pursue hard, and be joined together”. So it seems we learn here that Adam and Eve were once one flesh, but were separated-He decrees therefore that “in a like manner” man will therefore separate himself from his mother and father, and pursue his wife until man and woman become again one flesh. It is interesting here also that the emphasis is put on the man being the pursuer. We can certainly agree that this has been almost innate in us all since the beginning. Men and women seemingly have similar empty feelings regarding each other until they find their soul mate- men feeling as though something that belongs to them is missing, women feeling as though they belong to something that is missing. But the emptiness is not a feeling as much of the physical (outside of the sexual aspect) as it is a matter of the soul. This could also help explain the general treatment of women as property throughout history, but rarely are men thought of as property outside of slavery. The idea of “belonging” however should never be taken outside of its Biblical reference. To say that a woman belongs to a man does not in any way mean that she is his property, but his responsibility.

– A covenant relationship

   Mal 2:16 For I am against the putting away of a wife, says the Lord, the God of Israel, and against him who is clothed with violent acts, says the Lord of armies: so give thought to your spirit and do not be false in your acts.

Quite simply God states here and in many other passages, that he does not permit, or recognize divorce as our government does. With God, covenants are for eternity. “The wife of your youth”, will always be the wife of your youth for all eternity. You can’t change the past. So things bound on earth, will still be bound in heaven. We see in other parts of Scripture that the role played by a husband or wife may not be the same in heaven as in earth. God probably does not create angels any more. And likewise in heaven there might be no need for the creation of new souls, so procreation will not be necessary. Perhaps there is a new purpose for our soulmate in our glorified bodies, or perhaps it will be nothing more than an endearing memory of time shared on Earth. We don’t know, but we do know that God completely intends on a team of soulmates staying together for their entire duration of Life on Earth.

 Marriage was designed for…

    • The happiness of man

 Ge 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

The Hebrew word for “help meet” is one of the easiest to be translated I have seen. It says in the original simply that God gave Adam a helper. It isn’t given in this verse precisely what man’s work is so we will not discuss it here, but the rational conclusion of making a helper is that there is work to be done. Her design and primary responsibility is to help Adam be fruitful and multiply up to this point in time in Scripture. To Replenish the Earth, give names to creation, stay away from sin. And it goes without saying that part of man’s happiness comes from the physical gratification he gets from his wife.

  • The happiness of woman

 Song 5:16 His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

For woman, man is her lover and friend. She is designed for procreation. But she needs man’s seed to fulfill this desire in her. For this reason, and for all practical purposes, sex is created then primarily for the woman, not the man (the depth of this truth, especially related to its necessity to bring the advent of Christ will be discussed further later.) We also see rationally that the woman is created quite different than the man. She is created as a receiver. Marriage for her then is the receiving of her “giver”, the man-her soulmate that is created to give her what she needs and desires. Not all women are exactly the same. They have different needs and desires, and God has created for every woman that perfect man who completes her. Different backgrounds in education and experience make women need different kinds of men. Different spiritual callings and gifts make women need different kinds of men. Different personality types and love languages, gifts and interests etc. All these things work together to define a woman’s need for a specific man just the way it is for men. One might argue that multiple possibilities for soul-matches might exist, but comparatively there can be ONLY ONE best fit. Every woman has a soulmate, designed for her happiness.

De 24:5 When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.

God’s decree here that a man fulfill his obligation to make his wife happy puts his wife’s need above the needs of government. It is a wonderful example of how God prioritizes His divine institutions. And we should model this in our lives. The happiness of our spouses should be secure before we worry about our jobs, our society, our children and even our church. Its amazing to see how well God provided for Israel’s happiness and then see how some of expect less of  Him for Christians today. But we will see later that even in the New Testament, God’s will for the happiness of the woman is even more awe-inspiring.

• Increasing the human population        

   Ge 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Ge 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

God wants man and woman to have babies when they come together. It’s one of the many reasons we are created ourselves….we are life created to create life. It takes two. Man and woman together, becoming one flesh, having children who have children and fill the earth with souls… For the Bible tells me so.

• Raising up godly seed

 Mal 2:15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

Godly seed can refer here to both God-fearing children, AND the future body of Jesus Christ through which God Himself would enter the world as we see it. But only relevant for the sake of our argument is the idea of raising our children to know as much of God’s word as we can teach them. Because in the Bible is the wisdom that will help them become everything in this world that they can be. And if we did not, in history, train up our children in knowing God’s word, today we not HAVE that Word. God uses all four divine institutions to preserve his word. In the Jewish constitutions there are some things not only curious, but useful, respecting marriage.  “There are four causes which induce men to marry: 1. Impure desire; 2. To get riches; 3. To become honourable; 4. For the glory of God.  Those who marry through the first motive beget wicked and rebellious children. Those who marry for the sake of riches have the curse of leaving them to others.  Those who marry for the sake of aggrandizing their family, their families shall be diminished.  Those who marry to promote the glory of God, “their children shall be holy, and by them shall the true Church be increased.”

• Preventing fornication

 1Co 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

God made ONE wife for Adam- not a harem! He started the human family out as He ordained they should go– a union of ONE man and ONE wife. God said it, David repented for defying it, Jesus confirmed it, and so does the entire New Testament. Marriage is designed for one man and one woman for all time.

And, remember, God gave this absolute command regarding future kings of Israel- telling them they must not do as the pagan nations around them (whose kings had their harems): “Neither shall he multiply wives to himself!” Saul, Israel’s first king, disobeyed that command. And there were repercussions. Just as it has always been, so it is now. We also see in this our first mention of “fornication”, the definition of which is often confused in reading the Bible because it has both literal and figurative meanings. Impurity is the best English word to describe its meaning.

 – The expectation of the promised Seed

 Ge 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Through Eve, would all children be born. Which means through Eve would come the birth of the Savior of the world after generations of her children. This is the first prophecy of the Messiah’s coming. From this point in history until Christ fulfilled them, all of creation awaited His coming. There are of course around 300 more prophecies concerning his birth, ministry and death, this is just the first. So although the Messiah has come already (and there may be some differences in the Institution of Marriage after Christ) this is an important evidence of the sanctity of marriage.

 Marriage is…

 – Lawful in all

 1Co 7:28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

This tidbit of info that Paul gives us is two-edged. On one hand he says in part A that it is not a sin to marry. The reason he says this to the church at Corinth is that many in that day were saying that it was biblical to divorce because Christ would soon return and marriage would slow down the work of Christians in saving souls. Paul tells them of course that whatever state they were in when they got saved, whether married or single, they should remain. This of course was a special time for the spreading of the Gospel.
He said it would be better to remain single because you will have more time for God’s work because marriage and family can be a headache. This is not the only time Paul mentions this in the Bible. But we will talk about part B at a later time. What we see here is that it is perfectly okay for two Christians to get married. This is a general statement though. And we see in other Scriptures that it doesn’t mean any christians can get married for any reason.

  1Ti 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

This can be a powerfully misinterpreted verse. In a perfect world, it can also be a powerful model for life. Perhaps one of Satan’s greatest accomplishments is not just the feminist movement, but the breakdown of a family’s ability to be run financially by only the man. It is true today in 99% of cases that a family is not able to be prosperous with out the added income of the wife working. This is very unfortunate because the need for the woman to work infiltrates the proper model for raising up perfect children creating an endless cycle of imperfect families. If we had stayed with our scriptural beginnings in this country we would have never entered into this catch-22, necessary evil scenario that only gets worse with every generation. Since it has, there is nothing wrong with both parents working or the woman holding the highest earning job in the family or the complete role-reversal or ‘Mr. mom’ scenario in order to get by. The point of this Scripture is that there is only one perfect scenario. The Bible gives us the best way to succeed completely.

 – Honorable for all

 Heb 13:4 Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

The ‘jist’ of this verse is the sanctity of marriage and the difference between sex in/out of marriage. Anything that you do in the bed of a whore is a sin. Anything you do in the marriage bed is not. The issue is not ‘what’ you are doing, but who you are doing it with. Now is this a reference to the legal piece of paper from the government that says we are married? Remember there is a two-fold authority for Christians. But the more important of the two is our commitment to God to remain faithful in marriage. This is yet another scripture that to me, basically says that marriage and sex are synonymous.

 – Should be only in the Lord

 1Co 7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

2Co 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

 Again we have a two-fold issue here addressed in the same verse. But it is brought together by the main point. Parts A and B have to do with Binding, and part C has to do with freedom. We see in other scriptures though that the same point here in remarriage goes for marriage if one is a believer. Namely that Christians should only marry Christians. But there is also a point here dealing with time parameters-How long is a woman bound to her husband? We see here simply in the bible that it is a life-long commitment. We see this in many other Scriptures including Ro 7:2-3:

For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

So we are to be with one person for all of our lives unless separated by death. This also opens the door on divorce and remarriage if one were not a christian during their first marriage because as we became Christians, we died and were reborn- we are new creatures. Therefore any commitment in marriage before we were Christians we are relinquished from through death. Divorce before salvation is not an issue. But marriage and remarriage after salvation is clearly only permissible with another Christian.

Marriage is expressed by…

• Joining together

Mt 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

This can be pretty deep, if you will let it. Two people are no longer two people- instead they are one person. Is this an automatic thing or a process? The Greek suggests that this is an active thing, meaning something happened that caused these two people to become one. The subject of the sentence is God and the action being a result of stimulus. What could that thing be? I say that it is sex that joined them together, which is clearly supported by all other text. The deepest implications, however of this Scripture lye in part B. what if no man has the right to un-join two people in matrimony? If we think we are divorced, are we really divorced in God’s eyes? Has He undone what He did?

• Giving daughters to sons, and sons to daughters

De 7:3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

Ezr 9:12 Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.

There isn’t much information here in this scripture outside of the text. We see here that women in the Old Testament were given, not sons. We also see that a man is not to give his daughter to just anyone. There are stipulations. Of course this is Jewish law/ mandate and we cannot necessarily say that this is for Christians today although we can’t discount it. It still follows that revealed Truth and purpose about marriage is in this Book. And the Old Testament is a wonderful source for seeing Spiritual Truth by physical stories and examples. This gives us a good Old Testament example of Christians only allowed to be married to other Christians.

– was contracted in patriarchal age with near relations

Ge 20:12 And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.    Ge 24:24 And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor.

Ge 28:2 Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother.

These verses show us that near-relation marriage did indeed occur in the past. Common sense tells us if we believe that all life came from Adam and eve that their children would have had to marry each other in order to begin the human race. We often hear questions and arguments about who Cain must have married if he was sent to the east. But logic tells us there is no other way possible than what must be obvious. Today we should see this as distasteful in the least. But there is no need for it here and now. When Christ was baptized, John said roughly ‘this isn’t right, I should be baptized by you!’ Christ answered that it was necessary for the time being, to make things complete. And we have the same idea in early incest- it was necessary to make things complete. Later however it was forbidden.

Le 18:6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness

Le 20:14 And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you.

Le 20:17 And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; Le 20:19 And thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister, nor of thy father’s sister.

Mr 6:18 For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.

– Often contracted by parents or needing their consent

Ge 24:51 Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the LORD hath spoken.

Ge 34:8 And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife.

Jg 14:2 And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.

Jg 14:3 Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.

If we are to ‘honor our father and mother’ like the Bible says, then we should respect their opinion in who we choose to marry. If we have good parents and wait until we are mature enough for marriage we will usually have realized that our parents have found a bit of wisdom in their years. Also our parents aren’t smitten with the same ‘love bug’ that can sometimes blind us in our choosing a life-partner. Sometimes love can make us ignorant to very important things about people that make them not ready or unfit for marriage.  We should always remember that most likely our parents are not going to choose for us someone who is not good for us. Sometimes though, we feel that our parents aren’t supportive because they don’t like the person that we love, and that our love is the only thing that matters. But the Bible teaches that men and especially women should include their parents in their decision of who they marry.

 – Binding by consent of the parties necessary

Ge 24:57 And they said, We will call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth.

Ge 24:58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.

1Sa 18:20 And Michal Saul’s daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.

1Sa 25:41 And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.

What we do not see though in the Bible, is forced marriage. Everywhere in Scripture we see the consenting of all parties in marriage. We see in the New Testament that the role of the parents had subsided a bit by this time compared to the Old Testament. But in scripture as a whole, it has always ultimately been a Divine Institution and commitment between a husband, a wife and God. Although parental involvement was encouraged, Christian women were never to be treated like property or slaves as in some religions. Their volition, or right to choose, has always been a factor.

 – Parents might refuse to give their children in marriage

Ex 22:17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.

Here we basically have an issue of minority. I don’t think it is much different from not letting your child have a pony or a rifle if they are not ready. It is the parents responsibility to do what is right for a child until the child is ready to make their own good decisions. I don’t by any means believe this is a Biblical example giving fathers the right to deny anything for daughters of course. And we must remember that the age of accountability for marriage in those days was much younger than today. A woman is described in Old Testament times as having reached her maturity as early as 13. I say that a 13 year old child certainly has not the mental or emotional or financial capacity to be married in our world today.

• Often contracted with foreigners

 1Ki 11:1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;

Ne 13:23 In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab:

There are many example in the Scriptures of men and women marrying outside their race and nationality. We know that Moses had both an Egyptian and an Ethiopian (black) wife. Even more so in the New Testament we see that the only requisite for marrying as a Christian is that they be a Christian. Through Christ all are equal.

  • Betrothed themselves or were ‘engaged’

De 20:7 And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.

Mt 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Lu 1:27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

Here and other places we have examples of engagement. What is engagement? In the English language the word is very ambiguous and has many meanings. It would better suit us to use the word ‘betrothed’. Webster defines it as..

Main Entry: be·troth

Pronunciation: bi-'trO[th], -'troth, bE-
Function: transitive verb
Etymology: Middle English, from be- + trouthe truth, troth
1 : to promise to marry
2 : to give in marriage

So in essence if a man is betrothed (or engaged) he has promised to marry his virgin and her him. According to Biblical evidence, it is a couple who has not yet consummated their marriage. If two people had a marriage license and had gone before a judge or priest and were pronounced husband and wife, yet they had never had sex (had never become one flesh) would they be married in God’s eyes? Look again at the two verses explaining Jesus’ mother, Mary, and her relationship to Joseph. Mathew says that she was ‘espoused’ to Joseph. Which means he was attached to her, responsible for her had promised to marry. She was his ‘spouse’. But what is the difference between a spouse and a wife? The next statement in this verse makes it clear. It was before they had come together, before they had consummated their marriage- before they had sex. If they had come together already, they would have been married and not betrothed. Notice the words of Luke as well. Mary was a virgin who was espoused to a man. What is the importance of using virgin and betrothed or espoused? Joseph had promised to take her virginity, yet she was still a virgin therefore she was espoused. Always in the Bible we have these two ideas existing almost as one. We see this also in De 22:23:

If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

Notice that we see here the damsel is betrothed- she is still a virgin. But notice what she is called afterward. The opposite of a virgin is a wife and vice versa. Now the most important thing in these earlier verses of coarse is the evidence of Christ’s deity, and the fulfillment of prophecy. But this is not the only information we get out of this text. Many evangelical Christians will disagree with me. And many might say that this kind of teaching will hurt our sanctity of marriage. But on the contrary I believe if we taught this concept correctly sex and marriage will be much more holy, respected and not taken so lightly. We will realize that casual sex is a misnomer. There is no such thing as casual sex for Christians. If we would teach our young men and women how important and powerful and eternal sex really is then they will not look at it as something that can be done in passing. Scaring them with pregnancy and STD’s is not the Christian way to teach children about sex. We all know that is hasn’t worked. And we know that the youth of today think that those kinds of things won’t happen to them. They all feel like the exception to the rule. So we must realize ourselves what marriage is and teach then our children.

Ge 24:67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

Here again we see that many Christians may not realize. Isaac took Rebekah into his mothers tent and she became his wife. What did they do in that tent that caused them to be married?

• Obliged to contract with a brother’s wife who died without seed

De 25:5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her.

Consider the custom of the Old Testament in regard to marriage of your brother’s widow. We see that the precise reason for ‘marrying’ your brother’s wife is so that she could have children. Now ask yourself this question; does going before a judge or preacher with her produce children? The answer is clearly ‘no’, and we must therefore ask ourselves to what is God referring here? Why sex of course. Although the last part of the verse is separated in English by commas, there are no commas in Hebrew. What the dead husband’s brother is to do is not three different things. All three things are the same thing. He is to go into her which makes her his wife. That is the duty of a husband’s brother.

Ge 38:8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.

• Considered being debarred from, a cause of grief

Jg 11:38 And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.

Here we have an Old Testament story about a man who promised God that if his prayer was answered, he would give God whatever he first saw when he got home, and it was his daughter. So she belonged to the Lord; she could belong to no man. And here we have her going out into the mountains to mourn the fact that she could never be married. Notice the word that the Bible uses-her virginity is synonymous with being married.

• Israelites were allowed divorce, because of hardness of their hearts

De 24:1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.

Mt 19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

We find in these and many other verses that divorce was never meant to enter marriage. It was supposed to be a life-long commitment. But God, in His grace has seen that if we do indeed make a mistake in marriage, in certain circumstances there is a way out. But in teaching what the Bible says about divorce, we need to always start with what we need to do in order to keep away from decisions that lead to divorce. In these two verses, we see that yes, divorce can be a possibility. But that the most important issue is that it wasn’t always so, and that there is a road that doesn’t lead to divorce.

– Priest not to contract, with divorced or improper persons

Le 21:7 They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God.

Le 21:14 A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife.

I have always found the first part of this verse amusing. Yet at the same time, how many men would have benefited in living their life according to this principle? It would seem common sense except for one thing in today’s society- you can’t help who you fall in love with. Or can you? I won’t debate that question here. But I will say that regardless of love, it is not a good idea to marry someone who will not make a good partner no matter how you feel about them. We must hold ourselves to high standards. And when all the good people are married off, then the bad people will realize that they are going to have to become good people to find good people- or stay single. This verse of coarse is written to Jewish priests, but the same principles apply.

– CELEBRATED

    • With great rejoicing

Joh 3:29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

If a good man finds a good woman there is cause for celebration! Marriage is a wonderful gift from
God. It is a union that has developed customs and traditions because the joining together of two people brings family and friends together as well. as humans we are always looking for an excuse to celebrate. And what better reason? Now of coarse we don’t all get together and consummate the marriage, so there is usually some sort of gathering before or after. We see evidence of these things recorded in the Bible as well. Even Christ Himself attended wedding celebrations (Jn Ch. 2). And there are some examples of tradition as well…

• With feasting       

Ge 29:22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.

Jg 14:10 So his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do.

Jg 14:12 And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments:

– THE BRIDE

    • Received presents before

Ge 24:53 And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.

• Given a handmaid at

Ge 29:24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.

Ge 29:29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.

• Adorned with jewels for

Isa 49:18 Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the LORD, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth.

Isa 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

• Gorgeously apparelled

Ps 45:13 The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.

Ps 45:14 She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.

• Attended by bridesmaids

Ps 45:9 Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.

• Stood on the right of bridegroom

Ps 45:9 Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.

– THE BRIDEGROOM

• Adorned with ornaments

Isa 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

• Presented with gifts

Ps 45:12 And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.

• Crowned with garlands

Song 3:11 Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.

– Garments provided for guests at

Mt 22:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

I will stay away from the prophetic pieces here. But we see that all throughout the Bible there is tradition in wedding gatherings or ceremonies. Being married doesn’t just change your virginity. Each spouse now has a new set of friends and family. And because they cannot share in the marriage act, we put together for them something that they can be a part of. But marriage is not just sex and tradition either. It is a picture of Christ and His Church, God and His people.   

– ILLUSTRATIVE OF

    • God’s union with the nation and people called Israel (before the houses split) 

 Isa 54:5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

Jer 3:14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:

Ho 2:19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.

Ho 2:20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.

 • Christ’s union with his Bride

 Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Eph 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Happiness in Marriage Scriptures

Pr 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. He finds a good thing indeed. And if the woman is no good, it is equally as painful.

Pr 21:9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

Pr 21:19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

Pr 5:18-20 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?

Ec 4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.

Ec 9:9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

I Corinthians

In chapter 7, we have almost 40 verses all together that are all about marriage. Since libraries of commentary have already been written, I think it is good to add very little. I will just comment slightly to ensure that the reader knows what they are reading.

1Co 7:1 ¶ Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.  2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

  The Greek word here for fornication is porneiaV. I think that pointing out the word here gives a good idea of what fornication is because there is much debate there. It is a mindset. We are created to lust after a woman. And that is what is meant to be portrayed here in the terms of ‘their own’. What you are to lust after is your own wife. Lusting after the wife of another is fornication, or porneiaV. The word pornography is derived from this Greek word which literally means ‘writing about immorality”. Of coarse because media has changed so quickly with technology, writing about immorality has progressed from just writing to pictures and to videos. But the idea of pornography has remained the same. It is referring to the vile sexual orgies of the pagans. As with anything in this world that becomes a vice, there is nothing innately wrong about the naked body of a person as long the uncovering of it lines up with scripture. And there is nothing that we can do about our physiological reaction to ideas or pictures of naked bodies. It is designed within us to cause us to want to procreate. But we see here that this feeling built within us is designed for only our husband or wife.

Now some would argue that this is a scripture telling us that we are only to have one husband or wife. And while I agree with the statement, we cannot use this verse against polygamy or remarriage. The words translated ‘his/ her own’ cannot be translated to say ‘let every man have one wife’.

3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

Quite simply and obviously we are to understand that marriage is a sexual endeavor. And to enter into a contract, only to quit performing the service of that contract is known as ‘breach of contract’. Paul tells us here that he did not get this information from God or the Old Testament. He is simply stating what he thinks is sound advice based on some of the problems they were having at the church in Corinth. We are responsible for the sexual satisfaction of our spouses and we are not to hold back or use it against each other.

7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.  9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

We can be certain here that Paul is not talking about burning in hell. More correctly he is talking about burning with passion and confusion in hormonal unrest. He says that perhaps some are gifted as he is to not have such a strong sexual desire as most. And he thinks it would be better if everyone was like him. But we cannot say that this scriptures is evidence that celibacy is a special, particular gift.

 10 ¶ And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:  11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.  12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.  13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.  14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.  16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?  17 ¶ But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

Paul speaks with authority over all the churches saying that there is nothing wrong with marriage and we should strive for holiness in what ever situation God has called us in. He continues on in verse 25…

1Co 7:25 ¶ Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. 26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. 27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. 28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you. 29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; 31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away. 32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: 33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. 34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.36 ¶ But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. 37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. 38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better. 39 ¶ The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. 40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

The main point of this whole section can be summed up in verse 38 here. To paraphrase; it is good to be married, but better to be single in doing Kingdom work. But let us look specifically at verse 34 again. We have talked quite a bit about the definition of a wife and a virgin; that they are opposites. Here we have yet another verse that plainly tells us this. If you are not a wife, you are a virgin. If you are not a virgin, you are a wife.

Ex 22:16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.

In other words, a man who has had sex with her has married her and must pay her father the ‘marriage tax’. It is written all over the pages of the Old Testament.  But there are other places in the New Testament that talk about marriage as we continue.

Ephesians 5

Yet another place in the Bible that we can see a handful of statements all in one about marriage is here. In contrast to Corinthians, this marriage section deals more with the spiritual side than the physical. It is more about why you should do something than what you should do. It is very cut and dry and it needs no commentary. As well it perfectly matches with Colossians; a letter written just about the same time.

Eph 5:22-23 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Eph 5:28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

1Peter Chapter 3

The final chapter in the New testament where we find several scriptures concerning marriage is kind of like a compilation of the first two in that it contains temporal scriptures (meaning they have to do with how we should act physically in time) yet the spiritual concepts are here as well. They tell you ‘what’ and they tell you ‘why’. This chapter is not quite a detailed as the first two are. But they give us a good example that we should take care of each other as husbands and wives and that it is unfair to expect the other to do their best if you are not doing yours. And finally, we see an important factor here in marriage- if we are not good husbands or wives, we cann expect God to answer our prayers.

1Pe 3:1 ¶ Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;  2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.  3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;  4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.  5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:  6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. 7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Col 3:18-19 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

-Marriage regarding Church Leadership

1Co 9:5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

1Ti 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

1Ti 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

-FIGURATIVE Marriage

Isa 54:5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

Jer 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:

Re 19:7-9 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

HUSBAND

Pr 5:15-19 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

Ec 9:9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

1Co 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Col 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

1Ti 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

WIFE

 •Called DESIRE OF THE EYES

 Eze 24:16 Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down.

 -Called HELP

 Ge 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Ge 2:20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

 -Called FRUITFUL VINE

 Ps 128:3 Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.

 The judgment denounced against Eve

 Ge 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

 -Relation of, to husband

 Ge 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Ge 2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

1Co 11:3-12 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.  Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

-Domestic duties of

Ge 18:6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.

Pr 31:13-27 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Pr 12:4 A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

Pr 14:1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

Pr 19:13 A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping. 14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.

Pr 21:9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

Pr 21:19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

Pr 25:24 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.

Pr 30:21-23 For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear: For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat; For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.

1Co 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

1Co 14:35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

1Ti 3:11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

1Ti 5:9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

Tit 2:3-5 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Marriage in Time

Does absence make the heart grow fonder, or distrustful and lonely? Certainly we are individuals-and not just a couple. We have our own dreams, desires, likes and dislikes. We have our own ideas of right and wrong.

We (Wendy and I) entered into a covenant relationship with different expectations, ideas of responsibility, and even the things that we agreed upon don’t just fall out of the sky. There are intervals between both the good and the bad changes. Sometimes I find myself waiting longer than I thought I would for things to change, or for us to become closer- experience those soul-changing moments when I FEEL myself loving her even more than I did the moment before.

Time continues passing away/ moving forward no matter what we do and  although we have the ability to choose the best way to do everything and the best responses and the best way to act or treat our spouse, we don’t always do what is right.

First Blog Post- The second commandment and the second ammendment

I am sure when most people hear the second commandment they ‘hear’ the second of the 10 commandments God gave Moses (even though there are over 633 commandments in the OT). That is not what I am referring to. I am referring to the second of two great commandments that Jesus said ALL the commandments hung upon:

Matthew 22:36-40
(NIV)
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Love your neighbor as yourself. Do you love yourself enough to protect yourself from harm? If so the bible says you should love your neighbor enough to protect them as well. We could all devote our lives to learning Ninjitzu in order to catch bullets with our hands- or we could Arm ourselves to equalize the potency of protection capabilities.

According to Jesus in the Bible, as a matter of the heart, punching someone in the face is the same as murder. Because the INTENT to cause harm to others is the root. It is hatred whether it is ‘provoked’ or not. When I talk about guns I am only talking about the freedom to protect against those who hate me or intend to cause me harm. Being correct and being in the majority is almost ALWAYS a contradictory position.

Someone might argue, “I dont want to end the 2nd amendment…Lets do what they asked and what they KNEW and INTENDED when they wrote it…You can have a single shot musket, pistol, cannon, knife or bow and arrow. Or I get to have nukes.”

I see what you mean, however…It is my understanding the the US Constitution was not designed to define the rights of citizens. It was to LIMIT the rights of the Federal Government. For example the supreme court in 1875 in U.S. v. CRUIKSHANK ruled that First and Second Amendment rights are only limitation on Congress. These rights are not granted by, nor in any manner dependent, upon the Constitution. They are given to all men equally by God.

In 1896: BROWN v. WALKER Justice Field quoted the counsel for the appellant saying: “The freedom of thought, of speech, and of the press; the right to bear arms; exemption from MILITARY dictation;. . . . . — are, together with exemption from self-crimination, the essential and inseparable features of English liberty.”

In 1900 the supreme court in the case of MAXWELL v. DOW – Cited PRESSER v. STATE OF ILLINOIS on how “all CITIZENS capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force of the national government”. Additionally 29 years later in UNITED STATES v. SCHWIMMER – A woman’s petition for Naturalization was rejected because she was not willing to “take up arms” in defense of the U.S. The court mentioned the right to keep and bear arms and stated, “Whatever tends to lessen the willingness of CITIZENS to discharge their DUTY to bear arms in the country’s defense detracts from the strength and safety of the government.”

Unfortunately the ‘government’ of 1929 is NOT the same government today…

For decades now, there has been an overt push against the 2nd Amendment. Bills have been considered and some passed to ban/limit everything from Automatic Weapons (1968), Semi-Automatic Weapons, Handguns, Large Capacity Magazines, Center Fire Ammunition, Bulk Ammo Purchases, Purchasing more than one Gun a Month, Open Carry, Concealed Carry, Create Gun Free Zones, on and on an on. None of which has done anything to curb violence. In fact, the United States has over 25,000 gun laws on the books and nothing has changed anything.

On the flip side of the Coin, guns in the hands of average Americans are used more than a million times a year to protect one’s self against muggings, rape, beatings, robbery, car jacking, home invasion, murder and every other imaginable crime. In approximately 98% of these self defense cases, the guns are never fired. Just pulling a gun on a would be criminal/murderer will normally stop the act of aggression. There are several long term studies available on the subject.

Yet, the media, in all its hype, never sees fit to run ANY of these self defense stories. If they truly were fair and balanced in any way, shape or form, we’d see dozens of stories about guns being used properly for self defense for every one story regarding a criminal shooting. The silence and omission is in itself a form of propaganda.

Our founding Fathers were not the dumbed down Americans of today. I cannot believe that as inventors and founders and trailblazers they thought we would always have muzzle-loaded black powder weapons.

Nukes by definition have zero capability of being used in self defense simply because the carrier of a nuke would be the first to die if one were to try and use it as self defense or defense of one’s country. They have only malicious applications and require malicious INTENT in their use. I am all for banning the use of nuclear energy as a weapon. Let’s ban using weather as a weapon as well. Oh wait, we DID ban weather modification being used as a weapon decades ago yet the criminals are above the law. And in this case the criminals are the government.

And even if we banned guns, we cannot ban all weapons because ANYTHING can be USED as a weapon. The same day The tragedy hit the news of 20+ deaths at a school shooting in America, news broke of 20+ children at a promary school in China http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/14/world/asia/china-knife-attack/index.html.

This was just one of two instances today. And right, it looks like the worst cases are just critical condition. So no one has died…YET. But this is an epidemic in china. Not just killing with knives. I have seen videos of Chinese killing each other with bricks in the street while passers by watched. The majority of the stabbings in china the last fews years DID end in the deaths of hundreds. Are the Chinese trying to ban knives at the same time the US Government is trying to ban guns?

I believe the columbine shooting happened during clinton’s assault rifle and high capacity magazine bans didn’t it? Will banning knives or guns help a societal problem?

As I said, this is a societal problem. We keep making it worse by putting mental people on psychotropic drugs. Almost EVERY multiple victim murder is committed by individuals on psychotropics, statins, antidepressants. Instead of treating the (societal) disease, we want to try and make it less likely for symptoms to arise? We are going to be satisfied with the fact that it was a knife, not a gun, so the 22 victims were only maimed and NEARLY dead but they didn’t die?

In my humble opinion it does not make any sense to make inanimate objects the target of scrutiny. If we really want to prevent this from happening, then ban psychotrpics and statin drugs, don’t allow people to play unhealthy amounts of violent video games, allow people to smoke marijuana to mellow them out, give every single person who is charged with caring for children a carry permit and the training to use it to protect the children they are paid to protect, so that they don’t have to cower on the floor and ‘wait for the good guys’.

Stop putting signs up that say ‘mass murderers welcome (gun-free zone)’ because how many gun shops have you heard of being robbed or mass murders happening near?! It doesn’t happen. EVERY TIME one of these tragedies happens it is somewhere that even a crazy person knows it is unlikely that an educated, armed citizen is going to be there to thwart their attempt at causing harm. EVEN the Ft. Hood shooting on an army base was a ‘gun free zone’ and if we REALLY want to stop these crimes then there is only ONE thing we need to do… make sure that we get a supreme court ruling stating that gun free zones and free speech zones are unconsitutional, because they are.

Because as the foundr of Oathkeepers said,

“Yes I think assault rifles and high capacity magazines should be legal. I don’t think we need more guns, we need more training. Well regulated of course applies to the second ammendment since it is in there- We can begin to deduce what well-regulated meant from Alexander Hamilton’s words in Federalist Paper No. 29:

The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious if it were capable of being carried into execution. A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, nor a week nor even a month, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry and of the other classes of the citizens to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people and a serious public inconvenience and loss.”

— The Federalist Papers, No. 29.

So no, I don’t think I am ‘so smart’ but I don’t have to be. If one reads the words of the people who wrote the constitution they don’t have to be smart. There is nothing to figure out. If I had only one chance to say something to the parents it would be this: The reason your children are dead is because of ‘gun free zones’ that only mean ANYTHING to law-abiding citens.

If criminals don’t respect the law, then why the HECK would we make a law forbidding good people to excercise the right to protect ourselves against people who don’t respect the law?!

And what about registering of firearms? One potential benefit of registration would be the return of stolen guns to the legitimate owners – but I wouldn’t bet on that happening! On the other hand, when a gun is stolen now, the police ask for a description and the serial number. If a nationwide database were created of stolen guns, they could potentially be returned. I for one would be more than happy to pay the shipping costs and a small handling fee to get my personal property back. Why are our legislators not proposing laws to see to see to it that citizens have their personal property returned to them after being discovered to be stolen? It wouldn’t require registration of all guns, just a record of all guns reported stolen. They could then be removed from the list of stolen guns once they were returned to their rightful owner.

The real social problem is illegal use of guns by what are by definition criminals. It is neither appropriate or effective to impose restrictions or financial burdens on law-abiding citizens. Another probable consequence of requiring a fee for owning a gun, is that retired people, living on fixed incomes, may find that given a choice between eating and keeping their gun, they would choose to buy food. Yet, when one is old and frail, the need for self-protection, in the form of a gun, may be greater than when they were hale and hearty. Our insensitive Democratic legislators, who feel that they know what is best for everyone, would take that right away if they had their dithers. Also, violent crime is an activity of youth, not old people. Yet, the proposed registration would apply to everyone.

No one is seriously suggesting that we should ban cars or somehow restrict ownership of cars by adults. However, the same cannot be said for guns. Registration is a strawman. It only has two real uses: to collect taxes and to serve as a database for later confiscation of the guns.

**This Blog was written by emartinie@heartsonfire-ministries.org**