Table of Contents
The Marriage Institution
1. AFTER creating man, what did God say?
"And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone."
2. What, therefore, did God say He would make?
"I will make him an help meet for him." Same verse.
NOTE.-Not a helpmeet nor a helpmate, but- two words- a help meet
for him; that is, fit or suitable for him. The word meet in the
original means a front, a part opposite, a counterpart or mate. Man's companion, or help,
was to correspond to him. Each was to be suited to the other's needs.
3. Could such a help be found among the creatures which God had already made?
"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." Verse
4. What, therefore, did God do?
"And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took
one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God
had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man." Verses
NOTE.-How beautiful, in its fullness of meaning, is this simple but suggestive story,
at which skeptics sneer. God did not make man after the order of the lower animals, but
"in His own image." Neither did He choose man's companion, or "help,"
from some other order of beings, but made her from man- of the same substance. And He took
this substance, not from man's feet, that he might have an excuse to degrade,
enslave, or trample upon her; nor from man's head, that woman might assume
authority over man; but from man's side, from over his heart, the sect of
affections, that woman might stand at his side as man's equal, and, side by
side with him, together, under God, work out the purpose and destiny of the race,-
man, the strong, the noble, the dignified; woman, the weaker, the sympathetic, the loving.
How much more exalted and inspiring is this view than the theory that man developed from
the lower order of animals.
5. What did Adam say as he received his wife from God?
"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." Verse 23.
6. What great truth was then stated?
"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his
wife: and they shall be one flesh." Verse 24.
7. In what words does Christ recognize marriage as of God?
"Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath
joined together, let not man put asunder." Matt. 19:6.
NOTE.-Thus was the marriage institution ordained of God in Eden, before man sinned.
Like the Sabbath, it has come down to us with the Edenic dews of divine blessing still
upon it. It was ordained not only for the purpose of peopling the earth and perpetuating
the race, but to promote social order and human happiness; to prevent irregular affection;
and, through well-regulated families, to transmit truth, purity, and holiness from age to
age. Around it cluster all the purest and truest joys of home and the race. When the
divine origin of marriage is recognized, and the divine principles controlling it are
obeyed, marriage is indeed a blessing; but when these are disregarded, untold evils are
sure to follow. That which, rightly used, is of greatest blessing, when abused becomes the
8. By what commands has God guarded the marriage relation?
"Thou shalt not commit adultery." "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's
wife." Ex. 20:14,17.
9. What New Testament injunction is given respecting marriage?
"Let marriage be had in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled: for
fornicators and adulterers God will judge." Heb. 13:4, R. V.
NOTE.-By many, marriage. is lightly regarded- is often made even a subject of jest. Its
divine origin, its great object, and its possibilities and influences for good or evil are
little thought of, and hence it is often entered into with little idea of its
responsibilities or its sacred obligations. The marriage relationship is frequently used
in the Scriptures as a symbol of the relationship existing between God and His people. See
Rom. 7:1-4; 2 Cor. 11:2; Hosea 2:19, 20; Rev. 19:7.
10. After the fall, what sort of marriages were introduced by men, which were
productive of great evil?
"And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and
daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that
they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose." Gen. 6:1,2.
NOTE.-Not only was there plurality of wives, which in itself is an evil, but the
"sons of God," descending from Seth, married the "daughters of men,"
the descendants from the idolatrous line of Cain, and thus corrupted the seed, or church,
of God itself. All the barriers against evil thus being broken down, the whole race was
soon corrupted, violence filled the earth, and the flood followed.
11. What restriction did God make respecting marriages in Israel?
"Let them marry to whom they think best; only to the family of the tribe of
their father shall they marry." Num. 36:6.
12. What prohibition did God give His chosen people against intermarrying with the
heathen nations about them, and why?
"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. For they will turn away
thy son from following Me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the
Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly." Deut. 7:3,4.
NOTE.-Intermarriage with the ungodly was the mistake made by the professed people of
God before the flood, and God did not wish Israel to repeat that folly.
13. What instruction is given in the New Testament regarding marriage with
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath
righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what
concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and
what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living
God." 2 Cor. 6:14-16.
NOTE.-This instruction forbids all compromising partnerships. Marriage of believers
with unbelievers has ever been a snare by which Satan has captured many earnest souls who
thought they could win the unbelieving, but in most cases have themselves drifted away
from the moorings of faith into doubt, backsliding, and loss of religion. It was one of
Israel's constant dangers, against which God warned them repeatedly. "Give not your
daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their
peace [by such compromise] or their wealth forever." Ezra 9:12. See also Ex.
34:14-16; Judges 14:1-3. Ezra 9 and 10; and Neh. 13:23-27. Even Solomon fell before the
influence of heathen wives. Concerning him the inspired Word has left this melancholy
record: "His wives turned away his heart after other gods." 1 Kings 11:4. No
Christian can marry an unbeliever without running serious risk, and placing himself upon
the enemy's ground. The Scriptures do not advocate separation after the union has been
formed (see 1 Cor. 7:2-16), but good sense should teach us that faith can best be
maintained, and domestic happiness best insured, where both husband and wife are
believers, and of the same faith. Both ministers and parents, therefore, should warn the
young against all improper marriages.
14. What instruction did Abraham give his servant Eliezer when sending him to select
a wife for his son Isaac?
"Thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father's
house." Gen. 24:40.
NOTE.-This passage indicates that in early Bible times parents generally had more to do
in the selection of life companions for their children than they commonly have now. Young
people who are wise will seek the advice and counsel of their parents, and above all, will
seek to know the will of God, before entering upon this important relationship, with its
grave responsibilities and its momentous consequences.
15. For how long does marriage bind the contracting parties?
"For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long
as he liveth." Rom. 7:2. See 1 Cor. 7:39.
16. What only does Christ recognize as proper ground for dissolving the marriage
"Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall
marry another, committeth adultery." Matt. 19:9.
NOTE.-Civil laws recognize other reasons as justifiable causes for separation, such as
extreme cruelty, habitual drunkenness, or other like gross offenses; but only one offense,
according to Christ, warrants the complete annulment of the marriage tie.
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