Great care was undertaken to insure that the manuscripts contained in this publication are the undisputed, complete, and truthful manuscripts of the men that presented these same manuscripts at the 2011 Michigan Bible Lectureship held August 11 - 13, 2011 at the facilities of the Garden City church of Christ in Garden City Michigan.
If for some reason there have been omissions from the printed material it was not due to the Elders of the Church of Christ – West editing of these materials. The only revisions that were made to these manuscripts consisted of common sense spelling and format revisions. The content of these manuscripts were not changed.
If you wish to copy and distribute any of this material we do ask that you contact the Church of Christ – West at the address listed below so that we may obtain permission from the authors of the material.
If you should wish to contact any of the authors directly, a contact list is provided at the end of the book.
34 Christian Home: Marriage 1 Cor. 7:1-40………………………… Brian Kenyon
51 What the Bible Says to Parents and Children……….. ….…. Samuel Barclay
88 Financial Stewardship for the Home………………. ………. Dustin Forthun
the Home) ……….. …………………………….......................... Clint Patterson
94 The Home as God Would Have It ............... …………………. Jody Apple
A Presentation on the Christian Home
Material was not available at time of printing.
The Biblical Roles of Men (Includes Emphasis on Husband)
In this study we are going to focus on the Biblical roles and responsibilities of men, with emphasis on husband, one that is the provider of their families. Every man should know what God expects of them and then follow God’s design for their marriage and life. When he learns and keeps the Lord’s pattern, the marriage and home will be truly well pleasing to God.
Solomon, wrote by inspiration (2 Tim. 3:16-17), that man’s whole duty or role in life is to serve God, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, KJV).1 To serve Him with all that is within our being! The Scriptures teach us how much we are to love and seek Him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5), also see, Mt. 22:37, Mk. 12:30, Lk. 10:27. God is to come first in our lives, just as Jesus preached in His Sermon on the Mount, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
Paul writes to Timothy “that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience” (Titus. 2:2), and additionally he writes:
Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you (Titus 2:6-8).
In the previous verses, Paul instructs Timothy how both the young and older men are to behave, with the characteristics given by inspiration from God how to be true and faithful men of God.
Edmund Burke wrote, “I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone.”2
It is often said that chivalry is dead! The Three Musketeers who would bow down to women with much respect, and offer protection for them with their own lives, are an example of chivalry. Chivalry is defined as, Gallant or distinguished gentlemen. Middle English chivalrie, from Anglo French chevalerie, from chevaler knight First Known Use: 14th century.3 As in Medieval days, Arno Borst wrote in in his book titled, Medieval Worlds, “Society expected each man to aspire constantly to Chivalric Behavior; in return, they gave him an honorable place in the union of men...”4
The blessed man, has often been referred to (and rightly so), as a role model for men to follow. The Psalmist teaches that in order to be like this blessed man, we must learn to emulate his conduct. The other option is to be like the foolish and ungodly man that shall perish, the Psalmist wrote:
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish (Psalm 1:1-6, KJV).
Emotions and Men
Noel Peterson, N.D., wrote an article about tears in the following, which this writer finds very interesting, regarding how God designed man and the chemicals in our bodies, Peterson wrote:
Which is better for you, a good laugh or a good cry? According to Dr. William Frey of the Dry Eye and Tear Research Center in Minneapolis, tears may improve health by running off with chemicals that produce stress. Frey collected data on hundreds of men and women, and induced irritant tearing through exposure to fresh cut onions. He collected emotional tears by having subjects watch three-hanky movies, “tear-jerkers” such as Brian’s Song, The Champ, and others.
For one thing, tears contain 30 times the concentration of manganese found in blood. Emotional tears contain 24% higher protein concentration than irritant tears. He speculates that this higher protein level is composed of neuropeptides, chemicals which are secreted by the brain and carry the molecular ‘code’ for emotions through the body. He postulates that “the reason people feel better after crying is that the tears may be unloading the chemicals that build up during emotional stress”
He also found that both emotional tears and irritant tears contain three chemicals known to be released by the body during emotional stress: an endorphin thought to modulate pain sensation; ACTH, a hormone that is considered the body’s most reliable indicator of stress; and Prolactin, another hormone which regulates milk production in humans.
Prolactin also promotes tear production, Frey notes, which may help to explain the important sex difference in emotional crying, namely that women cry far more frequently than men do (in his studies, 4 times more often). Adult women have serum prolactin levels nearly 60 percent higher than mens’, whereas before puberty, boys and girls not only have similar prolactin levels, but similar crying frequencies. Prolactin levels also rise and fall in cycles, peaking before the onset of menses.
Frey reports that in his surveys 85% of women and 73% of men reported feeling better after crying. Other studies have found that among men and women, healthy people are more likely to cry and have a positive attitude toward tears than those with ulcers or colitis, two conditions thought to be stress related.
Further, notes Frey, children who suffer an inherited disease called familial dysautonomia have two things in common: they can’t produce tears, and they have an extremely low tolerance for emotional stress. If crying helps the body rid itself of stress hormones, what about laughter? Human beings are the only creatures who respond to stimuli with laughter. Your dog may smile, and even howl and “cry” at the moon, but you’ll never see him cry tears or hear him laugh. Tears and laughter are uniquely human….5
Many courageous men were also men that “wept.” Several we can read about in our Bibles, men such as David, in 1 Samuel 30:4, the Prophet Elisha, in 2 Kings 8:11-12, the Apostle John, in Revelation 5:4-5, and Jesus, in John 11:35, etc…
Men have customarily been emotionally intimidated. For numerous years, it has not been acceptable for men to cry or show their feelings. Many, from the point of infancy men were taught it was forbidden to express their emotions often being told “big boys do not cry!”
They were taught that emotions were something to be controlled, avoided or bottled-up. Their dads, public leaders, and famous prominent men only reinforced this view. Consequently, men are not as emotional as women.
For men, showing emotions can be hazardous, especially in the presence of other men! Men expect other men to avoid being overly emotional. It makes men uncomfortable if another man is emotionally sensitive. If a man is emotional he is accused by many men as not being manly enough. On the other hand, often times when men are seen weeping due to fear, they can cast fear into others also, “The officers shall speak further to the people, and say, 'What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest the heart of his brethren faint like his heart’” (Deuteronomy 20:8). Just as God instructed Gideon to do:
The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained (Judges 7:2-3, ESV).
Moses has said the children of Israel:
“When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. So it shall be, when you are on the verge of battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people. And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you’ (Deuteronomy 20:1-4).
Men are to be brave according to the apostle Paul, “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13, NASB) The NKJV states it like this, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” The wicked, slothful, lazy one talent man was afraid, being a coward and was cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mt. 25:25-26, 30). The apostle John mentions the “cowardly,” or the “fearful,” as in the KJV, is first on the list of those lost in a devil’s Hell, he wrote, “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
Vince Lombardi is noted as saying, “Leaders are not born. They are made. They are made just like anything else . . . through hard work. That’s the price we have to pay to achieve that goal or any goal.”6 Men are to be mentors to other men, training them to become leaders, according to Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (ESV)
Furthermore, men have been divinely appointed by God as leaders in the church. Jesus, the Head of the church (Col. 1:18), is a Man, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1Timothy 2:5).
The twelve Apostles were men. The original twelve apostles were:
Simon, son of Jonas (also known as Peter or Cephas, Jn. 1:42)
Andrew, son of Jonas
James, son of Zebedee (nicknamed with his brother by the name Boanerges, which means, “Sons of Thunder,” Mk. 3:17, Lk. 5:10)
John, son of Zebedee (nicknamed with his brother by the name Boanerges, which means, “Sons of Thunder,” Mk. 3:17, Lk. 5:10)
Matthew (also known as Levi, Mk. 2:14)
James, son of Alpheaus
Simon, the Canaanite, Mt. 10:4, Mk. 3:18 (nicknamed the Zealot, Luke 6:15, Ac. 1:13)
Judas, son of James (also known as Lebbaeus in Mt. 10:3 or Thaddaeus in Mk. 3:18)
This list is found in Mt. 10:2-4; Mk. 3:16-19; Lk. 6:13-16 and Ac. 1:13
Apostles added were:
Matthias, Ac. 1:25-26
Paul (Also known as “Saul,” Ac. 13:9) 1 Tim. 2:7, 2 Tim. 1:1, 1 Co. 1:1, 2 Co. 1:1
Elders and deacons are men – since they must be “the husband of one wife,” according to the scriptures, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach” (1 Timothy 3:2). “Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well” (1 Timothy 3:12).
At times, it comes as a charge against men, and many other times as a joke which most have heard, inferring that somehow the man of the house was weak and allowed his wife to make decisions without his consent, such as, “we know who wears the pants in your home.” Another well-known phrase is “head of the house,” which is a term that many have abused and is largely misunderstood by today’s culture.
The world’s mindset of men is far different than Biblical Manhood, the worldly philosophy of being a “real” man in regards to doing “manly” things, for example, taking out the trash, mowing the grass, climb mountains, build houses, overhaul car engines, spend hours watching sports on T.V., belching/burping the loudest (amongst other repulsive things), work 12 hour days, etc. However, there are also some among the worldly mindset—for instance, the slothful = disinclined to work or exertion; lazy,7 and the derelict = who are neglectful of duty or obligation,8 or deadbeats = not fulfilling one’s obligations or paying one’s debts, a lazy person; a loafer.9 These so-called “men” are unashamed and abuse their calling to be godly men as God wants all men to be, and to be saved (2 Pe. 3:9). Sad and painfully true, there are many unscriptural divorces (Mt. 19:9), which are due to these rascals who claim to be the “king of their castles,” they will not work, nor look for work… they are like the “lazybones” we read about in the book of Proverbs:
The lazy man says, “There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets!” As a door turns on its hinges, So does the lazy man on his bed. The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth. The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes Than seven men who can answer sensibly (Proverbs 26:13-16).
Christian men are to lead by applying godly characteristics, values and morals to every facet of their lives. We must recognize that our purpose is much bigger than we are. Every man has a role in growing God’s kingdom. God’s challenge for men is to take the lead. Lead your families and communities. How then, someone might ask, do we go about doing that? We do it by applying godly characteristics, values and morals to our lives (Tit. 2:2, 6-8).
Another Biblical role is to be “a man of his word,” as many leaders from this writer’s lifetime during the twentieth century had done, such as a handshake instead of contracts. James teaches us that we are to be a kind of people that means what we say, and to say what we mean, “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your ‘Yes,’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No,’ lest you fall into judgment” (James 5:12).
Below is an American print from 1855 that dramatizes the question, “Who wears the pants?” (Courtesy of the New York Historical Society)
The man on the left says to his friend, “Fight courageous for sovereign authority, neighbor; or your wife’ll do to you as mine has done to me—she’ll pull your hair off your head and compel you to wear a wig!” The little boy is saying, “Oh, Mamma, please leave my Papa his pants!” The other man states that he would “rather die than let my wife have my pants. A man ought always to be the ruler.” The little girl says, “Oh Pa! Let go, be gallant, or you’ll tear’em!” The woman pulling on the pants says, “Sam ‘y help me! Woman is born to rule and not to obey those contemptible creatures called men!” The woman on the right cheers, “Bravo Sarah! Stick to them, it is only us which ought to rule and to whom the pants fit the best.” Above these people is depicted the demon of “discord.”10
Man needed someone to help him, for he had no one by his side, while in the Garden of Eden. God made man a help-meet, a helper, a companion to fill his loneliness.
And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 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 a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:18-25).
Matthew Henry was born on October 18, 1662 in The United Kingdom, and died on June 22, 1714. It is said that he was an English non-conformist clergyman. He is accredited for writing a very familiar quote, concerning God’s creation of the woman in the following:
The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.11
Both husbands and wives must bring some building-blocks to the marriage to make it strong and lasting. Building-blocks for husbands are of utmost importance, to bring to the marriage! Many think that it is all the other’s fault.
Boy: (in anger) “If you were my wife, I would poison your tea.”
Girl: If I were your wife, I’d drink it.12
Provider of the Family
The Man is to be the Provider. Since the beginning, it was man that was given the charge by God to be the bread-winner for the family. God said to Adam, “in the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” (Gen. 3:19). From that day on, the male of the human family has been primarily responsible for providing the material needs of his family. However, the man as a husband has an awesome duty to his wife, to be a husband as God intended. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).
The husband has the responsibility to look after his wife’s wellbeing, and Paul points out that the unmarried has far more time to work in the Lord’s Vineyard, and the husband has less time due to his responsibility to his wife, Paul wrote, “But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord--how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:32-33).
Even though the husband has this responsibility to labor in order to provide for his family, he is to be sure to sacrifice denying himself and carry his cross, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23, KJV).
Jesus said that His servants are to put Him first, before those in our families, such as parents, and children etc., in the following:
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me (Matthew 10:37-38).
God commanded man to work, even while living in the garden before their fall, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15, ESV).
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:17-19).
Again, 1 Tim. 5:8 unmistakably teaches that the man (“his household”) is the leader of the home and is expected to make provision for both “his own” (widows who are flesh and blood – see vs. 4; Ex. 20:12) and then “his own house” (immediate family). Notice our example, while upon the cross, our Lord, Jesus Christ made provisions for the care of His mother (Jn. 19:26–27). When a man fails to provide for his family’s needs because of laziness and lack of commitment to his God given role, then the husband or father is worse than an unbeliever—meanwhile there are countless of unbelievers that recognize and fulfill their family responsibilities. The husband or father who is lazy and does not provide for his home also denies “the faith,” the faith that unswervingly upholds that those who are true believers should care for “all” people, and especially for one another (Gal. 6:10; Matt. 7:12).
Man’s responsibility to provide for his wife and family are at the core of what the true Biblical roles for men are about (Lk. 11:11-13). Biblical support that the man has the primary obligation to provide for his family’s needs was also demonstrated in the children of Adam and Eve as Cain and Abel are seen keeping sheep and tilling the ground (Gen. 4:2). Additional confirmation is found in further Old Testament texts (Gen. 30:29-30; Deut. 20:6).
The husband, as commonly stronger, has the primary responsibility to use his strength to protect and provide for his wife and family (1 Pe. 3:7). When there is no bread on the table it is the man who should feel the main pressure to do something to get it there! This is because God has charged him to express his manhood role in this manner. There is a complete absence of evidence to support the alleged reversal of roles for family provision. Nowhere can we find Scripture encouraging women to be the primary means of support while their husbands care for the house and children. Certainly women can help in provision as time and circumstances allow her (Gen. 2:18; Prov. 31:24).
Protector of His Family
Physical protection is the man’s responsibility. Just as Christ gave His life for the church, husbands are to do the same, according to the apostle Paul, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her… So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church” (Ephesians 5:25, 28-29).
This truth of men being the protecting element in a family is seen in connection with how men are the ones responsible for going to war and providing protection for their families and the nation. In Neh. 4:13-14 we find how the men were to fight for their brothers, houses, wives, and children, and not one word about fighting for husbands! It is the obligation of men to fight wars for the protection and care over women and children.
The Bible teaches that it is a shame to a nation when its warriors become women (Nah. 3:13). This is something that many soldiers in battle have done throughout history to protect their families and homelands. The fact that men went to war proves that God sees men as the protector of their wives. This too, is without a doubt a Biblical role of man. In Matthew 2:13-14 Joseph was told to protect Mary and the young Child (Jesus) by taking them to Egypt.
Manhood that is established will cause a man to provide safety and care for his wife. The man is to be a protecting servant to the wife and be willing to suffer for the sake of his wife (Eph. 5:25). In doing this the man imparts honor on his wife as the weaker vessel (1 Pet. 3:7), bearing the responsibility that God has placed upon every man to protect his wife. If it is the wife who must get up at night when a sound is heard in the house or a strange noise downstairs or in the garage, then something is surly wrong with this man’s manhood.
On sinking ships, there is a reason why women and children are put into lifeboats first. It is not because men are superior swimmers; it is because of manhood. The following are real stories about the Titanic Ship that sank, and an example of both cowards, and men of heroism and chivalry:
Forced Men Usurping Places to Vacate
“The boats were lowered one by one, and as I stood by, my husband said to me, ‘Thank God, for Archie Butt.’ Perhaps Major Butt heard it, for he turned his face towards us for a second and smiled. Just at that moment, a young man was arguing to get into a life-boat, and Major Butt had a hold of the lad by the arm, like a big brother, and was telling him to keep his head and be a man.”
“Major Butt helped those poor frightened steerage people so wonderfully, so tenderly and yet with such cool and manly firmness that he prevented the loss of many lives from panic. He was a soldier to the last. He was one of God’s greatest noblemen, and I think I can say he was an example of bravery even to men on the ship.”
There were some terrible scenes. Fathers were parting from their children and giving them an encouraging pat on the shoulders; men were kissing their wives and telling them that they would be with them shortly. One man said there was absolutely no danger that the boat was the finest ever built, with water-tight compartments, and that it could not sink. That seemed to be the general impression.
A few of the men, however, were panic-stricken even when the first of the fifty-six foot life-boats was being filled. Fully ten men threw themselves into the boats already crowded with women and children. These men were dragged back and hurled sprawling across the deck. Six of them, screamed with fear, struggled to their feet and made a second attempt to rush to the boats.
About ten shots sounded in quick succession. The six cowardly men were stopped in their tracks, staggered and collapsed one after another. At least two of them vainly attempted to creep toward the boats again. The others lay quite still. This scene of bloodshed served its purpose. In that particular section of the deck there was no further attempt to violate the rule of “women and children first.”
Somewhere in the shadow of the appalling Titanic disaster slinks—still living by the inexplicable grace of God—a cur in human shape, today the most despicable human being in all the world.
In that grim midnight hour, already great in history, he found himself hemmed in by the band of heroes whose watchword and countersign rang out across the deep—“Women and children first!”
What did he do? He scuttled to the stateroom deck, put on a woman’s skirt, a woman’s hat and a woman’s veil, and picking his crafty way back among the brave and chivalric men who guarded the rail of the doomed ship, he filched a seat in one of the life-boats and saved his skin.
His name is on that list of branded rescued men who were neither picked up from the sea when the ship went down nor were in the boats under orders to help get them safe away. His identity is not yet known, though it will be in good time. So foul an act as that will out like murder.
The eyes of strong men who have read this crowded record of golden deeds, who have read and re-read that deathless roll of honor of the dead, are still wet with tears of pity and of pride. This man still lives. Surely he was born and saved to set for men a new standard by which to measure infamy and shame.
It is well that there was sufficient heroism on board the Titanic to neutralize the horrors of the cowardice. When the first order was given for the men to stand back, there were a dozen or more who pushed forward and said that men would be needed to row the life-boats and that they would volunteer for the work.
The officers tried to pick out the ones that volunteered merely for service and to eliminate those who volunteered merely to save their own lives. This elimination process however, was not wholly successful.1
This action like many others belongs to masculinity which calls for a man to accept danger and protect women and children (1 Cor. 16:13, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong,” KJV). Most husbands are quick to provide physical protection for their wives. There was a man that took his new bride to the City of New York on their honeymoon. When robbers attacked them he ran off and left her alone with the robbers on the street. This man is worse than an unbeliever for not providing protection for his wife (1 Tim. 5:8).
Partner in the Marriage
Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” This verse reveals that a husband’s love should extend even to a willingness to lay down his life for his wife.
Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7).
The apostle Paul said that husbands are to dwell with their wives with “honor” and as to the “weaker vessel.” This author’s father taught him while growing up to never lift up a hand toward girls. His teachings have remained with this writer, being instilled in him with thankfulness. What a shame it is when parents teach their children to fight with other children…this writer has seen young boys beat-up young girls, and grown men that beat women! What a disgrace it is that husbands abuse their wives, and not to do as Paul wrote to treat them delicately as “weaker vessels.” A program for women called “HOPE HOUSE,” for single women involved in domestic violence, gives the following quotes, “Every 9 seconds a woman is battered in the United States.”2
“One in four women experience domestic violence in their lifetime.”3 HOPE HOUSE states:
Studies of the Surgeon General’s office reveal that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44, more common than automobile accidents, muggings, and cancer deaths combined. Other research has found that half of all women will experience some form of violence from their partners during marriage, and that more than one-third are battered repeatedly every year.4
Husbands are to know their wives, “According to knowledge” or “understanding” NKJV. They should know their fears, cares, disappointments, dreams, and secrets.
They should know their favorite - color, candy, flower, dress, and perfume.
Husbands need to be sure and not just have selective hearing, but rather truly listen - communicate and care for their wives. Again, Paul wrote that husbands are to honor their wives, by granting or assigning her a place of honor—ahead of the children. Let others know, but does she know it? Do not assume - tell her, small expressions or the “little” things!5
Live with your wife, “live” means to “dwell down.” Men tend to become inactive in the home. Many men say, “I earn - she spends.” Or, “checks and balances, she writes checks and I come up with the balance.” And of course, “I bring home the bacon and she cooks it.” Manage the house, as found in the qualifications for elders, but even still, all men should take the lead and do the same, I Timothy 3:4-5 “manages own household.” Manage = chair, lead, direct, and guide.6
As previously stated, Solomon, by inspiration (2 Tim. 3:16-17), wrote that man’s whole duty or role in life is to serve God Almighty, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, KJV). Men have the duty to learn God’s will, by what He has revealed in His Word what his role as a man is, and learn how to accurately fear the Lord and keep His commandments, which is man’s whole duty. Jesus said in John 14:15 in regards to keeping His commandments, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). It is this writer’s prayer that men learn their Biblical roles, and those who are married to learn to become good husbands to their wives, as God would have them to be.
The Biblical Roles of Women (Focus on Wife)
©George F. Beals 2011
Notice carefully the words in the title of this presentation. This title anticipates the outline we shall follow, which is like a cone: wide on top and narrow on the bottom. That is, we shall begin with general information, and then narrow down to the specific case indicated in the title:
B iblical instruction for all human beings, and therefore for women
Biblical instruction only for women
Biblical instruction only for women who are wives (We are talking about scriptural marriages.)
Then, I would like for us to critique some extreme views, extreme on the left (too liberal) and extreme on the right (too restrictive).
Biblical Instruction for All Human Beings
The point here is that there is Bible instruction that applies to all human beings and, of course, therefore, applies to all women. Of the many example legislations in the Bible we could identify in this category, we will look at just some:
The golden rule:
Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matt. 7:12)
Salvation applies to all of us:
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
“Men” in both of these verses translates the generic word for human beings, anthropos. Sometimes the context indicates that this word means a man and not woman, as seen in First Corinthians 7:1:
Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
But often anthropos is used as the generic for human being – man and woman. I looked up some other passages for us that use this word, instead of the specific word for adult men (aner) or adult women (gune). Here are some more:
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matt. 4:4
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt. 5:16)
“Men” here is in the predicate. But the context (the beatitudes) shows that the subject is men and women.
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 10:32-33)
Here, again, “men” is in the predicate, but the “whoever,” in context, surely applies to both men and women.
Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath (Matt. 12:12)
This is written during the OT period. But notice the principle. Also, it shows that both men and women are of more value than sheep.
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. (Matt. 12:36)
The baptism of John—where was it from? From heaven or from men?” (Matt. 21:25)
Here, Jesus is considering two sources of authority: heaven (God) or men, and in context rejects all human source of authority that conflicts with God– whether from a man or a woman. (Compare this with the Acts 5:29 principle: we must obey God rather than men. (“men” in Acts 5:29 is anthropos, man or woman.)
Skip to the Gospel of John:
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (Jn 1:4). Jesus Christ is the light of men and women, not just men. Same is seen in John 1:9: “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.”
Another in Acts:
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent. (Acts 17:30)
Some from Romans:
8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Rom. 2:8-10) God will not render such only to men, but to both men and women.
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. (Rom. 3:28)
This is the case for biblical faith of man and woman.
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. (Rom. 6:4-7)
“Man” in “our old man was crucified with Him” refers to man or woman.
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. (Rom. 12:18)
That is, if it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all human beings, men and women, not just with men.
Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. (Rom. 14:20)
This legislation in Romans 14 has in mind both man and woman, not just man.
Notice this example in Second Timothy 2:2:
“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
So the “men” here includes both men and women. Compare the case of Aquila and Priscilla in Acts 18:26 for an approved example of implementing this instruction.
Consider also the biblical practice of reliable testimony. I got a call from a preacher one time outside of this part of the country who told me about a man in the church who was accused of touching women where he should not have. As it turned out, he had done it to several women in the church, one at a time. Their testimony was viewed as reliable in that case, and corrective action was taken.
Biblical Instruction for Human Beings Who Are Women
Older women teach the younger women:
3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. (Titus 2:3-5)
Do not take leadership in Christian worship assembly when Christian men are in attendance:
8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; 9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. 11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. (1 Tim. 2:8-12)
Note: Concerning the term “in every place” (en panti topo, in the Greek), translated “everywhere” in the NKJ. Does the biblical context ever qualify (that is, limit the meaning of) this term? On your own, examine each of the following passages in which this term appears in both the Greek OT and the Greek NT, and see: Ex. 20:24; Nu. 18:31; Dt. 12:13; 23:17/English KJV and NKJ verse 16; 1K. 21:19; Ps. 102:22; Pr. 15:3; Am. 8:3; Mal. 1:11; Je. 8:3; 24:9; 31:37; 51:35; Da. 2:38; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 2:14; 1 Thes. 1:8; 1 Tim. 2:8. Does context qualify the term in First Timothy 2:8, or does the restriction there apply to women in all circumstances and jurisdictions in life: teaching mathematics in a community college; a police woman when she raises her hand to stop for traffic, …?
Does the context in First Corinthians 1:2, for example, limit the meaning to where there are local churches of Christians? Does First Timothy 3:15 limit “in every place” of First Timothy 2:8 to the Christian worship assembly? That passage reads,
I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Biblical Instruction for Women Who Are Wives
Notice the emphasis in these words:
1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. (1 Pet. 3:1-4)
Next, there is a sexual responsibility for both husband and wife in First Corinthians 7. With this instruction, one should also abide by the instruction called the golden rule in Matt. 7:12:
1 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (1 Cor. 7:1-5)
And the Holy Spirit through Paul says this:
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. (Eph. 5:22-25),
There is a good summary of such passages found under the heading “What Woman Can Do – A Positive Look,” in a tract titled, The Work of Women in the Church by brother Robert Taylor. He packs into a few wonderful words the following thoughts that narrow in on the biblical wife:
She can learn about Jesus in youth and become a Christian when the age of accountability is achieved. Then she can grow in the Christian graces and adorn her life with the fruit of the Spirit. (2 Pet. 1:5-7; Gal. 5:22-23) She can conduct herself as becometh a young woman of Christian holiness during courtship. She can marry a good man, make a success of wifehood and motherhood. To her husband she can be a faithful help meet. (Gen. 2:18) She can be a good find for him and exhibit that her origin is from the Lord. (Prov. 18:22; 19:14) she can be a modern woman of worthiness. (Prov. 31:10-31) She is can love her husband, her children, the discreet, chaste, a worker at home and the Queen of the family. (Tit. 2: 4-5) She can marry, bear children, guide the house and leave the adversary silent as far as manner of reproach concerned. (1 Tim. 5:14) She can be the sterling type of one wife. Peter envisioned in 1 Peter 3:1-6. To her Christian husband she can be an holy heir along with him of heaven that their prayers be not short-circuited. (1Pet. 3:7) (Booneville, MS : Barber Tracts, n.d.)
Some Extremes on the Left?
A good summary of these can be found in Jack Cottrell’s helpful book, Feminism and the Bible (Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Company, 1992). Cottrell introduces them this way:
… my contention is that the five main supports of the feminist view, supposedly found in Scripture, are totally without foundation in the Bible or anywhere else. They are creation ex nihilo. (301-302)
We do not have the space or time in this presentation to provide much by way of response to these. So, except for the first one, I will leave such to the reader in his or her Bible study. But here is Cottrell’s list and some brief words from him:
1) The concept of mutual submission is taught in Ephesians 5:21 and negates the idea of a subordinate role for the wife in relation to her husband. (Ephesians 5:21-6: discusses/explains verse 21 in terms of four pairs of relationships: children and parents (6:1 - 4); slaves and masters (6:5-9); church and Christ (5:22-33); wives and husbands (5:22-33). Mutual submission does not fit./GFB)
2) The word head as it is used to describe the husband’s or man’s role means “origin” or “source”; it never means “leader” or “one in authority.” (The fact is that there is not one shred of solid evidence that the Greek word for “head” ever means “origin” or “source.” At the same time there is sufficient evidence for its being used to mean “a leader” or “one in authority.”)
3) Paul’s prohibition of women as teachers of men in 1 Timothy 2:12 was intended to be limited to the church at Ephesus and intended even there to be temporary. (The alleged facts used to support this crucial feminist argument are literally manufactured out of thin air.”)
4) The kind of authority that Paul does not allow women to exercise in 1 Timothy 2:12 is not ordinary authority but a sinful, domineering authority. (Again, the evidence for this key idea is non-existent.)
5) Paul’s statement in Galatians 3:28 was intended to erase ALL role distinctions between men and women for all time. (This basic feminist contention ignores the context of Paul’s statement as the determiner of its meaning.)
Some Extremes on the Right?
Much of the following is from my presentation at the 2011 Florida School of Preaching Lectureship on Deborah. See that for more information on this and related material.
Subjection inheres in the Hebrew word ezer?
Gen 2:18: And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper (Hebrew, ezer, GFB) But the word ezer is used in reference to God sometimes as a help to man. See Ex. 18:4; Dt. 33:7; Ps. 33:20; 121:2. So subjection does not inhere in “help” (ezer).
Women decide by emotion, not reason? We We could examine God’s book of nature (critiquing this view with evidence from it). But aside from that, the case of Deborah in the OT is helpful. Do these anticipate (typify) NT principles, where we have a greater separation of state from “church”? Notice the following.
First, Ruth 1:1 says that judges ruled in the land. It is clear by reading the book of Judges that the land included men. Deborah was a judge, judging Israel (Jud. 4:1). So Deborah made some rulings that applied to men.
Second, Deborah gave Barak, a man, an order, according to Judges 4:14-15:
14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 15 And the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot.
Third, the text says that the LORD raised up judges (Judges 2:16) and that the LORD was with the judges (Jud. 2:18). So the LORD was with Deborah as she judged. (Also, compare “for me” in Judges 5:13.)
Fourth, she prods the man to obey a divine directive, having to do with military battle:
6 Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, ‘Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun; 7 and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand’?” (Jud. 4:6-7)
Fifth, Israel came to her for judgment (Josh. 4:5).
Sixth, she was reasonable in calling Barak’s attention to the Lord’s command (Josh. 4:6).
Seventh, she was reasonable in singing praises to God in Joshua 5.
Eighth, regarding the NT age, one can trace back the implied “you” in “prove all things” of First Thessalonians and show it refers to the whole church, men and women. (This passage requires us all to prove what?)
So the claim that “Women inherently are not capable of being leaders, because they do not use reason but emotion in making decisions” must be wrong.
Next, what about the claim that it is sin for women to exercise authority over a man in any area of human activity: church, home, society, personal?
And, the flip side of this: it is sinful for a man to obey a woman in any area of human activity.
Well, to begin with, are we prepared to hold to all of the consequences of this position? Here are some:
A single mother, in difficult financial straits (or not), finally is offered a job. The local department store offers her a supervisor job where men employees would report to her. But she must turn down this opportunity, or she would sin and make the men to sin.
A woman traffic officer raises her hand for a man to stop his car. She sins in so doing and he sins if he obeys.
A widow owns a house, contracts with a handyman to clean up some debris in the backyard, and then directs him to do so, using imperatives like, “Throw this out” and “Do not throw that out.” She thereby sins by exercising authority over a man, and he sins if he allows himself to get into this situation and obeys.
Consider the following thoughts regarding this.
Ownership and Authority:
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? (Acts 5:1-4)
Of course, everything belongs to God according to Psalm 24:1 (the earth is Jehovah’s). Someone might say, yes, but Acts 5 talks about the man Ananias. Well, the text at verse 8 says, of his wife Sapphira, that she sold it too: And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” She said, “Yes, for so much.”
Notice the possessives used in the OT scriptures regarding women. Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.” Notice these in Proverbs 31:10-31 regarding property. All we need is one possessive:
14 … her food .… 16 She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard …. 18 … her merchandise …, … her lamp…. 22 She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. …. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants. ….
First Timothy 5:14:
This passage reads, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
The term “guide the house” translates the Greek oikodespotein. Thayer defines this as “to be master (or head) of a house; to rule a household, manage family affairs” Notice the word ‘despot,’ ruler, in the Greek word (though not despot in an unscripturally negative sense).
Of course, this is limited by the submission-to-husband passages. But where is the additional qualifier in First Timothy 5:14 limiting her rule to only women or children in the house? Without such qualification here or elsewhere in the NT, it would follow that the passage authorizes her to rule a male servant in the household.
Some Concluding Remarks
So, here is where I am in this study. I reserve the right to study more on this subject. If someone can prove more restrictions or fewer restrictions than these, we should want to modify our thinking and teaching accordingly. But at this point in my study, I have yet to convince myself that the restrictions are more than or fewer than church and home. Ephesians 5:22-33 shows that the wife is subject to the husband in optional home actions. First Timothy 5:14 and Acts 5:1-4 show that women have authority over male servants when they are doing work in her home or her property. First Timothy 2:8-14 shows that women are subject to men in optional church actions. Second Timothy 2:2 shows that men and women Christians may teach outside of the worship assembly. (Does this not help explain the case of Aquila and Priscilla in Acts 18:26 where both Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos?) There is no authority for non-Christians to lead in a Christian worship assembly, whether man or woman. Romans 13 shows that all citizens, men and women, are subject to the state authority in optional societal actions, without regard to the gender of that state authority. And, though we did not discuss it, Romans 14 delegates to men and women decision-making authority in personal areas (whether or not to eat meat, for example).
Important is this study is to recognize the different areas of biblical jurisdictions, the differences among biblical requirements and options, and to which the respective biblical legislation applies. I count four areas of jurisdiction: home, church, society/government, personal. Second Timothy 2:15 is a good concluding passage:
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Another Presentation on the Christian Home
1Paul’s Response to Their Concerns: Marriage (7:1-40)
Chapter 7 begins a new section of this epistle wherein Paul answers questions that the Corinthians asked in a previous correspondence.
A. “Now concerning” is a “formula” introducing topics raised earlier by the Corinthians (cf. 7:1, 25; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1, 12).1
B. “The things whereof ye wrote” indicates that Paul is responding to specific concerns brought up by the church, of which we have only Paul’s answer.
C. Although this section deals more with the when of marriage, rather than the who, it is helpful to review some key passages on marriage (Gen. 2:18-25; Mal. 2:11-16; Mt. 5:31-32; 19:3-12).
I. General principles of marriage and sexual relations (7:1-7).
A. Although celibacy is lawful, and indeed preferable under the present situation (cf.
7:26, 28), it is not always expedient (7:1-2 cf. 6:12; 10:23).
1. It is acceptable for Christians not to marry (7:1).
a. “Good” = not “morally better,” but morally good, pleasing to God, contributing to salvation (cf. 7:8, 26; Gen. 2:18).2
b. “Touch” = sexual relations (cf. Gen. 20:6; Pr. 6:29).
c. Paul’s statement must be considered in its cultural context of the “present distress” (7:26, 28).
2. For some, however, marriage is necessary (7:2).
a. “To avoid fornication [But because of the temptation to immorality RSV]” (7:2a) = since sexual desire is so strong in people and fornication is so prevalent and acceptable in Corinth, it would be easy for one to be enslaved by this sin, and since one’s soul is lost in such a condition (cf. 6:9-10), marriage is necessary.
b. “His own wife . . . her own husband” (7:2b) = a monogamous relationship (cf. Gen. 2:23-24; Mt. 19:4-6).
3. Paul is not saying that the lawful fulfillment of sexual desires is the only reason for marriage.
a. Paul is dealing with a specific question regarding an actual situation—“the question is not as to the reasons for which marriage has been instituted, but as to the persons for whom it is necessary.”3
b. The total teaching of the Bible shows at least the following reasons for marriage: companionship (Gen. 2:18); bearing children (1 Tim. 5:14); and fulfilling sexual desires (7:2-4).
c. Paul teaches much on marriage (Ep. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-19).
4. This passage refutes two extremes:
a. Marriage is essential to please God (cf. Gen. 1:28; 2:18).
b. Marrying makes one less pure, less holy, and less suitable for serving God (cf. 1 Tim. 4:3; Heb. 13:4).
B. Marriage has obligations and privileges (7:3-5).
1. Each in the marriage is obligated to give oneself to the other (7:3-4).
a. “Due benevolence [ASV omits benevolence]” (7:3a) = each owes duties to the other, which include sexual relations.
b. In marriage, each gives his or her body to the other; therefore, all sexual rights are transferred to each’s spouse.
c. “Paul does not stress the duty of either partner at the expense of the other, but puts them on a level, a noteworthy position in the male-dominated society of the time.”4
2. Sexual abstinence in marriage is a privilege, but it must be mutually agreed upon and be for a limited time only (7:5).
a. “Defraud [deprive NKJ]” (7:5a) = steal, rob, deny (cf. 6:8).5
b. “To give . . . to fasting and prayer [ASV omits fasting]” (7:5b) = the purpose for consenting to sexual abstinence is to be for spiritual reasons.
c. “Come together again” (7:5c) indicates the temporal nature of abstinence, lest one be controlled by temptation.
d. “Incontinency [lack of self control NKJ]” (7:5d) = lack of self-control; self-indulgence (cf. Mt. 23:25).6
C. All are not gifted with the necessary level of self-control to remain celibate (7:6-7).
1. Paul is not binding either marriage or celibacy upon everyone as a command of
the Lord (7:6).
a. “This” (7:6a) may refer to what was previously said or to what follows, but the idea is the same—God does not universally require one state to the exclusion of the other.
b. “By permission [by way of concession ASV]” (7:6b) is not an indication of Paul’s “uninspired opinion,” but is giving inspired permission, rather than a command (cf. 7:40).
2. Paul wants all to be celibate, but recognizes that all are not able (7:7).
a. “Even as myself” (7:7a) = Paul was not married when this was written, even though he had the right (cf. 9:5).
b. Paul attributes his self control to a “gift of God,” but all do not have this gift (7:7b cf. Mt. 19:11-12).
II. Concerning the unmarried and widows (7:8-9).
A. It is good for those not bound by marriage to remain as they are (7:8).
B. However, marriage is better if they do not have the necessary self-control (7:9).
1. “Cannot contain [have not continency ASV; cannot exercise self-control NKJ]” (7:9a) = those who cannot control themselves, or curb their sexual desire.7
2. “Burn” [with passion NKJ]” (7:9b) may refer to being consumed with sexual desire which may lead to sin (cf. Mt. 5:28; 1 Tim. 5:11-15),8 or to burning in Gehenna (cf. 6:9-10),9 but in either case it is clear that marriage is better.
III. Concerning those who are already married (7:10-11).
A. The universal law of permanency must be kept (7:10 cf. Mt. 19:5-6).
1. “Yet not I, but the Lord” (7:10a) refers to something Jesus explicitly addressed while in the flesh (cf. Mt. 5:31-32; 19:3-12; Mk. 10:9-12; Lk. 16:18).
2. “Depart [separate NIV]” (χωρίζω) (7:10b) = to divide or separate; in some cases it is almost a technical term in connection with divorce.10
B. If departure occurs, it does not of itself free one to remarry (7:11).
1. In such a case the departing spouse has only two options: remain unmarried or be reconciled to the spouse (7:11a cf. Mt. 19:9).
2. The remaining spouse is not to divorce the one who left (7:11b).
a. “Put away [leave ASV; divorce NKJ]” (ἀφίημι) = to let go, send away; in a legal sense, it means divorce.11
b. The only exception is if the departing spouse is guilty (or becomes guilty) of fornication (cf. Mt. 5:32; 19:9).
IV. Concerning Christians who are married to non-Christians (7:12-16).
A. If the non-Christian wants to live with the Christian, let it be (7:12-14).
1. God’s ultimate will is that marriage be permanent (7:12-13 cf. Mt. 19).
a. “The rest” (7:12a) = those not specifically addressed in the discourse up to this point.12
b. “Speak I, not the Lord” (7:12b) = not Paul’s “uninspired opinion,” but something that Jesus did not explicitly address while in the flesh, though He gave the principles (Mt. 19:3f).
c. “Be pleased [content ASV; is willing NKJ] to dwell” refers to the non-Christian, thus showing that the permanence of marriage depends on the attitude of the non-Christian spouse—the Christian must do all in his or her power to maintain the marriage (7:12c-13 cf. Mt. 19:3-12).13
2. Marriage is not unholy because one spouse is a non-Christian (7:14).
a. “Sanctified by the wife . . . the husband” (7:14a) does not mean that the non-Christian spouse is saved through marriage to a Christian (cf. 7:16), but that one is sanctified in his or her place in the marriage, in the sense of being God-approved (cf. 7:12-13).
b. If this marriage was not approved of God, then the children born would be illegitimate, but such is not the case (7:14b).
B. If the non-Christian insists on departing, the Christian is not compelled to force him or her to maintain the marriage (7:15-16).
1. Note that the departing is done by the non-Christian (7:15 cf. 7:12-13)— Christians should be determined to keep the marriage together.
a. “Depart” (χωρίζω) (7:15a) = to divide or separate, and where marriage is concerned, it may even refer to divorce (cf. 7:11).
b. The Christian is not (and has never been) enslaved to the whims of the non-Christian (7:15b).
c. “God hath called us to [in ASV] peace” (7:15c) = since peace is the atmosphere of Christ’s calling, any action that fosters dissension should be avoided if possible (cf. Rom. 12:18).14
2. There is no guarantee that the Christian will ever convert the non-Christianwho departs (7:16).
a. Although some take an optimistic view of “for what [how ASV] knowest thou . . .” (cf. 1 Pet. 3:1-6), the context indicates a further reason for letting the non-Christian depart—he or she may never be converted!
b. To force the maintenance of a marriage that the non-Christian is determined to end inevitably leads to frustration and tension, the opposite of “peace” (7:15c).15
c. “Not under bondage [obligation McT]” (οὐ δεδούλωται) does not teach that one is free to remarry just because one’s unbelieving spouse departs.
1. Since marriage is a “one flesh” relationship (Gen. 2:24; Mt. 19:5-6), only that which nullifies the “one flesh” relationship allows one to divorce and remarry with God’s approval; namely, the death of a spouse (Rom. 7:1-5), or fornication, in which only the spouse innocent of fornication is eligible for remarriage (Mt. 5:32; 19:9).
2. Although the above statement should settle the matter, it is relevant here to consider the original language and its inability to support the “Pauline privilege”16 of God-approved divorce and remarriage.
a. The vocabulary Paul uses does not support it.
(1) When Paul speaks of marriage, he uses a form of the Greek word deo (δέω) (7:27, 39; Rom. 7:2).
(2) However, the word Paul uses here is a form of douloo (δουλόω), which means “enslavement,” yet marriage was never intended by God to be a slave relationship (cf. 7:3-5)!
b. The verb tense Paul uses does not support it.17
(1) “Under bondage” is a perfect passive indicative form of douloo (δουλόω), which means to be bound as a slave, and is coupled with “not” (οὐ), which construction is known as a “perfect tense negation.”
(2) While a positive statement in the perfect tense points to an action that took place in the past with continuing results (cf. 7:27, 39), a negative statement in the perfect tense declares that no such action has taken place in the past.
(3) Therefore, a “brother or sister” has never been in the type of bondage here contemplated—Paul did not say they are “no longer under bondage” or they are “set free from bondage!
3. What does “not under bondage” mean in this verse?
a. “Bondage” here does not refer to the marriage, but to the fact that the Christian must not think that his or her spouse (or anyone else) has absolute power over him or her when it concerns faithfulness to God.
(1) Because the unbelieving spouse departs from the marriage does not mean that the Christian spouse is compelled (i.e., “enslaved”) to also depart from the marriage (cf. 7:21-23).
(2) Two wrongs do not make a right!
b. “In such cases [circumstances NIV]” (ἐν τος τοιούτοις), though often translated with a neuter expression, can correctly be translated with a masculine expression (i.e. “by [ἐν with the dative] such ones”).
V. The Christian can glorify God in whatever state he or she is called (7:17-24).
A. The Christian is not to live in fear and guilt because his or her non-Christian spouse departed—one can acceptably serve God regardless of one’s marital or social status.
B. The general principle of contentment is stated (7:17).
1. One is to be content in whatever vocation one was called (7:17a).
a. “As God hath distributed” suggests that God bestows one’s vocation.
b. “The Lord hath called” by His Gospel (2 Thes. 2:14).
c. “So let him walk” is obviously limited to those vocations which are not sinful (cf. 2 Cor. 6:14; 1 Thes. 5:22), thus refuting the teaching by some that one may remain in whatever marital situation he or she was in when converted (cf. Mt. 5:32; 19:9).
2. This principle is universally applicable “in all churches” (7:17b).
C. It does not matter whether one was circumcised or uncircumcised when called by God, he can still glorify God (7:18-19).
1. One need not reverse his circumcision to answer God’s call (7:18).
a. Although circumcision was required under the old law (cf. Ex. 12:48; Lev. 12:3), it is not required in Christianity (Gal. 5:3-4 cf. Col. 2:14; Rom. 2:28-29).
b. One can answer the call in circumcision or uncircumcision.
2. The important thing is “keeping the commandments of God” (7:19).
a. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision will influence God’s favor (7:19a cf. Gal. 5:6; 6:15).
b. Submitting to God’s will is essentially more important than mere ritual observance (7:19b cf. Mt. 7:21-23).
D. It does not matter whether one was physically free or in bondage when called by the Gospel, he or she can still glorify God (7:20-24).
1. The general principle of 7:17 is restated (7:20).
2. One who has answered God’s call while being a slave should not be bothered by it (7:21 cf. Phile. 10-17).
a. “Care not [do not be concerned NKJ] for it” (7:21a) = slaves can serve God (cf. Eph. 6:5-8; Col. 3:22-24; Tit. 2:9-10).
b. Although the Christian is to be content with his or her vocation in life (Phil. 4:11), he or she may improve it (7:21b).
3. In Christ one is both free and in bondage (7:22).
a. Christians enjoy a freedom that no person can take away (7:22a cf. Jn. 8:32-36; Rom. 6:6-7, 14, 22; 8:2; Gal. 5:1).
b. Christians are in bondage to the Master because they have surrendered their will to His will (7:22b cf. Gal. 2:20).
4. Because Christ paid their debt of sin on the cross, Christians are not to be the slaves of men (7:23).
a. Although many Christians were slaves (i.e. Onesimus), their ultimate Owner was Christ, and they served Him by serving their earthly master (cf. Eph. 6:5-8; Col. 3:22-25).
b. “Not . . . the servants of men” (7:23b) and “not under bondage” (7:15) are thus related in the sense that no person, whether earthly master, spouse, or otherwise, is to override our obedience to Christ (cf. Jn12:42-43; Rom. 2:29b).
5. One can serve Christ no matter his or her social standing (so long as one’s standing does not violate the law of Christ) (7:24).
VI. Concerning virgins (7:25-38).
A. Paul gives his God-inspired advice as to the feasibility of marriage (7:25-28 cf. 7:40; 14:37; 2 Cor. 8:8-10).
1. Jesus did not explicitly address this topic while in the flesh (“no commandment of the Lord”) (7:25a cf. 7:12).
2. However, Paul’s advice is just as relevant and appropriate (7:25b).
a. “Judgment” = a deliberately formed decision from knowledge, not a mere passing fancy (cf. 2 Cor. 8:10).18
b. Through God’s mercy, Paul is qualified to deliver faithful, God-inspired teaching regarding this issue (cf. 2:6-16; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3-4).
3. Given the present circumstances, it is best to remain unmarried (7:26).
a. “I suppose [think ASV]” (7:26a) does not show uncertainty, but Paul’s God-inspired advice (cf. 7:12, 25).
b. “Present distress [crisis NIV]” (7:26b) = unusually difficult circumstances, most likely persecution related (cf. 7:28b).
c. It is, therefore, better for a person to remain as is—unmarried (7:26c).
4. However, this preferable state does not mean that one should put away his or her spouse (7:27 cf. Mt. 19:3-9).
a. For those already married as Paul writes, it is too late to choose to be single (7:27a).
b. If one is already single, one should not seek a spouse (7:27b).
5. If one marries in spite of Paul’s advice, he or she does not sin (7:28).
a. Marriage would, however, increase the difficulties in an already stressful situation (7:28b).
b. Paul is not trying to unduly restrict their lives, but rather he is trying to make their potential burden lighter (7:28c).
B. The prevailing situation at Corinth especially necessitates that Christians be not preoccupied with their temporal circumstances (7:29-31).
1. The time of present distress is about to reach its climax, thus making it more difficult to live the Christian life (7:29a).
a. “Is short [shortened ASV]” (perfect passive participle of συστέλλω) = draw together, limit, shorten;19 “the time has been drawn together into a brief compass.”20
b. Although some consider the “time” here to refer to the Second Coming, the context does not support this view for the following reasons:
(1) No one knows the time of Christ’s return (Mt. 24:36).
(2) Paul never gives the subsequent advice elsewhere in connection with the Second Coming (but cf. 1 Thes. 5:1-5).
(3) There is no reason to think that the last generation of Christians should live so drastically different from every other generation.
2. Since the culmination of distress is not far away, their remaining time must not be engrossed with temporal activities (7:29b-31a).
a. While not neglecting their marital duties (7:3-5), those who are married must live as devotedly to God as if they were single (7:29b cf. 7:33-35).
b. Since mourners are engrossed with their mourning, they must live as though there is nothing about which to mourn (7:30a).
c. Since those who rejoice are engrossed with their joy, they must live as though there is nothing to rejoice over (7:30b).
d. Since those who buy are engrossed with their possessions, they must live as though they have not bought (7:30c).
e. Since those who make use of this world are engrossed by it, they must live “as not using it to the full” (7:31a ASV).
3. The Corinthians’ focus must now (more than ever) be upon the eternal—this present world must pass away (7:31b cf. 1 Jn. 2:15-17).
C. Christians with spouses have divided concerns, but those without spouses have an undivided concern—the Lord (7:32-35).
1. Paul wants them to be free from added distress (7:32 cf. 7:27-28).
2. One without the responsibilities of a spouse and family will be less distracted from serving God (7:32, 34a).
a. We must keep in mind the background of the “present distress” (7:26).
b. “Careth [is careful ASV] for the things of the Lord” (7:32a, 34a) = more focused on the affairs of the Lord.
c. “Please the Lord” (7:32b) = be acceptable to the Lord because the unmarried do not have the added concerns of family.
d. “She may be holy both in body and in spirit” (7:34a) = a virgin is not more righteous than a wife (“holy” here refers to consecration rather than moral purity cf. 7:14), but her consecration is unmodified by family responsibilities.21
3. One with the responsibilities of a spouse and family must divide his concern between the Lord and his family (7:33, 34b).
a. “Things [affairs NIV] that are of the world” (7:33a) = not worldliness, but, in contrast to the “things of the Lord,” these are temporal matters, such as providing for and protecting one’s family.22
b. “Please his wife . . . please her husband” (7:33b, 34b) is a “thing of the Lord” (cf. 7:3-5; Eph. 5:22-28), but in times of severe distress (7:26), fulfilling one’s marriage responsibilities becomes an added burden.
4. Paul does not say this to restrict them, but rather gives this advice for their own good (7:35 cf. Jer. 16:1-4).
a. “Cast a snare [put a leash NKJ] upon” (7:35a) = a hunting metaphor whereby one would throw a lasso over an animal to capture it.23
b. “Without distraction” (7:35b) is the key to understanding Paul’s instructions under the “present distress” (7:26).
c. Although the unmarried can better focus on the Lord’s work in this situation, Paul warns us not to turn his counsel into a snare by construing it as a prohibition of marriage.24
D. Virgin daughters are best left unmarried (7:36-38).
1. Although some consider the “man” and the “virgin” to refer to a young man and his fiancée (cf. RSV, NIV), this view reflects a more recent situation based on our custom rather than the first century setting of Paul.
a. Betrothal among Jews and Romans was much more involved than our marriage “engagements.”
b. Betrothal was more like the first stage of marriage (cf. Deut. 22:23-24; Mt. 1:18-20), which could only be broken by the divorce process.
c. In Biblical times, and in some societies today, fathers controlled the marriage of their daughters.
2. If a father is convinced that not allowing his daughter to marry is doing her an injustice or subjecting her to dangerous sexual temptation (cf. 7:2), then he should allow her to marry (7:36).25
a. “Behaveth . . . uncomely [improperly NKJ]” (7:36a) = to behave disgracefully, dishonorably, or indecently.26
b. “Past the flower of her age” (ὑπέρακμοϛ) (7:36b) = past one’s prime,
marriageable age, the bloom of youth.27
c. Neither the virgin nor the father who gives her sins if she marries
(7:36c cf. 7:28a).
3. If a father detects no danger in not allowing his daughter to marry, he does
right by keeping her a virgin (7:37).
a. “Steadfast in his heart” (7:37a) = firmly convinced that his daughter is
not subject to dangerous sexual desire (cf. 7:1-2).
b. “No necessity [constraint, NAS; compulsion, NIV]” (7:37b) = the
father has no compelling reason to give his daughter in marriage.
c. “Power over his own will” (7:37c) = the decision is purely his own,
without being forced by her dangerous sexual desires.
4. Although the father does right by allowing his daughter to marry, he does even
better by not giving her in marriage (7:38).
VII. Concerning widows (7:39-40).
A. A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives (7:39a cf. Rom. 7:2-3).
1. Marriage is to be permanent (cf. 7:10-11; Gen. 2:18-25; Mt. 19:3-9).
2. “Bound” (deo, δέω) does not refer to enslavement as does “under bondage”
(douloo, δουλόω) in 7:15, but to the mutual ties of marriage (cf. 7:27).
B. If her husband is dead she is free from that marriage and may remarry with God’s
approval if she so chooses (7:39b cf. Rom. 7:2-3).
1. At death the “one flesh” relationship cannot exist (cf. Mt. 19:6).
2. For “only in the Lord” see “D” below.
C. However, she will be happier if she remains a widow (7:40 cf. 7:8).
1. “Happier” (7:40a) = more blessed, in view of the “present distress.”
2. Although this is Paul’s judgment (cf. 7:25), he is an inspired apostle, and it
must be taken seriously (7:40b).
D. Does “only in the Lord” mean that a widow is free only to remarry a Christian?
1. In English, “only in the Lord” can modify either the person whom she marries
(adjectival phrase) or the action of marriage itself (adverbial phrase).
2. There are basically two views of “only in the Lord” in this verse.
a. Those who affirm that it modifies “whom she will” (adjectival phrase) teach that the widow is free to remarry only a Christian.
(1) “In the Lord” thus refers to a Christian (cf. Rom. 16:11; Eph. 6:21; see also “in Christ,” Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:27).
(2) This is the more natural view upon first reading, and has overwhelming support of scholars throughout the centuries.
b. Those who affirm that it modifies “to be married” (adverbial phrase) teach that the widow is free to remarry only in harmony with the Lord’s will.
(1) “In the Lord” thus modifies the “act” of marriage rather the “who” of marriage (cf. “in the Lord” being used as an adverb elsewhere, Eph. 6:1; Col. 3:18).
(2) The widow, therefore, can marry only one who is Scripturally eligible (i.e. one who has never been married, one whose spouse has died, or one who is innocent of fornication in a Scriptural divorce).
3. The original language of the NT sheds much light on this question.
a. The Greek adjective translated “only” (from monos, μόνος) is in the neuter form (monon, μόνον).
(1) An adjective must agree with its antecedent in gender and number.
(2) “Whom” (ho, ), in context, is obviously masculine.
b. When a Greek adjective is used in the neuter gender without a neuter antecedent, then it is being “used as an adverb . . . limiting the action or state to the one designated by the verb.”28
4. Not only does the Greek language indicate that “only in the Lord” is being used as an adverbial phrase, thus allowing a widow to marry any man who is Scripturally eligible, whether or not he is a Christian, this also harmonizes with the universal application of God’s law on marriage.
a. To be sure, all Christians (not just widows) should seek to marry Christians (cf. Mt. 5:13-16; 6:33; Col. 3:1-2).
(1) Those whom we marry have a great influence upon us, and may ultimately affect our eternity (cf. 1 Kgs. 16:31; 21:25).
(2) However, it is possible that no Christian spouse could be available, and if one could not exercise the necessary self control, he or she must marry (7:2, 9).
b. The “only a Christian” view must assume that the widow is a Christian, thus making the verse a “covenant passage.”
(1) The “act of marriage” view, however, can be universally applied to all widows, Christian or not.
(2) If Paul meant for widows to marry only Christians, why did he not tell Timothy? (1 Tim. 5:14 ASV).
5. Some might object by referring Paul’s statement that he had a right to “lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles” (1 Cor. 9:5).
a. This statement, however, must be considered in the context of Paul’s right to be supported by the church as he labors for the gospel.
(1) It would be inappropriate for the church to support an unbeliever to labor for the Gospel.
(2) Only the faithful can teach the faith faithfully.
b. Again, in most circumstances it is best to marry a faithful Christian, but that may not always be possible (cf. 7:2, 9).
6. Even if the “only a Christian” view were correct, why would it not be limited to the “present distress” (7:26, 28)?
What the Bible says to Parents and Children
Society’s view of the family has tremendously changed!
In America we now have the emergence of what is known as the “modern family”.
The modern family may consist of a home with a single parent.
The modern family may also consist could of two parents that are unmarried.
The modern family home may also consist of two parents that are of the same sex.
Pop culture and the education system have definitely picked up on this change and now are teaching it to our children.
Through movies especially in television shows like “Modern family” and ABC family television shows.
Homosexuality is also being taught in our public school systems.
The cause of this digression of the family in our society is without a doubt due to a lack of biblical knowledge.
More than ever families, especially in our country, are in dire need to know what the bible says in regards to parents and children.
What does the Bible say to Parents?
The Bible says parents need to be “trainers”.
In the Bible we see that parents are promised certain blessings by following His instructions on parenting.
In the book of Proverbs we read that a “wise child makes a glad father”, (Prov. 10:1).
In (Prov. 23:24, 25) God promises rejoicing, joy and gladness in a wise child.
In (Prov. 29:17) by correction (disciplining) one will receive rest (free from stress) and delight.
In (Prov. 31:28) we see that the mother will be called blessed and praised by the father because of the rearing of the child.
However, God also warns us about curses that can be received by not following His instructions on parenting.
“A foolish son is the heaviness of his mother”, (Prov. 10:1).
In (Prov. 17:21) we’re told that a foolish child gives a father no joy.
“A child left to himself leave's his mother to shame”, (Prov. 29:15b).
Receiving these blessings and cursing’s, are dependent upon the way parents handle the command to be teachers.
The Bible tells us in (Prov. 22:6) to train a child in the way he should go……
In (Deut. 6:6-7) we learn the message and the times in which we should train our children.
The bible clearly teaches that parents have the responsibility for teaching their children the word of God.
One of the major causes that led the children of Israel into idolatry and apostasy was due to lack of teaching.
In the book of Judges we can read about Israel’s cycle of sin. (Judg. 2:10).
V. 11 We see that Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord.
V.14 God, because of their evil, would give them over to their enemies.
V.16 God would then raise up a judge to deliver them from their enemies.
In (Hosea 4:6) God warns us that the lack of knowledge will cause destruction.
If we neglect to teach our children the word of God we stand in danger of them being like Israel totally involved in “spiritual idolatry”.
What does the Bible say we should teach our children?
In (Gen. 18:18-19) we see that God trusted that Abraham would teach his children the commands of the Lord.
In (Deut. 6:4) Israel was told to teach their children to have God be first in their hearts.
In (Deut. 4:9) Israel was told to obey the “law” and teach it to their sons.
In (2Tim. 3:15) we see that Timothy had a knowledge of the scriptures from a child up.
Timothy’s strong knowledge of the scriptures came from his Mother and Grandmother (2Tim. 1:5).
Under the old and new covenants the principle still stands the same, we need to ground and train our children in the word of God.
Next, we see that the Bible also says parents need to be “nurturers” and “admonishers”.
In (Eph. 6:4) the Apostle Paul writes that fathers are to nurture and admonish without provoking their children to wrath.
The word for “nurture” in the Greek is “paideia”.
Meaning to train up, to instruct by means of discipline and correction.
Discipline is a basic principle that is inherent in the duty of the father (Heb. 12:5-11).
God states that discipline is so closely tied to fatherhood that if a father neglects to discipline his child, the child is considered fatherless.
Bro. James Meadow’s states that “discipline, may refer to all the knowledge which is proper for children, including elementary principles and rules for behavior…”
However, we also see that the Bible clearly teaches that we need to discipline our children physically (Prov. 13:24; 19:18; 23:13; 22:15)
The word for “admonish” in the Greek is “nouthesia”.
Meaning to warn or to speak wise words against wrong or foolish actions.
In (Prov. 1:8) Solomon, in all his divine wisdom, instructs children to heed to parents admonition.
However, Paul admonishes us to have the right intentions when carrying out these commands of discipline.
Paul states not to “provoke” your children to wrath.
The word provoke in the Greek is “parorgizo”
Meaning an action that brings forth anger in someone.
Our discipline should never be out of vengeance, embarrassment or should it be done to belittle the child.
Discipline should be used, primarily, for the purpose of bringing our children up in the ways of the Lord.
Finally, we see that the Bible states that parents need to be an “example” to their children.
Even though this principle of parenting is not explicitly stated in the Bible (in single or set verses) it is still implied in many places throughout the word of God.
In the books of Kings and Chronicles we read of many instances where children follow the bad example of their parents.
In (1Kings 22:52) Ahaziah son of Ahab did evil according to the example of his father.
But at the same time we see Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, following his father Asa’s good example (1Kings 22:43)
The principle of parents being a good example to their children is also found in the New Testament.
The example of Timothy’s mother and grandmother’s “sincere faith” (2Tim. 1:5).
We also see in (Tit. 1:6) that one out of many requirements for a Bishop is to have faithful children. This cannot be accomplished without an example of faith being in the father.
Parents need to realize the significance of being examples to their children.
We have looked at many scriptures that show the importance of good parenting.
That they should be teachers, trainers in the word of God.
Nurturers and Admonishers, disciplinarians.
That they should be examples in faith, piety and devotion to the Lord.
However, doing all these things doesn’t guarantee and secure that your child will grow up to be a God fearing adult.
Because every person has been born with free-will.
Also, the child plays a role in the parenting process.
Ultimately the effectiveness of your parenting will depend on the child’s acceptance of your training.
What does the Bible say to Children?
The Bible tells us that children need to be “obedient” (Col. 3:20).
This principle goes all the way back to the Ten Commandments found in Ex. 20:12.
The fifth commandment is “Honor thy father and mother.”
Honor means, to esteem with high regard or respect.
This same statement is re-established in the New Testament in Eph. 6:2.
Ultimately, our respect, for our father and mother, is shown by our obedience to them (Eph. 6:1).
However, God also promises children blessings and cursing’s depending on how they follow His commands.
Children can either be blessed with long life by obedience (Ex. 20:12; Eph.6:3).
Or they can be cursed with death, due to disobedience (Deut. 27:16; Matt. 15:4).
Christ our greatest example, in all things, was subject to His earthly parents and spiritual Father (Luke 2:51; Heb. 5:8-9).
As we look at Christ’s example we see that children are supposed to be subject to God and to their parents.
Furthermore, there is a promise of being blessed with a long life on earth.
Obedience to our parents does have its blessings in a temporal sense.
But at the same time, the promise of blessings could be applied to the everlasting life that is to come.
Secondly, the Bible says that Children need to be “reverent”.
Not only do they need to respect their parents, they also need to develop respect for the Lord.
(Prov. 1:7) the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
(Deut. 4:10) states that the goal of teaching our children is to instill a proper respect and reverence of God.
Children who have a sincere respect for God will naturally develop a relationship with Him.
However, children need to know that sin hinders this relationship (Isa. 59:1-2).
They also need to know that a relationship with God is developed by being imitators of God, walking with God and by being “children of the light” (Eph. 5:1-8).
Children need to realize that they have the responsibility to be holy just as adults do.
Children also need to realize that being young is not an excuse to live sinful lives (Ezek. 18:4).
Third, the Bible says that children need to recognize their “spiritual worth”.
In (Mark 10:13-16) Christ tell his Apostles to allow the children to come to him.
Christ disciples thought of children as being an unimportant annoyance to His mission.
The primary lesson that Christ was teaching in (Mark 10:13-16) was that children display some of the characteristics that He desires in his kingdom.
A child is innocent and humble.
A child is generally receptive in learning and is content on being dependent on another for care.
However, Christ lets us know that children are very valuable in His kingdom.
Children have a place in Christ’s kingdom and should not be hindered from coming to him.
Children need to realize that Christ desires their presence in the kingdom of God (church) and that they can indeed be useful in helping with the goal of the church.
In (Eccl. 12:1) Solomon writes that young people should remember their creator in the days of their youth.
Solomon is warning young people not to push off or put aside their faith in God until they’re older.
God wants young people to have a mind to serve Him while they are young.
There are many examples of young people who had a mind to serve God in their youth.
We have the example of Josiah in (2Kings 22-23).
We also have the example of David and Goliath in (1Sam. 17).
Christ in (Luke 2:51) as a child was about his father’s business.
Without a doubt God has let us know through his divine word that He expects young people to be involved in the service of the church.
In this lesson we have seen that the Bible says many things concerning the roles of parents and children.
We have learned that parents need to be teachers, who nurture and admonish their children in the way of the Lord.
We have learned that parents need to be examples to their children in faith, obedience and piety.
We also have learned that children need to be obedient to their parents.
Every child should also have that same reverent obedience toward God.
Children also need to recognize their spiritual worth and God’s desire for their service in the His kingdom.
It is imperative for Christians to realize the importance of parenting and how it has an effect on our society.
For if we neglect this great responsibility it could ultimately lead to the destruction of the child’s and the parent’s soul.
The Church as a Family
Text: 1 Timothy 3:15
Thesis: As the church we enjoy the greatest relationship to our God and one another as the spiritual family of God.
The relation between God and his people is described by the use of many different terms in the Bible:
Church – Matthew 16:18
Kingdom – Colossians 1:13
Body – Ephesians 1:22, 23
House – 1 Timothy 3:15
In each case, the term used expresses in a clear way some particular aspect of the relationship.
“Church” describes the God’s people as a “called out assembly” from the world.
“Kingdom” refers to the type of government that exists between God and His people (1 Tim. 1:17).
“Body” speaks of the unity that exists between God and His people (Col. 1:18).
The word “house” is used to refer to the family unit (2 Kgs. 20:1; Acts 11:14; 16:31).
The “house of God” is the family of God. Further, the house of God is the church of the living God.
There are many similarities between the church and the family.
Family is important to us.
We treasure our family relationships, gatherings, etc.
The church as a family have God as their Father – Mt. 7:9-11
The husband and father has the authority in the earthly family (1 Cor. 11:3).
Even so, God is the head of His spiritual family.
Like the earthly father supplies the needs of the family, so the heavenly Father supplies the needs of His children (Mt. 7:9-11).
The church as a family is espoused to Jesus – Eph. 5:22-33
The church is portrayed as the bride of Christ.
As the church is considered to be the bride of Christ so is the individual Christian viewed as being espoused, in a spiritual sense, to Christ (2 Cor. 11:2).
The church as a Family have Jesus as our elder brother – Heb. 3:3-6; Rom. 8:17
Jesus is our Lord.
Jesus is our elder brother.
The church as a family are children of God
As children of God the church has a responsibility to respect the authority of our Father.
As Children of God we have a responsibility towards one another.
The church as a family has family members
In the church we have spiritual family members who are like our fathers - 1 Cor. 4:15; 1 Tim. 1:2; 5:1 2 Tim. 1:2; Tit. 1:4.
In the church we have spiritual family members who are like our mothers – 1 Tim. 5:2.
In the church we have spiritual family members who are like our brothers 1 Tim. 5:1.
In the church we have spiritual family members who are like our sisters – 1 Tim. 5:2.
In the church we have spiritual family members who are our brethren – 1 Peter 4:17; Gal. 3:28.
The church as a family are born into it – Jn. 3:3, 5
We have all been born into our physical families.
We also must be born into our spiritual families
The church is the family of God.
As the church we have certain responsibilities to God, Christ, & one another.
1Exegesis of Matthew 19:3-12 and Related Texts
Brian R. Kenyon
I. Marriage, divorce, and remarriage is a “watershed” issue that needs to be studied, especially
from Matthew 19:3-12, in order for the home to be what God intended.
A. The best way to understand God’s will on marriage, divorce, and remarriage is to
exegete the passages that address it.
B. Only through a verse by verse, context by context, study can we know God’s mind as
revealed by the Holy Spirit on this (or any) issue.
II. The oral presentation of this lesson will focus on Matthew 19:3-12 with reference being made
to the “related texts” (Gen. 2:18-24; Deut. 24:1-4; Mt. 5:31-32) as they apply in the main
A. This outline, however, is arranged with the “related texts” given chronologically after
the exegesis of Matthew 19:3-12, with much more detail than will be able to be
presented orally, concerning the major Old Testament points of interest referred to
within the discussion between Jesus and the Pharisees.
B. Like the Pharisees who questioned Jesus, too many assumptions are made about
Deuteronomy 24:1-4 that wrongly influence people’s view of Matthew 19:3-12.
Matthew 19:3-12—God’s Intent for Marriage Confirmed by Jesus
I. Jesus is confronted by Pharisees concerning the legality of divorce (19:3).
A. These Pharisees are not interested in ascertaining truth (19:3a).
1. “Tempting [trying ASV; testing NKJ]” (from πειράζω) = test, put to the test;
2. They are convinced that Jesus cannot answer their question satisfactory: either
He will have to deny the Law (Deut. 24:1), or else He will set Himself against
the majority of people.
B. The Pharisees ask Jesus a “loaded” question (19:3b).
1. During Jesus’ day there were conflicting rabbinic schools of thought over the
meaning of “uncleanness [unseemly thing ASV; indecent NIV]” in Deut. 24:1.
2. The school of Shammai held to a strict view which allowed divorce only for
the cause of unchastity, and the school of Hillel held to a more liberal view
which allowed divorce for “any passing whim if the husband saw a prettier
woman . . . or burnt his biscuits for breakfast.”2
3. “Put away [divorce NKJ]” (from apoluo, ἀπολύω) = let go, dismiss; in some
contexts it is equivalent to divorce.3
II. Jesus’ response to their question rises above the interpretation of both schools of thought,
resting solidly upon the word of God (19:4-6).
A. Jesus goes back to God’s purpose for marriage (19:4 cf. Gen. 2:18-25).
1. “Have ye not read” (19:4a) puts the question back on the Pharisees who should
have already known the answer since they were supposed to know the word of
God (cf. 21:23-25).
2. In the beginning God made them “male and female” (19:4b).
B. Since God created the woman specially for the man (cf. Gen. 2:21-22), a special
relationship must unite the two (19:5-6 cf. Gen. 2:24).
1. “For this cause [reason NKJ]” (19:5a) = because of the creation of man and
2. “Cleave [be joined NKJ; be united NIV]” (from κολλάω) (19:5b) = unite
oneself with, join; stick to; hold on to (Rom. 12:9).4
3. “One flesh” (19:5c) = Adam and Eve were literally of the same flesh (Gen.
2:22), so the husband and wife are to be intimately part of one another as long
as they live (cf. 1 Cor. 7:1-4).
4. Since God is the one who “hath joined together,” man has no right to un-join
5. “Put asunder [separate NKJ]” (from chorizo, χωρίζω) = divide, separate from
something; in the passive, as here, to separate oneself, be separated of
C. Therefore, God ordained marriage is a:
1. Monogamous relationship (cf. the singular “male and female”) = one husband
with one wife for life (cf. Gen. 2:24).
2. Companionship relationship (cf. “help meet [helper comparable, NKJ; helper
fit, ESV],” Gen. 2:18,20) = neither spouse is a master, and neither spouse is
a slave (Gen. 1:26-27), but both work together to the glory of God (cf. Eph.
3. Interdependent relationship (cf. “leave father and mother”) = husband and wife
primarily depend on one another, not on their parents; their relationship as
husband and wife is more important than any other earthly relationship.
4. Commitment relationship (cf. “cleave”) = husband and wife are to be “glued”
so as nothing can pull them apart.
5. Permanent relationship (cf. “one flesh” and what “God hath joined . . .”) =
although “one flesh” has to do with sexual relations, it is more significant in
that it shows permanency—the relationship can only be dissolved by that
which dissolves “one flesh;” namely, death (Rom. 7:1-4) or fornication (19:9).
III. The Pharisees now think they have Jesus trapped—He taught the permanence of marriage,
but Moses, they say, commanded divorce (19:7-9).
A. The Pharisees go beyond the Scripture by their implications (19:7).
1. Moses did not “command” divorce but allowed it (19:8 cf. Deut. 24:1-4)—
Moses regulated a current custom (cf. slavery).
2. The Pharisees falsely assume that the dissolution of marriage was part of
God’s will when He instituted it.6
B. Jesus reveals the truth about God’s instruction through Moses (19:8).
1. “Hardness of heart” (19:8a) = permission of divorce was granted as a choice
between evils because when the Law was given, mankind was so wicked that
an absolute prohibition of divorce would have led to “promiscuous intercourse,
or to secret assassination of wives who were displeasing to their husbands.”7
2. Some see this “hardness of heart” not so much as the cruelty of men to their
wives, but of their “unresponsiveness to the mind and will of God.”8
3. “Suffered [permitted NKJ]” (from ἐπιτρέπω) (19:8b) = let, allow, permit;9
definitely not a “command.”
4. “From the beginning . . .” (19:8c) = Jesus again goes back to God’s intent for
marriage from Creation (cf. Gen. 2:18-25).
C. Having taken marriage back to its original intent, Jesus makes clear that anyone who
divorces and remarries for any reason, other than fornication, commits adultery
1. Although not explicitly stated in Genesis 2:18-25, this has always been implied
by God-ordained marriage (cf. 5:31-32).
2. “Whosoever [anyone NIV]” (hos, ὅς) (19:9a) applies to everyone, not just
Christians—marriage was ordained on the sixth day of Creation and, therefore,
applies to the entire human race.
3. “Put away [divorces NKJ]” (from apoluo, ἀπολύω) (19:9b) = see 19:3.
4. “Except for” (μὴ ἐπί) (19:9c) = epi (ἐπί) with the dative case, as here,
commonly indicates the ground of action, thus, “whosoever divorces . . .not on
the ground of.”10
5. “Fornication [sexual immorality NKJ; marital unfaithfulness NIV]” (from
porneia, πορνεία) (19:9d) = any type of unlawful sexual intercourse (cf. 5:32).
6. “Committeth [commits NKJ] adultery” (present tense of moichao, μοιχάω,
-ομαι) = commit adultery, the continuous tense indicates that so long as one
remains in such a marriage, he or she continues in adultery (stop adultery =
stop the relationship).
7. The latter part of 19:9 in KJV is not in many ancient manuscripts (cf. ASVm),
and may have been added by scribes in order to repeat the thought of 5:32.11
IV. Jesus teaches that all are not fit for marriage (19:10-12).
A. The disciples conclude from Jesus that it is good not to marry (19:10).
1. They understand the demands that accompany marriage (19:10a).
2. “It is . . . good [expedient ASV; it is better NKJ]” (from sumphero, συμφέρω)
(19:10b) = help, confer a benefit, be advantageous or profitable or useful;
B. All people are not capable of maintaining a godly marriage (19:11-12).
1. “Receive [accept NKJ]” (from choreo, χωρέω) (19:11a) = find room for, cope
with (Mk. 2:2; Jn. 8:37; 21:25).13
2. “This saying” (ton logon, τὸν λόγον) (19:11b) = can refer to the disciples’
statement in 19:10, but most likely has reference to Jesus’ teaching in 19:8-9.
3. “Eunuchs” (from eunouchos, εὐνοχος) (19:12a) = emasculated men . . . of
physically castrated men (Mt. 19:12b); they served as keepers of the harem
(Esther 2:14) and often rose to high positions (Acts 8:27f); of those who,
without a physical operation, are by nature incapable of marrying and
begetting children (Mt. 19:12a); of those who abstain from marriage without
being impotent (Mt. 19:12c).14
4. “For the kingdom of heaven’s sake” (19:12b) = the reason why some refrain
Related Texts: Genesis 2:18-25—The Beginning of Marriage
I. Man Needs Intimate Companionship—“It is not good that man should be alone” (literally,
“only himself”) (Gen. 2:18-20).
A. Man needed (and needs) a “helpmeet” [”answering to” ASVm].
1. Man was in need of a suitable companion.
a. To cultivate and govern the earth (cf. Gen. 1:26).
b. To perpetuate the human race (cf. Gen. 1:28).
2. “Help meet [helper comparable, NKJ; helper suitable, NAS; helper fit, ESV]”
= a help of his like; a helping being in which as soon as he sees her, he will
recognize himself;15 a counter part to himself.16
B. Adam could not find a suitable companion in anything yet created (Gen. 2:19-20).
1. Adam named all the animals “but for Adam there was not found . . .”
2. Adam’s companionship could not be found in the animal world.
a. Shows the great gulf that exists between animals and man, who is
created in the image of God.
b. Shows the incompleteness of man without the woman.
II. Intimate Companionship is Found in the Sexes (Gen. 2:21-23).
A. God made (built) the woman from the man (Gen. 2:21-22).
1. Deep sleep (not just any sleep).
a. “Everything out of which something new is to spring, sinks first of all
into such a [deep] sleep.”17
b. Adam did not see the woman until God presented her as his bride.
2. God made woman from the side (rib) of man (cf. man from the dust) . . .
a. The woman possesses neither inferiority nor superiority, but is
inherently equal to the man.
b. “Eve was made, not from his feet to be trampled by him, or from his
head to rule over him; but from his side, to be near his heart and loved
(1) She was made to stand by the side of man.
(2) She was made for the man, not as a slave, but as his queen.19
3. Eve was brought to Adam by God.
B. Adam immediately recognizes the design of God in creating Eve (Gen. 2:23).
1. “Bones of my bones . . .” = joyous astonishment at the suitable help meet.20
a. He saw that she was of the same nature.
b. She was formed for an inseparable unity and fellowship of life with the
2. Her relation to man is described “she shall be called woman . . .”
a. Woman (literally, “female man”) = a “wombed” man.
b. Nothing in this world can make a help meet for man—except woman!
(1) Man and woman belong to each other.
(2) She is the glory of man.
III. Intimate Companionship of the Sexes is Only to be Fulfilled in Marriage (Gen. 2:24-25).
A. “Therefore” = since the man and woman are created to be intimately united, a
special relationship must exist—marriage.
1. This union is of a totally different nature than that of parents and their children.
2. Marriage as God ordained is the deepest and the most spiritual union that
can exist between human beings.
B. They were in perfect peace and harmony in the Garden (Gen. 2:25).
1. Prior to sin, therefore, not ashamed.
a. Shame only arises from a consciousness of sin.
b. No part of the human body had been improperly used at this time.
2. The home should be characterized by such peace and harmony.
Related Texts: Deuteronomy 24:1-4—Mosaic Legislation
I. Overview of Deuteronomy 24:1-4
A. The majority of laws in Deuteronomy 24 have to do with restraining exploitation and
greed for the sake of protecting the needy.
1. Deuteronomy 24:1-5 contains two laws concerning the relation of a man to his
wife, one having to do with divorce and one having to do with leaving on duty.
2. In the ancient Jewish world, divorce was in the hands of the husband.
a. “Divorce was initiated only by men, not by women.”22
b. Moses depicts divorce as already present (cf. Lev. 21:7, 14; 22:13;
B. Although Deuteronomy 24:1-4 is the most detailed piece of OT legislation on divorce,
it does not institute divorce, but treats it as a practice already existing (cf. slavery),
which may be “either a matter of custom or of other legislation no longer known.”23
II. Structure of Deuteronomy 24:1-4.24
A. All four verses form one sentence (cf. RSV, NKJ, NAS), of which verses 1-3 form a
conditional clause (“if . . .” or “when . . .,” also known as the protasis), and verse 4
contains the main clause which legislates what is to be done in the case as defined
(“. . . then . . .,” also known as the apodosis).
1. Considering the original language.
a. These verses consist of a series of waw consecutive verbs, which when
translated into English, are appropriately preceded by the conjunction
(1) These “and” connectors continue through verse 3.
(2) This shows that all three verses are governed by the condition
(“if” or “then”) that began in verse 1.
b. The “then” in KJV verse 1 is, unfortunately, an incorrect translation as
comparing with all modern translations indicate.
2. The difference is significant.
a. In case law, everything in the conditional statement (protasis) is purely
descriptive—it merely specifies the circumstances in which the law
b. The actual legislation (whether obligation, permission, or prohibition)
appears only in the main clause (apodosis).
c. Therefore, no legislation appears in verses 1-3.
(1) The writing of the divorce certificate, the divorce itself, and the
divorced wife’s remarriage are merely set forth as events
contributing to a hypothetical situation, which when realized,
calls for the prohibition in verse 4.
(2) This type of legal formulation in which God speaks to His
people is found elsewhere (Ex. 21:1-6).
III. Purpose of the passage
A. False ideas of what Moses does in the passage.25
1. Instituting divorce (cf. KJV).
a. However, when one understands the true “if . . .then” sense of the
passage (cf. NAS, NKJ), one realizes that Moses is not instituting
divorce, but rather describing a hypothetical situation, the potential of
which already exists.
b. Moses’ referring to such as a real possibility indicates that divorce was
already being practiced.
2. Requiring that a certificate of divorce be given to a wife who was being
a. However, when one correctly understands the structure, one realizes
that the writing of the certificate of divorce is part of the circumstances
b. Again, this indicates the “bill of divorcement” was already in place.
3. Giving the only legitimate grounds for divorce in the OT.
a. However, the following reasons indicate that this is not the purpose:
(1) The word “uncleanness” is too general to be used as a specific
criterion for “Scriptural” divorce (see text analysis below).
(2) As part of the conditional clause (protasis), the “uncleanness”
is simply describing the hypothetical condition, rather than
making a demand or restriction.
(3) The first husband divorces her because he “found some
uncleanness” in her (v. 1), but the second husband divorces her
because he “hates” her (v. 3).
(a) Both “uncleanness” and “hate” serve the same function
in the passage—each gives the basis upon which a
hypothetical divorce took place.
(b) The fact that one divorce occurs for uncleanness and the
other for hatred indicates that no special significance is
being attached to the reasons stated for the divorces.
(4) Jeremiah’s (3:1) allusion to Deuteronomy 24:1-4 omits the
cause of divorce, implying that the cause of divorce is not
specific and is, therefore, inconsequential.
B. The purpose of the passage, therefore, is not to be found in the conditional clause
(protasis), but in the main clause (apodosis).
1. The purpose is to prevent a man from taking back his divorced wife after she
has married another.
2. This law discourages hasty divorce.
IV. Analysis of the text.
A. The conditional clause (protasis) (24:1-3).
1. A man marries his wife (24:1a)—there can be no divorce without a marriage.
2. She loses favor in his eyes because he has found some “uncleanness” in her
a. “Uncleanness [unseemly thing ASV; something indecent NIV;
something objectionable NRS; something shameful;26 some
indecency NAS]” is not precisely defined, although the following
suggestions have been offered:
(1) One thing for sure: the word cannot refer to adultery, because
that was punishable by death (Deut. 22:22-27; Lev. 20:10).
(2) Since the word literally means, “nakedness of a thing, . . . we
may conjecture that some immodest exposure or unwomanly
conduct is meant.”27
(3) Something shameful like nakedness, shame, disgrace.28
(4) The noun bears the meaning of both “nakedness and ‘pudenda’
(i.e. the sexual organs), meaning no doubt to be combined here
to suggest the improper uncovering of the private parts.”29
(5) It may be a “technical legal expression,” the precise meaning of
which is no longer clear, although the same expression is found
in 23:14, where it suggests something impure, though the
words do not seem to have normal connotations.30
b. Since it is not Moses’ purpose to give Scriptural grounds for divorce,
the reasons for divorce is unimportant and the terms denoting the
reasons why need not be precise.
(1) This would explain the use of such a vague expression.
(2) Again, “uncleanness” describes a hypothetical condition.
3. He writes and gives to her a “bill of divorcement” (24:1c).
a. Writing a “bill of divorcement [certificate of divorce NKJ]” (literally,
“a document of cutting off” cf. βιβλίον ἀποστασίου, Mt. 19:7)
and placing it in her hand was a “public symbolic witness to the
dissolution of the marriage.”31
b. The custom of writing letters of divorce did not originate with Israel,
but was probably adopted by the Israelites in Egypt, where the practice
of writing had already found its way into all the relations of life.32
4. He sends her away (24:1d).
5. She becomes another man’s wife (24:2).
a. Possession of the “bill of divorcement” gave the woman certain
protection under law from the first husband.
b. This second marriage is legitimate under the law and is not adultery.
6. She no longer is her second husband’s wife (24:3).
a. The cause may be that he “hate” her, and does as the first husband did
with the “bill of divorcement,” etc. (cf. 24:1).
(1) “Hate [detests NKJ; turns against her NAS]” = loses affection
(2) The reasons for this is not given and thus is inconsequential.
b. The cause may be that he died.
B. The main, legislative clause—her first husband is not allowed to take her again (24:4).
Related Texts: Matthew 5:31-32—Truth Versus Tradition
I. Tradition taught that a man could divorce his wife for most any reason and remarry with
God’s approval (5:31).
A. “Put away [divorce NKJ]” (1st aorist active indicative of απολύω) = let go, send
away, dismiss . . . divorce, send away.34
B. “Writing of divorcement [certificate of divorce NKJ]” (ἀποστάσιον) = a legal
technical term used in the sense of relinquishment of property after sale,
abandonment, etc; it is this consequent giving up of one’s claim that explains the
meaning which the word acquires in Jewish circles (cf. Jer. 3:8).35
C. “Writing of divorcement” was permitted to protect the ex-wife so that a double-
minded husband could not drive his wife away and then claim that she was still his
wife (cf. Deut. 24:1-4).36
II. Truth teaches that there is only one God-approved reason to divorce and remarry; namely,
A. “Saving for the cause [except NKJ]” (παρεκτὸς λόγου) = the only exception for
divorce and remarriage.
B. “Fornication [sexual immorality NKJ; marital unfaithfulness NIV]” (from πορνεία)
= prostitution, unchastity, fornication, of every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse.37
C. “Causeth her to commit adultery [maketh her an adulteress ASV; causes her to
become an adulterous NIV; makes her to have suffered adultery McT]” (from
“ποιε αὐτὴν μοιχευθναι”) is best understood as the husband indirectly making
her to commit adultery because he put her away, thus leaving her vulnerable.
1. Literally = “he is making (present active indicative of ποιέω) her (accusative
of αὐτή) to be an adulterer (1st aorist passive infinitive of μοιχεύω).”
2. “A woman, when divorced . . . naturally seeks a second marriage, if for no
other reason than to vindicate herself from the imputation cast on her by the
divorce. The second husband, in accepting her hand, pronounces against the
act of the first husband. But her second marriage is adultery, and her first
husband . . . indirectly causes her to commit this crime.”38
3. The idea of one causing others to commit sin without overriding individual
autonomy is illustrated by Jeroboam (cf. 1 Kgs. 16:2, 19, 26; 2 Kgs. 3:3;
a. In what way did Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, make Israel to sin?
b. He invented the false system of worship that the northern kingdom
never abolished (1 Kgs. 12:25-33).
c. Only when people follow the sins of others are the others said to cause
them to sin (cf. 2 Kgs. 10:29-31).
D. The one who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.
1. “Committeth adultery” (present tense of μοιχάομαι) = continuous action;
thus, so long as the relationship continues, the adultery continues.
2. He commits adultery not because her husband put her away, but because she
still belongs to the husband who put her away (cf. 19:3-9; Gen. 2:18-25)!
I. Like any other part of God’s will, marriage, divorce, and remarriage is a subject that must be
studied and understood if the home is to be as God intended.
II. When one honestly examines the Scriptures, understanding God’s will on marriage, divorce,
and remarriage is not difficult, but putting it into practice is sometimes difficult.
III. May God give us the conviction and courage to do His will!
THE SINGLE PARENT FAMILY
Introduction: Ephesians 6: 1-4, Colossians 3: 18-21, Ephesians 5: 21, 25
I. The Ideal Home
A. Designed by God. (Genesis 48: 9 Joseph said to Jacob “They are my sons, whom God hath given me.” “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127: 3).
To nurture and train children. One of the home’s primary objectives is to insure the happiness, security, nurturing, and training of children. A strong, godly family is a blessing to both the church and the nation. (See Deut. 4:9, Deut. 6: 4-9).
To provide a companion and helpmeet suitable to this task. It takes two to bring a child into this world; two good parents, working together, are better than one in raising that child. A good example is found in Luke 1: 5, 6.
B. Importance of both a father and mother.
The benefits of having both a father and mother in the home is unmistakable. Few people, even outside the church, would even argue this fact.
Children can survive—and even thrive—with only one parent, but difficulties abound and statistics are not in their favor.
Children in single parent homes are at high risk for behavioral and emotional problems.
The single parent is also at risk for emotional problems, burnout, and loneliness as he or she must assume the roles of both father and mother.
Mark Gregston in Help For Single Parents With Teenagers said: “One of the toughest roles anyone can have in today’s culture is that of a single parent. It’s hard enough to rear a child, especially a teenager, with two parents, but with one, the burdens and pressures and problems multiply. My hat is off to every single parent. But more than praise for the difficulty of their task, I know from talking to so many of them that they need someone to walk with them and encourage them.”
II. The Home in Reality.
The trend is toward even higher numbers of single parent homes. The number of homes with only one parent has been on the rise for decades.
There will always be those who find themselves in the role of single parent through no fault of their own, such as one whose spouse has died or whose spouse has deserted the family. However, only 1% of both men and women find themselves single parents as the result of the death of a spouse.
As long as the divorce rate and the number of children born out of wedlock in our country continues to grow, so will also the number of single parent homes. These two things account for the vast majority of homes that are lacking two parents. James Dobson says that 35% of all children do not live with their biological father.
As our culture continues to expand its acceptance of single women who opt for motherhood but not marriage, the number of single parent homes will only increase. Hollywood and television stars continue to make it acceptable, even desirable to want to have children but not want to be married. We might call this the glamorization of single parenting. Did you know that in almost every Disney movie the main character has a single parent? Why is that?
B. The statistics are staggering.
One source gives 14 million as the number of single parents in the USA. They are raising more than 22 million of our nation’s children.
40% of babies born in the US in 2007 were to unwed mothers, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
85 % of single parent homes are headed by women.
Growing numbers of single parent families are not a single mother or a single father, but a single grandparent. Almost 3 million children are being raised by grandparents. I could not find statistics for how many children are being raised by a single grandparent, but the number is undoubtedly quite high. The reason is sometimes the death of a parent, but more often the reasons are parental neglect, abuse, or desertion, and often involves drug use.
III. What does the Bible teach about single parenting?
You are responsible for your children’s physical needs—just like any parents.
You are responsible for your children’s spiritual training—just like any parents. (11 Timothy 1:5; 11 Timothy 3: 15)
Your children are a blessing and should be treated as such—just like any parent.
God expects your best effort, just like any parent. Hannah prayed “but wilt give unto thine handmaid a child, than I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life (1 Samuel 1: 11), (Isaiah1: 18 “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me.”
IV. What problems are common to single parents ? (Note that none of these problems are exclusively owned by single parents, but may be intensified due to lack of a helpmeet to share them.)
Many single parents put loneliness at the top of the list.
Financial difficulties are very often a close second.
Discipline of children. “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying” (Proverbs 19: 18).
1. Guilt, real or imagined
2. Fear of failure
3. No time for self, social life
V. Some helpful advice for single parents.
“Put your oxygen mask on first!”
Don’t wallow in self-pity or label your situation as handicapped. Look on the bright side—and there IS a bright side!
Don’t play the blame game. Tearing down the absent parent will also harm your child.
Children are like sponges. If you ooze bitterness, hatred, or anger, they will absorb it—and spread it again.
Don’t make kids pawns in your problems.
Resist treating your kids like buddies or peers.
VI. What can the church family do to help single parents?
A. Bring them before the throne of God in prayer.
B. Give encouragement.
C. Offer practical help.
Fill the void for those who lack family. Include them socially.
Offer to babysit.
Give monetary support if needed.
A casserole or batch of homemade cookies will cheer any household.
A Christian woman might give some “mothering” to a daughter of a single parent man. Or a Christian man might provide a father figure to a son whose father is missing.
The story of David and Absalom (11 Samuel 18).
A wonderful poem read by John Wooden in a well known Gatorade commercial describes the burden a father carries to create a positive impression on his son:
The Little Chap Who Follows Me!
A careful man I want to be
A little fellow follows me
I do not dare to go astray
For fear he’ll go the self same way
I cannot once escape his eyes,
Whate’er he sees me do, he tries.
Like me he says he’s going to be
The little chap who follows me.
He thinks that I’m so very fine,
Believes in every word of mine.
The base in me he must not see;
The little chap who follows me.
I must remember as I go
Through summer’s sun and winter snow,
I’m building for the years to be;
The little chap who follows me.
1THE CHRISTIAN MARRIED TO THE UNBELIEVER
© Dale DuVerney
The BIG day had finally arrived. The flowers were beautiful, the tuxes looked wonderful, the bridesmaids were graceful and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the bride. The groom stood nervously, waiting for the woman who would become his bride. Her dress was lovely, her veil hid her nervous and tearful face, but she was determined. She loved this man and theirs was to be a life of love, romance, and adventure. Once the “I do’s” were said, and the honeymoon was over, they settled into the routine of married life. However, it was not long until differences arose. Differences which were, well - for the lack of a better word, different, from the “normal differences” other couples experienced. What was the reason for these differences? It was a mixed marriage. Although they had much in common, there was a chasm between them over one of the most important things in this couple’s life.
THE PROBLEM OF INTERMARRIAGE
The church today faces a problem that has led to Christians falling away from the Lord, the devastation of separation and divorce, children growing up not having a fixed identity, and marriages where problems, heartaches, temptations and sin abound. These mixed marriages are not based on race, but upon belief or a lack of belief. The problem of intermarriage we are discussing is marriage between a believer and a non-believer, a Christian, and a non-Christian, a member of the Lord’s church and a member of a denomination.
One may be curious as to why there are such marriages. There are certainly many causes for marriage. It may be the case that neither spouse was a Christian when they married, but later one spouse obeyed the Gospel. In other situations, someone who was a Christian may have chosen to marry a non-believer. Of course, there are those marriages where a Christian marries a believer who later becomes unfaithful to the Lord. In any case, there are challenges when one is married to an unbeliever.
Younger Christians are especially vulnerable. They are reared in Christian homes, but raised in public schools. They attend church on Sunday and Wednesday, but the worldly influences meet them face to face in the halls of high school and the streets of the city. These influences and pressures can be overwhelming. Sometimes they are pressured to start “dating”. Often, they start dating outside of the faith. They may not have intended such to happen, but the field of potential Christian mates may be narrow due to the size of the congregation they attend and the distance between congregations. Our young people need to be taught that the decision to marry inside or outside of the faith is one of setting priorities (Matthew 6:33). Free will allows us to make good and poor choices. However, the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23). One has to determine early in life whether they will marry a Christian only, or be open to consider marriage outside of the faith. Solomon, whose life was marred by poor choices, wrote: “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth...” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
It is also a matter of prayer. How many young Christians, and older ones, as well as their parents, are praying about God’s choice and His leading us to a Christian spouse? How many have determined to submit themselves to God, having the attitude Jesus had, “Your will be done?” (Matthew 6:10). Most Christians have a problem being patient regarding any matter relating to prayer. This is especially true as it relates to marriage! Oh how our young people need to understand that dating and marriage can wait! David wrote: “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!” (Psalm 27:14). Parents should work hard to put the brakes on their child’s desire for dating too early in life. Considering the permanence of marriage the decision of choosing a spouse is far too important to rush into marriage (Matthew 5:32; 19:1-9).
Widowed or divorced folks are also at risk. Sadly, sometimes single Christians are not as willing to marry one who has been married before, even though that person was scripturally divorced or their spouse has died (Matthew 5:32; 19:1-9; Romans 7:1-3). This poses a difficult problem for those who want to have companionship, especially those younger widows or divorced folks (1 Timothy 5:11, 14). However, it is better to be single and faithful than married and unfaithful. It is better to wait for the right choice than to “settle” for less than God intends.
THE PROBLEM OF MIXED MARRIAGES EXISTED IN PAUL’S DAY
AND GOD HAD AN ANSWER
When Paul wrote the church at Corinth he had two objectives in mind. After Paul addressed problems reported to him by the household of Chloe (1 Corinthians 1:11), he replied to questions the church had for him (1 Corinthians 7:1). It is this objective with which we will be dealing, specifically: “Paul, what should I do if I am married to an unbeliever?”
It is hard to believe that this would have been a problem in the early church, but it was - perhaps even more-so than it is today. Should it surprise us? After all, the Gospel of Christ was changing lives everywhere (Romans 1:16; 12:1-2). The Gospel call was first heralded in Jerusalem (Luke 24:47; Acts 2), but was soon preached in Judea, Samaria and the rest of the world! (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 1:8). Men and woman were obeying the Gospel (Acts 8:12; Romans 6:1-6). Necessarily, there were some who would obey the Gospel while their spouses would not. These would come out of heathenism, idolatry or Judaism while their spouses continued in those things. Some would leave immorality and drunkenness behind while their spouses continued in those lifestyles. What would they do? What should they do? What could they do? After all, their lives were now drastically different as it pertained to purpose, worship, devotion, morality, and goals.
First, the general principle was given to all married people that neither wife nor husband is to depart from their spouse (1 Corinthians 7:10). If they do depart, the command was to remain unmarried or be reconciled to their spouse (7:11). This is the marriage law our God established from the beginning of time (Matthew 19:1-9). Second, those married to unbelievers, who were willing to let their married Christian spouse faithfully worship and serve God, were not to put them away or leave them (1 Corinthians 7:12). The reason is given in verse 13 of that chapter: “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.” This means that a marriage between an unbeliever and believer is legitimate, and the children conceived in it are legitimate children.
IS IT SINFUL TO MARRY A NON-CHRISTIAN?
Is it sinful for one who is a Christian to enter into a marriage with one who is not? Perhaps a Christian decides to date one who is a Buddhist, Jew, Muslim, agnostic or atheist. What if they fall in love with each other and the non-Christian or Christian proposes marriage. Would the Christian sin in marrying the non-Christian?
Certainly the attitude behind such a marriage decision could be sinful. But for the moment we are asking if the marriage that takes place between a Christian and a non-Christian is sinful. To ask such a question is to ask if marriage itself is sinful. We read of the good and godly Esther who competed to be married to an idolatrous man named Ahasuerus, her uncle being the main proponent (Cf. The book of Esther). Nowhere in the Bible is her marriage to this godless king condemned. In fact, she was able to be used by God, through her position and relationship with the king, to save the Israelite nation! Matthew chapter one sets up an interesting series of events to consider as well. “...Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth...” Salmon was married to Rahab and Boaz later married Ruth. Both Ruth and Rahab were Gentile woman! Does the Bible condemn their choice of bride? Through these two Gentile woman, and their seed-line, came the Christ! Marriage is not sinful, but it is to be held in honor by all (Hebrews 13:4).
Some brethren have advocated through the years that the Christian cannot marry a non-Christian without sin. 2 Corinthians 6:14 is used as a proof text that it is sinful to be yoked with an unbeliever. The inspired apostle wrote: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” The reasoning behind this doctrine is: “How much stronger a yoke can one find than marriage?” On the surface this argument sounds reasonable, right? It should certainly give us pause as we think about entering into any relationship which could compromise our faith or cause us to be tempted to leave the Christ. While I believe that the Christian who seeks to marry outside of the faith does so at great spiritual risk, is such sinful based on 2 Corinthians 6:14? If this passage applies to marriage, and one indeed sins in marrying one ineligible to be married, what is the remedy or solution? Is this another exception in the marriage law of God? (cf. Matthew 5:32; 19:9). Must one exit the marriage, and the marriage be considered null and void, as if it never happened? This was the solution we find in Ezra 10 when God’s people were married to those ineligible to be married? We rightly apply it in principle to those in unscriptural marriages today. Why not here, if it is the case that the Christian is married to someone who the Lord forbids them to marry? That is the necessary inference if we apply 2 Corinthians 6:14 to marriage! Would anyone contend that they never really were married according to God’s revealed will since God forbids the unequal yoking of the Christian and the non-Christian? If so, would the Christian who divorces their unbelieving spouse then be free to be remarried? If not, why not? We conclude then, in principle, that it is not a sin to marry a non-believer. 1 Corinthians 7 establishes the fact that believers can be married to unbelievers, without being unequally yoked. If the unbelieving spouse is willing to let the believer retain and practice their faith, such a union is not sinful at all. In context, Paul was dealing with idolatry. Keeping with the context is always the best hermeneutical approach.
With that being said, I must now ask those considering marriage to a non-believer: “Why would you want to marry a non-Christian?” I think that is the question that gets to the heart of the matter. If your reasons for marrying outside of the faith are worldly, that can be sinful (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17). In that sense one would indeed have to repent of that attitude! Are we not to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness?” (Matthew 6:33). Are we not to seek to be “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God?” (Romans 12:1-2). While it is God’s will that people marry, is it expedient to marry one who is not a Christian? (Gen. 2:18; 1 Corinthians 6:12). We all understand that marriage is about sharing. It is about sharing a life together, sharing goals and building a family (Genesis 1:28). However, it is also about serving God! (1 Peter 3:1-7). In marriage, we become heirs together of the grace of life, and our prayers can be hindered when marriage is not what it should be. One should ask: “Will marrying outside of the faith help me serve God in a greater way or will it limit my opportunities and service?” I know of many men and women who deeply regret their decision to marry outside of the Lord’s church because their spouse has limited their ability to serve the Lord and has caused them great distress over the differences in their marriage.
THOUGH MARRYING A NON-BELIEVER MAY NOT BE SINFUL, IS IT WISE?
Though not all marriages between believers and non-believers will end in the destruction of the believer’s faith, there are certainly many examples of believers who were led astray by such unions. What was the result of mixed marriages in Noah’s day? (Genesis 6:1-2). Who were the sons of God? Certainly not angels, since angels neither marry, nor are given in marriage (Mark 12:25). So then we conclude that these were very likely the prodigy of Adam and Seth. Who then were the daughters of men? They were likely the linage of Cain, the spiritually fallen of humanity. To what end did their marriages lead? Their intermarriages led to the downfall of the righteous and the extinction of humanity with the exception of just eight precious souls! (Cf. Genesis 6-9; 1 Peter 3:20-21).
Ahab, the seventh king of Israel was guilty of a mixed marriage. The Bible says of him that he “did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him.” (1 Kings 16:30). WHY? In ancient civilizations military and trade alliances were made with marriages. Marriage, then as now, was often cemented by religion. Ahab went outside the faith of God for security and help. He married Jezebel and formed an evil alliance which would affect his nation in a terrible way. What was the result? Jezebel, as a fanatical worshiper of the heathen idol Baal, attempted to force Baal worship upon every Israelite in some of the most ruthless and deadly ways. Sadly, King Ahab made very little effort to stop her. In fact, he actually built a pagan temple for her in the capital city of Samaria and allowed 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah to eat at the royal table (1 Kings 16:32, 18:19). His wife led him astray in other ways. She had Naboth killed for his vineyard! She encouraged her husband to expand idol worship throughout Israel. She killed as many of God’s prophets as she could and even sought the life of Elijah because he preached that the true God of heaven and earth needed to be revered, regarded and obeyed (1 Kings 18-19). Both Ahab and Jezebel met tragic ends to their lives (1 Kings 22:29-40; 2 Kings 9:30-37). Ultimately, both died in their sin. Instead of one soul being affected by sin, or even two - a whole nation was affected!
We could even speak of Solomon, whose wisdom was laid aside as he pursued every worldly delight to the neglect of his spiritual health and well being. The book of Ecclesiastes bears this out as the aged king lamented his pursuit and indicated clearly what his desire should have been: “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth...Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12). What was it that led him astray? His foreign, unbelieving, wives (1 Kings 11:1-4).
How many unbelieving wives or husbands have led their spouse away from the Lord? How many have compromised their faith and caused their children to believe things which are contrary to the Lord’s will? (Cf. Ephesians 6:4; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Proverbs 22:6). How many families are living in sin, have been lost to sin, and in the end were lost eternally to a devil’s hell, because a Christian chose to marry an unbeliever? One bad decision can lead to a whole generation being born which knows not God? (Cf. Judges 2:10ff).
In mixed marriages there are often too many differences for the believer to overcome. If the unbeliever is obstinate in having his own way, the believer is faced with the decision: “Do I follow God or do I follow my spouse.” What are some of the differences to consider? There are differences in spirituality: in denominational concepts, in ideas competing in the home; in atheistic ideas. There are differences in morality: sexually deviancy, pornography; alcohol consumption, drugs, ethics, gambling. There are differences in child rearing philosophies: what if the spouse does not want the children raised in a Christian environment or encourages the child to explore denominational churches, the new world religions, the irreligious, or even atheism. There are differences in priorities: one’s worship may be hindered (John 4:24; Hebrews 10:22-31). The unbelieving spouse may hinder one in his giving (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). They may cause one to not give as he should in order to provide for themselves worldly things (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17). They can hinder one in their work in the Lord’s church, requiring you to serve him instead (1 Corinthians 7:42). They may cause one to cater to their needs more than the Lord’s will, etc. With all these differences, why would anyone want to marry outside of the faith?
Is your faith the most important thing in your life, dear Christian? Is it the center of your being and the guide you use to direct your steps? (Cf. Jeremiah 10:23; Psalm 37:23; Matthew 6:33). If so, then please consider this: If your spouse is not willing to study with you about your faith before you marry them, they probably will not be inclined to do so afterward either. Some believe that they can convert their spouse after marriage. They marry them in an effort to evangelize. Soon their labors become an exercise in futility. They get discouraged and begin the blame game. Some even blame the preacher or elders for “not visiting enough,” or “not making enough effort” to convert their spouse. Marriage must NEVER be used as a means of evangelism! Very few who marry unbelievers ever convert their spouse. I recently read of a non-scientific study that was done by one congregation of the Lord’s church over a period of decades. It concluded with an interesting statistic from within its own membership: 75% of those who married a non-Christian later fell away from the Lord and His church! Dear Christian, the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins teaches us that our soul’s salvation is our first and primary responsibility (Matthew 25:1ff). What does one profit if that one should gain the spouse of their dreams and lose their own soul? (Cf. Matthew 16:26).
I believe in light of the aforementioned verses and considerations it is not wise to marry an unbeliever. If the Christian is unsuccessful in converting a love interest before they are married, they will probably not be very successful after they are married. Never marry someone with the hope of converting them; it may cost you your faith, your children, your life, and devotion, and ultimately your soul! Why take that risk?
I AM ALREADY MARRIED TO AN UNBELIEVER, NOW WHAT?
This study is not intended to beat up on those who have chosen to marry a non-believer. It is not meant as a condemnation of those who have married outside of the faith and work hard to make their marriage successful. In this section I would like to make some common sense, Biblical, suggestions that will aid the Christian in their quest to have a good marriage.
Be the Biblical spouse God wants you to be (Ephesians 5:21-32; 1 Peter 3:1-7; Proverbs 31:10ff). Just because a wife’s husband is not a Christian does not mean they do not have to submit to his leadership in those things which are not related to morality and ethics. He is still the leader of the home (Ephesians 5:22). Just because one’s wife is not a Christian does not exclude one’s responsibility to love her as Christ loved the church, living with her according to knowledge and honoring her as the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3:7).
Next, realize that we can learn some important principles from 1 Corinthians 7. First, don’t ever withhold marital rights as a means to get your spouse to do what you want them to do. This is not only sinful, it will damage your relationship with your spouse and open the door for a usurper to come in and steal away your family (1-5). Second, do not depart from them, and if you do remain unmarried or be reconciled to your spouse (10-11). Third, DO NOT divorce your spouse! (12-15). Just because they are an unbeliever does not give you the right to put them away for it. If the marriage ends, do not let it be because you filed the paperwork! God said marriage is to be held in honor among ALL, and that means you too (Matthew 5:32; Hebrews 13:4). Fourth, do not allow yourself to be so bound to your spouse that if they decide to leave you (assuming it is because of your faithfulness to the Lord) that you give up your relationship with the Lord to stay with your spouse. Fifth, never underestimate your ability to reach your lost loved one (Verse 16; similar to 1 Peter 3:1-2).
Finally, some parting thoughts and suggestions which will help if they are implemented by the believer. First, pray earnestly for your spouse. Pray that the Lord will give you wisdom as it relates to rearing your children, training them up in the way of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6). Pray that the Lord will give you the strength needed to be a good wife or husband, a godly example to your spouse and children, and be of service to Him in His kingdom always. Remember, the effectual and fervent prayers of the righteous avail much (James 5:16). Second, always live as God would have you to live, being the wife or husband God wants you to be, and allowing your life to be the Gospel you preach when they no longer listen to the spoken word (cf. Galatians 2:20; 1 Peter 3:1-2). Third, stand your ground as a Christian. Do not compromise your faith or morality (Ephesians 5:11). You cannot always control what your spouse does or does not do, but you can control yourself and limit the negative influence they may have on your children. Your spouse may not agree with your convictions, but they should respect you for them if you refuse to compromise. Fourth, demonstrate unconditional love for your spouse when it comes to their needs, showing them that you will be a supportive spouse. Fifth, in your marriage, always follow the “Romans Twelve Philosophy!” Be a living sacrifice for God and you will be a great example for your spouse to follow and emulate (Romans 12:1-3). Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought to think and you will have fewer problems in your role as a spouse (4-8). Behave like a Christian and you will never reflect badly on the Christian faith before your spouse or your children (9-21). Sixth, encourage your spouse to study the Scriptures with you. Romans 10:17 teaches that faith comes by hearing the word of God! Their faith can come through the Word of God alone! A word of warning: if study of the Word of God is not important to you, it will not be to your unbelieving spouse! Seventh, realize that living the Christian life will surely cause curiosity. Explain to them the reasons why you believe the Bible is the Word of God, by doing this you are establishing God’s authority. Explain to them why you do the things you do and why you don’t do the things you don’t do in matters of morality. By doing so you will be establishing standards for the home. When you sin in a way that affects your spouse, or your influence before them, seek their forgiveness and explain why you are repenting and confessing the sin. This will show them that while we strive for perfection as Christians there is forgiveness available when we stumble. Eighth, Share with them the “reason of the hope” that is within you (1 Peter 3:15). There ought to be joy seen in your salvation! Ninth, lean on your brothers and sisters in Christ for strength and encouragement. Talk with the elders and preacher about your situation and seek their counsel and advice in difficult times and with difficult decisions. Tenth, be consistent in all matters moral, ethical, and honest. Be faithful in matters of devotion to evangelism, edification, and worship. If the Lord’s church is not important to you, it will never be to your spouse!
There are also some “don’ts” we should consider as well. Whatever you do, don’t nag! Some nag to get their spouse to obey the Gospel. If they do obey, such obedience is no obedience at all! They will be obeying you, not God! They must obey from their heart that form of doctrine delivered to them (Romans 6:17; Colossians 2:12). If they are baptized to “get you off their back” they will also grow to resent you for your demand. Let the Lord do His job of “drawing all men” to Him through the Gospel (John 12:32)! Also, don’t criticize! Often those who are Christians will persistently criticize the non-believer for not believing. This will put a wedge between you and your spouse and may cause them to resent you and work against you when it comes to your children. Next, do not complain about the church, the preacher or her members to your spouse! If your goal is to win them, criticisms of the church will not help!
Lastly, if you have children be sure to teach them the importance of living for God. Remember, if you are married to an unbeliever you sanctify your home through your influence and teaching. You will need to instill a love of God in your children. You will need to demonstrate to them what a Christian is. You will instill in them a love for God and a hope for heaven through your example of hope and patience amidst trials. Fail in this and your children will suffer. It will be a harder road without the help of a Christian spouse, but God has promised to be with us always, and in all ways (Hebrews 13:5-6; Matthew 28:20).
There are many reasons Christians are married to non-Christians, but the real question is why would one want to marry they non-Christian if they are not currently married? If one were to make a list of the spiritual positives and negatives, could they list one single spiritual positive? My advice through the years has been and remains, be aware that every date is a potential mate - so choose your dating partner wisely. Do not fall in love with a dimple and marry the whole person. Our choice for a mate ought to reflect our Christian values and our desire to go to heaven and be sure our families go there too (Colossians 3:17).
If you are married to a non-Christian, be the spouse God wants you to be. Live for Him and be the example you can be for your spouse and your children. Include them in your spiritual life. Bring them to Bible class and worship with you if they are so persuaded. Spend time in devotion and study with them. Pray for them and encourage them to ask about your faith (1 Peter 3:15).
As the church, we need to be compassionate and encouraging of those who in a very real sense are spiritual widows and widowers. Those married to non-Christians are often very lonely spiritually and in need of encouragement. The church should embrace their fellow Christian, as well as their family, and develop a relationship with the unbelieving spouse where possible in the hope of reaching them with the Gospel. The church should pray for those families where a believer and an unbeliever dwell. We must always be supportive and encouraging to all who need God’s saving grace, especially those married to believing spouses (Galatians 6:10).
Never forget that the problem of Christians being married to non-Christians is not new. The question of what the Christian is to do was asked and answered in the first century. God bless all who are married to unbelievers with strength, courage and determination. Those who are believers need to think long and hard of the consequences and dangers of marrying outside of the faith and avoid the heartache and frustration felt by so many who have not heeded the warning.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version. World Publishers. All Scripture references are to this version.
Finance for the Family
1. It is commonly conceded that many martial problems involve money.
2. For everyone, though, money is just a tool. It is not inherently good or evil.
a. It is the love of money that is so dangerous (1 Timothy 6:10).
b. Jesus instructs His followers to “make friends” with money and earthly
3. This study will examine The Good, The Bad, and The Other about money.
I. The Good
A. The widow shows a good use of money in giving her mites (Mark 12:41-44).
1. This example should never be used to justify giving only a little.
2. This woman gave 100% of her goods.
a. To Whom do you think her heart belonged?
b. How do you think she managed her other talents?
c. Do you think she was willing to do other works for the Lord?
B. The effort to help the saints shows a good use of money
(1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
C. The children of Israel show a good use of resources in their work for the
sanctuary (Exodus 36:5).
1. Sadly, they did not always honor God with their goods (see Exodus 32:1-4). 2. A preacher reportedly once said the following: “The good news is: we have all the money we need to do the work of the church. The bad news is: it’s still in your pockets.”
3. Moses had the great problem of having too many workers and resources for his project.
II. The Bad
A. Making the golden calf shows a bad use of money (Exodus 32:1-4).
1. Ironically, their contribution to this evil was voluntary and generous.
2. I wonder how many people are giving their money to their idols today.
B. It is often claimed that Jesus talked more about money than He did about hell.
1. It is bad to select things over salvation (Matthew 16:26).
2. It is bad to obsessively worry about the details of life (Matthew
a. Having a plan is essential (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
b. However, worry is the thief of joy.
3. The rich young ruler teaches a major lesson about money (Luke
C. Cain shows a bad use of his possessions in the service of God (Genesis
A. Joseph teaches about saving (Genesis 41:48-55).
1. This is a classic rainy-day fund.
2. Such saving should be our habit.
B. Principles of thrift and budgeting are seen in Luke 14:28.
1. Jesus teaches us to be aware of our spending.
2. Christians are expected to cover the costs of their endeavors.
C. Psalm 37:21 and Proverbs 22:26-27 address the subject of borrowing.
1. Proverbs 22:26-27 also speaks about co-signing.
2. Proverbs 22:7 is a very popular verse on borrowing.
D. The Bible does support the principles of investing and lending.
1. Matthew 13:44 describes the steps one man takes in investing.
a. He liquidates his assets.
b. He buys the land containing the profitable resource.
2. Jesus’s rebuke of the one-talent man shows the validity of earning
interest via lending (Matthew 25:27).
E. Jesus rebukes the corruption and predatory nature of shrewd moneychangers
1. These moneychangers were not involved in innocent collecting and distributing.
2. Jesus judged their deeds and intentions to be evil.
F. The way we spend our money is a reflection of our priorities.
1. When my children ask me for something, I typically work to give it to them.
2. If some random child asks me for something, I typically do not have as much priority toward that request.
1. Do not be owned by your possessions!
2. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).
The Home as Satan Would Have It (Includes influence of Culture on the Home)
Clint E. Patterson
It is said that the “home” is one the most crucial and important part of everyone’s life. However, it seems that a person’s home life is the area that gets ignored and pushed aside most often. Many people think that as long as the house looks good on the outside, then it is acceptable on the inside. But this way of thinking is extremely wrong. The home should be a refuge from the world, which is built on love, framed by peace, and centered on serving God. Instead, the home has become a place of turbulence, which is built on hate, fueled by sadness, and centered on self. As one looks around the world today, they will see the ruin that an unhealthy family life has created for thousands of neglected children, thousands of divorced couples, and a generation of people that have no clue about God. A dysfunctional home life has become as common as finding running water in a house.
While many neglect to see the importance of the home, there is one who knows and takes full advantage of everyone else’s ignorance, Satan. Satan continues to destroy the home because he knows how very important the home is. He goes to great lengths to make sure the home remains a place of dread and sadness, and he has been very successful in his work so far. Satan uses many methods, including the current society and culture in which one lives, to ensure that the home continues to be sick. He will do everything in his power to keep it that way.
There are three ways in which Satan wants everyone’s home to be conducted. Satan wants the home to be distracted, divided, and dead. While many people tend to turn a blind eye to this subject, it is imperative for Christians to understand the threat that Satan poses, for the Christian home is indeed number one on Satan’s enemy list. If the home is dead, then the church, in turn, is dead as well. So let us turn to the Bible to see how Satan accomplishes this goal today, as he did in thousands of years ago, by using the surroundings in which one lives.
Satan Wants the Home Distracted.
One of Satan’s greatest weapons of destruction lies within his ability to be the great distracter. The reason why Satan is so successful in this area is because he knows exactly what will distract us. Satan has used this tool of diversion since the beginning of creation, and indeed has always wanted the home, especially the first, to be involved with anything but God. In Genesis 3, we find Satan in the garden of Eden, distracting Eve away from obeying God’s command. Therefore, there are some things we need to note about how Satan went about the distracting process. In Genesis 3:1, we read of Satan’s question that he asked Eve. Satan asked, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden '?" (All Bible scriptures quoted will be from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted). It was with this question that Satan stuck his first blow of diversion, with doubt. Once Satan had placed doubt in the mind of Eve, he had just enough time, while she was processing the question, to present his case of deceit. All Satan needs is a moment, a split second for him to begin his mesmerizing cadence of death.
Secondly, after he had Eve’s attention, he then began stage two in his diversion tactic. Satan then tells Eve that if she does take of the forbidden fruit that "You surely will not die!” (Genesis 3:4) Satan told her half the truth and did this in order for her to consider the fruit and to place more doubt in her mind. Satan always tells half the truth about sin and purposely leaves off the destruction it brings to the soul by being a part of it.
Finally, the stage was set for Eve to complete Satan’s plot of diversion by her own lust and temptations. Satan just provided the distraction. All it takes is for one person to become distracted driving on the interstate to cause a pile-up, and Eve was about to cause a pile-up for the rest of the world. No wonder Jesus made the comment, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). When a man becomes distracted, he does more harm than he does good. Satan distracts the home in the same way he did Eve. He distracts the family with doubts during temptations and trials. He distracts the home with material things. He distracts the home with stress. His distracts the home with worldliness. Satan wants the home distracted because once it is, Satan then has the chance to move to his next step in destroying the Christian home.
Satan Wants the Home Divided.
After Satan has the home distracted, he then can start the division process. Jesus stated in Mark 3:27, “"If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” Satan is fully aware of this and strives to break the unity found in the home. As we have seen already in Genesis 3, Satan distracted Eve by showing her the fruit, which she had once considered as deadly poison, in a new perspective of darkness away from God. It was in this darkness that Eve saw the fruit exactly the way that Satan wanted her to see it, as good rather than bad. It was at that very moment that Satan started the division process. James 1:2 states, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” Satan did not carry Eve away from God. He simply distracted her, and then she walked hand in hand with Adam down the Godless road of destruction by her own desire. Once the division was made, all that was left to be done was the sin.
Satan still works this way today. He distracts the members of the home so that they will take their eyes off of God and directs them, like Eve, down the road of darkness and division. After one is separated from God, they fall victim to chaos. Choices become unclear, fears begin to arise, temptations become stronger, and joy starts to fade. A preacher once said that “a Christian away from God is like an ember that leaves the fire, it does not take long until the once burning red hot ember turns to a mere glow and then finally goes out.” When our home is divided from God, it can become a breeding ground for sin. Satan can use anything to bring about division in the home today. He can use materialism, finances, opposing views that one may have on certain topics such as politics, opinions of a child’s upbringing, or he can even bring division through other family members. It does not matter to Satan how the home becomes divided, he just wants the home separated. He wants division so that he can bring about his final step in the destruction of the home.
Satan Wants the Home Dead.
After Satan has the family distracted and divided away from God, he then makes his final blow in his devious plan against the home, which is, to lead the home to its death. After Satan had distracted Eve with doubts, deceit, and separated her from the path of light, he then allowed Eve to push the charge that set off the dynamite in the building. Though deceived and enticed by Satan, Eve allowed that temptation to be born into sin, when she and Adam took of the fruit and ate. James 1:15 tells us what happens if we do not stop the downhill process of temptation. It states, “Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” When Eve and Adam ate of the fruit, Satan’s plot for destroying the first home was complete. This, in turn, caused a death spiritually, for they were removed from the presence of God. Romans 3:23, tells us that, “the wages of sin are death,” and since Adam and Eve sinned, they were due this wage.
The second death also occurred after the sin, for they were cut off from the tree of life. Satan failed to mention to Eve that, while she might not die immediately after consumption of the fruit, she would nonetheless die eventually and slowly, away from God.
Satan’s ultimate goal is to kill. He wants all homes, especially the Christian’s home, to be dead; dead to love, dead to godliness, and ultimately dead to God and hope. Satan brings death to families today by distracting the individuals with worldly things. He gets them involved and separated from others, including God, and then waits for the fall to happen. Death occurs slowly and can start with a simple distraction, which leads to division and ultimately ends in death. The eventual death of the home can be seen in our world today by thousands of divorced couples, multiplied by thousands of neglected children, and all other types of immorality. The death of the home is truly one of the greatest tragedies that have ever happened in our world today because the dead home leaves scars and wounds from generation to generation. Satan does not care how distracted we are. He does not care how divided we are. All he truly cares about is making sure our homes die.
Satan is achieving his genocidal plot with great success against the “home” today, for many fail and neglect to look and see how valuable the home really is. We, in the Lord’s Church, truly need to understand the threat that Satan poses against the Kingdom of God by what he is doing to our homes. Truly the greatest mission opportunity today is found with the walls of the “home”. May we be the light and example of Jesus in our homes as a pattern to those whose are lost and controlled by sin. May we fight against the distractions and kill the division in the home with unity. Let us bring the dead “home” and individuals to life by taking them to Jesus and allowing them to have a home of peace. “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13).
The Home: A Reflection of God
From start to finish, the Bible evidences both God’s existence and character. It does so, not just to prove that God exists and to show what he is like, but, just as important, to show his love by providing for our every need.
Understanding just how the Bible evidences God’s existence and character requires a comprehensive study of its contents. In short, the Bible reveals everything we need to know about his thoughts, his message and his actions. His written revelation, coupled with every aspect of his physical creation and all his actions in history, fully demonstrate every truth we must know. God simply can not help but use everything at his disposal to show how much he loves us and how far he is willing to go so we can benefit from his remarkable love.
In some way, every book, chapter, verse, word and letter communicates these vital principles. It is in this broad context that we must understand what God has in mind for the home.
Principle #1: Immortal Souls Must Reflect God
Souls created in the image of God were expressly created that they might continue to reflect God’s nature after their origin. Simply put, God wanted Adam and Eve to be faithful to him after their creation. That did not happen. Though sufficient reason exists to prove that every one can know God — even after the fall and its effects — the temptation to reject that reasoning process can be strong (cf. Rom. 1:18ff). We can simply “deny” truth through unrighteousness in mind and practice.
For this reason, God wants those who follow him to make doubly sure they serve as lights reflecting his glory (cf. Mt 5:13ff). How we reflect the glory of God varies according to the issue under consideration, but reflect his glory we must (Phil 2:15-16; 1 Cor 10:31; 1 Th 2:12). A study of the home, often styled “the home as God would have it,” might be better styled “the home, a reflection of God.” Just why that simple distinction makes a difference will be the heart of our endeavor initially.
Principle #2: Everything Contributes To God’s Redemptive Plan
Everything God does, creates, reveals tell us that ...
he is and
what he is like
In revealing these things to (and for) us, God must be understood as urging us to adopt his character as our own because ...
it is best of for us
it is best for others
it ultimately glorifies God (i.e., nothing else does so)
Everything God has done, and is doing, contributes to this overarching process
God’s opening chapters of Genesis, for example, set the stage for ...
everything we need to know about the physical creation
everything we need to know about the creation of man
everything we need to know about the origin, and potential solution for, sin
everything we need to know about God’s developing plan for a seed-line leading to Christ
and much more ... especially concerning what God has in mind for mankind’s redemption
Principle #3: The Place Of Man In The Cosmos
Man: general principles
man is the pinnacle of creation (1:26ff)
man is “God breathed” (2:7)
man was given dominion (1:28)
man was given all provisions (1:29)
man was given a special “job” (2:15)
man was given special restrictions (2:17)
man was given a special mate (2:18ff)
man was given an opportunity to fellowship (2:18ff)
man was given an opportunity to “be one” (2:23-25)
man’s nature reflects God’s (1:26 and prior points)
man/woman were perfect physically/spiritually (1:25ff; 2:25)
Man: specific nature
body - returns to the elements (Eccl 12:7)
soul - immortal (continues through eternity - Mt 25:46)
spirit - returns to God (Eccl 12:7)
Man: soul specifics; the human soul possesses several unique faculties. It is ...
rational - we can think like God
emotional - we can feel like God
moral - we have conscience like God
volitional - we can choose like God
behavioral - we can act like God
temporal/eternal - we can be with God now
Why the soul is as it is: God made us in his image (Gen 1:25ff) to replicate his character (2 Pet 1:3-4)
rational - God wants us to think like Him (Is 55:8ff))
emotional - God wants us to feel like Him (Amos 5:15; Mal 2:16)
moral - God wants us to have a sense of moral “oughtness” like His (1 Cor 10:29; 1 Tim 1:19; 3:9)
volitional - God wants us to choose like Him (Deut 30:19; Josh 24:15)
behavioral - God wants us to act like Him (Is 55:1ff)
temporal/eternal - God wants us to be with Him - now and forever (Gen 1:1-Rev 22:21)
Principle #4: The Individual Soul - A Measure of God-Likeness
In every imaginable respect, the essence of God the Father and God the Son are always perfectly in sync.
Mankind, created in the image of God, was designed by God with the ability to mimic the nature of God in their own souls.
Because man falls short of perfection in every area, he never fully measures up.
The ideal man, however, would reach his ultimate potential in ...
Rational, emotional, moral, volitional, behavioral areas
And thus be as in sync with God as possible.
One caveat - though we might “max out” our potential, our potential will never match God’s.
Additionally, our potential varies from person to person, soul to soul.
God judges not just on how I compare to him and his son, but how I compare to him and his son as it relates to my own potential.
Rational potential, for example, might vary from person to person, but even those with the greatest rational potential are severely deficient when compared to God’s potential.
Potential here, by the way, as it relates to God, must be understood as a poor word choice. God’s potential never exists less than “full throttle.” There never exists a moment when God is anything less than maximum rationality, emotion, will, morality, behavior, etc.
The ideal (or perfect) Christian, an imaginary creature to be sure, matches up perfectly with that of God and Christ from the stand point of meeting their potential.
Again, we must remind ourselves that maxing or reach 100% of our potential will never compare with God’s/Christ’s potential. Be that as it may, with that significant proviso in mind, should we compare the ideal Christian with God the Father and God the Son, what might we see?
God judges us according to:
How we match up to his standards (cf. Jn 12:48)
How we match up to our own potential (cf. Mt 25:14ff; Lk 19:11ff)
are we in sync with God rationally - and to what degree
are we in sync with God emotionally - and to what degree
are we in sync with God morally - and to what degree
are we in sync with God volitionally - and to what degree
are we in sync with God behaviorally - and to what degree
Principle #5: Two Souls - The Place Of Marriage
In general, the relationship between any two individuals, regardless of setting, is an involved one. Two broad areas of investigation are necessary to gauge just how that relationship functions spiritually:
To what extent does each individual sync with God (two sets of variables)
To what extend do these two individuals sync with each other (another set of variables, determined in large measure by the first two sets)
These inter-connected subsets would determine what the overall relationship was between any two individuals in: business, school, neighborhood, family, friends, casual acquaintance, et. al.
The marriage relationship, obviously, is a special study between two individuals in a very specific setting. In the context of Genesis’ opening chapters we learn what God had in mind regarding marriage, and by extension the home and /family/marriage:
God intended one man/one woman to be together as a unique unit (Gen 2:24ff)
God’s provision for man/woman was to be mutually beneficial (Gen 2:24ff; cf. 1 Cor 7:1ff)
God took note when aberrations to his will occurred (Gen 5 - Lamech)
God demonstrated that departures from his will were not pleasing in his sight — in all things (generally), in marital issues, specifically (Adam/Eve; Cain/Abel; Lamech; Noahic flood; drunkenness, et. al.)
The relationship of marriage, and by extension the family, is a compound relationship involving:
Relationship 1 - between husband and wife
Relationship 2 - between husband and God
Relationship 3 - between wife and God
As a compound relationship, the relationship between husband and wife necessarily involves a greater range of variables:
To what extent does the husband match up in rationality, emotion, morals, volition, behavior with God
To what extent does the wife match up in rationality, emotion, morals, volition, behavior with God
To what extent does the husband and wife match up in comparison to each other in rationality, emotion, morals, volition and behavior
The variations of how each syncs with God and each other are vast
The limiting factors of the husband individually
The limiting factors of the wife individually
The limiting factors of the husband/wife relationship
Principle #6: Three Plus Souls - The Place Of Family
The “measure” of each soul created in the image of God involves that individual and God.
The “measure” of two souls created in the image of God involves the multiple relationships noted above.
The “measure” of three (or more) souls created in the image of God is compounded that much more. Each new person brought to the mix establishes a series of new relationships; first, between themselves and God, and second, between themselves and each other person already part of the mix. The numerous inter-relationships that could be considered make the situation that much more complex and difficult to make exactly what God wants. Consider the possibilities:
husband - wife (God)
husband - son (God)
wife - son (God)
husband - wife - son (God)
husband - daughter (God)
wife - daughter (God)
husband - wife - daughter (God)
husband - wife - son - daughter (God)
wife - son - daughter (God)
son - daughter (God)
The situation continues to grow in complexity with each new person.
To fully grasp the enormity of this situation, consider an extended family, a school, a neighborhood, a small town, a city, a state, a nation, etc.
How will these individual souls reflect the nature of God in their various lives? How will this husband and wife, both individually and together, reflect the nature of God? How will this imaginary family, as individuals and as a whole, reflect the nature of God?
The dynamic that we present here, while purely abstract to this point, needs only to be fleshed out with real people. Consider the relationships of:
Eli and his sons (1 Sam 2:29-30; 3:13)
Samuel and his sons (1 Sam 8:1ff)
Manasseh - in the sequence of Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah and sons (2 Kings 21:1ff; cf. 1 Chr 3:13ff)
David, Bathsheba and children: David/Bathsheba’s firstborn, Solomon, Absalom, Amnon, Tamar, etc. (2 Sam 12:7ff; compounded by others of his extended family/wives/children)
Abraham, Sarah and their future family (Gen 18:19)
Job and family (Job 1:5)
Cornelius and family (Acts 10:2, 33)
Timothy and his mother and grandmother (2 Tim 1:5)
Zechariah, Elizabeth and John (Luke 1:6ff; Mt 3:1ff)
All of these, and many more, flesh out the theoretical construct of Ezekiel 18. Though each soul will be judged individually (vs. 4, 20), their interaction with each other within generations and across generations determines how families and society at large appears before God.
God’s desire, plainly stated throughout scripture, remains constant: God wants souls to repent (2 Pet 3:9). He wants souls to be saved through truth (1 Tim 2:3-4). For that to happen, individually, each soul must become less like man, tainted by sin, and more like God.
God wanted Israel to show his glory to the Gentiles (cf. Ezek 20:1ff). When they failed to do so, Israel failed to live up to their raison d'être, their ultimate reason for existing.
When a family, a husband and his wife and their children, demonstrate a greater tendency to be less selfish and more selfless, they reflect more of the nature of God. The institution of marriage, between one man and one woman, was designed from eternity to be a reflection of the very character of God. The home “as God would have it” is a home that clearly reflects God’s character as much as humanly possible.
When husbands and wives show God-like love for each other and their children, they show the world what God wants the world to see: God and Christ living in them.
When godly children love and honor their parents, they exhibit the spirit of God and Christ to their friends and neighbors.
When God’s home is what he wants it to be, God will be glorified, we will be heirs of his glory, and the world gets one more opportunity to see exactly who God is and what he is like.
When the world saw the faith of Peter and John, they knew they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). What does the world see when they see our marriages, our families, our homes? Do they see God?