Marriage Matters: Does Marriage Matter to God? (Part 2)
How do you know what a person values? What’s the best way to discover someone else’s priorities and passions? Listen to the person talk. That’s right: give attention to words, topics of conversation, and the enthusiasm one expresses for a subject. Without fail, if you listen carefully, you will learn what matters most to the speaker. The reality is that people emphasize, repeat, and give consistent attention to what is near and dear to them. It has always been that way.
God’s interest in marriage might well be evaluated in the same way, by how He speaks about it. Does He address the topic with conviction, repetition, and consistency? A close look at His Word reveals He does. Let me explain:
First, there are many Biblical references that highlight marriage; the union is often described as a social good to be pursued. However, few places are more explicitly pro-marriage than the New Testament book of Hebrews, wherein we read: “Marriage should be honored by all” (13:4). God’s Word leaves little doubt regarding its priority. Marriage is presented as a social pattern that everyone, without exception, can and should support because of its unparalleled value to humanity.
Second, marriage words are repeated throughout the pages of scripture. Words like marriage, wedding, wife, husband, bride, bridegroom, betroth, and espousal are found over 750 times, scattered across 47 books of the Bible. God must think marriage is significant to speak so frequently about it, and to keep coming back to the same theme in book after book. What other conclusion could one reach?
Third, scripture is remarkably consistent about the topic of marriage. Moses (Genesis 2:24), Jesus (Matthew 19:5) and Paul (Ephesians 5:31) – stretching over a span of some 1,500 years – all referred to marriage in the same way when they said: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Today we critique, tweak, and edit others’ thoughts as a sign of intellectual progress, always feeling like ideas can be improved upon with our fresh experiences and insights. That’s what makes the consistency of these three major Biblical spokesmen over a period of 15 centuries so extraordinary. The marriage message and model remains unchanged from the beginning to the end of Holy Scripture.
Does marriage matter to God? Biblical evidence says it does. All one has to do is listen carefully to discover the emphasis, repetition, and consistency with which He speaks on the subject.
If the institution of marriage is so important to God, a question worth considering is this: How much does marriage matter to us?
by Dr. Kent Olney