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What is the Purpose of Marriage According to the Bible?

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What is the Purpose of Marriage According to the Bible?

Marriage is one of the most fundamental institutions established by God yet there is much confusion in today’s culture about its true purpose and definition.

In this blog post, we will explore what the Bible says about the purpose of marriage by examining key passages and concepts related to this topic.

Let’s dive in.

Marriage was Created by God

The Bible makes it clear that marriage was created by God himself and did not come into existence by human invention or cultural evolution. The book of Genesis provides the foundation for understanding God’s design and purpose in establishing marriage.

In Genesis 2:18, after creating Adam, God said “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Then in Genesis 2:24 it says “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

These passages demonstrate some key theological truths about marriage.

First, it shows God engineered marriage to meet core relational and emotional needs he designed us with, namely companionship. Being alone was “not good” for humans.

Second, it establishes the basic definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman, leaving and becoming united.

Finally, it reveals the physical dimension of marriage through the concept of “one flesh” unity, demonstrating God designed marriage to include sexual intimacy between husband and wife.

Overall, these Genesis texts provide the starting point for understanding that God himself is the creator and definer of marriage.

He established it with specific parameters and purposes in mind from the very beginning of creation according to his perfect design and wisdom.

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Marriage therefore finds its meaning, definition and purpose rooted in the Creator rather than in the changing opinions of cultures or individuals.

Marriage Points to Christ and the Church

In the New Testament, the relationship between Christ and the Church is invoked as the ultimate pattern and message of marriage.

In Ephesians 5:21-33, Paul draws an extensive parallel between the duties of husbands and wives and the relationship between Christ and his bride, the Church.

He commands husbands to “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” and tells wives to “submit to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.”

This passage reveals several key insights about God’s overarching purpose for marriage.

First, it shows marriage was designed by God to reflect the gospel itself – the sacrificial, covenantal love between Christ and believers. Just as Christ died to save and nourish his bride, husbands are to sacrifice themselves to serve their wives.

Second, it establishes the distinctive yet complementary roles of husband as leader/sacrificer and wife as helper/submitter modeled after Christ and the church.

Finally, it demonstrates God intends for marriage to point beyond itself to the greater spiritual reality of His redemptive plan fulfilled in Christ. In this way, marriage serves as both a physical and symbolic representation of Christ’s relationship with his people.

Marriage Points to God’s Design for the Family

Another major purpose of marriage according to Scripture relates to God’s design for human procreation and the family structure.

In Genesis 1:28, part of God’s initial command to mankind is “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” From the beginning, marriage provided the divinely instituted context for fulfilling this important commission to populate the earth through childbearing.

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Later biblical texts echo this connection between marriage and building families. In Malachi 2:15, God asks rhetorically “Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring.”

This affirms God’s intention that stable marital unions would result in the rearing of godly children raised by a father and mother working together under God’s design.

Additionally, in Ephesians 6:4, fathers are explicitly instructed to “bring children up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Marriage thus serves as the foundation and building block of the basic family unit through which God desires godly virtues and faith to be passed to future generations.

The biblical evidence indicates part of God’s grand purpose in establishing marriage was to fulfill his creational command to fill the earth through establishing godly family lineages according to his loving patterns.

Marriage Points to God’s Glory as Creator

Finally, another major purpose of biblical marriage relates to pointing all of humanity back to God himself, glorifying him as the wise designer of life and relationships.

In 1 Corinthians 11:7-12, Paul explains that man was created first in God’s image while woman was created as a “helper suitable” for man, directly quoting Genesis.

He then goes on to apply this truth of male-female difference and complementarity to relationships within the church.

This passage reveals that part of God’s intention for distinct gender roles and purposeful design of marriage was always to highlight his image reflected in human sexuality and relationships.

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Men and women glorify God most by fulfilling the differing yet unified purposes he instituted for them. When husbands sacrificially lead, wives joyfully submit, and families are raised in the Lord’s ways, it puts the spotlight directly back on God as the originator of these patterns.

Our loving him, obeying his ways and finding fullest meaning and satisfaction in the roles he designed results in the greatest praise for our Creator.

In this way, the very existence of marriage points back to God, glorifying him for his consummate wisdom and care for us seen in establishing this institution. By fulfilling his intentions, we participate in bringing him honor as the source of all good design and purpose.

Conclusion

In summary, the Bible reveals God created marriage and established it with very specific intentions and purposes in mind. Far from being a human invention or cultural construct that has evolved, God himself defined marriage as a covenantal, one flesh union between one man and one woman.

The Bible shows God designed marriage to meet core human needs, represent Christ and the church, produce godly families, and ultimately point all people back to him as Creator and source of all meaning.

When marriage reflects God’s intentions through sacrificial love, complementary roles and raising future generations to know the Lord, it fulfills purposes that have far-reaching effects for individuals, society and the cause of Christ.

For Christians seeking to understand marriage from a biblical perspective, these texts provide the framework we must view it through primarily – as an institution defined by our Creator that finds its fullest meaning when centered on bringing him maximum glory through obedience to his design.

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