Ephesians 5_22-33      Weddings, Marriage, Divorce

Rev. David Holwick

First Baptist Church           Bible study

Ledgewood, New Jersey

February 23, 1991

Ephesians 5:22-33


  I. The status of marriage in the Bible.

      A. It is regarded as normal.

          1) The Old Testament has no word for "bachelor."

          2) In NT, God has specific purposes for those who are single.

      B. Monogamy is God's standard.

          1) Monogamy is implicit in account of Adam and Eve.

          2) It is image of God's relationship with his people.  Eph 5:22-33

      C. Polygamy is permitted, but not ideal.

          1) It is early, since time of Lamech.   Gen 4:19

          2) It causes many problems and leads to idolatry.  Deut 17:17

                Abraham - Gen 21; Gideon - Judges 8:29-9:57;

                David -  2 Samuel 11,13; Solomon - 1 Kings 11:2-4

II. Marriage was preceded by a (sometimes lengthy) courtship.

      A. Engagement could only be broken by divorce.    Matt 1:18-19

          1) The engaged woman could be called a "wife" and was under the

               obligation of faithfulness.      Gen 29:21, Deut 22:23

          2) The engaged man was a "husband."   Joel 1:8, Matt 1:19

      B. Engagement was non-sexual.

          1) Bride was meant to be pure and radiant.  Eph 5:25-27, Lev 21:13

          2) Offenders were to be put to death.         Deut 22:13-21

              a) (Note that Joseph wanted the split-up to be quiet)

      C. The steps of engagement.

          1) Choice of the spouse, usually by parents.  Gen 21:21, 38:6

              a) Sometimes the groom initiated it.      Sheckem & Samson

              b) The bride had veto power.    Rebekah - Gen 24:58

          2) Gifts were exchanged.

              a) Presents.                  Gen 34:12, 1 Sam 18:25

              b) Dowry.  (not a payment for the bride)   Gen 24:59

                       Jacob's 7 years of labor were a dowry.

III. Weddings.

      A. Weddings were by invitation only.   Mt 22:2-3, Jn 2:2, Rev 19:9

          1) To refuse an invitation was an insult.        Matt 22:7

          2) Guests had a "pecking order."                 Luke 14:8-10

      B. Bridal party.

          1) Bride and groom.

          2) Best-man.                       Judg 14:20, 15:2, John 3:29

          3) Bridemaids (who looked after groom).   Matt 25:1

      C. Special clothes.                    Matt 22:11, Rev 19:8

          1) White wedding gown became symbol of purity. Rev 19:8

          2) Wedding garments could be embroidered.    Ps 45:13-14

          3) Bride is covered (by the grooms skirt). Ruth 3:9, Ezek 16:8

          4) Guests also wore clothes.       Matt 22:11

      D. The procession.

          1) The groom went to the bride's house, where the feast was.

                Gen 29:22, Judg 14, Matt 25:1-13

          2) Sometimes the feast was at the groom's parents.  Ps 45:14,

                                                             Matt 22:1-14

          3) They were accompanied by singing and dancing.   Jer 7:34

      E. Great feast with all the trimmings. John 2:1-11, Rev. 19:9

          1) They skimped toward the end.   John 2:10

          2) No predictable schedule.       Matt 25:5, Luke 12:35-36

              a) Festivities could last a week or more.   Gen 29:27

          3) It was a time of joy; mourning was inappropriate.

                       Matt 9:15, John 3:29, Rev. 19:7

              a) Music and joking (riddles).   Ps 45, 47:63, Judg 14:12-18

      F. Religious ceremony.

          1) The blessing.                 Gen 24:60, Ruth 4:11

          2) Covenant.                     Prov 2:17, Ezek 16:8, Mal 2:14

              a) The covenant is what established the relationship.

              b) Having sex does not make a person "married in God's eyes."

                  1> Otherwise Samson would have been married to many prostitutes.

      G. Honeymoon (it must have been very dark).           Gen 29:23

IV. Divorce.

      A. The origin of divorce is not given, but it is accepted as a


Copyright 2017 by Rev. David Holwick

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