A Right Understanding of Marriage

NOTE: This post is the second in a 5-post series by Andrew Courtis, Pastor of Hills Bible Church. In it, Andrew discusses some of the most contentious issues facing society. In response to these issues, he turns to the Scriptures to present the biblical perspective on each.


Marriage is a Divine institution. The opening chapters of the Bible give the record of the first marriage in history ( & 2). This was the wedding between a man and a woman. Before this union occurred, it is helpful to consider the events leading up to it. God made Adam (the first man in history) on the sixth day and declared, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (). After this the Lord created land animals and the birds of which were brought to Adam to see what he would name them. Of course, none of these were suitable to be “a helper fit for him” (). So then, the Lord caused Adam to sleep and from his side created the first woman ().

After the Lord brought these two together in marital union, He said to them “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (). It was essential that if this mandate of procreation was to be fulfilled, Adam needed a wife and Eve needed a husband. The Lord provided the gift of sexual relations within the confines of marital union between a male and female.

This first act of marital union was not intended to be first simply so that there may be a further population, thus allowing for other forms of union (homosexuality etc.). Instead, this first marriage provided the Divine standard and pattern for marital union. As a result of Adam and Eve coming together we read, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (). The pattern is simple – a man (male) will leave the confines of parental authority (again male and female) and cleave to his wife (female) and thus become one flesh.

This creation ordinance was also affirmed in the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. When questioned on the issue of the validity of divorce, He reminds His audience that the first couple were male and female and then quotes (). The repetition of this text in this passage indicates His affirmation of the continuance of this Divine design of marital union (See also and ).

What is marriage? From the earliest chapters of Scripture along with others we learn that marriage was created and instituted by God in creation. It was between a man and a woman with the purpose of procreation (), pleasure (), partnership () and productivity (). Such an understanding of marriage is an exclusion of same sex marriage.

1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”

31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

18 Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

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Andrew Courtis

Andrew Courtis

ANDREW - Serves as Pastor of Hills Bible Church. I am married to Dianne and we have three children (Kate, Emma and Jack). I was born and raised in Melbourne, moved to Adelaide to undertake theological studies (BMin.), and have completed additional studies with the Australian College of Theology (MATh.). I have served in pastoral ministry in both Melbourne and Sydney and am a qualified school teacher. I am committed to expository preaching and making the word of God known and understood.

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