The best source in the world on marriage has to be the one who created it. And since God provides His instructions in a book from which to glean wisdom, we cannot bear to neglect it. The most foolish approach in the world would be to avoid the only guide with objective truth and turn to temporal opinions from a world that changes decisions based upon fleeting and somewhat fickle feelings. We must go to God’s Word to understand marriage.
Granted that the Bible is a big book full of numerous topics. Marriage isn’t even in the top ten of themes presented within the pages of Scripture. But what is present is sufficient. If we can trust God in His Word that what is available is enough to guide us for every good work – including marriage – we can rely and rest upon His wisdom (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Addressing the complexities of marriage within the Bible doesn’t fit easily like an article tagged on the topic. While there are major sections of Scripture focused upon marriage, there are also verses and concepts scattered throughout the pages.
So, if you wanted to know the most helpful place to start, I would recommend the very beginning.
In reality, I think that Genesis 1-3 might be the most important section of the Bible to study altogether. Even outside the topic of marriage, it sets the stage for everything going forward. I say that while admitting that I do not recommend beginner Bible students charting a course through Genesis and walking straight through Revelation. I believe there are better regimens that tone up scriptural muscles before grinding through the somewhat challenging first five books of the Bible known as the Law.
While I stand by that statement, I would wholeheartedly plead with people the need to meditate on the first three chapters with great diligence. Within these opening verses, God sets the stage for everything that is to come.
If you get Genesis 1-3, you can get the rest of the Bible.
In these pages, we do read about how God created but also discover His matchless character through the manner by which He creates. Reading through the product of each day, you will be challenged by certain commonly-held misconceptions that a simple read will confront and amaze. If you take your time, you will notice how His referred name gloriously changes once He created mankind and the magnitude with which it brings.
We read how God’s original plan was for God’s people to enjoy God’s presence in God’s place. Read how God in His goodness instituted marriage and clearly defined relationships, roles, and responsibilities. After being introduced to the antagonist, we also see the propensity within us to attempt to take God’s place rather than know God in His place. The devil’s single yet solid temptation is initiated, and he has done nothing but repeats it in every other single temptation he has ever given.
Within these pages, we see how the unity of a home can be rocked when sin enters. The fallout of sin brings separation with God and with others.
We cower in shame and deflect in blame. Our discontentment is seen. Our rebellion stains the ground. Our excuses go up like a smokescreen.
A rebellion begins.
A rescue is promised.
A war is foretold.
A victor is prophesied.
The weight of sin is felt, and the separation is experienced. Yet, even within those opening pages where Jesus has yet to be named, His path is cleared with breathtaking details that history would later unfold. At the end of a very bad day, a really good one is described, and the rest of the Bible moves toward that climax. While Adam and Eve would be evicted due to their unrighteousness, things are now in motion that will bring them back to being God’s people enjoying God’s presence in God’s place due to another’s righteousness.
If you get Genesis 1-3, you can understand what is to come after it.
How does all of that help your marriage? I ask you to read it. I mean read it slowly. The process is actually called meditation.
Take your time to study how God created the world and what we are supposed to do as a result of it. Slowly read what God designed for our lives and marriages, and watch what took it off the path and the ensuing fallout.
And, with the final steps outside of paradise, look for the hope that is provided there. It is something very different than what you might expect but is most likely exactly what you need.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.