Beloved: Grace and Peace
Elkmont Baptist Church
Dearest and Beloved
God's Guidelines for Finding a Spouse
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scripture teaches that "He who keeps a
Grace to you.
command experiences no trouble, for a wise
heart knows the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every delight, though a man's trouble is heavy upon him" (Ecclesiastes 8:5-6, New American Standard Bible); "that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor;" (1 Thessalonians 4:4). In the King James Version translation, procedure is translated judgment. The idea is that of a legal proceeding or protocol. These Scriptures teach that there is a time and procedure for acquiring your spouse. 1 Thessalonians 4 goes on to say that the Lord is the avenger on those who do not follow this procedure. So lets us explore what the Scripture teaches about how to find the right mate.
The first requirement is shown throughout the Scriptures, but is summarized most clearly in 1 Corinthians 9:5: "Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and
the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?" and 2 Corinthians
6:14: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" In the first verse, Paul is making the case that both he and Barnabas have authority to take a believing sister to wife. The second verse, although broader than just marriage, states clearly that we should not be unequally yoked. You can be unequally yoked in a business relationship, but it is the covenant of marriage in which you can be most unequally yoked. Why is this so important? It is important because your spouse will either encourage you toward the Lord or lead you to worship his or her god, whatever it may be. (Think Solomon, think children of Israel in Numbers 25.)
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 says:
Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort
by the Lord Jesus,
that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God,
would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God,
your sanctification, that ye
should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know now to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence [passion of lust in the New King James], even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no
go beyond and defraud his brother in
that the Lord
avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit reminded me about David and Bathsheba. The account is given in 2 Samuel 11:1-12, 26. David did not abstain from fornication. David did possess Bathsheba in the lust of concupiscence just like the Gentiles who do not know God. David did go beyond (step over a boundary) and defrauded his brother (Uriah). The LORD was the avenger. See 2 Samuel 12:8-14. "Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife . . . Thou has given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme," (2 Samuel 12:10, 14b).
David received forgiveness, but the consequences continued. The sword never departed from his house. I wish to tell the young men and young women that the way they get their spouse is very important.
Waiting on God
The first procedural step for the Christian to marry is found in 1 Corinthians 7:39: "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord." The Christian is to marry only in the Lord: to not be unequally yoked if you will.
What does Scripture say about the proper time to find your mate? In Genesis 2:18 we can see that God planned to give a help meet unto Adam before he ever saw his need. We can see in Genesis 24, that God used Isaac's father Abraham to seek a bride for him before he ever saw his need. In 1 Corinthians 7:27 Paul says, "Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife." We can see that Adam and Isaac weren't seeking a wife just as Paul says and that Adam's Father (God) and Isaac's father found each of them a bride when they were ready. Part of the procedure then is preparing ourselves for marriage: becoming the godly man or godly woman we are called to be. Even our Lord Jesus is waiting for His bride to make herself ready (Revelations 19:7) and is waiting for His Father to tell Him when to go and get His bride.
I say God-given mate because Proverbs 18:22 says,
findeth a wife findeth a good
and obtaineth favour of the LORD." How do you "findeth" a wife without seeking? When my wife first received her engagement ring, friends wondered whom she was going to marry. You see, we hadn't done the normal dating things. We had continued to minister, doing what the Lord called us to, until He
Getting Ready for Marriage
When is the proper time for finding your God-given mate, and when is the time to prepare? Abraham knew the proper time for Isaac. The Father knew the proper time for Adam. Paul tells the Corinthian church, "But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of
age, and need so require,
let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry" (1 Corinthians 7:36). Proverbs 5:18 says, ". . . rejoice with the wife of thy youth." Isaiah 54:6 speaks of "a wife of youth." Joel 1:8 speaks of "the husband of her youth." Malachi 2:14 speaks of "the wife of thy youth" and "the wife of thy covenant." Psalm 127:4 speaks of "children of the youth." The flower of one's age then is youth. If the church was disciplining this nation, our children would be ready to marry during their youth. It appears (at least to me) that the church is being conformed to this age (Romans 12:2) and that many of our children will have to wait until past the flower of their age (i.e. until the prime of life) (and that is okay!). What is important is that they be prepared, for then they will be truly ready. When is the time to begin preparing? Isaiah 28:9 speaks of the time, "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine?
them that are
weaned from the milk,
drawn from the breasts." And if your children are already
past that time, today is a good day to start! Be comforted, young men and women. The Father knows your proper time.
How will a young man know he is ready? How will a young woman know when a young man is ready? Proverbs 24:27 says, "Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house." In other words, a young man should demonstrate that he is able to make a living (prepare the fields) before he asks a young woman to be his bride (to build his house).
Malachi 2:15 says, "And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacheriously against the wife of his youth." One of the purposes of marriage (not the only one) is to seek a godly seed, or children. A young man or a young woman is not ready to be married until they are ready for children.
Well, here are a couple of ways for young people to know when they are ready for marriage.
Here is the one I have hesitated addressing, but since it is out front in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, here it goes: "For this is the will of God,
that ye should abstain from fornication." Fornication is translated from the Greek word
One of the chief ways the enemy trips up God's people is through
One of the first ways a young man is led astray is through
couldn't curse the Israelites, he, ". . . taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication" (Revelations 2:14). (See Numbers 25). This is so important to teach our young men and even our young women, for Proverbs 5 speaks of a youth led astray, even in the midst of the congregation and assembly. If you read the news, you will see reports of strange women (and men) in the public schools who are corrupting youth. We must teach our children how to handle the temptations which will come their way. The Scripture plainly teaches that the only way is: "Flee fornication" (1 Corinthians 6:18). "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them at call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22). A young man or young woman caught in the trap of
is not ready to be married.
Role of Each Spouse
1 Timothy 2:11-12 says, "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." Dr. Spiros Zhodiates comments on this passage in
The husband's job is not just to teach the children, but also to teach his wife. A young woman should look for a man who can teach her the Word and whom she respects. A young man should look for a woman who respects him and who is not constantly trying to teach him. When a woman is continually teaching her husband, she is conveying to him disrespect and may be usurping his authority in leading the home. A young woman should look for a young man whose theology matches her own, because after marriage, his theology becomes her theology. A disconnect here can cause problems later.
Well, I have learned a lot. I hope this has been helpful.
made clear His choice for us. The procedure of how to acquire your vessel includes not "as the Gentiles which know not God" (1 Thessalonians 4:5). You can bet it won't look like the world's ways!
Zhodiates, Dr. S. (Ed.). (1984).
- a series compilation
The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible: King James Version.
Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
The Hebrew-Greek Study Bible:
should be translated, 'Let the wife learn (. . . which means to continuously learn at any and at all times) in tranquility in her position under." He goes on and comments, "What did Paul want to teach in 1 Tim. 2:11? It was that a wife should display a tranquil spirit in her attempt to learn . . . . Paul encouraged a wife to ask questions and to learn but always to realize that the questions should not be of a nature which would disturb the peace that existed between her and her husband or which in any way would embarrass her husband" (Zhodiates, 1984, p.1474).
"1 Tim. 2:11
®. (1982). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.
New King James Version
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