Updated: Aug 20, 2021
Marriage is the oldest institution in the Bible. However, it is also the oldest covenant in the history of the world. The Old Testament has several covenants like the one with Noah, Abraham and his descendants, the Mosaic covenant, the Priestly covenant, and the one with David. I may be missing some others scattered throughout, but you get the gist.
Jesus is teaching that marriage superseded all covenants and began in the garden (Matthew 19). The covenant of marriage continues to be described into the rest of the New Testament (Ephesians 5). It is the first great covenant!
The word “covenant” reflects a serious vow made with God. A marriage covenant is made between two people who are wholly committed to Christ. As Jesus said, “Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6).
The word ”marriage” has been perverted much like other Bible terms and institutions. Marriage cannot be defined with a secular dictionary. It does not begin at a courthouse or even at a church. Where in the Bible does it say you need a stamped state endorsed certificate for marriage? Is it the responsibility of the probate judge or the ecclesiastical body to pronounce marriage? At some point we have to set aside traditions, and laws of the land, to just look into the Bible. What does God say about marriage?
Think about this…. Why are marriage platforms (i.e. same sex marriage, LGBTQ+) used in elections? Marriage is a pre-political institution. It existed long before the state or even denominations existed. We enjoy legal protections, perks and privileges provided to married couples. However, the state did not create marriages and should not decide who marries and divorces. The state has no right to define or redefine marriage. Marriage is a God-ordained institution, not a government-ordained institution. It is a holy covenant, not a temporary contract.
The following is an excerpt from one of the greatest minds I’ve known, Wayne Jackson: “It is a tragedy that most folks in society, and not a few who profess to being Christians, think that marriage is mostly a civil arrangement that they can treat with disdain whenever they please. Irrespective of “civil” law, which ebbs and flows with changing times, and from society to society, there is a higher “contract.” It is a covenant between two eligible people and their Creator — who himself instituted marriage in the Garden of Eden and provided stipulations for the relationship’s regulation (Genesis 2:21-24; cf. Proverbs 2:17; Ezekiel 16:8).
The marriage arrangement is designated as a “covenant” because it is “contracted in submission to the revealed will of God (Exodus 20:14) and with the expectation of his blessing (Genesis 1:28)” (Verhoef, 274).
The devoted child of God does not treat his/her marriage like the revolving doors of a modern department store. As one scholar has noted: “The loyalty of each partner to the covenant of God [is] a uniting bond which create[s] a lasting companionship between the partners” (Baldwin, 239).
When people enter marriage they promise, before God, to love and honor one another and to be supportive, through whatever adversities, for as long as they both are alive.“
Listen again to Mr Jackson define marriage as “a covenant between two eligible people and their Creator.” Marriage is used loosely today.
We need to use biblical terms to describe marriage and biblical patterns to sustain marriages. Don‘t allow the secular world to force you to comform (Romans 12:1-2). You’ll never go wrong if you stay in the Word.
You are loved!
Dr. Ray Reynolds
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The excerpt of the aforementioned article can be found at: