Should every Christian marry?

Last updated on December 2, 2023

Should every Christian marry?

Marriage is a good gift from God. After God created Adam (Genesis 2:7), He said that it is not good for the man to be alone, and so God created a helper for him (2:18). Being alone refers less to loneliness (as there is no hint of that in the passage), but rather to service to God – the point is that the man needs a helper (a woman) to help him in the service that God has given to him (2:18). Therefore, part of the purpose of marriage is service of God.

Marriage is a good gift

That marriage is a good gift, is the consistent witness of Scripture: consider the Song of Songs, Jesus’ teaching on marriage (Matthew 19:4-6), Paul’s teaching of marriage (e.g. Ephesians 5:22-33), etc. This is because marriage is a picture of the ultimate marriage, the relationship between Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:32). In other words, every Christian marriage should mirror and picture something of the relationship that the church has with Christ. Some aspects of this are described in Ephesians 5:22-30.

Not a command for everyone

However, nowhere in Scripture is marriage commanded for God’s people. Indeed, in Matthew 19:11-12, Jesus says that certain people won’t get married, including those who choose not to for the sake of the kingdom. Paul also takes a similar view in 1 Corinthians 7:8: “To the unmarried and widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried as I am.

Therefore, not every man or woman must get married. It is a good gift from God, and it does help in the service of our Lord; but Paul also says “a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world – how he can please his wife – and his interests are divided” (1 Corinthians 7:33-34). So, there is a tension for those who are married. But those who don’t marry are freed from this tension, they are “concerned about the Lord’s affairs” (1 Corinthians 7:32).

However, the church as a whole, consisting of all Christians worldwide, is currently betrothed/engaged to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2); and the church will one day be married to Christ (Revelation 19:6-9), in the marriage that is of ultimate significance.

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