Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

“Marital Mayhem”

Categories: MARRIAGE, NEW TESTAMENT, OLD TESTAMENT, RELATIONSHIPS
     Has God ever approved of polygamy?

Sincerely,
Double Vows?

Dear Double Vows,

Polygamy is never directly condemned in the Bible, but it is also never condoned .  It is never treated as the standard… only the exception.  There are scores of examples of monogamy being God’s preference for man:

  1. Adam & Eve were designed monogamously (Gen. 2:24).
  2. No polygamy existed until seven generations after Adam (Gen 4:19).
  3. Noah, the last righteous man of his day, had only one wife (Gen 7:13).
  4. It is a qualification for an elder (Tit 1:6).
  5. It is a qualification for a deacon (1 Tim 3:12).
  6. It is a qualification for a worthy widow (1 Tim 5:9).
  7. Every New Testament command for a husband or wife assumes monogamy in the commandments (Mk 10:12, 1 Cor 7:3, Eph 5:33, etc.).
  8. The comparison of Christ and the church to a husband and wife relies on a monogamous design for marriage (Eph 5:22-23).
  9. God clearly states it as His design for marriage in the New Testament (1 Cor 7:2).

On the same hand, there are multiple examples of the pitfalls of polygamy:

  1. Sarah and Hagar fought (Gen 16:4).
  2. Rachel and Leah fought over Jacob (Gen 29:30-31).
  3. Hannah and Penninah’s rivalry (1 Sam 1:2-6)
  4. Solomon’s idolatrous wives (1 Kings 11:4)

God allowed polygamy in the Old Testament because the Old Testament was a tutor designed to lead people toward a better and more permanent covenant (Gal 3:24-25).  David lived in a time when God allowed polygamy even though it wasn’t His long-term preference for mankind.  In the New Testament, we are told God desires for marriage to be between one man and one woman (1 Cor 7:2).