Ask Your Preacher
“Marital Mayhem”Categories: MARRIAGE, NEW TESTAMENT, OLD TESTAMENT, RELATIONSHIPS
Has God ever approved of polygamy?
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:
- Adam & Eve were designed monogamously (Gen. 2:24).
- No polygamy existed until seven generations after Adam (Gen 4:19).
- Noah, the last righteous man of his day, had only one wife (Gen 7:13).
- It is a qualification for an elder (Tit 1:6).
- It is a qualification for a deacon (1 Tim 3:12).
- It is a qualification for a worthy widow (1 Tim 5:9).
- 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.).
- The comparison of Christ and the church to a husband and wife relies on a monogamous design for marriage (Eph 5:22-23).
- 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:
- Sarah and Hagar fought (Gen 16:4).
- Rachel and Leah fought over Jacob (Gen 29:30-31).
- Hannah and Penninah’s rivalry (1 Sam 1:2-6)
- 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).