Humorous yet insightful article; here are some highlights.
“As a pastor, over the years I had my fair share of people approach me to find out if we were a “courtship” church or a “dating” church. The people invariably would tell me that their approach was “the biblical way.”
“Perhaps you’ve seen this list floating around the world-wide-web, but it’s worth reviewing because it makes a very important point. So here it is… ways to find a wife according to the Bible:
- Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes. Then she’s yours. (Deut. 21:11-13)
- Find a man with seven daughters, and impress him by watering his flock. —Moses (Ex. 2:16-21)
- Purchase a piece of property, and get a woman as part of the deal. —Boaz (Ruth 4:5-10)
- Go to a party and hide. When the women come out to dance, grab one and carry her off to be your wife. —Benjaminites (Judges 21:19-25)
- Agree to work seven years in exchange for a woman’s hand in marriage. Get tricked into marrying the wrong woman. Then work another seven years for the woman you wanted to marry in the first place. That’s right. Fourteen years of toil for a wife.—Jacob (Gen. 29:15-30)
- Become the emperor of a huge nation and hold a beauty contest.–Xerxes or Ahasuerus (Esther 2:3-4)
- When you see someone you like, go home and tell your parents, “I have seen a woman; now get her for me.” If your parents question your decision, simply say, “Get her for me. She’s the one for me.”–Samson (Judges 14:1-3)
- A wife?—Paul (1st Corinthians, chapter 7)
Obviously, this list was written with humor in mind, and some of these “ways,” are not prescriptive but descriptive of the sinful ways that God’s people have conducted themselves in the past—they are in no way exemplary. But this does demonstrate an important point—people often want the Bible to say certain things, such as how to find a spouse and marry, but they ignore portions of Scripture that don’t fit their paradigm. The Bible has more to say about arranged marriages, for example, than it does “courtship” or dating. So then, how do we proceed?
We also have the clear biblical command that a Christian is free to marry whomever he or she chooses, so long as the prospective mate is “in the Lord” (1 Cor. 7.39). But in the end, choosing a spouse calls for wisdom…where God has spoken, we are bound, but where he has not spoken we are free. We are not bound by the commandments of men.
We should also note that in its collective history, the church has never addressed the issue in its creeds or confessions about how to find a spouse. Perhaps this should tell us that it is a matter of Christian liberty and that in the end, we should rely on God’s grace, wisdom, prayer, and godly counsel rather than make claims that the Bible has never made.”