Four Biblical Purposes of Marriage

If the Lord permits, Sara and I will celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary this July. It’s been good—very good!

I’m so blessed to have had Sara in my life all these years. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22).

Why marry?

The Bible offers two options: 1) being married or 2) remaining single. Each has its own advantages (1 Corinthians 7). Whether to marry is an individual decision.

Peter, for example, was married; Paul was not. There’s a place for both in God’s kingdom.

But if we choose to marry, we need to understand God’s purposes for the marriage relationship. The following purposes are not necessarily in order of importance.

Purpose #1: Procreation

“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD . . .” (Psalm 127:3).

The sexual union as God made it is good (Genesis 1:27-28, 31). He created sex to be enjoyed by a husband and wife within the covenant of marriage.

No other sexual relationship has His blessing: neither premarital sex, nor adultery, nor homosexuality, nor intercourse of any other kind (Hebrews 13:4).

Purpose #2: Companionship

Before God formed Eve, He said of Adam, “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). And He did!

God made male and female different from one another biologically, emotionally, etc. Each brings something unique to the relationship.

Purpose #3: Nurturing Children

Just as each contributes something distinctive to the marital relationship, so they also do for their children. Boys and girls need both a male role model and a female role model.

Although many single moms and dads are wonderful parents, children thrive best when they have two parents who both model and teach God’s word to their children (Proverbs 6:20).

Purpose #4: Avoiding Temptation

In his long discussion of marriage (1 Corinthians 7), Paul distinguishes between those who have a gift for remaining single and those who would do better to marry (vv. 8-9).

“. . . because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband” (v. 2).

A couple should not deprive one another of intercourse, “except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (vv 3-5).

Since God designed intercourse exclusively for marriage, it serves as the only legitimate means of satisfying sexual desires. Therefore frequency of intercourse helps prevent immorality.

God’s Plan

As with every other area of life, when we honor and observe God’s will for marriage, we will be blessed.

God truly wants us to enjoy happy, lasting marriages. And we can.

He’s told us how.

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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Did He Really Say Nothing About It?

The point has sometimes been made that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality in His teaching.

What He did say

But we do know this: Jesus expressed His approval of God’s plan for the union of one man and one woman (Matthew 19:1-9).

Also, Jesus made reference to the destruction of Sodom (Luke 17:28-30). Homosexuality was a major lifestyle in Sodom (Genesis 13:13; 18:20-21; 19:1-29). This was the main reason God destroyed it (Jude 7).

Jesus’ ministry was to His fellow Jews. For centuries the Jews had been instructed in the Law of Moses, which forbade homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13).

What Jesus’ representatives had to say

The Greco-Roman world, however, lived by a different standard. So it’s no wonder that in their letters to Gentile Christians, Paul, Peter, and Jude address this issue (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:9-11; 2 Peter 2:6-8; Jude 7).

The authors of the New Testament were not expressing their own bias, but preached and wrote by the authority of Jesus, inspired by the Holy Spirit (John 14:25-26; 16:12-13; 17:6, 8, 18, 20; Acts 1:1-8; 2:1-4; 1 Corinthians 2:12-13; 14:37; Galatians 1:11-12; 2 Peter 3:15-16).

They were Christ’s direct and official spokesmen (John 13:20; Matthew 28:18-20). To reject their teachings is to reject Christ who sent them (1 Corinthians 14:37-38; 1 John 4:6).

Because Christ loves sinners (heterosexual and homosexual), He died for us. Whatever our sin, repentance means we change our lifestyle (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

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The World’s Way and God’s Way

Opposite views

Worldly wisdom advocates: “Never have unprotected sex” and “Know your partner.”

Others realize the inadequacy of this go-ahead-but-just-be-careful school of thought.

Sex is a beautiful, God-given blessing—when we go by the Book.

God made man and woman for each other, exclusively within the marriage relationship (Genesis 1:27, 28; 2:18-24).

Premarital sex, cohabitation, adultery, and homosexuality are all outside the boundaries God has set (Romans 1:26-28; 1 Corinthians 6:13-20; Hebrews 13:4).

When we submit to God’s will, how gracious He is to forgive! (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

The right aim

The goal should not be reducing risk, but pleasing God.

Respecting God’s boundaries isn’t easy, but it sure pays off in the long run!

When we do what God says, life goes so much better!

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Sex in Context

Seeing sex through God’s eyes

God invented sex. He pronounced it good (Genesis 1:27-28, 31).

God designed sex for our good and our pleasure.

Sex is beautiful in context. The context is marriage.


All sexual relations outside of marriage, God says, are out of bounds. This includes premarital sex, cohabitation, homosexuality, and adultery.

Honoring God’s boundaries brings us the greatest good in the long run.

Ignoring His will about sex is self-destructive (1 Corinthians 6:13-20).

Turning to the God who loves us!

“Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled, for fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4).

Good news! When we turn to Him in penitent obedience, He is merciful to forgive (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Titus 3:3-7).

He makes us brand-new people, living for Christ, no longer for ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:14-17).

He loves us that much!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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