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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A Practical Parenting Tip from Paul

One young man

Timothy had a good reputation (Acts 16:2). Years later Paul could say of him, “For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father” (Philippians 2:20-22).\

What had molded Timothy’s character? Certainly Paul had a part, but as he wrote Timothy, “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.”

“. . . from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15; see Acts 16:1).

Another young man

How different Timothy’s upbringing was from that of the young man described by Arlie J. Hoover: “A student who was an agnostic once told me that his mother deliberately raised him with no ideals, no values. She told him when he was very young, ‘I am not about to make you conform to my values. I just want you to grow up for yourself, make your own mistakes, search out the truth on your own, find your own worldview and life values.’

“This all sounds so sweet and reasonable and tolerant to most ears, but if you analyze this notion carefully it falls into a pile of nonsense” (“Toleration and Relativism: A Crucial Distinction,” Firm Foundation, 3-21-78: 181).


Timothy had a mother and grandmother who taught him the Scriptures. Is it any wonder he turned out so well?

Do you suppose this just might still work today?

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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Unwise Wisdom

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Benefits of sports

A woman said of her young daughter, “My goal is to keep her busy.” I can certainly see the wisdom in that. Kids need to be so occupied with good things that they don’t have time to get into trouble. There is so much out there that can lead them astray. And so this mom signed up her daughter for two sports.

Sports can help fill the void. Sports provide structure and discipline. A child learns how to work together with others as a member of a team. Sports develop eye-hand coordination, as well as motor skills. Competitive sports provide opportunities to learn to lose gracefully. Much more can be said about the benefits of organized sports. And yet….

Misplaced priorities

When she said, “My goal is to keep her busy,” I couldn’t help thinking: What about keeping your daughter busy in church activities?

If sports and other pursuits so fill the schedule that the church gets the short end of the stick—if even that much—then isn’t something wrong with this picture?

Sports have their place. So do a lot of other worthwhile things. These days we have so many options—good options—that it is easy, as someone well said, to let the second-best pre-empt the best. “I will follow You, Lord; but first . . .” (Luke 9:61).

The church offers something no other organization can: a God-ordained environment for spiritual growth. How many parents realize what a positive impact the church can have on their children—both now and for eternity? There’s just nothing quite like it!

One Christian family I know found themselves running hard night after night to keep up with the activities they had their kids involved in. Finally they decided they just couldn’t maintain such a hectic pace. It was just too much. Something had to give. And for them, it wasn’t going to be the church.

For Christians, can there be any other option?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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The Voice from the Other Room

A treasured heritage

I recognized the voice coming from another room as that of my father, who at the time had been dead for eight years.

Was I surprised? Not at all.

Monte and Susan, our youngest two, were listening to their grandfather’s oral autobiography, recorded before they were born.

In his story he often makes reference to the church and his involvement in it. He loved, served, and helped lead the church.

A lasting legacy

Many parents provide well for their children’s physical/intellectual/social growth, but little if anything for their spiritual.

Oh, how we need parents and grandparents who pass on to their children the brightly-burning torch of a godly example and biblical teaching (Psalm 78:5-7; 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14-15).

Pity the child who doesn’t have this!


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Like a Child

The kind of love children need

A couple of 7-year-old girls were talking about parents’ rules. One said to the other, “If they didn’t care about you, they’d let you do anything.”

Smart girl! She saw rules as evidence of love, and freedom to “do anything” as a disadvantage.


The kind of love we grownups need

Like children, we grownups have Someone who provides directions for living. When we’ve done as we pleased, we’re not always too pleased with what we’ve done.

We too need guidance and discipline (Hebrews 12:5-6).

The child who identifies parental authority with love is far more likely to be well-adjusted.

Christians who see God in the same way can enjoy their relationship with the Father (1 John 3:1; 5:3).

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A Lesson Learned

I was helping my dad paint a fence. He said to start at the top and work down, due to drips.

An older gentleman walked by and advised my dad to paint from the top down. My dad listened politely. Later, I asked my dad why he didn’t tell him he already knew that. He said it gave the old man pleasure to offer some useful advice.

Role modeling

It is God’s design for parents to mold children’s minds (Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 4:9-10; Ephesians 6:4). The best parenting is tell and show—consistently.


My dad would be pleased that what he said and did that day would stick in my mind for some 60 years!

You just never know.

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