How Did People Get Married In The Bible

Arranged Marriages in Ancient Times

In the bible, marriage was often arranged by families. These arranged marriages were a matter of custom and social networking that was decided by the parents, who were more experienced and presumably more wise. Generally, the fathers of the bride and groom would pair up and make the agreement, with little to no input from the couple. The marrying couple may not have even known each other prior to their engagement. This practice is still followed in modern day India, though the bride and groom are usually allowed to meet beforehand.

These arranged marriages seemed to be quite successful, perhaps because at the core of any marriage was the understanding of the commitment. Both parties were expected to come into the marriage with an understanding of their roles, duties, and obligations. There was an emphasis on the importance of respecting each other and being in unity.

However, arranged marriages weren’t always accepted or sanctioned by the biblical writers. In fact, some noted that families should not arrange marriages if the offspring showed signs of disobedience. The Talmud even discussed rules to prevent enforced marriages, in order to give the bride-to-be and the groom more freedom. Historians believe that the ancient Israelites adopted more of a “love-match” system of marriage.

Biblical Marriage Practices

Marriage was held as a sacred act in Biblical times and was often done in public ceremonies. Marriages were restricted to members of the same religion, especially in the case of Jewish marriages. Weddings in Israel at the time were typically marked by a weeklong celebration of events, starting with the betrothal, followed by the couple taking part in simple marriage rituals.

In the Bible, there are instructions on how marriages were to be conducted. For example, husbands are instructed to treat their wives with love, kindness and respect. This is a message that can still be seen today as a basis for modern marriage. Additionally, there are prohibitions about specific relationships, such as marrying someone too close that is in your family line. This was likely to deter inbreeding, and to regulate the spread of power and wealth among families.

Divorce laws were also established in the Bible, though they vary greatly across different denominations. Generally, divorce was not permitted, but in cases of adultery, it was allowed. Another form of divorce was when a woman would be divorced if her husband claims that she is not a virgin on the day of their wedding. Regardless, a woman had grounds for divorce if she felt threatened or mistreated.

Marriage and Women in the Bible

Marriage in the Bible was not a matter of individual choice, but of family honor and responsibility. Women in the Bible were expected to honor their husbands, even when they were disobedient or cruel. Women had some rights of course, and they could end their marriage through the process of divorce if their husbands became abusive.

While marriage was important between one man and one woman, the Bible also speaks of the importance of marriage in terms of the larger family unit. This is evident in the story of Adam and Eve, where God creates them as the beginnings of a family. Marriage is seen as a way of forming and nurturing larger families, creating a sense of unity and belonging among people.

Biblical writers also spoke of the importance of unity in marriage, as well as how important it is for two people to come together as “one flesh”. Scripture also outlines what roles each family member may have in order to maintain a strong and loving marriage, such as submission for the wife and loving kindness for the husband.

The Purpose of Marriage in the Bible

A central theme that runs throughout scripture is that marriage is a divine relationship. This is the purpose of marriage according to the Bible – to be a physical representation of God’s love for his people. Likewise, married couples are to love one another and reflect the love of God. In this way, marriage is a holy union, and a means of reflecting God’s plan for humanity.

The Bible also speaks of the overall purpose of marriage, which it suggests is to provide companionship and comfort. Jesus more specifically outlined the purpose of marriage in his Sermon on the Mount, where he stated that marriage is meant to be a union of a man and a woman, and that it was meant to be lasting. In the Bible, marriage is seen as a lifelong commitment that is entered into and kept in an effort to bring closer to God.

The Marriage Covenant

The biblical model of marriage is most clearly seen in the concept of the marriage covenant. This is a contract that two people enter into, becoming “one flesh” and sharing their lives, with each other and with God. A marriage covenant is a legally binding agreement between two people, established in order to provide a firm basis for the life-long commitment of marriage.

The concept of a covenant originates in the Old Testament, where God entering into a covenant with his people. In the same way, a marriage covenant is intended to be a lifelong and faithful bond between a man and a woman, established with God as the moral witness. The marriage covenant is a beautiful representation of God’s love, and as such, should be honored and respected accordingly.

Procreation and Marriage

The bible states that marriage is ultimately for the purpose of procreation. This is seen most prominently in the New Testament, where Jesus speaks of “being fruitful and multiplying”. According to the Bible, marriage is a primarily for the purpose of bearing and raising children. In this way, marriage serves to bring about the continuation of the human race, and as such, is of utmost importance.

In ancient times, childbearing was very important, as it was the only way to ensure the continuation of the family’s line. The arrangement of marriage was often done for the sole purpose of procreation, and it was customary for men to take multiple wives to ensure that children would be born. Additionally, child adoption was commonplace in order to ensure that there were enough capable hands to care for the family.


Marriage in the Bible was a somewhat different concept that what is seen today, but ultimately it upholds the same values of love, commitment, and unity. The Bible speaks of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and it outlines the importance of procreation, respect, and the sacredness of marriage. Whether arranged or chosen by the couple themselves, marriage in the Bible forever stands as a sacred and important consecration between two people and God.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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