Did the Bible allow men to have sex slaves?

Did the Bible allow men to acquire women whose sole purpose was for sex? The real question that we are asking is did the Bible allow men to have sex with a woman without making her his wife?  Many people, even Christians, wrongly believe the answer to this uncomfortable question is “Yes”.  The reason they believe that is because of the existence of concubines in the Bible.

Concubines are wrongly thought by some to have been the Biblical equivalent of sex slaves. But a closer of examination of the Scriptures reveals that this is not the case. The term “concubine” in the Bible refers to a slave wife. There were two classes of wives in the Scriptures – free wives and slave wives.

A free wife was a woman born to a free man. She was acquired as a wife when a man approached her father and offered him the bride price.  If her father consented he would give her as a wife to that man usually accompanied by some kind of wedding feast.  While both free wives and slave wives were considered to be the property of their husbands a free wife held a greater place of social honor and her children had inheritance rights that were required to be honored. The concubine’s children had no inheritance rights unless they were granted under special circumstances.

How were slave wives acquired?

Slave wives were acquired in much the same way slaves were acquired in general. Sometimes slave women were captured as prisoners of war and later converted to concubines (Deuteronomy 21:10-14). Sometimes poor women whose fathers, brothers or husbands had died sold themselves as concubines so they could be taken care of.  A man could sell his daughter as a slave to another man (Exodus 21:7-11).  That man could either continue to use her only as a servant or he could convert her to his concubine or give her as a concubine to one of his sons. Once a woman was converted to the status of a concubine she had the right to have sex with her husband.  Being a concubine in many ways was a step up for a slave woman.

Also it was common for fathers to give their daughters slave girls (hand maids) as gifts as was the case with Rachel and Leah. In many households the free wives ruled over the slaves wives while ultimately the husband was the master of the entire home. Sometimes free wives would give their husband their hand maids to produce more sons as we see in the case of Rachel giving her servant Bilhah to Jacob and Leah giving her servant Zilpah to Jacob(Genesis 30:4-9).  It interesting to note that Leah stated God had rewarded her by reopening her womb and giving her another son “because I have given my maiden to my husband”.

Concubines sometimes served as surrogate mothers

The story of Jacob and his sons shows another interesting scenario when it came to slave wives. Some free wives would use their slave wives to act as surrogate mothers and after the children were weaned raised the children as their own.  This is why even though some of the twelve sons of Jacob were born of slave women they were all equally considered his rightful heirs.

Did slave wives have any rights?

Today when we think of slavery in any form we think of a person who has absolutely no rights.  In fact because of the abuses of slaves throughout history we think all slaves were treated as nothing more than animals.  But while God allowed slavery he also required slave owners to respect the rights of their slaves.

A female slave whether she was a concubine or not could not be physically abused by her master

“20 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished…

26 And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake.

27 And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.” – Exodus 21:20 & 26-27 (KJV)

Both free wives and slave wives(concubines) had to be provide with food, clothing and sex from her husband

“7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.

8 If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.

9 And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.

10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.

11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.” – Exodus 21:7-11 (KJV)

Whether a woman was born to a free man or taken as a slave if she were taken as a man’s intimate sexual companion she was to be treated as a daughter by her husband’s father and treated by him as his wife. She would have the right to have sex with her husband (“duty of marriage”).  The pledge of “food, clothing and bed” which was often used in Jewish wedding ceremonies was based on this passage from Exodus 21.

For more confirmation of the fact that concubines were not just slaves but were also considered wives see how Keturah is referred to as the “wife” Abraham took after Sarah died in Genesis 25:1-4 but then she is referred to as his concubine in I Chronicles 1:32-33.  Even within the context of Genesis 25 we can see she is considered one of Abrahams “concubines”(Genesis 25:5-6) all of which he sent away after giving their children gifts because he was giving his estate to Isaac.

The reason Abraham sent away his concubines and their children as he knew his death was imminent was to make it clear that Isaac was the only rightful heir to his estate being the son of his first wife who was the only “free” wife he had.

Were concubinage, slavery and polygamy sins that God overlooked?

In this post we have discussed some topics that are all very offensive to our modern cultural values. This is the part of the article where 99% of Christian writers will tell you that the practices of concubinage, slavery and polygamy were all sins God overlooked for a time but then God rid of in the New Testament.

The truth is that God never condemned the practices of concubinage, slavery or polygamy. He gave strict rules as to how these things could be practiced but he never condemned the practices themselves.

I invite you to look at these two articles that explore all the passages on slavery and polygamy in the Bible and you may be surprised as at what you find.

Was polygamy a sin God overlooked in the Old Testament?

Why Christians should not be afraid of slavery in the Bible

Conclusion

While it is true that many pagan nations may have had “sex slaves” the people of God in the Bible were forbidden from such practices. If a man were to buy a slave woman (or acquire her in war) with the intent of having sex with her had to make the commitment of a husband to her.  He could not simply have sex with her and have no intent of making her his wife.

While it is true that a concubine was indeed a slave the truth is she was a wife as well.  Another way of stating this is truth is that in Biblical times all concubines were wives, but not all wives were concubines.

We have proven here from the Scriptures that God did not allow men to have sex slaves. They could have free wives or slave wives (concubines) but they had to grant the basic rights of a wife to any woman whom they desired to have sex with.

John Kasich says he will not fight for the religious liberty of Christian business owners

John_Kasich2

I was watching the Republican debate last night and John Kasich, Governor of Ohio and 2016 Republican candidate for President, made this statement that should send chills down the spine of any believer in religious liberty:

“In regard to same sex marriage I don’t favor it I’ve always favored traditional marriage but look the court has ruled and I’ve moved on and what I have said Hugh is look “where does it end?” if you are in the business of selling things if you are not going to sell to somebody you don’t agree with – today I am not going to sell to somebody whose gay and tomorrow maybe I won’t sell to somebody whose divorced.  If you’re in the business of commerce conduct commerce and if you don’t agree with their lifestyle say a prayer for them when they leave and hope they change their behavior but when it comes to religious institutions they are inviolate in my mind and I would fight those institutions…”

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/02/26/gop-debate-john-kasich-same-sex-marriage-07.cnn

What his answered basically boils down to is – I believe Churches and religious institutions are the only ones who have the right to practice their religious beliefs in their organizations. Business owners do not have that right in John Kasich’s view.

Let me address his gay marriage to divorce comparison.  Some Christians come from denominations that strongly preach against divorce of any kind.  While we may debate this as Christians we must respect those who hold the position that remarriage is never allowed by God even if we may disagree with them.

That means that the answer to Mr. Kasich’s question about if we should allow someone to refuse to participate in a situation involving divorce the answer my friends is “yes”! A person who believes it is just as immoral to participate in a “remarriage” ceremony as someone who believes it is immoral to participate in a gay marriage ceremony may decline to participate. We can argue about other types of discrimination.  But marriage is a religious institution made by God, not by man. Our beliefs as Christians about marriage are a part of the core of our faith and we cannot violate those beliefs even in our businesses.

My divorce attorney and his son have a practice together.  He and his father are Catholic.  His father handled my divorce from my first wife but his son refuses to have anything to do with divorce cases based on his faith.  When his father retires and his son takes over their practice that law practice will no longer take cases of divorce and that is their right to do so.

In the same way a Christian baker, florist, photographer or anyone doing any other business where they would be providing services relating to a gay wedding or any event promoting or honoring the gay lifestyle should NOT be forced to violate their faith by having any participation in these kinds of events.

Except for maybe Ted Cruz, I do not kid myself that many of these politicians actually care about gay marriage but I do want them to care about religious liberty. This battle over gay marriage has now become a battle over religious liberty and we must realize the seriousness of it and we need to look at candidates who will fight for religious liberty.

Mr. Kasich, the Supreme Court may be your final authority for how you live your life but as Bible believing Christians we believe God is our final authority.  While it is true that the Bible tells us to “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake…” (I Peter 2:13) the Bible also tells us as believers that we “We ought to obey God rather than men.”(Acts 5:29) There is a time for Christians to practice civil disobedience and when the government steps beyond its God given authority and violates God’s law we have a right and obligation to disregard that law which conflicts with God’s higher law.

 

How to help women learn their place

Women do not know or accept their place in God’s creation anymore. “A woman’s place is in the home” is just one of many truths that our society derides and mocks. “to ‘love, honor and obey’” has been stripped from most marriage vows as women no longer believe they must obey their husbands or be in subjection to their husbands as Sarah who called her husband “lord”(I Peter 3:5-6).

Feminism has been largely successful in eradicating the femininity that women once had. Churches have for the most part abandoned the practice of teaching Biblical gender roles that God has commanded for men and women.

We have women saying things in the wrong place or in the wrong way. Women showing no deference or respect toward men. Daughters showing little to no respect for their fathers and wives showing little to no respect for their husbands. Wives routinely shame their husbands in public not to mention in private. Daughters disobey their fathers and wives routinely disobey their husbands with impunity. Many women pursue selfish career ambitions instead of being ambitious for marriage, child bearing and homemaking.

We as Christians can turn this around by having the courage to speak the truth of God’s Word even if our world does not want to hear it. We need to show our young ladies from the Word of God what it truly means to be a woman of God.

The most important people in this endeavor are first fathers, then mothers and finally Pastors and teachers in our local churches. Fathers need to teach their daughters what it means to be Godly women and this needs to be enforced by their mothers and further enforced by church leaders.

My teenage daughter has been asking me for some time to put together a guide with Scripture passages that she can commit to memory as she shares these truths with other young girls she attends school with.  She looks forward to one day being the wife and mother that God designed her to be. This is dedicated to you my daughter! I love you.

Below are several Bible passages that teach women how God wants them to conduct their lives.

Her speech

She is not loud or boisterous but instead she is quiet and meek

“A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.” – Proverbs 9:13 (KJV)

“But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” – I Peter 3:3-4 (KJV)

She is not a gossip but rather she is a trustworthy confident

“And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.” – I Timothy 5:13 (KJV)

“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.” – Proverbs 31:11 (KJV)

She knows when and where to speak and when to hold her tongue

“As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.” – Proverbs 11:22 (KJV)

When she does speak she does so in a wise and kind manner

“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” – Proverbs 31:26 (KJV)

Her ambitions

She is ambitious to be a wife, mother and homemaker

“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” – I Timothy 5:14 (KJV)

When she has a home she is ambitious toward the care of it and is never lazy or idle

“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens…

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” – Proverbs 31:15 & 27 (KJV)

When she has children she is ambitious to be joyful in her care of them

“He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.” – Psalm 113:9 (KJV)

Her love

She shows compassion and empathy towards those in need around her

“She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” – Proverbs 31:20 (KJV)

Second only to God, a woman’s greatest love and affection is reserved for her husband and her children

“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children” – Titus 2:4 (KJV)

Her sexuality

She protects her virginity for marriage and does not manipulate men with her sexuality

“For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life.” – Proverbs 6:26 (KJV)

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

In marriage she ravishes her husband with her body and she never defrauds him

“18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.” – Proverbs 5:18-19 (KJV)

“4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” – I Corinthians 7:4-5 (KJV)

Her appearance

She dresses in a way that never places her femininity in doubt

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” – Deuteronomy 22:5 (KJV)

She dresses appropriate to the occasion (modestly)

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” – I Timothy 2:9 (KJV)

She cares for her beauty knowing that her husband desires it as God desires the beauty of his church

“So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.” – Psalm 45:11 (KJV)

“How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!” – Song of Solomon 7:6 (KJV)

Her submission

She has a submissive spirit as opposed to a contentious spirit

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” – Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)

She embraces patriarchy (male authority over women) in the home, the Church and in society

“5 But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the Lord shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her.” – Numbers 30:5 (KJV)

“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” – Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)

“11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” – I Timothy 2:11-12 (KJV)

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” – I Corinthians 11:3 (KJV)

Her dependence

She looks to her father and later her husband for her provision

“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” – Ephesians 5:29 (KJV)

She embraces that fact that God has placed her in “the weaker vessel” and that she needs the protection of men

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” – I Peter 3:7

She looks to her father and later her husband for her spiritual guidance

“And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” – I Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)

Her place

She embraces the fact that God made her to be the helper to her husband, not him to be her helper

“Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” – I Corinthians 11:9 (KJV)

She sees her husband as her master and not her equal partner

“5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” – I Peter 3:5-6 (KJV)

Her methods of persuasion

She does not nag her husband into doing what is right

“A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.” – Proverbs 27:15 (KJV)

She wins her husband by her righteous behavior toward him in spite of his failings

“1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” – I Peter 3:1-2 (KJV)

Her reverence for her husband

She never makes her husband ashamed, but rather she brings him honor

“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” – Proverbs 12:4 (KJV)

She reverences her husband’s position despite the flaws of his person

“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33 (KJV)

Her Influence

She influences and teaches other women to be good wives and mothers

“3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” – Titus 2:3-5(KJV)

Her legacy

She realizes that her greatest legacy is built by what she does in her home and not what she does outside her home

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” – Proverbs 14:1 (KJV)

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” – Proverbs 31:28 (KJV)

Is marriage too big a risk for men?

With the modern possibility that a woman can take a man’s children, half his assets and saddle him with years of potential debt in the form of child support and alimony is marriage now too great a risk for men? Many men think so.  A lot of young Christian men who are engaged get cold feet about marriage because of these very real possibilities.

“She is so sweet and submissive now, but what will she change into after we are married.” This is the thought of many young men today.

Two reasons men don’t want to marry

There are really two reasons today that men don’t want to marry.  One is for selfish reasons.  “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” is the philosophy of a lot of men today.  The practice of women “giving the milk for free” (having sex before marriage) has served only to help increase this irresponsible behavior in men.

In fact there are many in the so-called “manosphere” that actually recommend men forgo marriage all together and instead simply pursue a life of casual sex with various women.

Some in the manosphere argue that marriage is far more advantageous to women in our current culture than it is for men and if we were looking at this simply from the perspective of men getting the kind of respect and sex they want from women they would be right.  

But while respect and sex are things that are critically important to most men – these are not the only things that are important to  many men.  This leads us to our second reason some men do not want to marry.

The second reason that men do not want to marry is not for selfish reasons.  This second group of men truly want to share their lives with a woman in marriage and have a family. But they fear the very real possibility that a woman will deceive them and rip their heart out through divorce. Even if the woman does not divorce them she may turn out to be a contentious and angry woman that is cold to them both inside and outside the bedroom.

Some Christian men even find what they think is Biblical support for their belief that marriage is just too risky a proposition.

The Bible tells us it is hard to find an excellent wife

“An excellent wife, who can find? for her price is far above rubies.” – Proverbs 31:10 (NASB)

Some men read passages like this and think to themselves “if it was hard to find a good wife back in Biblical times – how much harder is it today?” And they are right. It is very difficult for a man to find a good wife today.

The Bible tells us it is better to be alone than with a contentious woman

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” – Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)

Again these are not encouraging words for young Christian men to read about the prospects of marriage.  If women were contentious in Biblical times, how much more contentious are they today in age of feminism?

The Apostles say “If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry

Christ had this discussion about marriage and divorce:

“9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” – Matthew 19:9-12 (KJV)

I have written exhaustively in previously posts about what Christ said here on divorce when we understand it light of the entire witness of the Scriptures.  But really this conversation boiled down to the fact that men thought they could put their wives away (divorce them) for any reason and Christ was putting a stop to easy divorce.

This meant you could potentially marry a very contentious woman and nasty woman but if she did not sin against you sexually (by either committing adultery or through sexual defraudment against you) you had to stay married to her.  This is what Christ was saying.

So the Apostles were basically saying – “if a man has to stay with a contentious and nasty wife it is better not even to get married.”  Christ responds to their conclusion that it is only for those “to whom it is given” – in other words those who have the gift of celibacy.

Paul talks even more about celibacy. Some think the Apostle Paul would agree with them that is better not to get married.  The Apostle Paul wrote these statements about celibacy:

“It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” – I Corinthians 7:1 KJV

“So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.” – I Corinthians 7:38 KJV

If we stopped at these passages many young men would go away feeling validated from the Scriptures that their feelings that marriage is too risky a proposition is right.

But when coming to God’s Word we must examine all of the Scriptures and not just the ones that seem to validate our feelings and desires.

The two reasons Paul thought Celibacy was better than marriage

The Apostle Paul did not say it is better for a man not to get married under ALL circumstances.  Rather it was only under certain circumstances that it was in fact better that men do not get married.

The first reason Paul gives for celibacy is “I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is.” (I Corinthians 7:26 NASB)  This was because of great persecution that Christians were under.  Christians being rounded up and put in prison or even worse being put to death.  It is understandable why Paul would recommend celibacy if possible under such grave conditions.

“but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided…This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.” – I Corinthians 7:33 -35 (NASB)

Paul then gives a second reason to consider celibacy. According to Paul marriage creates a new temptation.  The temptation to put your spouse before God.  The temptation to turn your spouse into idol.

Celibacy is NOT always good

While it is true that Paul wrote “It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (I Corinthians 7:1 -KJV) he also wrote:

“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” – I Corinthians 7:2 (KJV)

“for it is better to marry than to burn.” – I Corinthians 7:9 (KJV)

Christian men do not have the option to do as unbelieving men and just go around having casual sex with women.

Also for the Christian man celibacy is not an option unless God grants him that “gift” (I Corinthians 7:7). If a Christian man has a strong sex drive the answer to that strong sex drive and also to avoiding temptation to fornicate is marriage.

So if God has given you a strong sex drive and not the gift of celibacy – you have a Biblical obligation to seek out a wife.

Previously we saw that the Bible warns us as Christian men about the potential pitfalls of marriage.  There are a lot of sinful women out there.  There are a lot of Christian women out there that are contentious and do not have the submissive spirit God calls on women to have toward their men. But regardless of these facts the Bible tells us marriage is a good thing.

The Bible calls marriage an honorable endeavor

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.” – Proverbs 18:22 (KJV)

“House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord.” – Proverbs 19:14 (KJV)

The Bible calls children a blessing from God

“3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.” – Psalm 127:3-4 (KJV)

“Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.” – Proverbs 17:6 (KJV)

God commands us to marry and have children

One of the oldest commands in Scripture is found in the creation of man and woman in the Garden of Eden:

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” – Genesis 1:28 (KJV)

God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” (to get married and have children) has not expired. It was not a temporary command.

God designed men and women to bring him glory through living out their design.  A big part of our design is that we were designed for marriage.   How can we fully live out the roles that he has given to us if we do not marry? How can we model the relationship of Christ and his Church (Ephesians 5:22-33) if we do not marry? The answer is we cannot.

Yes God makes exceptions for his command to marry in the form of Biblical celibacy.  But this is only if we have the gift of celibacy.

Conclusion

Marriage has always been a risk for men and a good woman has always been hard to find as we can see from Scriptures.  I will fully admit that marriage today is probably the greatest risk it has ever been for men in the history of world.

Our society has completely rejected the roles that God designed for men and women in society, in the church and most importantly in marriage. In fact our society has actually encouraged and enabled rebellion in women and this makes the probabilities of marriage difficulties and divorce very high.

But as young Christian men come to realize these risks they would do well to heed the words of Joab to the men of Israel:

Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the Lord do that which seemeth him good.” – II Samuel 10:12 (KJV)

Having courage in the face of overwhelming odds is what it means to be a man.

Yes marriage for a man is huge risk today.  But anything in life that is worthwhile is a risk. Did you know that 90 percent of small business startups fail? But would we recommend that people stop trying to start businesses? Of course not.   In the same way just because we know 50 percent of marriages end in divorce does not mean we should can give up on God’s institution of marriage.

Instead of giving up on marriage, we need to do everything we can to mitigate the risk of failure in marriage by following Biblical principles in dating and seeking out a wife. If you start out with a woman who has a good foundation your chances of success are far better.

See my post on Biblical dating for good principles to follow in finding the wife that God would have for you.

Are some wives tempting their husbands to lust?

Kristen Clark, a writer for the website CovenantEyes.com, asserts that a wife showing her husband a magazine with a half-naked woman’s body on it was an example of a wife causing her husband to lust. Most likely by “half naked” she probably means the woman was wearing a bikini or a bra and panties.

In her article entitled ““When Wives Unknowingly Tempt Their Husbands Toward Lust“ Kristen Clark writes:

“I was standing in line at my local grocery store when an obnoxious magazine caught my eye. I’m used to seeing half-naked women on the cover of tabloids, but this image seemed even too edgy for a tabloid.

A small wave of anger rushed over me as I thought of the innocent children and husbands who were being exposed to this, as I call it, “tabloid porn.” As I tried to refocus my thinking on something more positive, a middle aged couple got in line behind me.

I watched in curiosity as the wife reached over and selected that magazine off the rack. I watched even more curiously to see what she would do with it. To my shock, the wife held that magazine cover up to her husband’s face and said, “Wow, wish I had a body like that!”

Her husband chuckled as he happily perused the cover until she removed it.

I quickly glanced forward, realizing I had been staring. I tried to wrap my head around what I just saw. “Why would a wife want to intentionally show her husband a partially naked woman?” “Why would a wife want to help her husband peruse another woman?

As I thought about that puzzling scene over the next few days, I began to wonder…maybe that wife didn’t understand the value of sexual purity in her marriage. Or maybe that wife was clueless about lust and temptation. Or maybe she wanted to prove her “security” by appearing non-jealous. I don’t know.”

Read the full article here.

Answering Kristen’s questions

Kristen’s first question:

“Why would a wife want to intentionally show her husband a partially naked woman?”

The answer to Kristen’s first question:

Because the wife accepts and embraces the fact that God designed her husband to appreciate the female form and not just HER form and her from alone.

The wife in that grocery line most likely understood the difference between lust and sexual arousal far better than Kristen Clark and many Christians today understand it.

Many Christians point to Matthew 5 in defining lust:

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28 (KJV)

Then they go on to say “Lust is sexual arousal or sexual fantasy about someone you are not married to”.

Did you see that definition of lust in that passage? No you did not.

So how about we let the Bible define what lust is instead of letting our culture and churches define what lust is:

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” – Romans 7:7 (KJV)

This wife in that checkout line understood there is no sin in her husband appreciating or even being aroused sexually by the form of another’s woman’s body. She understood that lust is covetousness and that her husband was not going to covet this woman by thinking of how he could find her and sexually possess her outside of marriage.

So rather than condemning this woman as Kristen Clark as has done, we as believers should be applauding this woman for her actions. Instead of scolding her husband for his visual nature and appreciation of the female form – she shows him that God’s creation of his visual nature and attraction to the female form is GOOD.

Kristen’s Second Question:

“Why would a wife want to help her husband peruse another woman?”

The answer to Kristen’s second question:

I will answer her question with another question of my own and then answer it for her.

Why would a woman not just let her husband peruse another woman, but also give her to him as another wife?

“Then Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband.” So she named him Issachar.” – Genesis 30:18 (KJV)

In Genesis chapters 29 & 30 we that Leah is very jealous of her husband’s affections as he prefers Rachel to her. But eventually Leah overcomes her jealousy of her husband to the point that she gives him her servant Zilpah so that she can bare him more sons.

So the answer to my expanded version of Kristen’s second question is – This wife was putting her husband’s needs ahead of her own.

It is interesting how in many churches we will hear about how Sarah gave her servant Hagar to Abraham and how that ended so badly – yet we hear nothing of how God blessed Leah for giving Zilpah to Jacob.

The fact is these were two very different situations. In the one God told Sarah she would give Abraham a son and an heir.  She did not believe God and instead sought to get him an heir through another means.  Now there would have been nothing wrong with Abraham marrying another woman and he in fact married several more women later in life.

The problem was in Sarah trying to get him his heir through this method when God had said the heir would come through her.

With all due respect to Kristen Clark – it is she and so many Christians like her today that are in fact “clueless about lust and temptation”.  The Bible is clear what lust is as I have previously pointed out and what Kristen describes in that checkout line was NOT a wife tempting her husband to lust.  It was a wife loving and fully embracing her husband’s God given visual nature and appreciation for a variety of beautiful women.

Here is a list of things Kristen does to keep her husband from enjoying the form of any other woman but her:

“I sort the mail and throw away the immodest/sensual ads so he doesn’t have to see them.

I don’t ask my husband to watch movies with me that have immodest women in them (i.e. most chick flicks).

I intentionally leave all magazines, books, etc. out of my home that have immodest/sensual images or ads in them.

If I know a certain restaurant has immodest waitresses, I don’t suggest eating there.

I don’t ever take my husband into a lingerie store. I’ve seen many wives do this, and from what I hear, it’s not helpful for the men.”

I know where Kristen is coming from and I understand that her actions might not be coming from a place of trying to deny her husband any pleasure that God has given him to enjoy.  She simply has been wrongly taught that the Bible forbids her husband from enjoying the view of any other woman’s body other than her own.  So she must take every step possible to make sure he is never sexually aroused by the form of any other woman real or imagined.

She has been taught that when a man has sexual imaginations about a woman he is not married to (whether that his girlfriend, fiancé or some other woman after he is married) that these are by definition “impure thoughts” and thus her constant references to purity in marriage.

But the fact is that a man enjoying the sight of a woman’s form whether he is married to her or not IS PURE. It is pure and holy because that is how God designed him to be.

It is only when he allows those pure thoughts about the female form or even sex itself to turn into covetous thoughts of ways to possess a woman outside of marriage that his thoughts become impure and sinful.

But while Kristen and many other Christian may sincerely practice these things with good intentions toward God and their husbands – they are in fact sincerely WRONG.

How some wives DO tempt their husbands to lust

Up to this point we have shown why Kristen’s story does not show a wife tempting her husband to lust, but rather shows a wife honoring and show acceptance of her husband’s appreciation and desire to view the female form.

One of the biggest problems with all this focus on men not looking at images of women or real women is that it takes our eyes off the REAL dangers of men being tempted by their wives to lust.

Here are ways a wife can actually cause her husband to lust:

  1. When she sexually denies him – the more a man is denied by his wife sexually the more tempted he will be to actually lust (have covetous thoughts about getting women to meet his sexual needs outside of marriage).
  2. Even if she does not directly sexually deny him – if she does not sexually fulfill him he may be tempted to lust. Things like not letting him see her naked, refusing to wear lingerie or refusing to perform certain acts that the Bible allows (like oral sex or having sex in different positions) may tempt him to lust.

These are the real dangers where wives can have a direct impact in tempting their husbands to lust. These are where we should be focusing the battle against lust.

“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.  Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” – I Corinthians 7:2-5 (KJV)

Christian wives – you want to help your husband to not be tempted to lust? Then stop worrying about the woman on the magazine cover in the supermarket aisle and focus on the woman who should be giving her body fully and freely to her husband (that’s you!).

 

How the modern practice of “Christian dating” is cruel to men

Many Christians advocate for teaching teens and young adults abstinence. They are right in doing so because the Bible teaches sexual relations between a man and a woman are reserved for marriage.   But the majority of abstinence training only teaches half of the abstinence God calls for when it comes to intimate relationships between men and women.

This “half measure” abstinence that is taught in most Churches today has lead to modern practices in Christian dating that encourage emotional cruelty toward men.

I think the best way to illustrate the cruelty of so-called “Christian dating” is with a story.

A Christian dating story

Jonathan was a young Christian man raised in a conservative Baptist Church. All growing up and in his teen group he was taught that sex is for marriage.

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

He memorized this passage from Hebrews and countless other passages of Scripture. He was determined that he would not have sex before marriage and prayed each day for the Holy Spirit to help him avoid sinful thoughts of trying to get any woman to have sex with him before marriage.

Jonathan attended a conservative Christian college where he felt the call of God on his life to become a minister. While he was studying for the ministry he was introduced to a beautiful young woman named Sarah. He befriended Sarah and eventually he approached her in the college library and asked her on a date.

Sarah told Jonathan that she would love to go out with him but he must agree to some things first. She told him “I believe that sex is reserved for marriage, and that includes all sexual touching. Eventually I may let you give me a peck on the lips and hold my hand but that is as far as I believe God would have us to go.” Jonathan replied “That’s great I feel the same way!” and they agree to a date the following week.

On the night of their first date as Jonathan approaches her dorm to pick her up he is nervous and excited all at the same time. He has bought her a beautiful bouquet of roses and he can’t wait to give them to her. When he sees her come out her dorm his breath is taken away by her beauty. She graciously accepts his flowers, hands them off to her girlfriend and they were off on their first date.

At the restaurant they talk and explore one another’s lives. They both want this night to never end. Afterward they go for a long walk just continuing to talk – but there is no physical contact, no holding hands. Sarah and Jonathan are both having the same thoughts – “I would sure love to hold their hand, but I know I can’t – not yet.”

Jonathan drops her off at her dorm and while he wishes he could have held her hand and kissed her good night he still had a wonderful time.

Within just a few weeks of dating Jonathan tells Sarah for the first time that he loves her and she tells him that she loves him.

Over several weeks Jonathan and Sarah continue to date and with each passing date he so wants to hold her hand and kiss her goodnight. He also finds that he really wants to do much more. Each date he begins more and more to imagine what she looks like without clothes and how wonderful it would be to touch her body. How wonderful it would be to have sex with her. But he dismisses these thoughts as wicked and sinful and asks God to forgive him each and every day several times a day.

Eventually on one date she reaches out to hold his hand to let him know that it is now ok. At the end of the night she gives him a good night peck on the lips to let him know that is ok now too. These things feel wonderful to Jonathan – but he longs for so much more with her.

Now let’s return to the beginning of Jonathan and Sarah’s relationship and look at it from Sarah’s perspective.

After that first date she was on cloud nine. As they continued to date she was fantasying about how big their wedding would be and what her dress might look like. She was imagining how many children they would have and how she would decorate her home.

The fact that he was handsome didn’t hurt either. Sarah had always worried if she would be able to find both a godly and handsome man and in Jonathan she had found both. She couldn’t wait to kiss him and hold his hand. But she made herself wait, she knew there needed to be some time. She didn’t want to give Jonathan the impression she was one of those “easy girls” or think she would do “other things” too.

Finally after several weeks of dating she felt it was time to “let herself go” and hold his hand for the very first time. At the end of the night she would give him that good night kiss she had so longed to do since ending her first date with him.

Every day he texted her and she couldn’t wait to hear about his day and to share the happenings of her day with him. Every beep of her phone was a thrill – “how will he tell me he loves me next? “When will he propose?” – She wonders. If he went several hours without texting her, she would text him to check and see how he was doing and if anything was wrong.

With each date she went on with him she was more impressed with his character and godliness more than ever. “He knows the Bible so well and loves the Lord – this is a man who could lead me, this is a man who could be my husband and the father of my children. This is a man whom I would be proud to serve as his help meet.” – This is what she thought.

Jonathan knows it will be two years before he graduates from college with his pastoral degree and then he can being looking for his first ministry as a youth pastor. He believes a man must be able to provide for his wife as Christ provides for his Church before he can marry her. He wonders how soon he should propose knowing it will be some time before they can marry.

One day he decides to “take the plunge” and even though it will still be roughly two years before he graduates and gets his first ministry job – he is going to pledge his undying love and devotion to her and the fact that he wants to marry Sarah when the time is right in a little over two years.

Jonathan takes Sarah to the nicest restaurant he can afford (based on his pay as a cook at a local restaurant). The ring he bought was only $200.00 – that is all he could afford. He gives it to her and asks her to marry him. He tells her “I know this ring is not much, but someday I will get you a much a nicer one.” She tells him “I don’t care how much the ring costs – of course I will marry you! I love you!”

Sarah gives Jonathan the biggest kiss she has ever given him – not just some peck on the lips. He takes her home to her dorm and she is on cloud nine and so is he.

Sarah runs into her dorm room and shares the wonderful news with all her girlfriends. “I am getting married!” She can’t sleep that night as she now begins to make real plans – not just fantasies of her wedding and then their beautiful life together. Her father is a wealthy man and will be able to provide her and Jonathan with nothing but a first class wedding. Her mother has many precious pieces of furniture just waiting to be hers. And the children they will have together – they will be so beautiful and he will be such a wonderful father.

She can’t wait for these two years to pass by so she can have the wedding of dreams, the husband of her dreams, the children of her dreams and the home of her dreams.

But she also thinks to herself – “But I also want to enjoy our engagement time together before we are married and I don’t want this special time we share now before we are married to be gone too quickly.”

When Jonathan gets back to his dorm room he also shares the wonderful news with his friends “She accepted!” Like Sarah Jonathan can’t sleep that night either. Except the reason he can’t sleep is very different than Sarah’s. Jonathan is thinking about that passionate kiss Sarah gave him when she accepted his marriage proposal and how in his heart he wanted so much more. He can’t stop thinking about her breasts and the curves of her hips. He can stop thinking of how sexy her tight rear end looked. He imagines how beautiful her naked body would be and how soft her body would be to touch and how wonderful it would be to have sex with her.

Then he remembers – “It is going to be two long years. How will I make it through never touching her the way I long to touch her?” He prays and asks the Lord to forgive him of his sensual thoughts about Sarah and resolves to keep his mind on pure things, and not these “impure sexual thoughts”.

Over the next couple of dates Sarah has the “wedding date topic” on her mind. But she does not want to come on too fast about it so she exercises self-control and waits three more dates before finally popping the question to Jonathan – “When do you think would be a good wedding date” and she presents a Calendar she printed out for two years in the future.

That calendar just reminds Jonathan again that his agony will be prolonged another two years. But Jonathan gives his thoughts to God and helps Sarah to pick out a wedding date. She is so excited! They take a walk through a park and Jonathan goes to give her a kiss and as they embrace he begins to move his hand down the small her back to her bottom.

Sarah is shocked! “How could he have just done that?” – She thinks. “We were having a romantic evening and we just picked out a wedding date and now he has his hands on my butt!” – Inside she is disappointed and mortified.

But in that moment she realizes “He is a sinner just like me and I should forgive him” and she gently moves his hand off her bottom and back onto the small of her back.

After they kiss she tells him “Jonathan, remember our commitment to the Lord and the fact that we want to follow his ways and wait for marriage right?” Jonathan replies “I am so sorry, I don’t know what came over me – it won’t happen again.”

But Jonathan knew exactly what was going through his mind “I want her so bad, even just to touch her bottom tonight”.

Several weeks went by without incident. Sarah felt that Jonathan had a moment of weakness but the problem was solved. Then one night as they kiss good night and embrace one another Jonathan reaches up and feels her breast. Sarah quickly pulls his hand away and asks Jonathan “Why did you do that – I thought we had an understanding?” Jonathan begins to cry – “I don’t know what is wrong with me, I am so sorry for what I did. I need to go”.

Sarah was worried about Jonathan. She texts him with no response all evening long. Finally the next morning Jonathan texts Sarah back “We need to call off the engagement and we need to break up. It is not because you would not let me touch you or have sex with you, it is because I cannot control myself when I am around you. You are intoxicating to me, and every time I am with you I think about what it would like to touch you, to see you naked and have sex with you. I need to work on myself and be a better man before I can be with any woman again”.

What went wrong with our Christian dating story?

Was it a flaw in Jonathan’s character that caused him to touch Sarah’s bottom and on a later date her breast? Or was it a flaw in something else?

The flaw was in the entire concept of modern Christian dating, the flaw was not in Jonathan’s desire for sexual intimacy with Sarah. It was not even in the pleasure he received from thinking of her body or what it would be like to touch her or have sex with her.

The flaw was with Jonathan being in that position in the first place. Being in that intimate relationship with that woman BEFORE he was married to her.

I have attended conservative Baptist Churches for most of my life. I still attend a conservative Baptist Church. I admire Bible believing churches of all Christian denominations. I also agree with many of my Bible believing Christian brethren that God designed sexual relations between a man and woman to be kept strictly within the bounds of marriage.

But I also believe that God designed emotional intimacy between a man and a woman to ALSO be kept within the bounds of marriage.

This is what is wrong with Christian dating. Christian dating tries to have a man and woman share many of the intimacies that a husband a wife share together except the physical intimacy of marriage.

The entire concept of Christian dating is flawed and encourages sin. It tells couples a lie. You can have all the emotional intimacy of marriage without the physical intimacy of marriage.

I am not saying that women are not also tempted to have sex too because I know they are. But I am sorry ladies – no matter what you say in most cases a woman’s temptation to have sex before marriage is a tiny fraction of what man’s temptation is – PERIOD.

“Christian dating” is cruel to men

Christian dating meets most of the needs of women in an intimate relationship and meets very few of the needs of a man in an intimate relationship. God never designed relationships between men and women to be half measures like this.

All forms of intimacy that exist in marriage between a man and a woman are ONLY to exist in marriage.

It is amazing to me how many Christian women will admit that a wife denying her husband sex is an act of emotional cruelty toward him but they are utterly blind to the fact that it is equally emotionally cruel to a man for him to be denied physical intimacy with a woman he sees on a regular basis while he dates her or is engaged to her. His needs before marriage are no different than his needs after marriage.

How to stop this emotional cruelty toward men

The answer to stopping this cruelty toward men is to abandon the entire of concept of Christian dating as we know it and return to a Biblical model of courtship and betrothal.

Before the last century this emotional cruelty we call “Christian dating” did not exist. For most of the history of mankind marriages were arranged and while the couple waited to be married they saw very little of one another for this very reason that I describe in the story above.

They knew that it was cruel to have a couple taste of the emotional intimacy that God gives a man and woman without them being able to express that intimacy at THE SAME TIME on a physical level as well.

The Bible gives us two ways to stop this emotional cruelty toward men

The two answers to this problem are for men to flee intimate relationships with women before marriage and only in marriage then pursue both emotional, spiritual and physical intimacy with a woman as God intended it to be.

Flee pre-marital intimate relationships

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” – Romans 13:14 (KJV)

“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” – I Corinthians 6:18 (KJV)

There are some things God tells us to fight and other things he tells us to flee. God tells us to flee from fornication – which includes pre-marital sex. God also tells us to “make no provision” – which means don’t put ourselves in a position where we would be tempted to sin.

So as a Christian man – you really should not be entering into an intimate relationship with a woman before you are married and I mean intimate on ANY level. To do so puts you in the position of being tempted to sin and as you grow closer to this woman emotionally you WILL desire her body physically. It is how God designed you.

Remember there are NO half measures with God. The intimate relationship God designed between a man and woman was meant to be an ALL or nothing proposition.

Avoid long engagements

“But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.” – I Corinthians 7:36 (KJV)

When you as a man are prepared to take on a wife – meaning you can provide for her as the Lord expects of you, then you need to make the engagement period as short as possible.

In a previous article, “12 ways to transform modern dating into Biblical dating”, I gave several ways that Christians could date in a way that honors God. I listed several ways to “vet” a potential spouse and I made it clear that Christians need to guard their hearts when they are dating.

If we are to truly avoid emotional cruelty toward men and men being placed in highly tempting positions then Christian dating needs to be approached in a very logical and methodical manner.

A man and woman definitely need to “interview” one another and then have their families and friends interview prospective spouses. Once compatibility has been established the wedding should be planned very quickly. During this short engagement period the couple should seek pre-marital counseling with a Pastor to make sure they both fully understand and agree upon the Biblical roles of a husband and wife in marriage.

Answering the Naysayers

But shouldn’t men just learn to practice self-control as they date?

“Self-control” is something the Christian ladies often like to bring up in this discussion of dating and pre-marital sex. Often they will point to these translations of I Corinthians to bolster their claim:

“But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. “– I Corinthians 7:8 (NASB)

“You see – avoiding pre-marital sex is all about self-control, it does not mean we have to give up dating.” This is what advocates of Christian dating tell us today.

But what these same people miss is that God has clearly answered how a man can avoid pre-marital sex with a woman and self-control is not God’s answer:

“Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband… For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that….” – I Corinthians 7:1-2 & 7 (KJV)

What is God’s answer to a man avoiding pre-marital sex? Marriage. Not dating and practicing self-control, no my friends the answer is marriage.

But what about Jacob and Rachel?

In Genesis chapters 28 and 29 we see the story of Jacob and Rachel. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this story offered in some Church circles as a story of pre-marital romance.

In this account we see that Jacob’s father Isaac has sent him to journey back to the land of their family to find a wife. He comes upon his Uncle Laban’s land and meets Laban’s daughter Rachel.

The following passages from Genesis 29 are cited as evidences of pre-marital romance between Jacob and Rachel:

“And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.” – Genesis 29:10-11 (KJV)

So we are told this was a romantic gesture – love at first sight by Jacob and a passionate embrace between the two of them. What else could this be but romantic?

Well if we look down at verse 13 we see another kiss taking place:

“And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.” – Genesis 29:13 (KJV)

Would these same people who say Jacob’s kiss of Rachel in verse 13 was pre-marital romance say that Laban’s embrace and kiss of Jacob was romance too?

The truth is that this was the custom of family members when greeting one another. Rachel was Jacob’s kin – she was his cousin, the daughter of his mother’s brother. What he did was not an act of pre-marital romance, but rather an act of greeting toward family.

But advocates for pre-martial romance in the Bible point to this next part of the story as definitive proof for their position:

“And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.

And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. And Laban said, it is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.

And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” – Genesis 29:16-20 (KJV)

It says Jacob loved Rachel BEFORE they were married. It even says the seven years he worked for Laban to buy Rachel were like “but a few days” because of how much he loved her.

I can hear it now “You see Mr. BGR – if Jonathan in your story had truly loved Sarah he would have had no problem waiting those two meager years to have sex with her – Jacob waited seven years because of his love for Rachel!”

Well if you are thinking that – you would be WRONG.

Jacob did not date Rachel during this time – there is absolutely no Biblical evidence that they spent any intimate time together and in fact the customs of the day would have prohibited any intimate contact or speech between them.

In fact this story illustrates something that infuriates many women. Why did Jacob love Rachel? Was it because she had a great personality? Was it because he got to know her and connected with her emotions and her soul? Nope.

It was because she was beautiful.

“Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.” – Genesis 29:17 (KJV)

Yep. Jacob worked seven years to marry a beautiful girl whom he knew little about – only that she was a kin to him and she was hot!

This would be the equivalent of a young 18 year old man today seeing a beautiful woman, finding out she was a Christian woman associated with a good church and then asking her father for her hand in marriage.  Her father tells him he must be able to support her first.  So he goes out gets his degree, starts his career and then buys a house.

Seven years later he returns and finally comes back to marry the woman after having NO intimate contact with her during that time.

The story of Jacob and Rachel DOES NOT illustrate pre-marital romance in the Bible.

But Christ shares an intimate relationship with his betrothed bride, why can’t Christian men do the same?

This is a question that has been raised to me when I have discussed this subject in the past and my opposition to the invention of modern Christian dating.

I agree that the relationship of Christ to his Church is pictured as a groom to be and his betrothed bride. But it is not an identical relationship to marriage here in this world. It is not a physical relationship. It is a spiritual relationship. The relationship between Christ and the Church is emotional and spiritual. The relationship between a husband and wife is emotional, spiritual AND physical.

When a man and woman marry – they become “one flesh”, not “one spirit”, “one mind” or “one heart”. Marriage while being symbolic of a much great relationship between God and his people is a physical and temporary relationship for this world only. That is why many of the components of marriage also exist in the relationship between God and his people, but some of them do not and sex is a big one.

Because of this distinction between physical marriage in this world, and spiritual marriage to come between Christ and his Church it is not Biblically correct to say that men should submit themselves to the emotionally cruel system of Christian dating so that they can demonstrate Christ’s patience in waiting for his bride. There is no comparison between the two.

But what about pre-marital romance?

I think most Christian men if they looked objectively at God’s Word and were honest with themselves about how they feel when they are dating a woman will say that what I speaking from God’s Word is the truth.

But most women will have a very hard time swallowing this pill. The reason is that women crave and love that pre-marital romance time that we now have in our culture. Songs, movies and books are written about it.

I think if women truly stood back and looked at how what brings them so much pleasure “pre-marital romance” can at the same time bring so much emotional cruelty to their prospective husband they might rethink that position.

In a Biblical model of marriage – physical intimacy is what generates emotional intimacy. The two are to exist in marriage together, neither of them are to ever exist apart from marriage.

Three choices that are set before today’s young people

  1. Embrace the “full abstinence” that God’s Word shows us as the example of relationships between men and women prior to marriage.  Don’t put yourself in a position where you are trying to have an emotionally intimate relationship with the opposite sex while trying to abstain from physical relations with them.  This type of “hybrid” relationship is emotionally cruel to men and puts them in position to be very tempted to have sex before marriage.
  2. Continue the current practice of “half measure abstinence” that is taught in most Christian Churches today resulting in emotional cruelty toward men and placing them in a very compromising position where they will be tempted to sin.  Continuing telling young men that they just need to “control themselves” instead of teaching BOTH young men and young women that they need to fully abstain from both emotionally intimate and physically intimate relationships with the opposite sex before marriage.
  3. Disobey God’s Word and leave abstinence behind completely.  Engage in emotional AND physical intimacy before marriage. Many Christian young people are doing just that today.  There are a lot of Christian young people that think they can have that emotionally intimate relationship with the opposite sex without physical intimacy. But not far into their relationship, many young ladies actually realize how cruel it is for a man to be in an emotionally intimate relationship with a woman yet be denied physical intimacy so they give in and give him that physical intimacy.

The sad news is that today the majority of Christian young people are choosing option 3. I know this first hand from talking to many teens and college students (my teens tell me about their friends as well) and I get emails from teens and college students all the time. But even for those Christian teens that are not choosing option 3, most of the rest are going with option 2 and the “half measure abstinence” that is emotionally cruel toward men.  A tiny fraction of teens and college students are choosing Biblical Dating and Courtship over our modern style of dating.

We need to stand up and teach the truth on this issue no matter how politically incorrect it is – especially in our home and Churches.  We need to return to the Biblical model of full abstinence before marriage.

See my previous post “12 ways to transform modern dating into Biblical dating” for more on this subject.

16 Ways to Instill Biblical Masculinity in your Sons

Teach your son that God is his ultimate example of masculinity

“For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.” – I Corinthians 11:7 (NASB)

Teach your son to be strong in mind and body

“I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man.” – I Kings 2:2 (NASB)

“A wise man is strong, and a man of knowledge increases power.” – Proverbs 24:5 (NASB)

“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” – I Corinthians 16:13 (NASB)

Teach your son to be brave

“Therefore, keep up your courage, men” – Acts 27:25 (NASB)

“But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” – Hebrews 10:39 (NASB)

Teach your son to be a leader

“The righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” – Proverbs 12:26 (NASB)

Teach your son to listen to wise counsel

“A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel” – Proverbs 1:5 (NASB)

“Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.” – Proverbs 11:14 (NASB)

Teach your son to be a man of integrity

“A righteous man who walks in his integrity— How blessed are his sons after him.” – Proverbs 20:7 (NASB)

“A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold.” – Proverbs 22:1 (NASB)

“The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.” – Proverbs 11:3 (NASB)

Teach your son to channel his competitive and aggressive nature but do not suppress it

“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle” – Psalm 144:1 (NASB)

“Fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.” – Nehemiah 4:14 (NASB)

Teach your son to channel his anger but do not suppress it

“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger” – Ephesians 4:26 (NASB)

“Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.” – Proverbs 25:28 (NASB)

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” – Proverbs 16:32 (NASB)

Teach your son to channel his sexuality but do not suppress it

“Your head crowns you like Carmel, and the flowing locks of your head are like purple threads;

The king is captivated by your tresses.

“How beautiful and how delightful you are, my love, with all your charms!

“Your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters.”

”I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree,
I will take hold of its fruit stalks.’
Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,
And the fragrance of your breath like apples,
And your mouth like the best wine!” – Song of Solomon 7:5-9 (NASB)

Teach your son to defend the weak

“Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.” – Isaiah 1:17 (NASB)

“Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.” – Proverbs 31:9 (NASB)

“Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds…  And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian.” – Acts 7:22 & 24 (NASB)

Teach your son to not be manipulated by women’s sexual charms

“For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life to keep you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, nor let her capture you with her eyelids. For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, and an adulteress hunts for the precious life.” – Proverbs 6:23-26 (NASB)

Teach your son the value of hard work

“Man goes forth to his work and to his labor until evening.” Psalm 104:23 (NASB)

“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.” – Proverbs 22:29 (NASB)

“He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.” – Proverbs 10:5 (NASB)

“Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward.” – Ecclesiastes 5:18 (NASB)

“Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3 (NASB)

“He also who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys.” – Proverbs 18:9 (NASB)

“Prepare your work outside and make it ready for yourself in the field; Afterwards, then, build your house.” – Proverbs 24:27 (NASB)

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5 (NASB)

“In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” – Proverbs 14:23 (NASB)

Teach your son to value and seek out a wife and have a family

“Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 9:9 (NASB)

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” – Proverbs 18:22 (NASB)

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30 (NASB)

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them” – Psalm 127:3-5 (NASB)

Teach your son that men provide for and protect their women and children

“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.” – Luke 11:21 (NASB)

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,  so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.  So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;  for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,  because we are members of His body.” – Ephesians 5:25-28 (NASB)

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.” – Proverbs 13:22 (NASB)

Teach your son to show proper respect for authority

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.” – Exodus 20:10 (NASB)

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.” – I Peter 2:13-14 (NASB)

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” – Hebrews 13:17 (NASB)

Teach your son to show proper honor to women

“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” – I Peter 3:7 (NASB)