How Many Wives?

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By Pamela Rose Williams

Not long ago someone asked me if someone could have multiple wives. And if the answer is no, where in the Bible can we find that? Here is how I responded:

I would go all the way back to Genesis for that, here is your scripture (Gen 2:18-25):

18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Notice in verse 18: “an help meet for him” and in verse 24 it says “a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife”. Both verses are singular: one man, one woman and also notice in verse 24 that there are only two people there that become one flesh. So here is how it works (Biblically):

  • They were both made by God precisely, to be male and female (no mistakes, the gender that you have is the gender that God planned)
  • The man is to leave his father and mother and be with his wife; creating a new family unit
  • God created the male and female to come together and reproduce — after the man leaves his mother, so this is only God ordained after marriage.
  • This intimate relationship between husband and wife is blessed by God (any other kind is not blessed, homo and hetero)

Most importantly, when we fast forward to the New Testament we see the marriage between one husband and one wife is representative of the marriage between Christ and the Church — Christ is the husband and the Church is His Bride (Eph 5:22-23 singular again). Jesus has only one Bride.

Some other things to consider: when the law was given as documented in Exodus, the 10th commandment speaks of the neighbor’s wife, thou shalt not covet (Exodus 20:17), again this conveys the principle of only one wife.

Paul also addressed the Church at Corith and spoke that each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband (1 Corinthians 7:2).

So you say, what about those instances of polygamy in the Bible? I am glad you asked. Study it out –those instances of polygamy in the Bible  were not blessed by God even in His godly men. God tolerated it for a time, but there was always consequence in every situation.

The fact of the matter is that the monogamous relationship between one man and one woman is the only way to honor God as the earthly representation of the Heavenly marriage between Christ and the Church. You find it all throughout the Bible.

Study it out for yourself so that you can know why you believe what you believe. One day you may need an answer … be ready to give it!


Photo: photobucket.com

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Pamela Rose Williams

Pamela Rose Williams is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She and her husband, Dr. Michael L. Williams, have served in Christian ministry since 2001. She has a bachelor's Degree in Christian Education and spends most of her time as a professional editor and writer, working with many Christian authors and artists. Additionally, she works with her husband using their extensive experience in information technology to provide Christ-centered teaching and resources to people all over the world. To learn more about Pamela visit her About page.