What Does the Bible Say About Finding a Spouse?
About the Book
What does the Bible say about finding a spouse? This book seeks to steer a middle course between the rocks of legalism and the cliffs of sexual compromise on the subject of finding a spouse. Unlike some books on the subject, this book does not park on one Biblical model and insist that everyone adopt that model for finding their spouse. Instead, it outlines the universal Biblical principles related to the subject, and then shows how the Bible applies those universal principles to unique situations by giving us several models for finding a spouse. This approach is helpful for any culture and any situation in this fallen world. Legalism is a false hope and sexual compromise only gives false joy and false intimacy. The Bible alone shows us where to find wisdom. And to those who “find wisdom,” Proverbs says, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace” (Prov. 3:17 ESV).
Table of Contents
- Why We Need a Fresh Study
1. Avoiding Legalism and License
- Scripture gives more than one model and calls for flexibility
- Scripture gives all the principles needed for this subject
- What is Form and Freedom?
- Form and Freedom in Romance
- Spoiling what God intended to be delightful
2. Surveying the Biblical Options
- Let’s avoid reductionism
- Marriages without a time of discussion or betrothal
- Marriages with betrothal alone
- Marriages after a season of discussion and betrothal
3. Clearly Defining Our Terms
- What a season of discussion is not
- What a season of discussion is
4. Clearly Defining Our Terms — Betrothal
- Is betrothal Biblical?
- What betrothal is not
- What betrothal is
5. Maintaining Purity
- General Biblical Guidelines
- A Detailed Study and Interaction With an Alternative View
6. Is There a Place for Pre-Marital Romance?
- Betrothal - Delightful Romance
- Betrothal – Time For Developing Habits and Skills for Marriage
7. Case Study: Genesis 24
- Value of a father’s involvement even when older (v. 1; 25:20; 1 Cor. 7:36)
- It is better to wait than to marry the wrong one
- Be active in seeking a spouse (vv. 1ff; cf. 1 Thes. 4; Numb. 36:6; Jer. 29:6; Gen. 2:20)
- Be willing to think outside the box when no one locally is a suitable potential spouse
- Fathers should treat the issue of their children’s marriages seriously (vv. 2-3)
- Don’t let your children become unequally yoked (v. 3)
- Both fathers and other matchmakers can be involved in the search for a spouse (v. 4)
- Don’t be desperate (v. 5)
- Base your decision making on the inspired revelation of Scripture (vv. 6-7)
- Find a wife that will fit your calling and follow you (v. 8)
- All matchmakers should themselves be believers (v. 9)
- Matchmakers must know the worldview, passions, desires, and personality of those they are serving.
- Men should be able to financially support their wives (v. 10)
- Fathers should be interested in passing on a multi-generational heritage (vv. 11-12)
- We should bathe the whole process in prayer, seeking God’s guidance (vv. 13-14)
- Have a set of essential criteria in a potential spouse and prepare your children to meet those Biblical criteria (vv. 13ff)
- Objectivity is needed – not allowing beauty to blind you (vv. 15-16)
- Have confidence in God’s providence and guidance (vv. 17-21)
- Don’t be shy about asking questions (vv. 22-25)
- Be God-centered (vv. 26-27)
- Become the wise father that makes you the first one that your children turn to (v. 28)
- One father can take initiative even if the other father does not (v. 29)
- God can still bring good out of family situations that are messed up (vv. 30-31)
- Don’t be swayed by pushiness; stay focused on God’s will (vv. 32-33)
- Be confident that it is normally God’s will for all of our children to be married (vv. 34-40)
- Fathers should model godly leadership to other fathers (vv. 41-48)
- Fathers have authority to approve or disapprove of potential husbands (v. 49)
- Get used to talking frankly about marriage potential (vv. 50-53)
- The legitimacy of a bride price and dowry (vv. 50-52)
- Women have a strong say-so in whom they marry (vv. 54-58)
- Cast the vision of having many children (vv. 59-60; cf. Gen. 1:28; 1 Tim. 5:14)
- Pass on a legacy and vision (vv. 59-60)
- Fathers must relinquish control of their daughters once married (v. 61)
- Instill spiritual qualifications of leadership in your sons (vv. 62-63)
- Be confident that love can grow after marriage (v. 67)
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