Type: Exploratory
Pages: 4 | Words: 922
Reading Time: 4 Minutes

The purpose of this paper is to explore the comparisons on the subject of marriage from the biblical Scriptures of I Corinthians and Ephesians. According to the Bible, “It is not good for man to be alone; I will therefore provide him a helper.” (Gen. 2:18). In Genesis, it is revealed that God saw man as a lonely being and thought it would be good for him to have a companion; He created a helper suitable for a man, a woman, to act as his wife, companion, and counterpart. Additionally, in the book of proverbs, we are told that God intended marriage and sex as not just an avenue to bring children into the world, but also as a sacred institution for a man and a woman to find pleasure in each other. Additionally, Paul wrote his opinion about marriage and presented it through letters to the people of Ephesians and Corinthians.

In the gospel, we are told that Jesus turned water into wine when the supplies were exhausted at the wedding in Galilee. Paul encouraged young widows to remarry and claimed that his right as an apostle allowed him to lead about a wife. Additionally, he assumed that the deacons and elders should be married and bare children (Brauch, 1989). It is evident that the Bible considers marriage as a norm, and singlehood as an exception. Marriage is good, righteous, and holy. As evidenced in Ephesians 5 and I Corinthians 7, marriage is a gift from God that should be sanctified and gracefully received by every Christian. Paul’s words in I Corinthians came in response to questions raised by the Corinthian citizens on the subject of marriage and sex. In this passage of the Bible, Paul makes bold statements concerning this subject, emphasizing that it is bad for a man not to have a physical intimacy with a woman (I Cor. 7).

Paul defends the strength of marriage but also acknowledges the circumstances surrounding a celibate lifestyle. Paul relates celibacy to self-control and declares that there are indeed advantages of leading a single life, if one is able to exercise this discipline. These advantages include the freedom to minister the word of God and have far less distractions in a life of devotion to God. Paul is not disparaging the institution of marriage in this instance, but is defending celibacy against its opponents. Additionally, Paul explains that marriage is used to enjoin and satisfy the sexual desires of each other’s partner. It is biblical for a man to be concerned with pleasing and satisfying the needs of his wife, and for the wife to desire, serve and please her husband (Fee & Stuart, 2003).

The two books of the Scripture also highlight the permanent nature of God’s intent for marriage. Paul is clear that this is an agreement between a man and a woman, but is also a covenant between a man, a woman, and God. When a man and a woman are enjoined in marriage, God bonds them in an everlasting union. Considering a divorce is therefore a dishonor to God, because this avenue distorts the spiritual validity of marriage and destroys the bridge of commitment. The scriptures urge Christians to pursue higher standards than the ones present in the prevailing society. The internal forces of personal desires and the external forces of the society constantly jeopardize the purpose of marriage. According to Paul, it is only after Christians are able to abide in God’s power, the most important earthly relationships can be protected and sanctified (Brauch, 1989).

The Scripture goes further and discusses the subject of submission in marriage. Paul’s instructions in the book of Ephesians chapter 5 have triggered major debates over time, especially in the modern world. These instructions have often been written off as a set of standards no longer applicable in the modern generation. Paul’s instruction highlights the importance of wives’ being submissive to their husbands. Submission is not readily accepted today but was widely practiced in the ancient societies. Many people believe that such a view of marriage is not fitting in the twenty-first century (Gundry, 2009).  However, to clearly understand Paul’s teachings on submission, we have to recognize that marriage is a contract based on roles and responsibilities. Both a husband and a wife have responsibilities to each other, but most importantly to God. Roles have always established relationships, and relationships generated responsibilities. As the scriptures clearly highlight, the roles played in order to make marriage work must be executed in light of God’s word. According to Gundry (2009), one of the most important duties Paul advocates a wife should uphold is that of submission.

In conclusion, we have to consider and appreciate Paul’s teachings on marriage from the books of I Corinthians and Ephesians as very significant, because this institution is indicative of all the relationships in society. Paul teaches that marriage is a basis for companionship between a man and a woman. Moreover, marriage is a binding covenant between a man, a woman, and God that should never be destroyed even by the thought of divorce. Additionally, like any other contract, each party is expected to play certain roles and responsibilities; a husband is the head of the house, while a wife should be submissive to her husband’s power and respect his position. The overall message of Paul’s teachings on marriage is to show the importance of living in peace and harmony with other people. According to him, marriage is a rehearsal for a greater marriage, the one with God in life after death (Brauch, 1989).

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