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Concubines In Christianity

Mr Sardar

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Not a Christian Approach

The practise of a man having more than one wife or concubines continued into the Roman society of Jesus' day but although no single statement of Jesus or Paul completely barred this approach for Christians it starts to become clear that the practise is hardly consistent with the Christian life. A consideration of Jesus' comments in Matthew 5-7, Matthew 19:1-9 and perhaps especially Paul's comments on marital love in 1 Corinthians 7 tell us much more. Paul assumes either no marriage or monogamous marriage within the Christian life, although it is true that he never specifically refers to plural marriage or concubinage at all. Others have expressed surprise that in Acts 15 when the disciples made a decision – guided by the Holy Spirit – as to what new gentile Christian converts most urgently needed to be warned about as being inconsistent with the Christian life, neither plural marriage nor concubinage are mentioned, although 'sexual immorality' certainly is mentioned (Check out Acts 15:27-29).

There are strong indications that during the first century AD some new Christians brought their plural marriages into the Church (in 1 Timothy 3:2 the comment is made that a man to be ordained an Elder should only have 'one wife' – I am unconvinced at the efforts of some to say that this just referred to divorce and remarriage which would have been extremely rare in that world), but the practise appears to disappear within a hundred or so years as it was increasingly seen as being incompatible with the Christian life and it is Christianity – more than anything else – which largely caused plural marriage and concubinage to virtually disappear from Europe.

So why did God ever allow such things?

I think that here we have to remind ourselves that we cannot question the choices or decisions of God!! In the very early years after Creation, for instance, men would necessarily have had to marry their close female relations, but later on this became barred with strict laws against incest. Are we going to question God over this? What right would we have to question the wisdom of our Creator? Then, for a long period of time, plural marriages, concubinage and very large families were allowed (and the latter certainly encouraged), and there is ample reason to think that the need to re-build the world's population, post-flood, may well have been a reason for this. But where these things were taken to excess, the Lord issued warnings. See Genesis 6:1-2 for instance.

But regarding the Christian life, the New Testament issues repeated warnings about the need to avoid sexual immorality and about the need for Christians to manifest good upright moral behaviour and today it would therefore be entirely wrong for a Christian man to be involved in a plural marriage: Matthew 15:19-20; Acts 15:29; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 6:9-11,13,18-20; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3-7; Colossians 3:5-6; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Jude 7; Revelation 2:14,20-21; 9:21.

Robin A. Brace, 2005.

Concubines were done in old testament not sure about jesus time


Solomon: 700 Wives + 300 Concubines In O.T. times concubinage was an official status. God rebuked Solomon not for polygyny and the concubines, but for the fact that many of his wives were non-Hebrew and these foreign wives brought idols in for worship from their pagan cultures, which was contrary to God's teaching. David committed adultery, only because Bathsheba was married. She was not one of his own women. The other 7 wives and 17 concubines that David was sleeping with were given to him by God as a blessing.

"Cleaving to wife" in Gen 2:23: The Hebrew "issa" means "woman". In Gen 2:23 it has been incorrectly translated as wife. "Woman" not "wife" is more true to the original text every time "issa" or "isha" appears in the OT. Therefore it can be taken as "cleave to a woman", not necessarily a wife, and it says nothing about men having only 1 woman, or one wife, as men clearly had many wives and God never rebuked their polygyny. God never says anything negative about all the wives and concubines that were common all the way through Hebrew history.


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