Jesus explains his views on marriage

By Tom Quiner

adam-and-eveA critical reader challenged me:

“What exactly did Jesus say about defining marriage as being between a man and a woman?”

This is a test question.

Most people know that Jesus didn’t specifically address the subject of same-sex marriage. But he revealed his thoughts about marriage when he received this test question from the pharisees, as recounted in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 19:1-6:

“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”

Jesus responded,

“Have you you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”

And just so He left no doubt about what a marriage means, Jesus reiterated his point by saying:

“So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”

The elements Jesus identified as constituting a marriage are “male” and a “female.”

There’s another element: They are joined together as “one flesh” in the conjugal act only possible between a male and a female. Jesus refers to the Genesis verse (1:27) that:

“God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them … be fertile and multiply.”

In other words, the essence of marriage as explained by Jesus is the union of a man and a woman, not a woman and woman; not a man and a man.

In fact, Jesus indicated not everyone is cut out for marriage for various reasons in Matthew 19:12:

“Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”

Pope Paul VI expressed it so beautifully:

“By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in  them that it finds its crowning glory.”

The late pontiff eloquently builds on his thesis:

Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves. God himself said: “It is not good that man should be alone,” and “from the beginning [he] made them male and female”; wishing to associate them in a special way in his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: “Be fruitful and multiply.” Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day.

So what is the definition of marriage according to Jesus? A union between a man and a woman.


  1. Bob Vance on March 27, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    In Matthew 22:24-28, the Jews referred to Deuteronomy 25:5 from the Old Testament where it states that if a woman’s husband dies, and she didn’t have any kids from him, then she must marry his brother regardless whether he had a wife or not. When the Jews brought this situation up to Jesus in Matthew 22:24-28, Jesus did not prohibit at all for the childless widow to marry her husband’s brother (even if he were married). Instead, Jesus replied to them by saying that we do not marry in heaven, and we will be like angels in heaven (Matthew 22:30).

    So in other words, if Jesus allowed for a widow to marry her former husband’s brother even if he were married, then this negates the Christians’ claim about the Bible prohibiting polygamy. A man can be one flesh with more than one woman. In the case of Matthew 22:24-28, the man can be one flesh with his wife, and one flesh with his deceased brother’s wife. Also keep in mind that Exodus 21:10 allows a man to marry an infinite amount of women, and Deuteronomy 21:15 allows a man to marry more than one wife.

    • quinersdiner on March 27, 2013 at 8:55 pm

      You are missing the point of the story Bob. The Jews are quoting Old testament scripture in order to trap Jesus. And Jesus refuses to be trapped. Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

      This is primarily an argument for resurrection directed against the Sadducees, who rejected all belief in an afterlife and for whom only the Torah was authoritative.

      And regarding your second comment about not abolishing the law, fulfilling the law didn’t mean that nothing changed. Plenty changed from the Old Testament to the new. What Jesus is saying when He says he came to fulfill the law is that He came to fulfill the spirit of the law.
      He ate with tax collectors and prostitutes and healed on the Sabbath, things strictly forbidden in the Old Testament. Hope that helps to shed some light on it, Bob. I always appreciate an honest seeker.

      The Bible has to be taken as a whole to understand it. It is the story of Salvation history.

  2. Bob Vance on March 27, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Also Jesus said: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law (the Old Testament) or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke or a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law (the Old Testament) until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)”

  3. askthebigot on March 28, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Great post! More on Jesus as it relates to homosexuality and marriage:

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