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Wordwise Insight, Issue #097
September 26, 2012

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BIBLE INSIGHTS (and Reader Q & A): What does the Bible have to say about polygamy?

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(Is Polygamy a Sin?)

(Is Polygamy a Sin?)

The Bible speaks of a number of men who took to themselves more than one wife. God doesn’t seem to criticize their choice, or comment directly on it. So, does that mean the Lord approves?

No. We need to take the whole of God’s revelation into account to see what the Bible teaches on the subject. God’s Word faithfully reports cases of polygamy, but that does not mean He condones it, or views it as acceptable.

In ancient times, I suppose it could be rationalized as a protection for the women involved. There was a great mortality rate in warfare, leaving a high ratio of women to men in a community. And in a patriarchal society it was difficult for a woman to provide for herself. Unmarried women could fall prey to prostitution or slavery. But even though it was common in the culture of the day, there is evidence in God's Word that polygamy is not His desire for families.

1) One Wife for Adam
In the beginning, "God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good" (Gen. 1:31). Surely this includes His design for the first family. If polygamy were the ideal, the Lord could easily have provided several wives for Adam in Eden, but He didn’t. God made only one wife for Adam, setting one-husband-one-wife as the pattern, right at the beginning. "A man joined to his wife," not wives (Gen. 2:23-24).

2) Others Had Only One Wife
As far as we can tell from the record, it seems that Noah had only one wife, Job had only one wife, Isaac had only one wife. So did Joseph and others. These were all godly men. So this at least suggests that polygamy wasn’t the expected thing.

3) First Polygamy by a Worldly Man
Some Bible interpreters refer to what's called...

For the rest of this article, click on Polygamy.


Come and Pay Us a Visit!

I have developed a blog that is called Wordwise Hymns. As the title suggests, it is about hymns, and church music in general.

But as many of you will know, a blog is especially designed to facilitate a conversation on its particular subject. Readers can easily post comments about what they see, and I'm able to reply. I hope you will take part in the discussion!

Through 2010, almanac entries dealt with what happened in hymn history on each day of the year. Beginning in 2011, I hope to analyze hymns from a biblical standpoint, linking to the material that has come before.

My hope is that the blog will add to the value of the website and this newsletter, and promote some profitable exchanges on the subject of sacred music.

What happened on this day in hymnology? To find out, click Wordwise Hymns.

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