If a man has multiple wives and becomes a Christian, what is he supposed to do?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Since polygamy is frowned upon in most societies, this is not a question too many people think about. But there are still numerous places in the world where polygamy is accepted. Many Muslim countr...

July 01 2013 7 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Bruce Lyon Elder: Restoration Fellowship Assembly
If a man has multiple wives and then becomes a Christian, he should stay married to all the wives who wish to remain married to him. There is nothing in the NT that restricts polygamy, however, Jesus did refer to God's intent in the beginning that a man and a woman should join together in marriage.

We know that the Patriarchs had multiple wives and there were probably some who had more that one wife in the first century and were Christians. Again, the ideal from God's point of view is that one man and one woman join in marriage. The only restriction on plural marriage has to do with someone who desires to become an overseer, pastor/teacher, etc., and in those cases they are to be married to only one wife. This restriction makes sense because where there are more than one wife domestic peace is most of the time not evident.

We are not called upon to judge the status of others who stand before God on their own merits. The LORD knows those that are his and can deal with them on an individual basis.

I don't know of any churches to-day who can sit in judgement over any member of their congregation considering the state of the churches departure from the plain instruction they have received from their lord and savior Jesus and do not do them. In most cases Jesus could come into their midst and say, "If you call me your lord and master, why do you not do all that I have given you to do?"

December 17 2013 11 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Kristine Rodrigues
So Folks have generally said the man should stay with the wives so they would be cared for as poligamy was allowed at certain times in OT and also a response stated that if the man divorces any he causes them to commit adultery based on the Bible teaching "except for immorality" as cause for divorce.

For the latter, I would say that if she remarry she does not commit adultery since the husband is already sleeping with the other wives. It seems to me she would be released from her vows in the same way that a one on one married spouse would be if the husband was sexually unfaithful. 

As for those others in scripture who took multiple wives, I actually believe they were completely outside of God's will (in sin) whether they were aware or not. Jesus laid it down when he expressed his views on marriage.

January 08 2017 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Wat Mis
My opinion is that he should remain with the first wife since the following marriges would not count as marriages if he is already married. Then the following "wives" are free to marry as they see fit. Only his first wife counts as his wife because Christ says as much in Matt. 19:3-9. He and his 1st wife are one until the death of either, thus he isn't actually married to any that follow.

January 09 2017 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Wambui Mburu
This is a rather awkward situation but as in all things the Lord has the answer in His word. I do agree that the man is required to take care of the family he has through the multiple wives. Then it would be important for him especially if he seeks or is called to hold a position of leadership within the church,

1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;

1 Timothy 3:12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

Titus 1:6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.

I believe the man as stated on one of the posts should also present his present status as a born again believer in the Lord Jesus to his wives and if they are willing to live with him according to the faith.

I have heard of believers who were divorced before being born again. They opted to live like brother sister after they became born again. I guess not everybody is called to live this kind of celibate life within a marriage and I wonder if that qualifies their relationship as a marriage in the Lord's eyes.

It would take seriously seeking the Lord for the best solution and praying that the only wife the man was to have would be only one who would choose to live with him and that the others would leave the relationship amicably. In all things it would be best that the Lord is glorified through it all and the gospel would be advanced even in this very delicate situation.

November 08 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini James Kraft 74 year old retired pipeline worker
Leaders in the church are to be the husband of one wife. So he can not be a leader in the church. 

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

The man would be saved no matter what he did, but his rewards in heaven may be lost if he divorced any of them without means of support. 

First Corinthians 3:11-15 The GIFT of God is eternal life. Not a reward for good behavior. Our rewards in heaven for the believer are based on what we do after we have received the free gift of eternal life. John 6:47.

September 03 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Gregory Tomlinson Minister, husband,father,grandfather,vet., college graduate
The next question is how do your wives feel about your being born again. Are they pleased to dwell with and your new faith? The other posts spoke quite well and accurately for this subject. If they are pleased to dwell with you as long as your personal relations only involve one wife at a time you are free to remain married.

May 05 2014 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Open uri20160825 6966 rhyaou John Matthews Retired Professional Singer, Conductor and Seeker
The Bible does not forbid polygamy. It cannot be more clear. The requirement for marriage (a term not understood correctly from a biblical standpoint according to our modern sensibilities) is a man and a woman. It is understood that it is 1 man and a woman; "a woman" in this case does not mean only 1 woman. 

Biblically, a woman can only have one husband at a time but a man can have more than one wife. I couldn't find any other scenario concerning a "God blessed" union other than what I have stated. The only qualification comes from the epistles of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 They both state that only husbands of one wife can serve in positions of authority in the church.

Although local law applies, does it really apply to anyone whose religious beliefs are contrary to those laws? 

So, to answer the question correctly, a man can already be a Christian and have multiple wives. If he becomes a Christian after he has multiple wives, those wives not believing in Jesus Christ or willing to become a Christian, should be divorced. The man still has a obligation to support a divorced wife and the laws, as we currently have in the USA, will apply.

The entire question is moot, but then it certainly gave me pause for thought and reflection. I think it would only apply to the Latter Day Saints, who, many years ago, banned the marrying of more than one wife.

April 12 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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