← Back

Does the Bible support the need to have a marriage officially solemnized or officiated?


Colossians 3:18 - 4:1

ESV - 18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

Clarify Share Report Asked June 18 2019 Mini Joys Samuel Kollethu

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
To my knowledge, although the Bible speaks of weddings, and also contains (in passages such as the one cited in the question) guidance on how Christian spouses and families should interact with each other, it is silent on specific details or requirements with regard to the manner in which an actual marriage ceremony is to be conducted or made "official".

As long as such a ceremony meets the statutory requirements (with respect to such things as licensing, testing, time frames, and so forth) of the civil jurisdiction in which the ceremony is held (which would address the Christian's obligation to obey such laws), and also satisfies the requirements of whatever Christian community or denomination in which a couple might choose to be married (if they have such a preference at all), those would be the central considerations. In that respect, a civil ceremony would be just as valid and binding in God's eyes as a religious ritual.

However, the Bible would support (in my opinion) some form of official, state-sponsored recognition (whether civil or religious) of a couple's relationship. This would be not just a matter of compliance with any applicable laws, but also from the standpoint of providing legal rights and protections to each spouse individually, as well as to them as a couple, that might not all be recognized or available in the case of a relationship that did not obtain such sanctioning.

June 22 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini N S 4th-generation Bible-believing Christian
As Jesus and the Pharisees discussed (Matthew 5:31 and Matthew 19:7), Moses said to give a woman a "WRITING" OF DIVORCE when a divorce was going to take place (referring to Deuteronomy 24:1). Logically, there would be no need for a written piece of documentation to certify that a divorce was valid, if the marriage originally had been nothing but a man and a woman living together. Thus we can conclude that Moses, Jesus, and the Pharisees all assumed that legal formalities must exist for a marriage to be valid and lawful. 

In regards to that term, "lawful," please also remember that John the Baptist got his head chopped off for stating that it wasn't "lawful" for Herod to have his brother's wife (Matthew 14:4). So for a marriage to be acceptable in God's eyes, it must be "lawful." 

Some people nowadays want to claim that a man and woman living together makes a "common law marriage." This is incorrect. The term "common law" has a legal definition (which varies from location to location), but the real definition of "common law marriage" rarely, if ever, includes people who just "want to consider" themselves married. Please search for "common law marriage" online and find out what the law in your jurisdiction states about this before making the mistake of thinking you are "married" just by living with someone. People who live together in a sexual relationship without any legally/societally accepted definition of marriage are committing adultery and/or fornication (sexual immorality). This is therefore forbidden by "Thou shalt not commit adultery." (Exodus 20:14).

January 18 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Add your Answer

All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.

What makes a good answer? ▼

A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.

  1. Adhere to the eBible Statement of Faith.
  2. Your answer should be complete and stand-alone.
  3. Include supporting arguments, and scripture references if possible. Seek to answer the "why".
  4. Adhere to a proper tone and spirit of love and understanding.
  5. For more info see The Complete Guide to eBible
  1. 4000 characters remaining