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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Does the Bible really say that? Excerpt from my book, 16

5 Must marriage ceremonies be conducted in church?
Most churches treat the marriage ceremony as a sacrament. That is, they believe, and act, as if the marriage ceremony should be religious, as well as secular, and can be specially blessed by God. Many persons desire to be married in a church ceremony. I have read that even in Japan, where most people never attend a Christian church of any type, many of them choose to be married in a church.

The marriage ceremony, in the Bible, was not an especially religious event.

In this chapter, I’m going to point out things that the Bible doesn’t say. There are detailed instructions to the priests, in Leviticus and elsewhere, as to how to prepare and offer sacrifices, how to deal with mold in houses, how to decide if a woman has committed adultery or not, what to do if someone claims to be healed from leprosy, and other matters. But there’s not a single instruction about how to perform a marriage ceremony. Jesus attended a marriage ceremony, but He seems to have attended as a guest, probably as a friend of the family. There is no suggestion that a priest or rabbi performed that, or any other marriage ceremony, in the New Testament. Paul has some instructions as to how to act toward a spouse, and suggestions as to whether or not to get married, but no instructions as to how to perform a marriage ceremony.

In New Testament times, there is no biblical evidence that marriage ceremonies were integrated with the worship of the congregation, and there is no such evidence in the Old Testament, either. Marriage ceremonies were a secular, social, civil event. So how did the marriage ceremony become a sacrament? I’m not sure. But my point remains. If God wanted it to be part of worshiping Him, the Israelites, and the early Christians, didn’t know it, and apparently didn’t expect it. It’s a later development.

The above is an excerpt from my recently published e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which may be obtained free of charge, or purchased from Amazon for $0.99, which is the lowest price Amazon lets an author set. Scripture quotations are from the World English Bible, public domain.

The previous post in this series is here. God willing, the next excerpt will conclude the discussion of this topic.

Thanks for reading!

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