Skip to content

What Does the Bible Say about Marriage?

What Does the Bible Say about Marriage?

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

I have been dating a wonderful man for two years. We are both very serious and involved with our relationship and have spoken about marriage favorable. However, today’s view of marriage seems to teach that marriage is based on your happiness and can be temporary. I’m worried that I’m not prepared for how God wants me to view marriage. What does the Bible say about marriage? 

Before we dig into several aspects of marriage, it’s important to start with the Biblical definition of marriage. Marriage was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden at the time of man’s creation as a union between man and woman (Genesis 2:18-24). 

Facts the Bible Tells Us about Marriage:

  1. Marriage is an indissoluble relationship except on the highest grounds (Matthew 19:9).
  2. Monogamous relationship between husband and wife as stated in the original law (Matthew 19:51 Corinthians 6:16).
  3. Husband and wife are equal before God (Ephesians 5:29-311 Peter 3:7).
  4. The relationship is to reflect the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).
  5. Husband is the loving head of relationship and wife is subordinate (1 Corinthians 11:8-91 Timothy 2:13Ephesians 5:21-33Colossians 3:191 Peter 3:1-6).
  6. The relationship is fruitful (Genesis 1:28a).

In summary, we can see that marriage is an intimate and complementing union between a man and a woman in which the two become one physically, in the whole of life. The purpose of marriage is to reflect the relationship of the Godhead and to serve him. Although the fall has marred the divine purpose and function of marriage, this definition reflects the God-ordained ideal for marriage from the beginning.
To read more on the Biblical definition of marriage, read our comprehensive, in-depth commentary at:’s dictionary reference for marriage

love bears all things

Biblical Marriage as a Witness and Example

“By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another” (John 13:35). Marriage is a significant institution by which a lost world can see Christianity in action. Marriage is the most intimate of human relationships in which husbands and wives learn to model Christ’s love. Marriage is the 18-year training ground for children so that they can also love “one another.” Marriage provides a unique opportunity to reflect Him as a couple. Marriage provides a platform for accomplishing God’s intentions for mankind.
Read more at: A Biblical Perspective of Marriage

How is the Bible’s view of marriage different than what the world says? 


Lie 1:  “If you’re not compatible, you may have married the wrong person.”

God’s truth says that marriage is a covenant relationship. Once you choose to marry, it’s no longer up for debate as to whether your spouse is the “right one.” Marriage makes them the right one, for it’s a commitment before God. It’s never to be based on shifting feelings, but a choice every day to love the spouse you’ve chosen to marry. In a world that often prefers to “trade in for an updated version,” this truth doesn’t make sense. But according to God’s Word it’s very clear.

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:9)

Lie 2:  “If you’re not happy, don’t stay in an unhappy situation. You deserve more.”

For many of us, marriage can tend to bring our selfishness out like nothing else. We want our way. We insist on our rights. We want our spouse to make us happy, and right now! In the midst of demands, we’ll never be free to truly love and serve one another. Our focus will tend to be one-sided – our side – and what we want. Yet God’s goal for marriage was not just to “make us happy.” The truest picture of marriage is that it symbolizes the love of Christ for us.  And His desire for us all is that we be made more into the image of Himself.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

Lie 3: Marriage is a 50/50 relationship.” 

Marriage takes two people, fully committed, choosing every day, to love and cherish. 50/50 will never be enough to see you through the toughest times. It’s only half effort and it seeks to compare what we’re doing with the other, always needing to check to see if they’re keeping up with expectations. This isn’t what God intends. His plan is covenant relationship, centered in Christ, loving through Christ; that is what will carry us through both good times and bad. It will take full effort of 100/100 to have a strong relationship which will thrive over time. 

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” (1 Corinthians 13:7-8)
Read more at: 10 Lies the World Tells You About Marriage This Powerful Video of the Love Chapter Gave Me Chills from biblestudytools on GodTube.

What does the Bible say about sex in marriage?

In this over-sexed and under-loved world, people are looking for the real deal, the secret to lasting love with a vibrant sex life. Because of this pursuit for a purer passion, the most asked question we get when it comes to Red Hot Monogamy is, “What is okay with God?”

First and foremost, sex is for marriage. Ephesians 5:31-32 (quoting Genesis) “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3–8 reinforces this with the reminder,“It is God’s will that you keep away from sexual sin as a mark of your devotion to him” (1 Thessalonians 4:3, GW).

For married couples, God gives only a few clear commands on what is and isn’t permissible with the gift of sex he created. Instead of a list of “no-no’s” let’s look at his guidelines in the affirmative:  

You can say YES if you:

Yield to one another. Everything done is agreed upon. The goal in intimacy is unity. In Red Hot Monogamy we look at the 8 areas of intimacy and give tools to build intimacy in each area. Colossians 3:1 encourages: And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. If you love, you will want to talk through and agree on expressions in sexuality.  

Extend it in love. No one should ever feel forced or coerced in sex. The sex acts should reflect love, not demean or inflict pain. Sex is a relationship to be protected not a person to exploit. Hebrews 13:4 reminds: Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled.  

Secure it with privacy. Sex should only be you two alone. Your marriage bed is yours and yours alone (no other partners, no pornography, no mommy porn, no fake imitations of body parts). Why settle for anything fake when you can create the real thing live and in person? When it comes to grey areas, things not specifically forbidden, applying 1 Corinthians 6:12 is a smart choice: 

Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power. 
Read more: Married Sex – What’s OK with God?  

Does the Bible say there is one specific person for us to marry?

There is nothing in Scripture that suggests there is just one person we’re ‘supposed’ to marry. Proverbs 31 urges young men to be guided by a woman’s faith and character in making their choice–there is no mention of second guessing some divine destiny. In 1 Corinthians 7, the apostle Paul tells women (widows, in particular) to seriously consider singleness, but assures them the choice of whether to get married is up to them, and then specifically says women can marry “whomever they wish” as long as their potential husband is ‘in the Lord.’ (v. 39) If the Bible explicitly says, ‘it’s your call whether or not to get married’ (a sentiment Jesus echoes when he says some “choose” to become eunuchs–celibate–in Matthew 19:12, with emphasis on the word “choose”) and it’s entirely your choice as to who to marry, why should your subjective feelings and reasoning override living by the truth of Scripture?


There is, quite frankly, nothing in Scripture that ever tells us it is our sworn duty to marry one particular person. Whether we marry, and who we marry, are spoken of in Scripture as part of God’s “permissive will,” something he allows us to choose.
Read more at: No, God Didn’t Tell You To Marry Your Spouse

love and marriage - better things ahead

Quick Reference Bible Verses About Marriage

1 Corinthians 7:1-40 – The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife….


1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 

Ephesians 5:21-23 – Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church– for we are members of his body.“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. 

Proverbs 18:22 – He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.

Hebrews 13:4 –  Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 

Genesis 2:22-24 – Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. 

Proverbs 21:9 – Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. 

Matthew 19:2-9 – Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” 

Proverbs 19:14 – Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.

Read More Bible Verses About Marriage at

Related Articles about Marriage 
40 Powerful Blessings to Pray over Your Marriage
5 Things a Wife Needs (But Doesn’t Know How to Ask For)
7 of the Greatest Needs of a Husband
20 Scriptures to Strengthen Your Marriage
20 Reasons Marriages Fail (Even Christian Marriages)
God’s Three Purposes for Marriage
12 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married

This article is part of our larger Spiritual Life resource meant to answer your questions about the Bible, God and the Christian faith. Visit our most popular questions on “What does the Bible say about…” questions answered by well known Christians and theologians to find more inspiration. Remember that as you read these articles, the Holy Spirit will give you understanding and discernment to make the right decision for your walk with Jesus Christ! If you know others struggling with these faith questions, please share and help others discover the truth on these controversial topics. 

What Does the Bible Say About Drinking Alcohol?
What Does the Bible Say About Gambling?
What Does the Bible Say About Dating?
What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality?
What Does the Bible Say About Marriage?
What Does the Bible Say About Sex Before Marriage?
What Does the Bible Say About Cremation?
What Does the Bible Say About Suicide?
What Does the Bible Say About Tithing?



How to Fall in Love Again

Dear Barbara,

Soul mates are not born. They’re made. That’s a fact that may discourage people who think marriage should be easy, but it’s the truth. God created marriage to succeed. But that success requires us to put energy into it.

In other words, you have to work at marriage.

As an example, let’s talk about emotions. One misconception about marriage is that the emotions will always be there. You’ll always feel “in love.” The truth is that you’ll go through times when the emotions don’t exist. Sometimes emotions change.

When this happens, couples worry that something’s wrong. Maybe they married the wrong person. But emotions come and go, and emotions can be unpredictable. Basing your marriage relationship on a feeling can be a big problem.

Find freedom for your heart, mind and soul
Begin your 21 Day Journey.

Have you ever noticed that the most beautiful and talented people in the world fall in love, get divorced, fall in love, get divorced, and keep repeating the cycle? That’s because they are basing love on their feelings. When feelings change, they change spouses.

That’s the wrong approach to love and marriage. The Bible says the best kind of love in the world is not love based on emotion, but love based on choice. This is called agape love. It’s the kind of love God has for us.

I don’t always know what my emotions are going to do tomorrow, but I’m always in control of my will. And my decision to love Karen Evans is a decision of my will. Regardless of how I feel or what she does, I’ve made the decision to love her. I choose to do my best to be faithful to her and love her as Jesus would.

That’s a decision that has nothing to do with my circumstance or emotions. That’s agape love—love by choice.

You’ve heard the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side.” I like to add to that saying: When the grass looks greener on the other side, it’s time to water your own yard. (Another version: When the grass looks greener on the other side, it’s because you can’t see the poop from here.)

In other words, everybody and everything looks good from a distance. But once you live with a person for awhile, you begin to see their issues. This is what causes emotions to change—and every couple experiences this at some point. How will you feel about me when the good times end and the good feelings waver?

My best friends are the people who see all the dry, unwatered grass in my life and still love me anyway. The best couples are the ones that push past the hard times and still choose to love one another with God’s agape love.

Karen and I have been together a long time. We’ve seen everything about each other—all the dirt—and we’re still together. That’s what love is.


How to Fall in Love Again

Watch the Video

How to Date and Successfully Marry

Dear Reader,

Your marriage can succeed. Regardless of how much you are struggling or how fearful you may be, you can make it in marriage.

God made marriage. God also made you for marriage, and He never makes anything to fail.

You might say, “Well, Jimmy, then why are so many people failing in their marriages?” It’s because they’re not doing it God’s way.

There are several issues at stake here, but one of the most significant is that people get married and start to depend on their spouse to meet their deepest needs. But we really need to be depending on Jesus to meet those needs.

Help families recover after Hurricane Harvey
Give to those in need.

All of us long for acceptance. We want someone who will love us regardless of how our weight fluctuates or how bright our teeth are. We want to be accepted without having to perform for it. But unfortunately, people are conditional. We worry that if they knew everything about us, they’d no longer like us.

The love of Jesus is unconditional. It has no strings attached. He says, “I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.” He accepts us without hesitation.

Another need is identity. Sometimes we rely on marriage to tell us who we are. But the Bible says Jesus stitched us together in our mother’s womb. He created us. He knows us to our very core. We discover who we truly are not from a marriage relationship, but from a relationship with Him.

A third basic need is security. We want to feel safe. We want to find someone with whom we can relax and be ourselves and find refuge. A healthy marriage relationship can and should provide this, but again, people will let us down. We’re fallen creatures. We sin. We’ll never find true security in a person.

But we can find that security in God. He can protect us from anything and anyone. His love for us is unshakeable and His salvation is eternal.

Finally, we all long for purpose. Some people live in pursuit of power or love or money or popularity. But at the core of those things is purpose—they are looking for something that will fulfill them.

In Jesus, we find an eternal purpose. When you live for Jesus Christ, you’ll always have a reason to get up the next day. Why? Because your purpose is not tied to yourself. It’s not tied to something that can be lost like money. It’s not tied to something as fleeting as popularity. It’s tied to eternity and the Kingdom of God.

In psychology, the principle of transference describes when a person redirects feelings and desires from one object to another. When we try to find acceptance, identity, security and purpose from a spouse rather than from God, that’s transference. It will always result in disappointment.

Transference ruins marriages because people fail. But God’s love never fails. Only He can meet your deepest needs. And when your find your needs met in Him—when your personal spiritual health improves—your marriage will improve, too.


How to Date and Successfully Marry

Watch the Video

Not That One! 

When You Believe in God But Aren’t Sure He Loves You
by Craig Groeschel, from The Christian Atheist

Meet Craig

God is love

Editor’s note: We hope you enjoy reading as well as listening to this devotion from The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel. Listen on our blog or on your Alexa device. Alexa users, simply enable the “Devotionals” skill and prompt, “Alexa, ask Devotionals to read me today’s devotion.”


Several years ago, I was having lunch with a man I had just met. For some reason, he opened up to me about his struggling marriage. When I asked him how God fit into his marriage, his countenance darkened, and he cut me off: “I don’t believe in God, and I don’t want to talk about religion.”

Not wanting to push too hard, I respected his stance and continued to talk about his marriage without mentioning anything more about God. He interrupted me again, repeating that he didn’t believe in God and that he didn’t want me to push religion on him.

I stopped in puzzlement, then resumed the conversation, all the more resolved not to mention God. A third time he blurted out, “I don’t want to talk about God. I don’t believe in God.”

Finally it dawned on me: This hurting man really did want to talk about God. Since he wouldn’t drop the subject, I asked carefully, “Tell me about this God you don’t believe in.” He was happy to oblige. He said he didn’t believe in a God who was angry, always waiting to catch people doing wrong, and who delighted in sending people to hell.

This time I interrupted: “That’s really interesting. I don’t believe in that God either.”

He looked confused. “But I thought you were a pastor.”

Seeing a slightly open door, I explained, “I believe in a good God who takes a personal interest in all of us. My God loved the world so much that He was willing to send His Son, Jesus, to die for us. I believe in a God who loves you more than you could ever imagine.”

The man looked at me sadly, obviously carrying a heavy load of spiritual pain. After a moment, he said, “I wish I could believe in that God, like you.”

This honest man’s words give voice to a reality that many of us experience daily in silence. My whole life I’ve heard the phrase “God loves you.” I’ve seen it on bumper stickers, heard it in sermons, and listened to it in songs on Christian radio. It’s one thing to hear this with our ears, and another to understand it with our hearts.

This is the root of a challenge for many Christian Atheists: belief in God doesn’t automatically result in the belief — the genuine heart conviction — that God loves us.

Oddly, our disbelief doesn’t necessarily question whether God can or does love people. We Christian Atheists can easily believe that God loves other people; we just can’t comprehend how or why He’d love us. We hide our real selves from other people to ensure they won’t reject us. How much more we hide from God! There’s just no way God could love someone as undeserving and evil as I am.

Undeserved Love

When Amy and I were first married, we purchased a tiny home that was built in 1910. Unfortunately, there were only two shoebox-sized closets in the entire house — enough space to hang a dozen shirts, but no place to hang guests’ coats, hide a plunger, or store a bag of dog food. Thankfully, we could store things in the basement, which worked great until our first big rainstorm.

Our realtor neglected to mention that the basement flooded several times a year, which unfortunately we discovered one day when driving home through a torrential rain. It was raining not only cats and dogs but also billy goats and llamas. After about an hour of downpour, we arrived home to find the basement flooded with three feet of water. What few valuables we owned were, to our dismay, trying their best to make like sponges.

I leaped into the torrent and found myself standing waist deep in water. Amy, peering safely from four steps up, helpfully reminded me that the previous owners had left a sump pump in the basement. I remembered seeing it, so I felt around until I found it. And its power cord. (Can you see where this is going?) Looking around for an outlet, I noticed the end of an extension cord dangling from a rafter directly overhead. Standing waist deep in water, one cord in each hand, I had a spark — so to speak — of inspiration: if I plug this in really, really, really quickly, maybe I won’t get shocked.

I pressed the two metal prongs of the pump cord into the corresponding slits in the extension cord. When they connected, I saw into another dimension. My body became a pathway for billions and billions of teeny tiny electrons, an open channel for the power currents that coursed through the cords. The piercing shock triggered certain neurons in the language center of my brain, where a long-unused word — a very bad word — was stored.

Milliseconds later, the sheer force of the electrical current pushed the foul word toward the front of my face and out of my mouth. I remember looking up to see the horror on my new wife’s face. Her preacher-husband had just shouted the mother of all bad words. She also was certain it would be the last thing he ever said.

Obviously, I lived to see another day. And the pump worked. But that moment shocked me in more ways than one. How could the same heart that speaks of the love and glory of Christ utter such filth? And more important, how could God love someone as bad as I was? You might be thinking, That’s nothing! And you’d be right. I’ve done so many worse things.

But that was in my old life. Now I was a pastor. I was newly married and still trying to prove to myself that I was worthy of Amy’s love. And God’s.

I felt bad about myself and distant from God because of my sinfulness. Job, the man who lost everything, said,

My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself. — Job 42:5-6

Have you ever felt like that?

The closer I get to God, the more I realize just how bad I am. Even the apostle Paul — who penned two-thirds of the New Testament — had some seriously negative feelings about himself. He wrote,

I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. — 1 Corinthians 15:9

If Paul felt that way, it’s no wonder that I’ve wondered how God could love someone as bad as I am. It isn’t only our sense of guilt that prevents us from believing that God loves us — sometimes it is a simple sense of insignificance.

When Christian Atheists look at the world — famine, drought, epidemics, AIDS, war, poverty, human trafficking, genocide — we wonder why God would love people as insignificant as we are. Six billion people inhabit this planet; how could God love us all? That doesn’t seem possible, let alone likely, and surely God has bigger things on His mind.

It turns out that many people in the Bible battled similar feelings of insignificance. When God asked Moses to deliver God’s people out of slavery, Moses responded,

Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? — Exodus 3:11

King David, who was described as a man after God’s own heart, asked that very same question:

But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to You? — 1 Chronicles 29:14 NLT

When an angel of the Lord encouraged Gideon to take on the Midianites, he immediately offered his not-so-impressive resume to prove why he wasn’t up for the task. The insecure warrior said,

But Lord… how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family. — Judged 6:15-16

If these stories tell us anything, it’s that we’re in good company if we’ve ever felt like we’re not good enough or important enough to be loved by God.

I didn’t begin to understand how God could love so many people equally until I had more than one child. In 1994, Catie, our first child, was born. From the moment she smiled, Catie had me wrapped around her little finger, the classic daddy’s girl. When we found out we were having a second daughter, I remember wondering, “How could we love another as much as the first?” It seemed impossible. Then Mandy was born. She is Catie’s opposite in many ways, and yet I found more love in my heart. I love her just as much, but with an individual kind of love.

Three years later, Anna was born. Again, I discovered an untapped reservoir of love that I didn’t know I had. The same was true with Sam, then later Stephen, and finally with Joy. God gave us six very different children. I love them all equally, but I love them each as individuals.

That’s how God loves you.

You are one of His children. He’s crazy about you. There is nothing you can do to make God love you more. And there is nothing you can do to make God love you less. Love is not something God does. It is who God is. And because of who He is, God loves you. Period.

Dare to claim the truth of John 3:16 for yourself:

For God so loved [insert your name] that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Why would God love you? Because that’s who God is: He’s love. And that makes you who you are: beloved.

Excerpted with permission from The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel, copyright Craig Groeschel. Published by Zondervan.

Your Turn

Do you wonder how God could possibly love you with all your messes, wicked thoughts, and bad deeds? Today, take some time to think about the fact that God IS love, which means He cannot help but love you no matter what you do or do not do? Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily



I hadn’t thought about it that way. What we believe about God and Who He really is can be very different. Maybe the closer we get, the more we see the depth of our need! We see how rotten, how far away we gone to get away from the person who knows everything about us already. Yup, name, address, phone number(s) and what we’re doing. He even knows how many hairs still need brushed or combed today. 

Like a Father, He disciplines His children. Just like you do or did. Yet never for something were not doing, unless we are not doing what is right. We chose the wrong things and hope there right or at least half right. We go in debt or get sick and don’t know why, or claim not to know. When storms, earthquakes, fires and destroy our towns and a big chunk of our State, we demand to know why, when we already know. Too many criminals, lies, too many God haters and then get angry because our cars, trucks, homes and boats get destroyed. Even you punish your children for lying, who do you think punish you when you lie! God does. The Creator of Heaven and earth. Who put the the sun and the moon in the sky, creates boundaries for ocean and us. 

Those who obey the devil (a fallen angel) are plagued with financial and health problems and those who chose Jesus are blessed the good health, and balanced budgets most if the time. Like anyone else we are not immune to doing and making unwise choices. 

I read a article in a newspaper recently, and realized someone lifestyle had done a lot great things, then I realized it wasn’t talking about the person he had become. He was viscous, brutal to some people and tried to hide that lifestyle from the public. He did things that made him look great in the public eye. Not thinking that multitude’s knew how he was really like. 

“Lord, help me treat people better than I get treated!” God bless.

The “Cause” of the First Causeby Ravi Zacharias

Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the Earth! — Psalm 8:1
Devotionals Daily
The “Cause” of the First Cause
by Ravi Zacharias, from Has Christianity Failed You?

Meet Ravi Zacharias
Our Lord is magestic
I am a Christian because I believe that Jesus is who He says He is, and I have accepted His sacrifice as payment for my sin. Beyond that, the first and foremost assertion of Christianity is implied by the question, What is man? The answer the psalmist gives to his own question demonstrates a starting point for Christianity that is different from any other belief system, secular or religious, except for Judaism:

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. — Psalm 8:3-5

These magnificent words were penned nearly three thousand years ago by a man marveling at the beauty and diversity of what he saw around him in nature — and yet recognizing the distinctiveness of a human being in contrast to nature.

A story circulated some years ago about Sherlock Holmes and his loyal friend and student Watson, who were together on a camping trip. After a good meal, they lay down for the night and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend awake.

“Watson,” he said, “look up at the sky and tell me what you see.” “I see millions and millions of stars,” Watson replied.

Watson pondered the question and then said, “Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all-powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?”

Holmes was silent for a minute before speaking. “Watson, you idiot!” he said with a measure of restraint. “Someone has stolen our tent!”

As funny as this story is, if we apply it to our present discussion, we see that an enormous robbery has taken place in which someone has stolen from you that which provides shelter or the covering for your life. It is not accidental that those who stick to a scientific single vision of ultimate reality start by denying a Creator, and from there, all of the disciplines are herded together to create a mentality that asserts that any worldview seeking a transcendent explanation for our universe is unwelcome in intelligent discussion. When science categorically and unconditionally insists to all who hunger for religious truth that there is no such thing, it has ceased to be science and is only revealing its hostility.

This, I’m afraid, is what is revealed by the stridency and belligerence of the “new atheists.” They are not open or willing to go where the evidence leads, unless that evidence sustains their own naturalistic assumptions. They have covertly reduced all philosophical thought and deduction to — ironically — faith. Perhaps inadvertently, in denying a Creator they also deny the essential worth of creation and of the act of creating, which means, then, that all great art, music, architecture, and writing must be consigned to the ash heap, because the inspiration behind these great expressions and reflections of the transcendent is denied as non-real or faith (it cannot be scientifically or empirically studied or observed). The same must apply to all the great themes of love, beauty, truth, morality, justice, and the like, as they too cannot be empirically or scientifically studied and observed.

The starting points, then, of Christianity and naturalistic science diverge, and unfortunately the resulting conflict often brings more heat than light. For when the starting point of one belief system is an intelligent mind with a purpose and that of the opposing belief system is matter and randomness, the ending points are determined right from the beginning.

On a side note, I would like to say that certain people who held these beliefs of naturalism could have saved me a lot of reading. In my days of graduate studies the noted philosopher Antony Flew was the atheist with whom we had to contend. I spent hours coming to terms with Flew’s arguments and all that he demanded of theism in terms of logic and proof. Because he was the most noted atheist of that time, it was imperative that we understood and were able to respond to his challenges.

Now times have changed, and Antony Flew finds himself in the position of writing against the vociferous atheists of our day because he contends that atheism is no longer a logically tenable position for him. He is willing, he says, to go where the evidence leads. In his book There Is a God, Flew reflects on an argument regarding the probability of human origin that he had to deal with in his younger days.

The argument runs like this: How long would it take for an infinite number of monkeys pounding on an infinite number of typewriters to compose a sonnet by Shakespeare? (Believe it or not, this argument was based on an experiment conducted by the British National Council of the Arts.) A computer was placed in a cage with six monkeys, and after one month of hammering away at the keys and using the computer as a bathroom, the monkeys produced fifty typed pages — but not one single word.

This is amazing, considering that the shortest word in English could be a one-letter word such as the letter a or I. But a one-letter word is only a word if there is space on either side of it. Flew points out that if one considers that there are thirty keys on a keyboard, the possibility of getting a one-letter word is one in 30 x 30 x 30, which is one in 27,000. If these attempts could not even result in one one-letter word, what is the possibility of getting just the first line of one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, let alone a whole sonnet? Flew quotes scientist and author Gerry Schroeder on the sheer improbability of the random existence of the universe:

If you took the entire universe and converted it to computer chips — forget the monkeys — each one weighing a millionth of a gram, and had each computer chip able to spin out 488 trials at, say, a million times a second; if you turn the entire universe into these microcomputer chips and these chips were spinning a million times a second [producing] random letters, the number of trials you would get since the beginning of time would be 10 to the 90th trials. It would be off again by a factor of 10 to the 600th. You will never get a sonnet by chance — let alone the complete works of Shakespeare. The Universe would have to be 10 to the 600th times larger. Yet the world just thinks the monkeys can do it every time.

For Flew, the sheer improbability that such an intricate design as we have in this universe is the product of mindless evolution is insurmountable; the universe must have purpose and design behind it.

As powerful an argument as statistical improbability is, a simple point I want to make here is that although the specifics may be different, this is not a new argument for the improbability of chance. Antony Flew knows this to be so. But I must add that no dyed-in-the-wool naturalist is likely to suggest that our universe could not have beaten such odds. They will say that just because it is improbable, it doesn’t mean that the universe didn’t happen this way — a view that vehemently resists both human limitation and the humility required to follow reason where it leads. Instead, they will wax eloquent, like Watson, on endless categories of convoluted descriptions of what “might” or “could” have happened, all the while ignoring the most obvious deduction or conclusion before them as to the origin of the universe — that it was a deliberate act of creation by an intelligent being. Stubbornly and deliberately ignoring that “the tent has disappeared,” there is no way for naturalists to account for human relational hungers, so they refuse to recognize that these hungers are validated by the real fact that people relate to other people through a relationship.

To even think we could get a Shakespearean sonnet by accident assumes, first, that we have other sonnets to which we can compare the “accidental” one in order to know that it is indeed a Shakespearean sonnet and, second, that whenever we see intelligibility we assume intelligence. Even if the monkeys could have produced a sonnet by accident, we would still wonder at the intelligence behind the technology of the keys and the development of the alphabet, the aesthetics of this sonnet in comparison with other sonnets, and, to boot, whether the monkeys knew what they were doing.

The numerical impossibility actually defies even the “chance” analogy. And in the origin of the universe, as naturalism tells the story, there are no monkeys to begin with. The monkeys evolved from chemistry and energy after the universe already existed. There are no alphabets to be explained. There is no idea of a sonnet except as nonexistent monkeys pounding on nonexistent keys. All these assumptions are circular.

Let me illustrate this point a little differently through the fascinating story of George Frideric Handel’s composition of Messiah. His career as a composer was on the verge of collapse, and he was naturally discouraged, feeling that he was a failure. The words for Messiah were given to him as a possible oratorio, and he decided to try one last time to compose a great piece of music. When he reached the text for the “Hallelujah Chorus” and began to reflect on the words, he said later that he saw the heavens opened and the great God himself. And as the great chorus reached its climax at the first public presentation of Messiah before the king of England, the king rose to his feet in recognition of the awesome power of the words and music combining to give honor to the One to whom honor is due. The convergence of intelligence, aesthetics, and the inspirational power of a transcending reality in the person of God has the power to bring even kings either to their feet or to their knees.

All of this is dismissed as mere nonsense by the skeptic. Not only does he take that which appears statistically impossible and try to make it actual; he takes the emotion and spiritual expression that is common to the human experience, and is therefore actual, and tries to make it farcical. Is it really possible to deny such a reality as that described by Handel’s experience in writing the music for Messiah without even a twinge of doubt that perhaps there is more to life than science alone?


This intertwining of the disciplines with relationship that is both “intrapersonal” and “interpersonal,” within and without, reveals a distinctiveness that we must recognize as sacred and inviolable. But this is denied repeatedly in naturalism, which insists that we just happen to be here, that we’re all just “dancing to our DNA,” as Richard Dawkins puts it. For the Christian, the awesome nature of the world we are part of does not point to brute science in isolation but to the Creator, a personal God who can and does relate to human beings.

Excerpted with permission from Has Christianity Failed You? by Ravi Zacharias, copyright Ravi Zacharias. Published by Zondervan

* * *

Forward to a Friend

Your Turn

Has Christianity failed you? Do you remember why you are a Christian? Are you relating on a personal level with our God who is so deeply personal?Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

It’s a New Day: The Choice is Yours

It’s a New Day: The Choice is Yours
by Max Lucado, from Let the Journey Begin

Hi, I'm Max Lucado
Seek His grace
It’s quiet. It’s early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming.

In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met. For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now that I must make a choice.

Because of Calvary, I’m free to choose. And so I choose.

I choose love. No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.

I choose joy. I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical… the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.

I choose peace. I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.

I choose patience. I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite Him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

I choose kindness. I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I choose goodness. I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.

I choose faithfulness. Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.

I choose gentleness. Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.

I choose self-control. I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithful-ness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.

This devotion is excerpted with permission fromLet the Journey Begin by Max Lucado, copyright Thomas Nelson.

It’s Your Turn

Are you setting out on a new journey? Or has life sent you on a detour? What choices are you making to commit to God’s best for you each day?Join the conversation on our blog about where God is taking you!

What Does the Blood and Water That Came out of Jesus’ Pierced Side Mean?

One man’s opinion, what’s yours?

What Does the Blood and Water That Came out of Jesus’ Pierced Side Mean?

June 11 2017


John 19:32-34 includes details about Jesus’ crucifixion not recorded in the other three Gospels:

“The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other man who had been crucified with Him. But coming to Jesus, when they saw that He had already died, they did not break His legs; but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.”

Hours after the Lord Jesus was crucified, the soldiers broke the legs of the two criminals who were crucified with Him. The Romans routinely broke the legs of crucified prisoners to hasten their deaths, but since Jesus had already died, they left His legs unbroken. One of them, though, pierced His side with a spear, and out came blood and water.

What is the meaning of these details found uniquely in John? Why did he include them? Some think it was simply to prove Jesus had died. But John already established the fact that Jesus had died by writing that the soldiers saw He had died and therefore didn’t break His legs. So why did John include this word about blood and water? What does it mean?

The emphasis of the Gospel of John

To answer this question, we first need to see the emphasis of John’s Gospel. The four Gospels form a complete biography of our Lord Jesus. In Matthew we see Jesus as the King with His kingdom; in Mark we see Jesus as the slave of God who came to serve God and man faithfully; in Luke we see Jesus as the unique man who expressed God through His fine humanity; and in John we see Jesus as the Son of God, that is, God Himself, coming to bring divine life to mankind. The emphasis of the Gospel of John is life.

Pictures in John

The things of divine life are deep and mysterious, so John uses pictures throughout His Gospel to reveal them. For instance, John 1:29 records John the Baptist saying of Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” We know the Lord Jesus isn’t a literal lamb with four legs and fluffy coat, but the picture of Jesus as the Lamb of God shows us something beyond words alone. In it we immediately recognize the meekness, gentleness, and guiltlessness of the Lord who sacrificed Himself for us, even without any explanation.

Some other pictures in John include the heavenly ladder, the serpent on a pole, the living bread, the living water, and the vine with the branches. These pictures help communicate deep spiritual realities more adequately than a thousand words alone could. What spiritual reality, then, does the blood and water from the Lord’s pierced side convey?

The picture of blood and water

The note on blood and water in the New Testament Recovery Version is tremendously helpful in understanding this picture. (We’ll focus on just some of it in this post, but you can read the note in its entirely here.)

“Two substances came out of the Lord’s pierced side: blood and water. Blood is for redemption, to deal with sins (1:29Heb. 9:22) for the purchasing of the church (Acts 20:28). Water is for imparting life, to deal with death (12:24;3:14-15) for the producing of the church (Eph. 5:29-30). The Lord’s death, on the negative side, takes away our sins, and on the positive side, imparts life into us. Hence, it has two aspects: the redemptive aspect and the life-imparting aspect. The redemptive aspect is for the life-imparting aspect.”

This note helps us see that the blood and water signify two important matters: redemption (blood) and the imparting of life (water). In another post, we discussed the Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God who shed His own blood on the cross for us. Christ’s redeeming death accomplished a marvelous redemption for us, giving us the forgiveness and washing away of our sins. We can never praise and thank Him enough for His redemption! This is the significance of the blood.

But God doesn’t simply want us to be clean. He wants us to be living. Sin brought in death, making us dead in our offenses and sins. So while an unsaved person needs forgiveness for his sins, forgiveness only solves part of his problem. A sinner needs forgiveness, but a dead person needs life. We need life. Christ’s death absolutely takes away our sins, but it also imparts life into us to make us living. This is the significance of the water.

Jesus’ death released the divine life

Jesus’ death made it possible for us to have divine life imparted into us. Let’s read another section of the note mentioned above:

“…the flowing water and the unbroken bone mentioned by John in vv. 34 and 36 are signs that relate to the life-imparting aspect of the Lord’s death (see note 261). This death that imparts life released the Lord’s divine life from within Him for the producing of the church, which is composed of all His believers, into whom His divine life has been imparted.”

In John 12, Jesus referred to Himself as the grain of wheat that would fall into the ground and die. A grain of wheat is a seed. Within the shell of a seed is a life force, a life element; but as long as the seed remains whole, the life within stays confined to that one seed. For the life to be released, the seed must fall into the ground and “die.” That falling into the ground may seem wholly negative, but actually this is the only way the life confined within the seed can come forth and bear much fruit.

In the same way, the Lord Jesus is the Son of God who became a man in time and space. Within this wonderful God-man was the divine life, confined within a human shell. From the beginning, God’s desire was that we would receive His divine life as our life. But to get into us, the divine life in Christ had to first be released from within the shell of His humanity. So Jesus’ fell into the ground and died, and through His death, life was released!

The water that issued out of the Lord’s pierced side is a picture of the released divine life that can now be imparted into us. Praise God, life was released in Jesus’ death!

Two fountains

Today, as the Lord’s beloved church purchased with His blood and produced with His life, we have the blood and the water to enjoy forever. Let’s read the last paragraph of the note:

“The Lord’s pierced side was prefigured by Adam’s opened side, out from which Eve was produced (Gen. 2:21-23). The blood was typified by the blood of the Passover lamb (Exo. 12:722Rev. 12:11), and the water was typified by the water that flowed out of the smitten rock (Exo. 17:61 Cor. 10:4). The blood formed a fountain for the washing away of sin (Zech. 13:1), and the water became the fountain of life(Psa. 36:9Rev. 21:6).”

Praise the Lord for His redeeming and life-imparting death, for the blood and the water. His death opened two fountains to meet all our needs:

Zechariah 13:1: “In that day there will be an opened fountain for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity.”

Psalm 36:9: “For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.”

At the fountain for sin we can continue to be washed from our sins by Jesus’ precious blood by confessing anything that comes between us and God. As we’re cleansed by His blood, we can receive more of the divine life by drinking of Him, the fountain of life. Thank the Lord for His wonderful death for us!

Revelation 21:6: “I will give to him who thirsts from the spring of the water of life freely