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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

08 August 2005

The Bible and Polygamy

Q: What do you feel the Bible says about polygamy?

A: God made one woman for the first man. He said (and was quoted by Jesus and Paul) that “a man shall … hold fast to his wife,” not “wives” (Gen 2:24). Jesus quoted this passage during His discourse on divorce. Paul included it in his teaching on marriage, using it to help illustrate the relationship between Christ and His Church.

While polygamy is often mentioned, Scripture never says that plural marriages are the preferred practice. While at times it served to protect a widow from poverty, many instances show the jealousy and other sinful thoughts and deeds stemming from multiple wives or concubines.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.


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