1. Religion & Spirituality
Mary Fairchild

What Constitutes a Biblical Marriage?

By May 29, 2012

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I often receive questions about the biblical definition of marriage:

  • Is a wedding ceremony required?
  • Do I have to be legally married to be married in the eyes of God?
  • Isn't a marriage ceremony just a man-made tradition?
What Constitutes a Biblical Marriage?
Image: © Petr Kurecka
The Bible does not give specific details or directions about a marriage ceremony, yet it does mention weddings in several places. Jesus attended the wedding at Cana in John 2. Wedding ceremonies were a well-established tradition in Jewish history and in Bible times. Scripture is clear about marriage being a holy and divinely established covenant. It is equally clear about our obligation to honor and obey the laws of our earthly governments, which are also divinely established authorities. But, before we go any further, let's stop and examine the issue.

There are three commonly held beliefs about what constitutes a marriage in the eyes of God:

  1. The couple is married in the eyes of God when the physical union is consummated through sexual intercourse.
  2. The couple is married in the eyes of God when the couple is legally married.
  3. The couple is married in the eyes of God after they have participated in a formal religious wedding ceremony.
Let's break this down and see what the Bible says about the marriage covenant:
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