Daily Bible Nugget #515, Titus 1:6

The Nugget:

Titus 1:6  If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

My Comment:

I have a Facebook friend who is a devoted follower of Islam. He has posted several comments on Facebook where he challenges Christians to prove that there is a verse in the Bible that explicitly and directly forbids polygamy.

My Response:

Muniru Adebambo, I believe you need to learn to read the Bible more carefully.
Your claim is that “There is no single verse in the Bible that commands one man one wife.”
In one way, your claim is correct, but it is flawed.
The first flaw in your claim is that it is posed in the “exact word” manner, which is a logical flaw.
It is a logical flaw because
(1) the Bible teaches what you deny but does not teach it in the way you are demanding.
(2) It is a logical flaw because your assertion or claim does not take into account the Rule of Interpretation which requires us to take into account what is taught in the Bible by necessary inference.
I shared with you before that God certainly intended that marriage be between one man and one wife. We see that from Genesis 2:24 and context in the Old Testament. We see this from the fact that Jesus quoted this very verse in the New Testament when addressing the question about proper grounds for divorce (Matthew 19:4, 5;  Mark 10:7). Jesus never condoned polygamy.
There are echoes of the Bible’s stance on monogamy as opposed to polygamy in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
In the Old Testament, kings were commanded by the Law of Moses not to multiply wives to themselves, as stated in Deuteronomy 17:17. If language means anything, and as a linguistic scholar I am certain it does, the necessary inference to be taken from this command is that God only approves of monogamy, not polygamy.
In the New Testament, God gave the command by divine inspiration through the Apostle Paul that Christian leaders must be the “husband of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6). By necessary inference, such a standard for Christian behavior and living does not apply only to Christian leaders but to all Christians. The New Testament does not teach a two-tiered standard of morality and holiness, one that applies to the leadership and another that applies to all other Christians.
Yet, when we consider the Bible in its cultural setting, it is clear that the Bible existed at the same time that some cultures practiced polygamy. Therefore, the Bible is culturally sensitive and does not directly denounce and forbid polygamy. But it must also be observed that the Bible never commends the practice of polygamy. It does denounce and forbid adultery.
So, as a hypothetical case, if a polygamist in Africa or some other part of the world were to become a genuine Christian, would he be required to divorce all but his first wife? There is no evidence in the Bible that I am aware of that would require this. But the Christian who carefully reads and studies the New Testament, and the Bible as a whole, would surely come to the necessary conclusion, derived by necessary inference, that his children if they in turn become faithful followers of Christ, would practice monogamy not polygamy, as is seen quite uniformly by the spread of Christianity throughout Christian history.

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2 Responses to Daily Bible Nugget #515, Titus 1:6

  1. Jerry says:

    My Muslim friend answered me with the following comment:

    Muniru Adebambo Mr Jerome Smith, you’re just repeating what we have discussed and forgotten.
    If GOD Almighty did not want polygamy, HE would have given law that backs it in Deut21:15 downward.

    Jesus never condemned polygamy nor enforced monogamy.

    I told you in matt5:17-20, Jesus said I have not come to destroy the law or the prophets but to fulfill it…, if this is what Jesus came to do, then he was fully in support of polygamy.
    Jesus never enforced monogamy, he only made love, togetherness and unity mandatory between husbands and wives, either monogamy or polygamy, as long as there’s love.

    If in Deut17:17, the would-be king in Israel must not multiply wives. If you carefully look at this, the law is not for everybody, that’s why Deut21:15 downward has proffered solution to living a polygamous life successfully.

    I still maintain there’s no law that says only one man and one woman is allowed in marriage.

    Except you want to remind us that bible teachings are different from christian teachings.

  2. Jerry says:

    I replied to my Muslim friend as follows:

    Muniru Adebambo, thank you for reading my comment. If you would kindly read it again, you may receive even more insight. When I read something, I find it helpful to read it more than once for greater understanding.

    You will kindly note that I agreed with you that there is no direct command against polygamy in either the Old Testament or the New Testament. I explained why that is so.

    I also gave you the Bible references that demonstrate, upon careful reading, that polygamy is not approved, but only condoned. For Christian leadership, and therefore for all Christians, monogamy is the only state of marriage that the New Testament, and the Bible as a whole, approves or commends.

    Once again, I suggest that your failure to agree with me is based upon (1) your prior commitment to an untruth, and (2) your failure to understand and apply the hermeneutical principle which I have mentioned repeatedly called the rule of necessary inference.

    Therefore, I believe your statement that “Except you want to remind us that Bible teachings are different from Christian teachings” is not quite correct.

    You might better conclude that Bible teachings are different from Muslim teachings, which would be correct.

    If you will read the Bible with greater care, you would come to understand that polygamy brought very unfortunate consequences to many, if not all, who practiced it.

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