Written by Paul J Bucknell on November, 03, 2020
Properly Caring for Polygamous Wives (Mark 10, 1 Corinthians 7)
The Question on Divorce and Polygamy
This man has married two wives, each wife has children with him. Truly, he has been so caring, supportive and indeed become a good and wonderful father to both families respectively. Now, this man has seen the light in Christ and read the New Testament. After his conversion, he is contemplating on Mark 10 and 1 Corinthians 7 on divorce, remarriage, and polygamy, but he can’t even decide.
Please what do you think he has to do in this situation?
The Discussion on Polygamy
One thought comes to my mind—make for peace.
“16 Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another” (Romans 14:16-19).
We have sinned and made poor decisions in our former lives before knowing Christ; we should not worsen our situations with ungodly decisions. The most loving thing to do is to continue to father, love, and care. Like Jacob, he needs to accept his situation and seek God’s blessings within his limited condition. He should expect God’s abundant blessing as God redeems it.
In his case, he has the opportunity to admit to his poor, former worldly decision-making to his wives, family, and perhaps the village, thus leading them all to understand having one wife is God’s design. At the same time, he should speak about the ideal way God has designed things. As God opens doors, he should use this as an evangelistic opportunity to share the design of marriage and how God seeks one bride now in Christ, calling for people to follow Christ and enjoy His faithful love for them.
Some would suggest for him to divorce one of his wives, but I believe that if both are willing to live with him on becoming a believer, then he should continue to love and support them with God’s grace, following the advice in 1 Corinthians 7.
“10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband 11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife” (1 Cor 7:10-11 NASB).
The situations behind the need for divorce differ in polygamous situations.
The only Biblical texts that appear against this advice come from the end of Ezra where the Israelites are told to divorce their pagan wives (Ezra 10). But this situation is very different. In Ezra, the faithful Israelites became impure by taking pagan wives, thus threatening the faith’s purity. In this brother’s case, he has become pure by belief in Christ, and God has made him the means to bring the Gospel of Christ to others.
“12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy” (1 Cor 7:12-14).
So if we take the advice from the apostle above, then we can understand that the Lord is seeking to save his family members through him. This man’s situation is not a matter of weakness and sin after salvation but from before he was saved.
My suggestion is that he be at peace and seek the Lord to be a grand blessing to his families like Abraham to the world. We should not seek polygamy, but when Christ seeks us in our sin, He gently works with us, restoring us, so that we can best manifest His glory and love. By supporting them and being a father, he can display God’s fatherly love and care for the lost. From my perspective, he can best “pursue the things which make for peace” by remaining married to both. If one wife prefers not to continue in marriage because of his faith, then divorce is permissible, but he still needs to care for and support them.
Discussion Questions on Polygamy and Divorce
- What is wrong with polygamy?
- What is it in Mark 10 and 1 Corinthians 7 that might have prompted this brother with the question of what to do with his wives?
- What guidance does the advice to pursue peace make in this setting (Rom 14:19)? Thinking of a setting in your house and apply this teaching.
- Why would some suggest for him to divorce a wife?
- What principles of love and witness can this man maintain if he continues to love and care for his wives?
- On what basis does Paul suggest that he could divorce a wife (1 Cor 7:10-11)?
- What positive things could this man state about the perfect design of marriage in contrast to polygamy?
For further study on polygamy by Paul Bucknell:
Serial polygamy of today causes family problems just like it did 4000 years ago. • Abraham’s Faith Tested (22). In his obedience to God, he is willing to sacrifice.
(6) Those Mormons who were sealed in the eternal marriage ceremony expect to become polygamous gods in the Celestial Kingdom, rule over other planets, ...
https://www.foundationsforfreedom.net/.../Christian families are breaking apart left and right. They suffer because they are not living by the truth of God. At any point they have hope if they would repent and ...
Jun 24, 2009 ... This raised issues of polygamy. The sessions on reconciliation showed how to restore broken relationships which is good not just for marriages ...
Polygamy • Divorce – Rampant even among Christians • Hedonism – Live for the pleasure of the moment o It’s okay as long as my spouse does not find out, ...