Bible Polygyny

"For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two of them shall be one flesh."
This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
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Eph 5:31-32.

 

 

Ephesians 5 is another abused passage used to show that monogamy is the only option for Christians today. It is argued that since Christ is the bridegroom and the church is the bride and since Christ has only one bride then husbands should only have one wife.

Further, the monogamy only exponents insist, since there is only "one church" then husbands should only have one wife.

This refutation assumes that Ephesians 5 is referring to Christ as the "husband" or "bridegroom", or that the church of Ephesians is the "bride" or "wife" and also assumes the traditional but unscriptural position that there is only "one true church".

First of all the student of the Word will carefully acknowledge that Ephesians 5 is not teaching any of these assumed positions. It neither teaches one true church nor that any betrothal relationship exists between our Lord and the church of today.

The words "bridegroom" and "bride" are missing here and how can the church which is Christ's body be in any way referred to in the female sense.

In Ephesians 5 Christ is the Head of the masculine church which is his Body. Please observe the following masculine passages in Ephesians;

Eph 1:22-23 ..Him to be Head over all things to the church, which is His body,
Eph 2:15  having abolished in His flesh the enmity...so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man,
Eph 4:8, 12-13 ... He..gave gifts to men." ...for the edifying of the body of Christ... until we all come into the unity of the faith ... to a full-grown man.

Those who are desperate to call the church of today the “bride” have totally failed to examine Ephesians 5 carefully for there is no basis therein for the "Christ has only one Bride" refutation. Interested believers will find Christ's wife in Rev.21:2, 9-10, 22:17,19.

The fact remains there are at least three "called out companies" or churches in Scripture and in two of them our Lord is found in betrothal relationships.

Firstly as Jehovah of the OT our Lord is the husband of Israel as seen in Jeremiah 31 and as confirmed here:
Isa 54:5 For your Maker is your husband; Jehovah of Hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be called.

As this verse shows, there is a future for Israel, and in that future Christ will be their husband.

Secondly, He is the Bridegroom of "the Bride", that "remnant according to the election of grace" which believed during the Gospel and Acts period when most of Israel were unrepentant and contradicting. Paul uses the female figure when writing to the Corinthians;
2Co 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy. For I have espoused you to one Man, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.
There is a future for this company, and in that future our Lord will be the Bridegroom and they will rejoice with Him in the marriage supper of the Lamb.

In the future our Lord will have those two marriage relationships in operation at the same time so why do we insist on arguing that polygyny is unacceptable today? Remember Isaiah 4:1?

Here are two companies figured as wives of the Lord. Now if folk knew these facts why would they go to Ephesians 5 to argue monogamy? For if He is already in two betrothal relationship then Ephesians 5 would make Him the "husband" of a third if the called out company of today is another wife.

However Ephesians 5 is not a passage teaching that Christ is a husband or a bridegroom, neither is it about marriage structure; not any exposition by Paul about monogamy or polygyny. That monogamy only Christians appeal to this passage shows the paucity of material they have at their disposal and the lengths they are prepared to go to argue their cultural and traditional position from out of context Scriptures.


In Ephesians 5, Paul emphasizes a number of features relating to husbands and wives and their respective roles using Christ and His relationship to and love for the church, as guiding principles.

In the following verses Paul writes of our Lord's headship and reveals that just as Christ is the Head of the Church, so the
husband is the head of the wife. Some use these verses to show the one to many relationship of Christ as Head to us as individual members of the church and in like manner a husband is capable of providing headship to a number of wives. But the fact remains, this is not Paul declaring Christ as a husband with one wife;
Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

Likewise Christ loved the church by giving Himself for it and the husband, in this same manner, is to love his wife. Husbands please note, the love of Christ had an object in view for the "church", and so ours should be for our wives;
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it,
Eph 5:26 that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word,
Eph 5:27 that He might present it to Himself as the glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that it should be holy and without blemish.


Husbands have great spiritual responsibility in the matter of their wife or wives. It is the husband who is to be the Head, the spiritual tone setter of the home. The husband is to see to the prayers; the reading of God's Word and the study thereof. It is the husband who is to provide the environment for the wives' spiritual security and development. Anything less is a desertion of the headship given by God to the husband. Let each husband meditate upon the tragedy of Genesis 3.

Husbands will not forget that in the beginning an enmity is revealed;
Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman,

Would to God that every husband who reads this page realizes his responsibility in that there is a goal in view for the wives. The husband is to labour in order that he might facilitate the presentation of each wife as being glorified, without spot or wrinkle holy and without blemish. Could that presentation of the wife by the husband be to Christ in that day, or could that be to the husband now? Why not both? Great blessings here now for the husband who so labours and loves to present his wives in such conditions. Note this is not the husband "saving" his wives in a doctrinal or initial sense. Any wives who have such a husband are likewise well blessed now and holding positive expectations for that day of judgment having been encouraged and aided through life by the husband.

Some say there is a metaphor in this following section but the Word speaks of a great mystery with no mention of a “bride”. The indivisible bond, the great union of Christ as head and the Church which is His Body is paralleled to the marriage union. Paul uses Gen.2:24 which in this and every other context affirms that divine union between a man and a woman who have decided to be husband and wife and is never, repeat never, used in a context against polygyny.
Eph 5:28 So men ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Eph 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord loves the church.
Eph 5:30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.
Eph 5:31 "For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two of them shall be one flesh."

Christ the Head and the Church, His Body, are one flesh, just as a husband with each wife is one flesh. The husband is to love the wife as his own body not hating his own flesh, this is the point Paul is making. Christ and the church, which is clearly called “His BODY”, are one flesh, this is the great mystery, not monogamy only.

Monogamy only can not be argued from Ephesians 5. If we are to argue anything then it should be that Christ is not the bridegroom, the church is not the bride, but that husbands and wives are one flesh just as Christ is one flesh with the Church which is His Body. Going any further than that is to twist the Scriptures which is a common practice among the indoctrinated monogamy only schools.

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