Marriage

 

 

12. Brother, peace to you …. I would like to ask you to explain to me a biblical verse. In the first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul says that the father who does not give his daughter in marriage does well (1 Corinthians 7:38). I know that in ancient times a father had the fate of his daughter at his disposal (that is, he could decide the fate of her daughter), does he still have this power over his daughter? If a girl gets married without her father’s consent, does she break the commandment which says “honour your father and your mother”? In the letter to the Colossians Paul says also: “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord” (Colossians 3:20 - NKJV). I ask you this question because I have been engaged for 4 years now (unknown to my parents for 2 years) and I and my fiancé have been attending an Evangelical Pentecostal Church for about 4 months. Our parents are Roman Catholics (even though they don’t attend their Church regularly) and, especially my own parents, they attach great importance to the appearance, to the people’s opinion …., they won’t accept this choice easily. I have mentioned the people’s opinion because I live in a village where the worship of Mary is much practiced.

 

 

First of all I want to quote all those biblical passages concerning the power the father has over his daughter (that is, the power not to give her in marriage): “There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely [proper], and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better” (1 Corinthians 7:34-38).

Now, sister, as you can see, Paul speaks of a believing father who has decided to keep his believing daughter unmarried, for a short time before he speaks of the difference which exists between a virgin and a wife: he says that the unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit, while she who is married cares about the things of the world. Therefore the reason why Paul says that a man who does not give his daughter in marriage does better than a man who gives her daughter in marriage (that means that the latter also does a right thing and he is not to be blamed) is that in doing so his believing daughter will be able to devote herself to the Lord better than a married woman who instead will have many distractions. Therefore the purpose of the man who decides to keep his daughter unmarried is a noble purpose. So the answer to your first question is that a man still has this power over his unmarried daughter. I say again, however, that here Paul is speaking of a believing man and of a believing daughter, but that is not your case because you have told me that your father is not a believer. Furthermore, according to your words, if your father came to know about your choice, he would not forbid you to marry your believing fiancé, for you say about your parents and the parents of your fiancé: ‘…. they won’t accept this choice easily,’ which means that they would eventually accept it, maybe reluctantly. Perhaps, at first your father would oppose you but he would eventually be persuaded, it would not be the first time that such a thing happens. Obviously this is just a deduction I am induced to make on the basis of your words.

Will you dishonour your father if you marry a believer without your father’s consent? No, you won’t, because if God wants you to marry this man, that’s His will for you and the will of God has priority toward the will of man. You quote the words of Paul according to which children must obey their parents in all things: however, I would like to point out to you that somewhere else he says: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1 – NKJV), which means that obedience must always be in the Lord, and it can never be outside the Lord. I give you an example: if a man commands his daughter to prostitute herself to make money in order to supply the needs of the family, she must not obey him because this obedience is not in the Lord. So a girl who has known God, if God wants her to marry a certain believer (because she is the woman appointed by God to become the wife of that believer), cannot obey his unbelieving father who wants to forbid her to marry him, because her obedience is not in the Lord. Do you understand my words?

However I hope you will get married without any opposition on the side of your father (about whom I say to you that I hope he will turn to the Lord), and you may live happily with the man God has chosen for you.

 

 

 

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