Marriage is a sacred union. Whether your wedding is in a chapel, garden, or on the beach, it is a good idea to include Scripture. The Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God. Using God’s Word will bring your marriage ceremony from the level of a legal formality to a religious ceremony. There are many Scriptures from which to choose. You may select Scriptures that define love, elaborate on the meaning of marriage, or any verses that have particular meaning for you. Below are some Scriptures to consider discussing with your minister.
In addition to considering these Scripture for use in your ceremony. It is a good idea for the couple to review these verses together, as reminders of God’s standards, expectations, and promises concerning marriage. You will find them enlightening and encouraging.
Keep in mind that the verses are quoted below from the King James Version of the Bible. It is up to the couple and the minister which version of the Holy Bible will be used during the ceremony. The King James has been used below because of its poetic value and tradition. You may find another version states the verses more clearly and suitably for your ceremony.
Unity and the Purpose of Marriage.
And the Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him…And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife. – Genesis 2:18-24
Genesis 2:24 emphasizes the importance of the new union that is created in marriage. This verse is often isolated, and used alone in the marriage ceremony.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife. -Genesis 2:24
It is also re-iterated in the New Testament.
From the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. -Mark 10:6-9
The couple is to weave their lives together in common interests, communication, spending time together, and creating a home and family of their own. The term “cleave” may be re-written in other versions, but it conveys the idea that marriage is meant to be a permanent bond. The couple is to strive to stick together, despite the hardships, ups and downs, trials and triumphs that they are certain to face.
Ruth 1:16-17, has gained in popularity over the past several years in marriage ceremonies. Although the words spoken in these verses were between a widow, Ruth, and her mother-in-law, Naomi, these are words are some of the best at capsulizing the marriage commitment.
Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me. -Ruth 16-17
Another excellent passage regarding the marriage relationship is found in Ecclesiastes:
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift us his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord in not quickly broken. -Eccsesistes 4:9-12
The reference to the threefold cord relates to the relationship being built upon Scripture, and founded in and before God. More Scriptures that re-iterate that idea are found below.
Love in Marriage
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that is should be holy and without blemish. -Ephesians 5:25-27
This admonition reminds the couple of the kind of love that unites a marriage. It is a sacrificial love, the same kind of sacrificial love with which Jesus loved each of us. This kind of love doesn’t seek it’s own purposes and fulfillment above the other person. This love puts the interests and needs of the other first, with the ultimate goal of uniting the two in love. This leads us to the ultimate definition of love, as laid out in Scripture, found in I Corinthians, in which the word “charity” literally means “love.”
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. -I Corinthians 13:4-7
Let all your things be done with charity. – I Corinthians 16:14
The greatest love story in the Bible also offers numerous love Scriptures from which to choose, including:
Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned. -Song of Solomon 8:6-7
Jesus further affirms the importance of love, as quoted in the New Testament, in the book of John:
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. -John 15:9-12
Living Together in Love and Peace.
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the world of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with the grace in your hearts to the Lord. -Colossians 3:12-16
Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as light in the world. -Philippians 2:14-15
Put away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. -Ephesians 4:25-27, 29
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hat forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:31-32
Each of these verses reminds that no matter what life brings our way, we must keep our composure. Keep anger in check, and not be quarrelsome. As you enter into a marriage, it is difficult to imagine fighting with the one you love. Life is unpredictable, and no matter what comes your way, it is important to treat your spouse as you desire to be treated. Sure, it is a concept as easy as the old “Golden Rule.” Bearing in mind these truths, will help you weather disagreements, and hardships with grace. Bearing with each other with Christian attitudes, will help you remain close, even when you disagree. It will keep you from tearing at the union with harsh words, and unkind acts.
Disagreements arise, because two individuals are striving to create a union. They are living together, to become one in the union of marriage, but they bring their own opinions and preferences into the relationship. Learn to communicate differences without making the issues personal and without allowing disagreements to degenerate into hostile arguments in which personal insults are slung about. Making up may be easy, but the harm done by a word, once it is spoken, can never be undone. Consider using one or two of these verses in your ceremony as you remind yourselves, and your witnesses of the importance of pure and upright communication and negotiation in marriage. It will only make the bond of love stronger.
The Importance of God in the Unity of Marriage
Marriage is a lifetime commitment. Just as the verses above alluded to, we must conduct ourselves in a way to keep the bond of marriage strong. In light of Christian Scripture, however, no amount of effort on our part, apart from God, will stand the test of time. The Christian view of marriage is not a linear relationship between a man and a woman. It is, rather, a triangular relationship between the man, the woman, and God. God is the overriding, unifying factor. When the initial enamor with one another is gone, when life gets hard, when it seems that you can’t go on, if your marriage is founded in Christ, then you can weather any storm.
Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. -Psalm 127:1
Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: they children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord. – Psalm 128:1-4
The promises in these verses alone are incentive enough to found any marriage in God, and on His Word. There are other verses which speak just as strongly of the importance of God in your lives and relationship.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength. -Isaiah 26:3-4
This list of verses is not exhaustive. There are literally hundreds to choose from in the Bible that define, affirm, and encourage love, marriage, and commitment. As you choose the Scriptures that will be used in your wedding select those that have meaning for you and your spouse. Select words that will unite you in Christ and in love. Find verses that encourage you to commit for the long term.
You may have a favorite verse or passage that you would like to include in your ceremony. Talk with your minister, or other wedding official, and work together to create a ceremony that is suitable to you. You do not have to follow one standard ceremony, which incorporates the same old verses. Consider the words you use and recognize that these are the basis upon which you are making a lifetime vow before God and man.
Holy Bible, KJV.
Nelson’s Minister’s Manual, KJV Edition. Thomas nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. 2003.