The Bible is a story about God looking for a wife. When Jesus arrives he’s identified, by John the Baptist, as the ‘bridegroom’. (Brandt Pitre’s Jesus the Bridegroom is a useful overview.) When called as a Jesus follower, you’re becoming Jesus’ wife. It’s not a master-slave, lord-serf relationship. It’s not parent-child. It’s a husband-wife relationship.

As Jesus’ “wife,” you listen, participate, act as “one”—one flesh. He is in you, you are in him. One flesh. The marital language is about divine indwelling in the human. The “profound mystery” of Ephesians 5:32 is not human marriage. It’s the relationship of Jesus and humans.

The relationship of Israel and Yahweh was likewise discussed in spousal terms: Ezekiel 16 and 28, Hosea 2, Jeremiah 3, etc. The “wedding” was Mt. Sinai. There were many squabbles over adultery. They divorced. The narratives of the Old Testament show us God trying to find a wife in Israel, but it never takes. “She” keeps going off with other “men” (i.e. nations and their deities).

The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day see themselves as children—as in John 8:41. They don’t see themselves as God’s wife. So we have no OT stories of happy husbands and wives because that is not how God and Israel were configured!!

This paper is a little useful, if just in showing Christians recently discovering the marital language of the Bible and being shocked by it!

religion. sex. facts.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store