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Can a man have more than one wife?

Submitted: 4/7/2009
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Question: With an exception of desiring to be a bishop, is a man biblically allowed to have more than one wife?

Answer: Absolutely not. Jesus said, 'Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh' (Matthew 19:4-6). Notice that He did not say a man shall be joined to his 'wives,' and He did not say that 'the three or four or five shall become one flesh.'

This view is confirmed in the Old Testament. For example,
Proverbs 5:18-19 says, 'Rejoice with the wife (not wives)of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts (not their breasts) satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love (not their love). Ecclesiastes 9:9 says, 'Live joyfully with the wife (not wives) whom you love all the days of your vain life....'

The New Testament also confirms this view. Paul wrote, 'For the husband is head of the wife (not the wives)....' (Ephesians 5:23). And in Ephesians 5:33 he wrote, 'Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife (not his own wives) as himself, and let the wife (not the wives) see that she (not they) respects her (not their) husband.

Marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman. This was God's plan from the beginning. Though it has been corrupted throughout human history, nothing that man has done contravenes what God has established as the ideal.