letters from surfers
Question: What does the Bible actually say about blessing a
by Robert Brow (www.brow.on.ca)
In the Bible sexual intercourse begins a marriage (see Genesis 2:24
with Paul's comment in 1 Corinthians 5:16). Betrothal is a
legal contract which may precede a marriage, but for the vast majority
of people who have ever lived (serfs and slaves and others who own nothing
to contract) a couple began living together and people said "they are married."
By the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of capitalism the Roman
Catholic denomination began insisting that their priests record the marriage
in a book so lawyers could prove at death what belonged to who. In
Cyprus (where I pastored the Anglican Chaplaincy on two occasions) the
Greek Orthodox priests refused to record a "marriage" till the couple had
together for at least a year!
As a result of the Reformation, ministers of other denominations, and
then civil judges, were required to record the marriages of any who came
to get their marriage properly blessed by being properly recorded.
But vast numbers of others lived common law, and in our day governments
allow lawyers to prove the validity of a marriage by so many years of living
There is no example in the Bible of a priest, or rabbi, or civil judge
"blessing" a marriage by recording it in a book or anywhere else (see the
appendices to Adultery: An Exploration
of Love and Marriage).
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