Last month Zack Franklin gave a four part series on the biblical view of singleness. This month we begin a four part series on the biblical view of marriage, beginning today with part 1—Embracing Marriage as a Spiritual Blessing.

Biblical marriage is one of God’s greatest blessings, one of earth’s most satisfying institutions, and one of the church’s greatest illustrations of covenant love. The very first marriage between Adam and Eve magnifies marriage as a God-given means for man’s experiencing suitable help (“I will make him a helper comparable to him” in Gen. 1:18) and physical intimacy (“they shall become one flesh” in Gen. 1:24). Adam clearly delighted in Eve, for he wasted no time in waxing poetic about her; marriage put a song in Adam’s heart (Gen. 2:23).

Unfortunately, in today’s fallen world, Adam’s ode to marriage often goes unappreciated. Sinful society has twisted the blessed institution of marriage into something that all too often seems unpleasant, unworkable, or unattractive. Christians are not exempt from this tragedy. Bible believers sometimes suffer through unhappy marriages, get divorced when things get difficult, and fail to make marriage look enjoyable in the eyes of onlookers. The truth is, many Christians are married, but they are not Biblically married. For those wanting to experience the blessedness of marriage, the key is to stop looking at the world’s sketch of marital struggle and start meditating on the Bible’s masterpiece of marital harmony.

The Bible portrays marriage as a spiritual blessing. In Christ, marriage provides an intimate context for two believers to share the core elements of the Christian life. First Peter 3:7 says that a Christian marriage consists of two people who are “heirs together of the grace of life.” The husband who commits himself to Christ and commits himself to understanding and honoring his wife will find that his prayers to God are not hindered. His intercession will result in God’s hand moving. The wife who “fears the Lord” (Prov. 31:30) can commune with God in a way that quietly influences her husband to enter into joyful fellowship with both Christ and her (1 Pet. 3:1).

When a husband and wife are both committed to Biblical marriage, they find themselves caught up in life-changing service to one another. Marriage puts a man in a position to sacrificially minister to his wife (Ruth 4:1-22 and Eph. 5:25-28), and it puts a wife in a position to do “good” to her husband “all the days of her life” (Prov. 31:10). As a man and wife meet each other’s needs, they often become a spiritual team effective at ministering to the church at large (Acts 18:18, Rom. 16:3-5, 1 Cor. 16:15, and 1 Cor. 16:19).

Finally, since the Lord “seeks godly offspring” (Mal. 2:15), a Biblically married couple will also find themselves blessed in their evangelistic rearing of children. God sets apart the children of believers as objects of spiritual advantage (1 Cor. 7:14), so a Christian couple can anticipate watching God’s grace at work in extending the gospel to the next generation. Marriage, then, is an institution that funnels together a number of spiritual blessings: answered prayer, joyful fellowship, ministry opportunities, and evangelistic outreach.