Ok, everyone still with me?
Here’s a quick recap of Part I:
1) We know that marriage and wedding practices are common and important metaphors used to describe our relationship with Christ in the Bible. 2) We know that there are differences in the way that these metaphors would be interpreted today and in their original context because of cultural and historical distance. 3) We know that the Bible is to be understood as a complete picture of God’s story, not just isolated fragments.
As I’ve mentioned before, I think there is incredible value in digging into the Scriptures on our own and in community and not solely relying on pre-packaged messages from outside sources. So, here’s the idea. I’ll start us off with a few questions designed to start some trains of thought relating to the concept of marriage in the Bible. From there, you jump in and go where the Holy Spirit takes you. I’ll provide a couple links and resources that might help you get started. Work with your small groups, youth pastors, friends, students, or whoever and just see what you can learn. There is so much depth to God’s word and it is a joy to grow in understanding.
When you learn something cool or find a helpful resource and think it might be worth sharing , please do. Share it with people in your life and share it with us. Leave a comment here, post it on Facebook, or Tweet it with the hashtag “WeAreTheBride” so we can be inspired by one another.
Here’s a couple notes before we start:
1) Begin and end with Scripture. There is a lot to learn from other sources, but they are really the most useful when they are informing and adding to what you find in the Bible.
2) The goal is to learn about God. Use the questions and resources listed below as a rough guide only. There is no specific assignment or secret answer. You don’t have to try to answer all of the questions. Everything listed below is just to get you thinking. Consult the Holy Spirit and follow your train of thought wherever it leads. If this is something you aren’t familiar with, my suggestion would be to take a minute and pray, asking the Holy Spirit to teach you and guide you. Then read over the questions and resources and just see what jumps out, following whatever trail you like.
3) Google is a great friend, but check your sources carefully. Shockingly, not everyone on the internet knows what they’re talking about.
4) A concordance, whether online or in print, is a great way to find verses that you are looking for.
5) You don’t need to be married for this to be worth studying. This is more about Him than it is about us.
6) Remember, if marriage is constantly used as a metaphor for our relationship with God, understanding what God means when He uses the metaphor helps us understand Him.
7) This is meant to be interactive. Use this as an opportunity to talk to people in your life about what the Bible has for us. Work together. Ask questions of us in the comments or via email, Facebook, or Twitter.
Here we go. First, some questions.
Questions to consider
What are some verses in the Bible that talk about Jesus as the bridegroom? Who is the bride?
Are there any wedding ceremonies that are described in the Bible?
What were ancient Jewish weddings like?
What is a Ketubah?
What is a Chuppah?
When marriage is used as a metaphor in the Bible, what is it used to represent?
What is the marriage feast of the Lamb?
What do you think, if anything, Matthew 24:36 has to do with marriage customs?
Do any Bible figures stand out in your head as having good marriages? Bad marriages? Why?
What does Jesus mean in John 14 when he says “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”
What does Jesus have to say specifically about the relationship between a husband and a wife? What about Paul?
Sometimes people use 1 Peter 3:7 as a sort of attack against women. What do you think were the original intention of Peter’s words?
What is a bride price?
Does the giving of the Law have any symbolic significance in terms of the marriage metaphor?
Why is it important that we fight for strong marriages today?
What should single ladies be looking for in a husband?
What should single guys be looking for in a wife?
How should a single girl prepare for being a wife?
How should a single guy prepare for being a husband?
What makes a good husband?
What makes a good wife?
If our marriages are supposed to model Christ and the Church, what should dating look like?
The Blue Letter Bible website is a great resource for searching through the Bible, browsing commentaries, and doing word studies in Greek and Hebrew. To see Greek and Hebrew definitions, use either the KJV or NASB translations and make sure the “Strong’s” box is clicked at the top of the page. Then click on the floating number next to the word you are studying. www.blueletterbible.com
Accordance is a really handy iPhone Bible app that lets you do word studies as well access dictionaries, photos, and other useful information.
Here is a quick overview of ancient Jewish marriage customs from www.FollowTheRabbi.com, a trusted source, to get you thinking. It might be worth your while to explore some of the other content on this site as well.
Our Father Abraham by Marvin R. Wilson is a really good read if you are interested in understanding more about Hebrew culture and thought and how it helps us understand Jesus.
Again, I would love to hear from you about what you learn and can teach us or if you have any questions. Comment, email, or use the Twitter hashtag “WeAreTheBride.” I pray that God would reveal some amazing truth to you!
Creative/Ministry Development Coordinator