An intelligent but dependably maddening uber-liberal Facebook friend recently posted a thought on “traditional marriage.”
Ordinarily not one to quote the Bible, he nonetheless cited 1 Kings 11:3: “(Solomon) had seven hundred wives … and three hundred concubines.” My friend expresses “a lot more of a problem with that” (Solomon’s nuptials) than with modern “marriage equality.” Why shouldn’t two people of the same gender marry, he reasons, since it won’t affect “anyone else’s life, let alone heterosexual marriage”?
On the one hand, my friend is in complete agreement with God, who also had a problem with Solomon’s multiple wives and concubines. But the Bible’s lesson about Solomon’s wives doesn’t center on marriage; it centers ultimately on the sin of turning away from God and worshipping pagan idols. Solomon’s wives were no blessing from God; they were the forbidden fruit of Solomon’s earthly wealth. In reading the entire verse, we learn that Solomon’s foreign “wives led him astray.”
My friend’s fault here is called “proof texting,” or building a doctrine, a broad opinion, or an argument around a small piece of scripture taken out of context. Here, by expressing a degree of revulsion with a selected scriptural snippet about Solomon’s wives, he is insinuating that since God doesn’t seem to care about marriage, we shouldn’t worry about who marries whom in our society now.
Given the current prominence of the “gay marriage” issue (which my friend has deftly cloaked as a “traditional marriage” issue), this particular Facebook post was obviously more of a political purpose pitch than a knowledgeable Biblical observation. It is a disingenuous misinterpretation of an incomplete piece of scripture buttressing the modern, man-pleasing secular estimation that our marriage appetites “don’t affect anybody else.” From 1 Kings 11:3, we can be sure God is paying close attention to who marries whom, and that it definitely affects and matters to Him.
Better to read all of chapter 11 and learn how seriously God takes not only marriage, but His first commandment: “You will have no other God but me.” Solomon was wise, but disobedient, and it cost him.
Better still to reflect on all of scripture, realizing God’s faithfulness and personality in the Old Testament and beholding the magnificence of God’s grace through Jesus Christ in the New Testament.
My friend is smart, but he doesn’t know the Bible. Or if he does, he is trying to sneak an earthly agenda in on God.
That’s never a good idea, and there is a lot of that going around.
Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org) understands there are diverse social and political views, but doesn’t understand why so many folks consistently resist the Bible’s authority but persistently insist on quoting from it.