Does the Bible Support Polygamy?

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Question 7:

 Does the Bible Support Polygamy?

I'm Michael Pearl and I'm here at The Door to answer your questions. These came from a reader. This is a rather long question, but it's typical of several that we've received and I'm going to read it to you.


"My husband and I have been studying with Mike for several years and I've learned so much",

and I wish I hadn't even read that part,

"including how to study the Bible. Recently, my husband did a personal study, he loves to study the Bible, on adultery. He wondered why men of the Bible had multiple wives and God never accused them of adultery."

I wonder why I never wondered about that.

"He has concluded that the men did not commit adultery because they did not put away their wives. That it is okay for with the Lord, for men to have multiple wives as long as the man takes care of all of them and does not put them away."

Isn't that an amazing revelation to come through? Through a diligent Bible student? Now I can understand that. I can appreciate that. I'm going to stop and interject this. I can see a sincere Christian coming to see the need for this. Here's a man, 40 years old, his wife is 40 years old, and she's starting to go through menopause and she's beginning to wear down. Wear out and the little spark is gone and he sees a 55 year old widow that's a little bit overweight and kind of worn out, but poor woman has three kids she's still trying to raise. And so here's this man in his Christian generosity wants to take this 55 year old woman in. And then here is another woman who has seven adopted kids and she just can't feed them. Her husband left her. And so he wants to take her in and she's 42 years old and she was ugly to start with.

She's really bad off now, but he's got this Christian heart, so he wants to have four wives and he wants to take care of all of them and all their kids because he's a wealthy man. He works hard and he's able to provide five houses for these five families. Because in the Bible, they never lived in the same house. They all lived in separate houses. And he'd visit one one night and one the next night like that and moved around. So the families didn't get together like that. It wasn't like this three in the bed type thing.

You understand I'm being sarcastic.

You can appreciate that because we know what's really happening here. This guy's looking at pornography. He's lusting. He's got a 22 year old, he wants to take in. He wants his wife to do the housework while he sleeps with a 22 year old.

I've got no patience with this. I'm not fooled by this. I don't accept your sincerity in your Bible study. And lady, my word to you is don't accept it either.

“He said it would not be a sin for him to take other wives as long as he loves all his wives.”

 He's been watching some pornography you see. That's Christian gang banging.

“Provides for them and never puts them away. He says that the Bible always refers to any man's wife as wife, even if that man has several wives. I'm in turmoil."

Don't be lady, just unplug the computer. Don't let him look at it at night after you go to bed.

"Please, I know Brother Pearl is a very busy person",

so forth and so forth, so forth.

"Does God expect me to be one of many wives? When did the allowance of multiple wives expire? Help!"

And she gives her name, which I won't read.

Forgive me for making fun of this, but this is not something this woman should take seriously.


Now, Deuteronomy 17:17 says, “Neither shall he multiply wives to himself.” Now, what if the man read that, that God said, you shouldn't multiply wives to yourself.

Now, we find in the Old Testament that God accepted people's person who had multiple wives, but we never find God mandating multiple wives, or providing a format for multiple wives, or expressing any pleasure in multiple wives.

Modern Day Example

Now, I know that today if a missionary goes to an African or South American country, you may go where they have two, three wives. The men got killed off trying to provide food, and here's all these extra women and they need to perpetuate the tribe. And so they marry to keep the women up. They take them into the home. Otherwise, the women would be no one to provide for them. So it is out of the lifestyle. It becomes a necessity.

 So the gospel is brought to this tribe people, and this is not imagination. This happens. And so the missionary has a young man here who has three wives, and here's got two wives, and that one's got four wives. Does he say you got to kick all of 'em out but one, no, he doesn't. He accepts that not as a state of sin, accepts that as part of their culture, accepts that as normal, but he teaches them the truth. And you'll find in the second generation, especially as the proper diet and health provision for doctors and stuff comes in and they stop dying off so much that they come down into just one man, one woman. They don't have multiple wives anymore, that grows with maturity. But for a man in the modern age to want to go backwards!

Examples in the Old Testament

Keep in mind that in the Old Testament, when they had multiple wives, it was just about always shepherds. It was people who lived in tents, who traveled, who had 100 kids, lots of grandkids and four, 500 servants. And they were one big community of people living together. And like I said, you never find them in the same house. Never find the women cooking together, never find them entertaining the man together. You always find them in separate quarters living and the man would go to one or go to the other. Even have a funny story in there where there's four wives and they're bidding on who gets to sleep with him. And one of them sells him for some mandrakes. “I'll give you the mandrakes. You let me have him tonight.” And the Bible always represents the multiple wives as a big problem.

Always fighting. There's always conflict between the children. It's never a blessed thing. It's never a happy thing. It was where God found the people at that time, but you find them ceasing that as the word of God came to him.

What Does the NT say about Polygamy?

Titus 1:6 says, "If any man be blameless, the husband of one wife, if you're going to be blameless", you need to be the husband of one wife. "Having faithful children, not accused of riot or unruly."  So if a person is going to be an elder, he has to be blameless and have only one wife. Now, modern Baptist have interpreted that to be that. If you're married before and you're married now you still have former wife, you have two wives. That's that's ridiculous. The husband of one wife, one wife, one woman, you can't go to partying have say, this is one of my wives."If any be blameless the husband of one wife having faithful children, not accused of riot."

The Husband of ONE Wife

1 Timothy 3:12, "Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife ruling their children in their own house as well."  So you couldn't be significant a part of the church in the New Testament time with more than one wife. "Let the deacons be the husband of one wife ruling their children their own houses well, if any be blameless, the husband of one wife having faithful children.", so forth.

So here's four different passages in the New Testament that extols one wife for one man and says, you're not blameless if you have more than that, and therefore you cannot be in any leadership place in the church.

Now, again, in a foreign land, you wouldn't exclude them from the fellowship of Christians, but if you appointed an elder in a tribe like that, it need to be somebody that had just one wife because he's got his own church. If he's got three wives and 30 kids, he doesn't need any more burden.

All right, that's, that's been Michael Pearl from The Door. I hope you got something out of that. Tune in again.

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