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lighthouse (Peggy's Cove, east coast Canada).
What Does the Bible Say About … POLYGOMY?

Is polygamy explicitly condemned in the bible (especially) in the New Testament? Or is it inferred.

God never approved polygamy.  Yes it occurred in the Old Testament, but none of those who practiced polygamy had received God’s blessing for it.

Gen 2:18 “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.”  NIV

Gen 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” NIV

The institution of marriage in Eden was to be a union between one man and one woman. Monogamy is presented as the divine ideal.

Matt 19:4-6 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”  NIV

Even Jesus preached the importance of being married only to one woman.  Marriage according to Jesus is also a union between one man and one woman, where the two become one.

Deut 17:17 “He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.”  NIV

Among the many laws found in Deuteronomy, we find out that polygamy was forbidden among the Israelites.  Isn’t it interesting that this text was literally fulfilled with Salomon who walked away from the Lord because of the influence of his concubines? (See 1 Kings 11:9-11)

Mal 2:13-15 “You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands.  You ask, “Why?”  It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not [the LORD] made them one?  In flesh and spirit they are his.  And why one?  Because he was seeking godly offspring.  So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.”  NIV

Very clear text about being one with the wife (not wives) that you married.  The Prophet Malachi attributes the displeasure of God towards these men of Judah because they had broken faith with their wives.  Marriage is supposed to be for a lifetime and is an intimate union between a man and a woman who together become one.

1 Tim 3:2 “Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife.” NIV

1 Tim 3:12 “A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.”  NIV

Titus 1:6 “An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife.” NIV

The overseers, deacons and elders of the new apostolic church had to be the husband of but one wife.  Several wives were not permitted, as it displeases God.

But when did polygamy first appear in the Old Testament?

The first instance of polygamy can be found in Gen 4:19, where Lamech marries two wives, Adah and Zillah.  It wasn’t ordained from God. It was something Lamech decided to do by himself and soon many others followed his degenerative example.

Was polygamy ever a lawful practice in the Old Testament?

No permission can be found throughout the Old Testament for such practices.  On the contrary, Deut 17:17 “He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.”  NIV

The Bible merely describes what some men did. Never does it condone their polygamy, nor does it make their evil practice normative for others.

Blessings come when you follow God’s will.  Whenever we follow our own will we face many disappointments and catastrophes. Isn’t it time that you experience God’s blessings in your life?  Aren’t you tired for making all those wrong decisions and their consecutive consequences?  Come to Jesus and hand Him over your burdens, He will give you inner peace. He promised: Matt 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  NIV

Why don’t you accept Jesus into your heart now and let Him fill you with divine love.  Come to Him and accept Him by answering the Saviour’s Call.

Rob Chaffart


Every instance of polygamy recorded in Scripture that I can think of, details family disruption and aggravation. The feud in King David’s family centered around a son’s lust for his half-sister. If she would have been his full sister, such a thing would have been most unlikely. There was Hannah being severely provoked by her ‘rival,’ her husband’s second wife (1 Sam 1:6-7), we find bitterness between Sarah and Hagar, and between Jacob’s wives. Scripture paints polygamy as a very unwise thing to do. Why then, would the God lead someone to do something that he himself has painted as unwise?

It has been suggested that polygamy is acceptable because the New Testament does not specifically repeal the Old Testament tolerance of it. Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:8-9).

Christ emphasized that there is a significant difference between what God permitted under the Old Covenant, due to people’s hardness, and the way that people should act. Frankly, in this day and age, polygamy would be nothing more then disgusting lust. Nothing more!



Tough one Rob. I personally believe God has used polygamy for certain times and places. When the population of the earth was small, etc., and it may be used again i.e.., a huge war and there are thousands maybe millions of widows. But God, not man, will decide if and when this will be used again.

BJ Cassady


1 Tim.3:2 If a man desire an office of a bishop he must be the husband of ONE WIFE. There it is a command.