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For Better or for Worse:

Lessons From Old Testament Couples

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Lessons from Old Testament Couples

In his will, German poet Heinrich Heine offered his estate to the man who married his widow. The reason, he said, was that this way he'd be sure that there would be at least one person who mourned his death.

Of all the devastating effects of sin, one of the worst has to be what it has done to marriage. From what we can gather from Scripture (and the wonderful insights from the Spirit of Prophecy), marriage was meant to be one of the most uplifting and edifying aspects of human existence. It was designed to reveal our humanity in ways that nothing else could. As if God, after the earth came forth from His creative word, hadn't already done enough for the race. In His love for us He gave us more, perhaps what was to be even the best blessing of all—marriage.

Of course, from the first bite of the forbidden fruit, things went from bad to worse. In the Bible account, right after the first couple sinned, the first thing we see is how sin immediately impacted their relationship. "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons" (Gen. 3:7). Nothing between men and women, husbands and wives, has been the same ever since.

What should have been a source of joy, freedom, and fulfillment has become, too often, a source of misery, oppression, and despair. Not always (indeed, in many cases marriages are wonderful expressions of spiritual and physical unity that helps complete a human being), but still far too often.

This quarter we're going to look at married couples in the Old Testament, not so much as a study on the principles of marriage but rather to use married couples (though in many cases the marriages were composed of more than "couples") as a starting point to learn various lessons—about faith, works, obedience, hope, trust, love, and a host of other aspects of what it means to be a follower of the Lord in a fallen world.

It makes good sense to use marriage as a starting point, simply because marriage is so fundamental to human existence. This relationship forms the foundation of the family, and it's out of the family that (for the most part) we propagate ourselves. Also, considering how often marriage is used in the Bible as a symbol for various spiritual truths, it seems to be a good starting point.

Of course, not everyone is married; many of the great Bible characters—Daniel, John the Baptist, and even Jesus—weren't (maybe we ought to do a quarter on the singles in the Bible!). Nevertheless, the principles we can learn from studying these marriages often can be applied to various aspects of our lives, whether married or not.

Thus, for the next few months as we explore the relationships of various couples—Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Ruth and Boaz, even Ahab and Jezebel, and more—we'll seek to mine from the Word of God practical truths that we can apply to our daily relationships with one another and with the Lord, who says to His people: "For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee" (Isa. 62:5).

Our two authors this quarter have been happily married for many years. Gordon Christo is director of collegiate education of the Southern Asia Division; his wife, Rosenita, works in the division office. They have two grown children.


No. Study


July 7 Adam and Eve: The Intended Ideal  (KJV)  (NKJV)


July 14 Abraham and Sarah:  Faith Tested and Tried  (KJV)  (NKJV)


July 21 Isaac and Rebekah:  Rearing Rivals  (KJV)  (NKJV)


July 28 Jacob and Rachel:  Labor of Love  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Aug 4 Moses and Zipporah:  Relating With Relations  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Aug 11 Samson and His Women:  The Folly of Passion  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Aug 18 Boaz and Ruth:  Firm Foundations  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Aug 25 Elkanah and Hannah:  Fulfilling a Vow  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Sept 1 The Jobs:  Living With Losses  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Sept 8 David and Bathsheba:  Adultery and After  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Sept 15 Ahab and Jezebel:  Abuse of Authority  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Sept 22 Hosea and Gomer:  Forgiving the Unfaithful  (KJV)  (NKJV)
 13 Sept 29 Yahweh and Israel:  Fulfillment Beyond Failure  (KJV)  (NKJV)

Giardina Sabbath School Study Helps

Jerry Giardina of Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife, Cheryl, prepares a series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School lesson. He includes all related scripture and most EGW quotations. Jerry has chosen the "New King James Version" of the scriptures this quarter. It is used with permission.  The study helps are provided in three wordprocessing versions Wordperfect; Microsoft Word;  RTF for our MAC friends (this is now a zip file); and HTML (Web Pages).

Last updated on June 10, 2007

Editorial Office: 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904.

Principal Contributor
Gordon Christo, Ph.D.
and Rosenita Christo, M.A.
Clifford R. Goldstein
Associate Editor
Soraya Homayouni Parish
Publication Managers
Lea Alexander Greve

Editorial Assistants
Tresa Beard 
Larie S. Gray
Jean Kellner
Pacific Press Coordinator
Paul A. Hey
Art and Design
Lars Justinen
Concept Design
Dever Design

Copyright 2007 by the Office of the Adult Bible Study Guide, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. All Rights Reserved.

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