Indeed, Paul explained much about these principles of TRUE GODLY marriage. In Romans 7:2-3, for example, he demonstrated that it is the woman who is not to marry any other while her husband still lives. Paul does not, however, say the opposite, that a man is NOT to marry more than the one. Truly, Paul gave a clear expository in 1_Corinthians chapter 7.
Now it is certainly true that Paul frequently recommended that believers be capable of following after his own choice of what we call "celibacy". Yet, Paul was emphatically clear that it was only his opinion and not command. As well, in the first several verses of 1_Corinthians chapter 7, Paul does recommend only one wife to one husband. Yet, he reasoned that it was "to avoid fornication". Further though, Paul made it clear, "But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. For I would that all men were even as myself. But EVERY MAN HATH HIS PROPER GIFT OF GOD, ONE AFTER THIS MANNER, AND ANOTHER AFTER THAT." (1_Corinthians 7:6-7.)
In the 10th and 11th verses, Paul directly addresses the non-"hybrid" marriages of believing Christians, ones where wife and husband are believers. In fact, Paul says that it is God's command even! "And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife."
Again, it is only the wife who is not to (so-called) "re-marry". The man is not to "put her away". (If he did "put her away", he would thus be guilty of causing her to commit adultery were she to be married unto another.) Yet, this passage says nothing about forbidding the man from marrying any other wife. Indeed, that is because of the true meaning of adultery. Yet again, Paul states again, in the 39th verse, "the wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth". He does not make that statement in reverse.
After the several subsequent verses dealing with "hybrid" marriages (believer married to unbeliever, etc.), Paul re-iterates the same concept of what he had written previously in verse 7. To wit, in verse 17: "But as God hath distributed to every man, AS THE LORD HATH CALLED every one, SO LET HIM WALK. And so ordain I in all churches." Again, in verse 20: "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he is called." Likewise is the following therefore true. Some are called to "celibacy", some are called to marriage, and some may be called to love, bless, and edify even more than one. Who is the one who knows not the Scripture to deny a man from walking as the LORD hath called that man to so walk? Who is the one who knows not Scripture to force or otherwise cause a TRUE GODLY man to disobey the LORD? God forbid that any would so condemn. Indeed, repeating Paul's words, "as the LORD hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches."
The most conclusive proof of this TRUTH in that 7th chapter of 1_Corinthians is in the 27th and 28th verses. "Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry ((another, new, additional wife)), THOU HAST NOT SINNED; and if a virgin marry, SHE HATH NOT SINNED." (The "virgin" refers to a woman who is not another man's wife!) This shows that the man has not sinned when he marries another.
Furthermore, there are even two ways of looking at those two verses. One way is to read it in the written sequence, as was just shown. Another way is to see the 28th verse repeated twice: once in the middle of the 27th verse, and the second time again at the end. To wit, "Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned." By this view, if the man is loosed from a wife for the only legitimate "cause"/reason (that is, by her "uncleanness") or by her own initiated, simple un-"remarried" departure, he has not sinned if he marries another who is not another TRUE GODLY man's. But this also goes one step further when looking at the very beginning of it. If the man is bound to a wife and she is STILL WITH HIM because he did NOT seek to be loosed, he still would not have sinned if he marries another ---and if she's an unmarried woman, she has not sinned!
In either way of looking at it, no matter how one looks at that passage, the TRUTH is extremely evident. The man, married to a wife, whether he has been "loosed" from her or not, has not sinned if he marries another ---and if he marry a virgin, one who is not yet married, she has not sinned.
It would, rather, be in violation of the "judgment of the LORD" in Exodus 21:10, if he "put away" the first wife in order to marry the second. That would be dealing treacherously with his first wife. And this was what the LORD was addressing in Malachi 2:14-16, when He referred to dealing treacherously toward the "wife of thy youth" in "putting ((her)) away".
The "wife of thy youth" refers to a man's very FIRST wife. (In fact and to wit, in Malachi 2:15, the word "ONE" in the original, old language translates to "united, or FIRST"). The "wife of thy youth" is the one with whom the man first transformed from youth to (small-L) lordship. The "wife of thy youth" is she with whom a TRUE GODLY man first learned how to so love, bless, and edify. And certainly, it would be a treacherous evil to "put her away" in her older age when that husband has learned with her how to be so loving, blessing, and edifying ---and not only so, but also of more (and yes, even, younger) wives. Indeed, without the "wife of thy youth", he would not have learned how to be such a (small-L) lord, a TRUE GODLY man, capable of so loving, so blessing, and so edifying. Without any dispute, the "judgment of the LORD" in Exodus 21:10 establishes the absolute protection of all previous wives, and even most especially the blessed "wife of thy youth".
And, indeed, Paul clearly understood that TRUTH and the TRUE meaning of, and principles in determining, TRUE adultery. While he certainly recommended that his own calling (of "celibacy") be followed, he, in no way, established any doctrine that would oppress woman from being denied the love, blessing, and edification of a TRUE GODLY man simply because he was already so loving, so blessing, and so edifying any other. Indeed, such a man "HAST NOT SINNED" in any way.
© October 4, 1995, The Standard Bearer
P.O. Box 765, O.O.B., ME 04064