Two Shall Become One: A Biblical Perspective on Husbands and Wives

Hope Lutheran Church, Fargo, ND - Pastor Mark Vitalis Hoffman - 4/96

"It is not good for man to be alone"

A Study of Genesis 2.18-24

For Openers:

For Your Information:

Read Genesis 1.26-31.

Read Genesis 2.4b-8.

Read Genesis 2.18-24.

For Your Consideration:

  1. What conclusions do you draw about men and women from Genesis 1.26-31? About the relationship between men a According to Genesis 1.26-27 which sex is created in God's image? Which sex is given dominion over creation? nd women?
  2. According to Genesis 2.7, how is Adam / man created? What conclusions do you draw about human nature from this description?
  3. In Genesis 2.18, God says, "It is not good that the man should be alone." Does this statement indicate that it is not good for any human to be alone? Or is it suggesting that it is not as bad for a woman to be alone?
  4. What does the phrase "a helper as his partner" suggest to you about the relationship between a man and a woman? Consider the various words that could be used to render this phrase: helper, partner, companion. Which of these aspects have you most valued in your spouse? How have you yourself been able to fill these roles for your spouse?
  5. In Genesis 1, God "called" the various creations and gave them their names. (See 1.8 and 10.) Why does the man get to "call" the creatures and give them their names now in 2.19-20?
  6. According to Genesis 2.22, how is the woman created? Why do you think God used a rib as the initial building block? What else is significant about how the woman is created differently than the man? What conclusions do you draw about the relationship between a man and a woman from this description?
  7. In Genesis 2.21-22, God brings the woman to the man and he says that she shall be called Woman. This is the same pattern described in 2.19-20 where God brings the creatures to the man and he calls them a name. What does this indicate about the relationship between a man and a woman?
  8. Genesis 2.23 records man's first words. What do you think he (or was it she?) said next?
  9. Do you think it is harder for a man or a woman to leave their parents in order to get married?
  10. What does the phrase to "become one flesh" mean to you? What are some of the ways this "one flesh" is realized in marriage?
  11. According to Genesis 1-2, what are the grounds for marriage? Did you notice what is not ever mentioned? (Hint: a four letter word that starts with L.) Perhaps the question should be asked in another way: Who is responsible for the union of the man and the woman in Genesis 2? Now read Matthew 19.6.

For Later:

For Fun:

"I talk marriage; they talk weddings!"

- On counseling engaged couples in Bed and Board: Plain Talk about Marriage, Robert Farrar Capon

To keep your marriage brimming,

With love in the loving cup,

Whenever you're wrong, admit it;

Whenever you're right, shut up.

- Ogden Nash

Marriage, in which two become one, is a lifelong struggle to see which one that will be.

- Anonymous

Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution.

- Mae West

Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.

- Benjamin Franklin

Back to Home Page To Next Study

World Wide Study BibleFurther Study Tools on Genesis 2

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Permission requests? Let me know:

Key Texts Used in this Study (NRSV)

Genesis 1:26-31 Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." 27 So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." 29 God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Return to study

Genesis 2:4b-8 In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, 5 when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up--for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; 6 but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground-- 7 then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Return to study

Genesis 2:18-24 Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner." 19 So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken." 24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. Return to study