Copr. 1999, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references
OUR SOCIAL NATURE
(GENESIS 2; EPHESIANS 5; MALACHI 2)
Introduction: This week we look at man's social nature,
particularly in the context of marriage. Let's see what
spiritual and practical lessons we can learn!
I. SUITABLE HELPER
A. Let's read Genesis 2:18, 21-24. Why do you think
that God said it was not good for man to be alone?
1. Doesn't the very next chapter give an
excellent reason for leaving Adam alone?
2. Tell me why you like to be with your spouse
and why you like to be without your spouse?
Let's make two lists on the blackboard.
3. Do you think that God said that Adam should
not be alone for spiritual or practical
reasons or both?
a. Do any of those reasons line up with what
we have listed on the blackboard?
4. Notice v.24 which talks about marriage. The
verse starts out "For this reason...." What
reason? What does this series of verses have
to do with marriage? (Remember the old joke,
"If God meant us to smoke He would have made
us with chimneys?" That, coupled with God's
comment about being alone, is the line of
reasoning here: God made woman out of man, and
for that reason young people get married.)
5. Does this mean that being married is a
superior situation to not being married?
a. How does your view of the importance of
marriage change when you consider that it
was instituted before sin?
b. If marriage is such an important
institution, why did Jesus never marry?
(1) Or is this just another of the
disabilities under which He lived,
along with homelessness, poverty,
etc., which some people confuse with
B. Paul has a further comment on these verses in
Genesis. Let's look at Ephesians 5:25-33.
1. In verse 31 Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 thus
tying these texts together.
2. In verse 25 Paul says that Jesus loved and
gave Himself up for the church. Is Paul saying
that husbands should also give themselves up
for their wives?
a. How, husbands, as a practical matter,
would you do that? What can you do this
(1) Just in case some of the husbands
are clueless, wives, how would you
like your husbands to "give
themselves up" for you? Give me
some specifics (and guys pay
b. Is giving yourself up, husbands,
something that advances social or
spiritual interests? (Husbands are not
like Jesus a spotless substitute in
death. However, Jesus' sacrifice has a
tremendous power to persuade us. I think
that the power to persuade a spouse
spiritually is available to the husband
who sacrifices for his wife.)
(1) One of my favorite texts is verse
28: "He who loves his wife loves
himself." Is that speaking of
spiritual or social interests?
3. Paul says in verse 33 that husbands must love,
but wives must respect. On the surface this is
kind of disappointing. What do you think Paul
has in mind? Are wives free to not love their
a. The NIV seems to be toning down the Greek
word ("fobeetai") which is translated
"respect." This Greek verb can be
translated "to fear." Strong's says the
noun is "phobeo" from which I think we
get the word "phobia." So wives are to
have phobias about their husbands, is
that it? (This same word is used for the
disciples' reaction to Jesus calming the
storm in Mark 4:41 and Herod's attitude
towards John the Baptist in Mark 6:20. I
think it means a serious respect/
willingness to heed the person's
(1) Is it natural for wives to have that
attitude towards their husbands, or
does this come as a reaction to a
husband who has a self-sacrificing
love towards his wife?
(2) Think of your favorite television
program. Does it promote respect
towards husbands or does it
generally picture them as idiots?
(3) How does the philosophy of the
"womens' movement" fit with Paul's
C. Let's look at another text that recites Genesis
2:24 (in modified form) and gives further comment
about the marriage relationship. Read Malachi
1. What is the first problem here? (The people
realize that something is wrong in their
relationship to God. He does not seem to be
paying attention to them.)
a. Do you sometimes feel that way too? God
is ignoring your problems and requests?
2. What answer does God give to the charge that
He is not paying attention? (The problem is
not with God. He is paying close attention
and He does not like what He sees. Their
troubles spring from disobedience in the
a. What does God mean (v.14) when He says He
is "acting as a witness" between the
husband and wife? (In this context, a
witness brings to your attention your
failure to do what is right. A witness
who testifies against you.)
b. What does it mean to "break faith" with
c. Why is the answer (v.15) to avoiding this
problem to "guard yourself in your
(1) How would you suggest that we guard
(2) What impact, if any, does even
"soft" pornography have on our
(3) Since the divorce rate is about 50%,
does this suggest that we are not
guarding our "spirit" very well and
we need to make some radical
d. Notice v.17. Why is God wearied by people
asking, "Where is the God of justice?"
(The problem is that the people were
calling other people "good" who were not
good at all. When something happened to
these "good" people, others complained
that God was being unjust by not
protecting the "good" people! What a
terrible warning this is. It implies that
God is not going to help us out of
problems when we do evil. It also
suggests that if we think that God is not
hearing us, that we need to look very
closely at our lives.)
D. Our lesson points out the Trinity as a social
institution. Does the creation of man and woman
and the revelation of the Trinity suggest that God
made us social beings?
1. Is it God's preferred "pattern" to be married
and have friends? Let's look next at friends.
II. FRIENDS AND FAMILY
A. Solomon has a comment about social interaction.
Let's read Ecclesiastes 4:7-12. Is Solomon talking
about marriage here? (It seems that is true in
part, because he talks about having a "son." But
he seems to be writing mostly about friendship and
other family members.)
1. Notice verse 9. How does a "good return for
work" have anything to do with two being
better than one? (There are two answers here.
First, this is a theme that really starts in
verse 8 that we enjoy our success better if
we have someone to share it with. Second,
verse 10 talks about how two work together
more effectively than one.)
2. Verse 12 speaks about a "cord of three
strands" and verse 10 talks about helping a
friend who has fallen down.
a. Have you experienced this with a friend?
b. Is helping friends a moral obligation?
c. What about the saying, "A friend in need
is a pain in the neck?"
d. If we do not help others when they have
fallen, does v.10 suggest that we may
fall and have no one to help us?
(1) Is this something like insurance?
(a) Are you paying your "premiums"
every week or are you
B. So far we have discussed spouses and friends. What
is our obligation to the never married, divorced
or widowed individuals in the church?
1. What is their obligation to the church?
C. Friend, God has created a "team" concept for
living. He has put in place a pattern which is for
our benefit. That pattern is marriage and the
attitude of helping friendship. This not only
makes our life better as a practical matter, but
it also can strengthen our spiritual life and
III. NEXT WEEK: SPIRIT, SOUL, BODY.