First, Contending for the Faith, with this week’s question: I started a study on the “bride of Christ” and I’m very bothered as to why Christians use the term. Since the primary example of the Church is the body of Christ, how can the Lord’s very own body be feminine when he is masculine? To be fair, how could a person not steeped in religious tradition ever get the idea that we are Christ’s bride?
Tom: Well, you get it from the scriptures, don’t you, Dave?
Dave: Well that’s where I get it Tom, why don’t you tell us.
Tom: Okay, well if the church is not the bride, and thus the wife of Christ, then who is? I mean to whom, if not to the church, do the verses, you know the following verses really refer? “For the marriage of the Lamb is come and his wife hath made herself ready.” That’s Revelation:19:7.
Dave: Yes, who would that be if that’s not the church?
Tom: That’s right. And, “The Spirit and the bride say come. Surely, I come quickly.”
Dave: To say that because we are also called the body of Christ, and that therefore we couldn’t be the bride, because that would mean Christ would have a feminine body. We are called the body of Christ. He’s the head and we’re the body. On the other hand, we’re not all feminine are we? So this is an analogy that is being used.
Tom: Right, a metaphor, correct.
Dave: Christ loved the church. “Husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.” So you can’t put it in strict terms. Definitely we have this love relationship. He bought us with his blood and we are his bride. This is what it says.
Tom: Right. You know John the Baptist said of Christ: He that hath the bride is the bridegroom in John:3:29. Who else could this be talking about?
Dave: I don’t know who it could be Tom, it’s not Israel. Although in a sense, Israel was spoken of in the Old Testament as the bride of God. “I have espoused you unto me as the chaste virgin,” the Lord said, “and you’ve rebelled and you’ve been unfaithful,” and so forth. So we have that metaphor.
Tom: Right but what about John 14?
Dave: “In my Father’s house are many mansions…”?
Tom: Yes, in other words, I mean isn’t this an analogy that…?
Dave: Yes, you’re right, yes. Because the groom used to bring the bride, you know in the old days in the Jewish religion. Jewish custom would bring his bride to the father’s house. He would build something there. We are going to be with him in heaven. “That where I will come again and receive to myself, that where I am there ye may be also.” We’re going to be with him. We will be like him.
I don’t know why this person had an objection to the church being called the bride of Christ. I guess it shows we can kind of get hung up on certain prejudices, but this is what the Bible teaches.
Tom: Right, I mean we have Romans:12:5, 1 Corinthians:12:27, Ephesians:4:12, Colossians:1:15. Dave, I want to go over Ephesians:5:23, 24, 25 right there. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church and he is the savior of the body, therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it.” Isn’t this really a reference to the bride?
Dave: It sounds like what a husband should be to his wife. The example is given to us in Christ and his relationship to the church. So here again, although it doesn’t use the word, it doesn’t use the term that the church is the bride of Christ. The analogy is certainly there. I don’t understand, again as I said, I don’t understand the objection. But sometimes people like to split hairs or they have a pet peeve or pet doctrine or pet idea and are not even willing to be corrected from the scriptures. But I do not see how you could come to any other conclusion from reading the scriptures and others that we didn’t read than this. That the church is the bride of Christ.