In this scrapbook of your spiritual family tree, you have the faithful patriarchs and matriarchs who make you proud…and the scoundrels who you’d rather not talk about. But all of these ancestors, Couples of the Bible, will give you a snapshot of your biblical heritage. Some bring encouragement, others offer a stern warning.
Through this 52-week devotional experience, you will be reacquainted with the obstacles and outcomes of familiar couples like Abraham & Sarah…and meet some lesser-known couples like Othniel & Aksah. Each week focuses on one couple of the Bible, from Adam & Eve to Christ & His Bride. You will read their story, learn about their cultural setting and explore how their story can teach you important truths about your own marriage. Each week you will be guided with questions applying biblical truth to your relationship with your spouse. And you’ll finish the week with a time of reflection, thanksgiving and prayer.
Couples of the Bible will teach you how God guided couples in the past and will encourage you to trust in his faithfulness for your marriage.
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About the Author
Bobbie Wolgemuth is a Bible teacher and the author or co-author of several books, including Mom's Bible: God's Wisdom for Mothers and the four-book Gold Medallion bestselling series Hymns for a Kid's Heart with Joni Eareckson Tada. She is also the coauthor of Couples of the Bible with her husband, Robert. Married in 1970, the Wolgemuths have two married daughters, two sons-in-law, and five grandchildren. They live in central Florida.
Read an Excerpt
Couples of the BibleA one-year devotional study of couples in Scripture
By Robert D. Wolgemuth Barbara J. Wolgemuth
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2013 Robert D. Wolgemuth and Barbara J. Wolgemuth
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePerfect Companions
Adam and Eve
Meaning of Names: Adam means "man" or "red earth." Eve means "living" or "life."
Their Character: He was a good man who loved God and his wife. She was at peace with God and her husband, for whom she was created as a perfect mate.
Their Challenge: They were restricted from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Their Outcome: Their marriage and their relationship with their Creator represented God's original blueprint for both.
Key Scripture: Genesis 2
The Creator had done His work, removing a rib from Adam's side while he slept, fashioning a creature of grace without the man's knowledge or advice. As Eve's Father and Creator, God escorted her to the waiting Adam. The Creator gently took her, the first bride, to the first groom.
Adam's eyes danced at the sight of her. Eve returned his glance, her smile captivating his soul. "I thought that I had seen all the creatures," he said out loud. "How did I miss this one?"
Adam's arm drew his bride's soft form into his side. His hands touched her face, smoothing away wisps of hair. His heart raced. The Creator and giver of everything good had made this woman especially for him, to be a perfect companion and helper.
Delight and joy encircled them. Adam was no longer alone. He had someone with whom he would share ordinary moments and years of memories in their lush garden home. In Eve he found someone he could talk with, laugh with. They romped in the ecstasy of secret places as together they discovered joy in God's perfect design for their bodies. They worshiped their Maker in their union.
Adam loved Eve. He was strong for her, sheltering her. He anticipated how to bring her pleasure and delighted in her charms. He basked in her admiration, honored to serve her well and to provide a home for her.
As husband and wife, Adam and Eve were adept at listening and at empathizing. Their communication was open and transparent, and they never misunderstood each other. Their motives were selfless. Both put the other first. Adam loved and protected his wife as he loved and protected himself. Eve admired and respected her husband. Their relationship lacked nothing. It was perfect.
Evening was their special time with God. As the sun lowered in the sky, painting magenta streaks under the clouds, the Maker covered the couple with His presence. They walked together, these three. It was at these times that Eve felt spiritually complete. This was joy that could only be known from a perfect companionship with her husband and with God.
As they talked, they reviewed the day's discoveries. Trees, animals, plants, birds, blossoms, insects, cloud formations ... so many details, so much to learn from Elohim. The Creator taught Adam and Eve about the miraculous creations—from great soaring birds to tiny seeds dropped into the soil, producing lush vegetation and majestic trees.
Drinking in the Lord's words, the couple listened as their Creator and Divine Companion explained how their own children would fill the earth, how the seed of the man inside the woman would produce new life.
As the three continued to enjoy sweet communion in the garden, they strolled to the center, where two trees stood: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had told Adam, and Adam informed Eve, that eating from any tree was permissible, but that the fruit from one tree—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—was off-limits.
Why God had given such a directive was a mystery, but during these evenings in the garden, it hardly concerned Adam and Eve. What did matter was the delight of being together in the presence of their Creator.
Then later, lying motionless in the nighttime darkness of Paradise, Adam and Eve looked upward and saw the wonders of the heavens —the sparkling radiance of the stars, the brilliance of the luminous moon. Adam tenderly stretched his arm behind his wife's shoulders and pulled her close. Gently resting her head on his shoulder, Eve reveled in the security of her husband's love.
She wanted this to last forever.
Their Life and Times
What Every Man Longs For, What Every Woman Needs
Adam and Eve, as God's first image bearers, were the ideal representatives of all that was good in the newly created world. The very story of creation is the story of good things.
God made light and declared it "good." He made open sky, oceans and dry land, vegetation, and all living creatures. Good, good, good, and good again. But suddenly and quite unexpectedly, God's review of all these good things came to an abrupt halt. God declared something "not good." "It is not good for the man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18, emphasis added).
God, who lacked nothing, was deliberate with these words. He was acknowledging the importance of relationship. Even the perfect Creator did not act alone. "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness ..." (Genesis 1:26, emphasis added). God created the universe and everything in it as a commission of three. The Bible reveals that our God is one in essence but is manifest in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—the Trinity or the "tri-unity." Everything God did—and does—He accomplishes with the full knowledge and cooperation of the All-Three.
After the creation was complete—the Grand Tetons and eyelashes, the galaxies and the fragrance of gardenias—God looked at His handiwork and said, "The creation isn't quite finished. Something is missing ... something is not good. Adam cannot be expected to live by himself."
Created in God's image, Adam—and all mankind—was made to live in relationship. Yet, for Adam, no friend was found among God's creation. No confidante. No lover. No equal.
So after He created Adam, God designed the man's companion for life. He created woman, a well-suited helper to the man.
In the millennia that have followed creation, the description of woman as man's "helper" has been misunderstood. And debated. And rejected. Does she live in her husband's shadow, available only at his whim? What exactly is the kind of "helper" God had in mind?
When Jesus, the Son of God—the Trinity's second Person—was telling His disciples that He was going to leave them and depart planet Earth, they were troubled. They had counted on His presence, His teaching, His wisdom, His power, His love. But in leaving, Jesus assured them that they would not be alone. He would send them the Holy Spirit, all of God in Spirit form, to be a Helper to them. So when God told Adam that Eve was his "helper," He was saying that bringing the woman to Adam was divinely intentional. The woman was precisely what the man needed, a suitable helper of the highest order. As his companion in marriage, she would listen to his dreams, affirm his aspirations, offer discernment for decisions, bring wisdom to his notions, bring him delight, and express gratitude for his love and protection.
And he was exactly what she needed. He provided security and strength. He would linger with her in unhurried conversation, express delight in her, acknowledge her many gifts. The man would give his full attention to her longings.
Husband and wife, each one strong and necessary. Elegant differences. Ideal symmetry. Perfect companions.
Can You Imagine?
Adam and Eve's relationship in their early days in Eden shows us what God intended marriage—your marriage—to be.
God's original pattern for marriage was impeccable. He designed you and your spouse to be whole in your relationship with God, to be completely satisfied in knowing and loving Him. He created your hearts and minds, as well as your bodies, to be the consummate match. A fit. Can you imagine such perfect companionship?
While in the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had an undivided relationship. With their introduction to each other, God declared history's first human institution.
The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man." GENESIS 2:23
In the Hebrew language, the word flesh not only refers to a person's physical body; it also means a person's whole being. When the Bible says partners in marriage become one flesh, it means they have become "glued" together as an indivisible person. A husband and wife are not only an exact fit physically, but his maleness and her femaleness fill out or complete one another in every respect. Imagine what your marriage could be if you and your spouse completed each other in this way.
When you said "I do" at the wedding altar before God, you and your spouse became one flesh. One person. Not competitors. Your concerns, hurts, victories, sorrows, awards, and recognition belong to each other.
Think back to the time when you fell in love and how you longed to be together. Conversation was effortless. You laughed often and forgave quickly.
Something higher, deeper, than infatuation joined the first couple together. Adam and Eve had the joy of God's purpose and presence in their marriage. This was the secret to Eden, and it is what God wants for your marriage.
From God's Word ...
"'So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.' "
Their Legacy in Scripture
1. "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them" (GENESIS 1:27).
What is an image? What does it mean that we are made in God's image? In what ways can you reflect or become a picture of God on earth?
What character traits or gifts of personality do you see in your spouse that display God's likeness?
2. "The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him' " (GENESIS 2:18).
Adam was alone. His wife had not yet been created. For a married couple living in a contemporary setting, aloneness still happens. For some couples, a great deal of time is spent apart. What are the dangers of too much time away from each other?
When have you planned a special time with your spouse—a walk around the block, a dinner, an overnight getaway—and what was the benefit?
3. "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority" (COLOSSIANS 2:9–10).
When Adam and Eve were together, they needed a third Companion to join, fill, and complete them. What is God's role in your marriage? How could you be more intentional about including Him?
Their Legacy of Prayer
Reflect On: Genesis 2:18–24
Praise God: For creating you as His image bearer; for making you capable of displaying His goodness, glory, wisdom, and love; and for designing your spouse especially for you.
Offer Thanks: That He offers His presence and speaks to you through His Word and your spouse.
Confess: Your lack of gratitude for your spouse and for the good things God has provided for your benefit.
Ask God: To teach you to honor His divine blueprint for marriage and to help you listen carefully for His voice as He speaks to you about your relationship with your spouse.
Listen: "Dear children, I created you to display My glory by lifting up the best in each other. Consider My handiwork and praise Me for making you the way you are."
Pray: Father and Creator of our marriage, You have made us in Your image and designed us to display Your glory. We need Your help in order to honor our commitment to You and to each other. We ask You to forgive us when we fail to appreciate each other as the gift You have graciously given. We invite You to teach us how to live and love the way You originally planned. Thank You for being the Divine Helper in our marriage. Amen.
Chapter TwoFractured Intimacy
Adam and Eve
Meaning of Names: Adam means "man" or "red earth." Eve means "living" or "life."
Their Character: She entertained thoughts that led her to disobey God. He blamed her for their disobedience.
Their Challenge: The enemy, Satan, convinced them to disregard God's instructions.
Their Outcome: They were separated from God and emotionally distant from each other, forced to live lives of toil and heartache, and eventually experience death.
Key Scripture: Genesis 3
Adam and Eve had walked to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They knew they should turn away, but they decided to linger under its fragrant and fruit-laden branches.
While they were admiring the tree, a creature approached from a distance. Certain that they knew all the inhabitants of the garden, they were surprised by this one. He walked upright, but was not a man. His handsome face was almost luminous. The couple was captivated.
When the creature reached them, he looked directly at her and said, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
Eve knew the question was dangerous, and that they should ignore him and get away as quickly as possible, yet in her curiosity she lingered. Adam was equally intrigued, equally unwilling to resist.
"We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden," Eve said, masking her uncertainty. "But God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' "
"You will not die," the creature mocked her. "For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Be like God? Eve wondered. Like God?
The creature walked up to the tree, plucked a piece of fruit off its branches, and held it out to her. Eve thought it was the most beautiful piece of fruit she had ever seen. Oh, she wondered, what new taste might this fruit hold for me? What harm will just one bite do?
She reached out and took the fruit, turned it slowly in her hand, admiring its ripe beauty—and then she did something she would soon come to regret. She took a bite. The nectar was sweet, its taste glorious. Reaching up, she picked another fruit and handed it to her husband. He also took a bite. Eve watched his face and saw it flood with pleasure.
But then her eyes moved from his face to his body. Her husband was naked! Scandalized, she quickly shifted her eyes to her own body and realized that she too was naked. She looked back at Adam and saw her own horror mirrored in his face.
What have we done? She glanced at the creature, and what she saw filled her with dread. He looked triumphant.
Adam threw down the half-eaten fruit and grabbed her hand, pulling her toward the underbrush, looking for a place to hide. In the deep woods, they found large fig leaves and wove them together, fashioning crude coverings and slipping them over their bodies.
And then a sound. The rustle of leaves. The cracking of twigs. God—their Friend—was coming to walk with them in the garden.
"Where are you?" God's voice was pure and strong.
Nervously Adam sputtered that he and his wife were ashamed because they were naked.
God asked, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
Excerpted from Couples of the Bible by Robert D. Wolgemuth Barbara J. Wolgemuth Copyright © 2013 by Robert D. Wolgemuth and Barbara J. Wolgemuth . Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsForeword by Dennis and Barbara Rainey....................9
1. Perfect Companions: Adam and Eve....................15
2. Fractured Intimacy: Adam and Eve....................22
3. Violence in the Family: Adam and Eve....................29
4. Daring to Stand: Noah and Wife....................37
5. Obeying God: Abram and Sarai....................44
6. Jesus Sees and Saves: Abram and Hagar....................51
7. Angels Unaware: Abraham and Sarah....................60
8. God's Promise Fulfilled: Abraham and Sarah....................69
9. Pass the Salt: Lot and Wife....................77
10. Who Gives This Woman? Isaac and Rebekah....................85
11. Trust and Obey: Isaac and Rebekah....................93
12. Bait and Switch: Jacob and Leah....................102
13. The Blame Game: Jacob and Rachel....................110
14. Family Ties: Judah and Tamar....................119
15. Distraction, Dalliance, and Deceit: Potiphar and Wife....................127
16. A Time to Heal: Joseph and Asenath....................136
17. Heroes at Home: Amram and Jochebed....................144
18. Taking Good Counsel: Moses and Zipporah....................153
19. This Land Is Our Land: Othniel and Aksah....................161
20. The Best Man for the Job Was a Woman: Lappidoth and Deborah....................169
21. Hear Me Roar: Heber and Jael....................176
22. God with Us: Manoah and Wife....................185
23. Keeping Secrets: Samson and Delilah....................193
24. Never Alone: Elimelek and Naomi....................201
25. Will You Marry Me? Boaz and Ruth....................209
26. Before God and These Witnesses: Elkanah and Hannah....................218
27. Lopsided Love: Nabal and Abigail....................225
28. Family Un-Ties: David and Michal....................233
29. "You Are the Man!" David and Bathsheba....................241
30. Walking Together: Mephibosheth and Wife....................250
31. Heart Trouble: Solomon and Foreign Wives....................260
32. Oh, Jezebel: Ahab and Jezebel....................269
33. More Than Just a Pretty Face: Xerxes and Vashti....................277
34. God's Timing: Xerxes and Esther....................285
35. Unsound Advice: Haman and Zeresh....................294
36. Where Is God When It Hurts? Job and Wife....................303
37. Here Comes the Bride: Beloved and the Shulammite....................312
38. Till Death Do Us Part: Ezekiel and Wife....................320
39. Come Back Home: Hosea and Gomer....................328
40. God Surprises: Zechariah and Elizabeth....................337
41. It's a Savior: Joseph and Mary....................345
42. God Knows: Joseph and Mary....................354
43. The Last Dance: Herod and Herodias....................362
44. We Bow Down: Jairus and Wife....................370
45. Satisfied: Samaritan Woman and Lover....................378
46. Thunder and Lightning: Zebedee and Salome....................386
47. Passing Notes: Pilate and Claudia....................394
48. Liar, Liar: Ananias and Sapphira....................402
49. Singular Faith: Unbelieving Husband and Eunice....................410
50. Mr. and Mrs. Missionary: Aquila and Priscilla....................417
51. Lost Leader: Felix and Drusilla....................425
52. Here Comes the Church: Christ and His Bride....................436
Alphabetical Index of Couples....................448
Index of Names....................449
Index of Themes: Issues Married Couples Face....................453
Index of Scripture....................454