Bible Allows Child Marriage?


I read an online argument where a Muslim said Islam/Mohammed can’t be criticized for marrying a child because even the Bible doesn’t specifically prohibit it. The only prohibitions I can find is the Golden Rule and the direction to follow civil laws.

Also, the institution of marriage has changed from what it was in ancient times. So accepted practices these days (at least in the West) generally reflect the spirit of the Golden Rule.

On what Biblical basis should Christians oppose child marriages? I like to hear specifically from some Sola Scriptura advocates.

Ran across this while researching:


I’m not Sola Scriptura, but I assume the definitions of a child and adult were different in the past. The Bible seems clear that marriage is for a man and woman to come together for reproduction. If the capability of reproduction is the basis for natural adulthood then humans become adults at about 14 years old. This is the root of bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs. Of course, the Bible also says to obey secular law if it is reasonable, and a legal age of adulthood set at 18 seems reasonable.


Thanks for the info.
Would you say that the Bible’s silence on the issue makes it possible for someone to argue than a 50-year-old man could marry a 14-year-old child? That this silence leaves the Bible in an embarrassing position?


Yes it’s possible. Marriage between older men and young women has existed for centuries and continues in many parts of the world. In fact, a few years ago some 51 year old actor married a 16 year old girl because it was legal in their state, as long as one of her parents gave her permission. It’s not embarrassing because we are looking at the situation through the filter of our current societal norms. Since our current norm is that it’s wrong it may seem like it’s an embarrassment for the Bible to be so vague on the issue but it’s not. After all, Saint Joseph was a much older man chosen to be the provider for Saint Mary. If God is the architect of nature and nature says adulthood begins at reproduction, who are we to deny God and nature? Of course, there’s not harm in adding a few years to legal adulthood to allow for a little more time to develop socially and mentally.

closed #5

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit