1st Edition

Marriage, Bible, Violence Intersections and Impacts

By Saima Afzal, Johanna Stiebert Copyright 2024

    Drawing on both biblical studies scholarship and practitioner experience, this book explores the disjuncture between complementarian accounts of biblical marriage and intersections of marriage and violence in texts from Jewish and Christian Scriptures.

    This volume challenges authoritative complementarian claims to the Bible’s allegedly clear and unequivocal directions on marriage. It refutes these claims with analysis of the muddled and often violent depictions of marriage in the Bible itself. Regular reminders show why such an exploration matters: that is, because recourse to the authority and ‘plain meaning’ of the Bible has had and continues to have impact on real people’s lives. Sometimes, this impact is violent and traumatic, notably when the Bible is weaponised to justify intimate partner violence. This book explores a wide range of biblical texts and interpretations. Particular focus is placed on the influential pronouncements on ‘biblical marriage’ by the US Family Research Council and Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Textual analysis includes close focus on Genesis 1–3, Malachi 2, and Ephesians 5.

    This book will appeal to students of biblical studies and theology, as well as anyone interested in research-based activism and in how sacred texts are directed towards modern day-to-day life. It investigates ‘marriage’, ‘the Bible’, and ‘violence’, all of which play significant roles in public discourses and popular culture.


    1. Biblical Marriage

    2. Marriage in the Bible

    3. Marriage, Bible, and Violence: Concluding Comments

    Works Cited

    Index of Biblical References

    Index of Authors and Subjects


    Saima Afzal worked in local government, child protection, and as National Crime Agency-registered expert witness, Independent Member of the Lancashire (UK) Police Authority, with a national Equality, Diversity, and Human Rights portfolio. She has served as Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner and founded S.A.S. RIGHTS.

    Johanna Stiebert is Professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Leeds (UK). She is author of Rape Myths, the Bible and #MeToo (Routledge, 2020) and has research interests in topics of gender, sexuality, and activism. She co-founded and co-directs The Shiloh Project (https://www.shilohproject.blog/).