Saturday, November 5, 2016

Q&A: Where in the Bible does it say a woman should take her husband's last name?

QUESTION: Where in the Bible does it say a woman should take her husband's last name? 

ANSWER: Nowhere! A woman taking her husband's last name in marriage is a tradition, not a biblical command. There is nothing in the Bible about this tradition because in biblical times most people didn't have last names. They were identified by the area in which they lived (i.e. Jesus of Nazareth) or by their spouse (Joanna, the wife of Chuza) or even by their birth father (James the son of Alphaeus).

A woman taking the name of her husband comes more from Western culture and tradition, therefore there's nothing inherently biblical in the practice. By the same token, there's nothing inherently unbiblical if a woman chooses to maintain her maiden name or even use both her maiden name and her husband's name.

Taking someone's last name in marriage is far less important than truly understanding what God intends for two people when they come together in marriage. God refers to a married couple as "one flesh" which speaks of an incredible intimacy and oneness. The sharing of a surname is one way of identifying that a man and a woman have entered into that union.

See also: Living together outside of Marriage


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