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What is a bridegroom?

Question: "What is a bridegroom?"

A bridegroom is a man just married or just about to be married. A bridegroom is the male version of a bride, a woman who is just married or just about to be married. The word bridegroom comes from the Old English brydguma, which was a combination of bryd (“bride”) and guma (“man”). The word bridegroom appears in the Bible in both Testaments and carries the same meaning: the husband of the bride.

The word bridegroom is used often in the Bible as a metaphor for God, specifically for Jesus Christ. The church is likened to a bride with Christ as her bridegroom. When Jesus was with His disciples, He answered a question about fasting with an analogy involving a bridegroom: “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast” (Mark 2:19–20). Jesus is the bridegroom, and His disciples are the wedding guests. John the Baptist presented himself as the “friend who attends the bridegroom,” which is the person we would today call the “best man” (John 3:29). John said, “The bride belongs to the bridegroom,” and by this he referred to Jesus and the church, His spiritual bride, who stands by His side and invites people in, saying, “‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).

This church—the Bride of Christ—is not one specific local church or denomination but the entire body of believers throughout the ages. All who have trusted the Lord and received salvation by grace through faith are collectively His Bride. This analogy exists in several New Testament passages. Paul gives believers instructions about marriage, saying, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Paul also refers to the church as a virgin waiting for her bridegroom (2 Corinthians 11:2) and uses the relationship between Christ and the church as an example of the importance of wives’ submission to their husbands (Ephesians 5:24).

The New Jerusalem is also referred to “as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” in Revelation 21:2, another passage that alludes to Christ as a bridegroom (verse 9).

Recommended Resource: The Church in God’s Program by Robert Saucy

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What is the church?

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