The following chapter is from The True Course - Part 2, by David H. Hersman.

Copyright 2009 - published by Eagles' Wings Publications, Clintonville, West Virginia 24931

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The book begins with a chapter on the Foundations of a Happy Marriage, followed by principles for making a wise choice of a spouse.

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Bride Price

We once knew a woman who was planning to marry a pastor, but her house line rejected the bride price offers, and her plans fell

through. Some time later, one of her close relatives had a sexual affair with her, and she became pregnant. She was rejected by her

family to a great degree, and went back to her village where she eventually became a “second wife” to an unbelieving man. Now

her life will never come up to the potential God planned for her!


Thankfully, there is grace in Jesus Christ for her, and He can make something even out of the broken pieces, but it would be far better

if such tragedies didn’t happen in the first place.


This is a sad true story. What is even sadder is the fact that this scenario is being repeated almost daily all over the country. In this

particular case, the married man who was involved in this was accepted back into fellowship almost immediately, while the poor

young lady was left to face rejection, blame, and shame. Here is a tragedy which probably would never taken place if it had not been

for the greed of her house line concerning bride price. As it turned out, I don’t suppose they got much!


We will not make an excuse for her sin, but let’s face the truth. This young woman was probably under a great deal of sexual

pressure from her married relative. It is not common for single woman to be putting sexual pressure on a married man. Therefore

he “hath the greater sin,” but the woman bears the shame! This shifting of the blame from the guilty man, and allowing the woman

to carry all the shame is another example of unloving, selfish, and dishonest perversion. God won’t be fooled by such cruel and

merciless injustice!


In John chapter 8:3-12, we have the story of the woman taken in adultery.

One of the most ironic things about this story is that these unjust, and ungodly accusers claimed to have caught a woman in the very

act of adultery, but they didn’t find the man! Still, Jesus made no excuse for her sin, and called it that, but He also offered

forgiveness, which she evidently accepted, calling Jesus “Lord.” In this story we see both the justice and the mercy of God.

If we don’t believe and promote the Biblical concept of marriage we will be planting more seeds for such bitter harvests as the story


On one occasion we had several PNG national preachers eating dinner on our large verandah. These were well known men in their

denomination, and all of these men had years of experience in the ministry in Papua New Guinea. One had a masters degree from a

renowned American college. They were well-qualified to give their opinions.


I said to them, “I have been involved in this church for 7 or 8 years. We have a church full of handsome young men, and

beautiful young women. Certainly, they notice each other, but in all these years we have not had one wedding in this church. What

is the problem?”

They said, “Bride price.”

I replied, “But God ordained marriage. It is God’s plan for most young people to get married, while they are young enough to

safely have children. If bride price is keeping people from fulfilling God’s will for their lives, something must be done about it.”

One of them replied, “You can say that, but the problem is, when a man wants to get married, he goes to his wantoks, and they all

bung money and pigs and other things to help him with his bride price. This man gets married, and has children, including some

daughters. Then, 20 or 25 years later, when his own daughter wants to get married, all those wantoks expect to have some

authority over who she marries and the amount of the bride price.”


It’s really a perpetual trap! A girl is born into circumstances which place her at the mercy of merciless and greedy men, who

may have absolutely no concern for her well-being, and whose only motive is to obtain money and other things for a big fling!

Her happiness, or what is best for the young couple, are often given little or no consideration. They may claim they are

concerned about what is best for the woman, but in reality the bottom line is money!


Fortunately, not every case is a “worst case scenario,” but this is a major problem for Christian youth in Papua New Guinea, and

somebody has to have the courage to address it. I will therefore try to offer a look at this from a Biblical perspective.


First we will have to see children as God sees them.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God

blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea,

over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1: 27,28).

Notice here that both the man and the woman were created in the image of God. Both are of great value in the plan of God, and He

gave them the mandate to work together, having dominion over the rest of creation.


When you look at your little daughter or sister, remember that she was created in the image of God. He has a specific plan for

her, and she is just as special as a little boy – in no way inferior to him.

Psalm 127:3–5 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a

warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.

5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;

Notice first of all that it does not say, “Boys are a heritage of the Lord,” or “Girls are a heritage of the Lord,” but it says, “Children

are a heritage of the Lord.” God does not make a distinction in value here. Both boys and girls are a gift from God, entrusted to us

for nurture and training, since they still belong to Him.

It also mentions, “the children of one’s youth.” This is totally consistent with the another scripture which we had in a previous

chapter, “Rejoice with the wife of your youth” (Proverbs 5:18).

Although, there could be some argument concerning the question, How young is “youth?” Apparently, the Lord intends for people to

get married while they are still filled with youthful vitality. “Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.” Whether a

family of boys, girls, or any combination of both, a man should be happy and thankful if God has blessed him and his wife with

several children. Whether male or female they are a heritage from the Lord.


In our own family, our first child was a girl. I can still see her dark complexion, and big round eyes looking up at me, the very

day she was born. What a proud Papa I was! I began calling our little Victoria Faith “Bright Eyes” soon after she was born. I was

proud to carry our little “bundle of joy” around in my arms.

Some Papas are really missing a great blessing when they don’t want to hold their little baby in their arms soon after she is born.

“Children are a heritage of the Lord.” If you reject a child, you are rejecting God’s rich inheritance!

Well, we were very pleased that our next baby was a boy. Everything was balanced up – one girl and one boy. Kent served

as a US Army pilot in several parts of the world. He and his wife adopted a new born Korean baby while they were stationed in that

country. They later had another baby boy born to them – after doctors said they couldn’t. Doctors are not always wrong, but

neither are they always right.


After our first boy, we were ready for another girl, but Oops!

We had another boy! And four years later, even another boy! I used to tell Victoria, “Maybe the Lord knew He was going to give

us only one girl, so he gave us such a good one the first time!”


The point is, whether children are boys or girls, they are precious in the sight of God, and they are precious to parents who have

proper biblical attitudes. Later, we adopted a brother and sister from a broken home, and we have had two “PNG daughters.” We

did get our daughters at last, but the issue is that “all are precious in His sight.” What an awesome blessing and responsibility to be

parents – entrusted by the Lord to train His children!


His children? Yes, that’s what the Bible says. “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the

Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18). Who do children really belong to? The tribe? The clan? The wantoks? The government?


According to God’s Word, whether they are sons or daughters, they belong to their heavenly Father!

By the way, the phrase “sons and daughters” is in the New King James Version of the Bible 45 times. Even that might tell us

something about God’s attitude of equality.

Sometimes the terms “sons of God” is referring to all believers, as seen in this scripture, “For you are all sons of God through faith

in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there

is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3: 26–28).

On the Day of Pentecost, when God gave His Holy Spirit to the newborn church, Peter stood up and preached a sermon, in which

he quoted the Old Testament prophet, Joel, saying, “And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of

my Spirit; and they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:18).


Here again, God makes no distinction between his male and female servants, as far as the blessing of the Holy Spirit is

concerned. God, in His sovereign wisdom has assigned different roles to men and women, in the home and in the church, but that

does not mean that girls and women can be reduced to possessions which can be bought, sold, traded, abused, or misused. One PNG

man told me that many men think of women as a “commodity” – something to be traded for financial gain. Of course, not all men

think that way, but it is a common problem.


The scriptures we have just observed, show us that in God’s eyes, there is no distinction between the spiritual value of a girl or

boy. I say “spiritual value” because I do not want anyone to think that I am speaking of “value” in a monetary sense (money). As

Christian fathers, it should be one of our greatest desires to see our children from God’s point of view – not from the viewpoint of

economic or materialistic gain.


We are commanded to have the mind of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5). When a person, is born again he is “transformed by a

renewing of the mind” (Romans 12:2). As a newborn babe in Christ, “desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow

thereby…” (1 Peter 2:2). Have you been born from above? Do you desire to have the mind of Christ in all areas of life? Are you

seeking to allow the Word of God to purify your mind? Is your thought life toward what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good

report, virtuous, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8)?


Next we need to see marriage as God sees it.

As we have seen, God created the first man and woman, and joined them together. It was God who established marriage, the

concept of leaving, cleaving, and the one flesh bond. God commanded the pair to love each other, work together, and have

children. God made the connection. He joined them together. Jesus himself used the term, “What God has joined together….”

The usual concept of bride price denies the divine origin and concept of marriage. It says, “God’s way is not enough.” If we

say bride price in required to finalize the marriage, we are saying it is actually the money and cargo that really joins the couple

together. Marriage becomes an act of man, instead of an act of God. This entire concept is totally unscriptural, and the results are

devastating – just as they were in pre-gospel darkness.

Let’s take a look at Greed.

Two of the Ten Commandments relate to our attitude toward the property rights of others. “You shall not steal,” and “You shall not

covet.” Covetousness is the desire to have what belongs to someone else without earning it, or paying for it. Pressuring or

forcing someone to sell you something would also be covetousness. Colossians 3: 5 speaks of covetousness, which is


Idolatry is usually thought of as the worship of idols, but the Word of God classifies the love of “things” in the same group.

Another word related to these is the word “envy” which is found in the Bible 68 times. Of course, it is always a bad thing. Today we

have the word “materialism,” which is the “love of money” or other things.

Jesus spoke very strongly, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and

wickedness” (Luke 11:39).


Please notice how the Apostle Paul placed all these things together in one list of gross sins: all unrighteousness, sexual

immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30

backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy,

unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful… (Romans 1: 29–31).


Greed, covetousness, and envy are very serious sins, and lead to all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Whether it involves tricky

business practices, unreasonable compensation demands, merciless lawsuits, or bride price, greed is always a grievous sin, and God

will judge it as such.

Let’s take another look at the previous passage from Colossians:

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When

Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness,

which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves

once walked when you lived in them.

8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.


Notice several things about these divinely inspired Words:

1. We are supposed to set our mind on spiritual things.

2. Covetousness is the same sin as idol worship.

3. Because of these things, God will pour out His justified holy wrath (anger, fury).

4. When you were in sin, “you yourselves once walked” in these traditions,

5. “But now” – as Christians, our priorities have been changed.

The fact is that much of the bride price demand is based on greed, and every honest person will admit that. Some will argue

that we are merely preserving an ancient tradition. I don’t believe that the tradition of huge bride price is very old. A PNG pastor

and educator told me that when he got married, about 1970, a normal bride price in his home area was “a pig or two.” Those

who want to justify the custom of high priced brides are not preserving the ancient tradition, but they are interfering with God’s

plan for young people to get married, and build strong Christian families.

Allow God to cleanse the “greed factor” from your heart. Look upon your daughter as God’s precious child, entrusted to you, to

be trained and married for His Glory, and the bride price tradition will begin to take on a less significant meaning.

Some may still argue that it is not based on greed, and some of it is not. But much of it is. One women said, “Our daughter (She

used her name.) is our bank.” The investments they are making in the daughter’s education and training are for future reimbursement.

They are not truly bringing up this child “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” By example, this girl is being taught that

the value of money is more to be desired than the principles of God’s Word. Is this greed?

Another church man, looking upon the daughter of a different family, only 8 years old, said “I wonder how much ----- will bring,

maybe K60,000?” How can we allow our minds to remain so far from the “mind of Christ” while still professing that we love God

with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength? Do we have the value system of the un-regenerated world around us? Is that greed?

Another parent said, “She is our Land Cruiser.” Is that greed?


You better believe it is! And God brings His wrath on the children of disobedience. It is this type of hypocrisy which has left Papua

New Guinea struggling in spite of having the Gospel for 100 years, in some coastal areas, and over 60 years in the Highlands. Since

God is holy, He can not bestow His blessing upon people who are more concerned with traditions and money than with the moral

principles of His Word.


As Christians we must put Christ and His Word first. We can preserve every good and wholesome cultural tradition, without

seeking to preserve anything that is harmful or unscriptural. That is the only way to truly have Christian families. That will be best

for our churches, and for Papua New Guinea as a nation.


“Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).


Biblical Examples of Bride Price?

There are not many references to “bride price” in the Bible. In the next several paragraphs we will look at all the biblical

references to “dowry” and “bride-price,” as well as some other similar references, and see what kind of people were involved in

these things.

Genesis 24 is the Biblical account of how Abraham sent his servant to Mesopotamia to find a bride for his son, Isaac. I have

heard several people make reference to this story as if it includes an example of bride price. It seems like this story is mentioned

more often than any other by people trying to prove their point. I even heard one pastor try to use this story to support the idea that

bride price should be required! The chapter has 67 verses, so I won’t reprint it here. I urge you to get your Bible and read this

interesting story.

First, you will see that the gifts which the servant gave to Rebekah were gifts to the young lady, not to her family, tribe,

clan, or house line. At the time that he gave her these things, he had become aware that God had specifically answered his prayer,

and this was the beautiful young woman for his master’s son. He had not told her who he was, why he was there, nor did he yet

know who she was. There was no negotiation, bride price demands, and when she received these gifts, there were no

conditions attached. Later in the chapter we see that she was still free to decide if she would go become the wife of Isaac. She said,

“I will go.”

Clearly, this was not a bride price. It was an unconditional gift to a young woman who had generously watered all the camels of this

servant. There is nothing in this story similar to PNG bride price.


Now the story of the next generation does include a bride price story – a greedy one. Isaac and Rebekah had a set of twins, and it

seems that both parents had quite a problem with showing favoritism to their sons. Isaac favored the first born twin, Esau,

while Rebekah favored the other one, Jacob. If you want to study the devastation of parental favoritism, you’ll find it in Genesis 28.

Anyway, Jacob went away from home, and went to the family of his mother’s brother, Laban. He “fell in love” with Rachel,

Laban’s younger daughter. He made an offer that could be construed as “bride price.” He said, “I will serve you for seven

years for your younger daughter, Rachel.” Laban was a deceitful heathen man, and he agreed to this plan, but tricked Jacob by

giving him the older daughter, Leah, and compelling Jacob to serve another seven years to pay for Rachel! Laban and Jacob, both con

men, spent the next twenty years trying to out-trick each other!


When Jacob finally left there, we know that Laban was still serving idols, and Rachel was a thief – stealing idols from her own Papa!

(Genesis 31: 19)

This story is certainly not an example of a godly family, doing the will of God. It is a better example of some problems associated

with bride price, rather than a justification for it. Dowry is mentioned four times in the Bible (KJV), but only three

in the New King James Version (NKJV).


Leah the wife of Jacob felt left out, and jealous because Jacob loved Rachel more. Leah was often trying to buy her husband’s

affection in various ways. After her sixth son, Zebulun, was born, she said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my

husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun (Genesis 30:20).

The word dowry here is translated “endowment” in the NKJV. In its context it is referring to a blessing from the Lord, and has

nothing to do with bride price.


In Genesis 34:12, an unbeliever named Shechem was wanting to marry Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, after he had already had a

sexual encounter with her. He offered to give any amount of dowry they family asked. The sons of Jacob told them that they

would require nothing except that all Shechem’s house line would have to be circumcised. While the men of Shechem’s family (or

home area) were sore from their circumcision, the son’s of Jacob, Dinah’s brothers, went and killed all of them, and took their sister


Here, again the dowry was offered by the ungodly family of Shechem. It was not demanded by the girl’s family. The sons of

Jacob made a treacherous offer which also shows they did not fully comprehend the Lord’s rite of circumcision, or else they didn’t

care. Even in the Old Testament, the circumcision of the heart was most important, not merely the circumcision of the flesh

(Deuteronomy 10:16 and Jeremiah 4:4).


The word dowry (KJV) is translated “bride-price” in one place: Exodus 22:16, 17, and in its context, it does sound as if some

bride-price was customary at this time. However in this case, it is talking specifically about the sin of premarital sex.

Later King Saul was trying to get David killed by the Philistines.  He tried to trick David by offering him his daughter, Michal, if

David would bring him 100 foreskins of the Philistines. So here the bride price was being demanded by a murderous father who

was actually trying to get the young man killed! Again, that’s not an example of godly people seeking or promoting bride price.


The word “dowry” is used one more time in the NKJV. “Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up and taken Gezer and burned it with fire,

had killed the Canaanites who dwelt in the city, and had given it as a dowry to his daughter, Solomon’s wife” (1 Kings 9:16). Here, a

heathen king was giving a gift (a captured city) to his daughter, who had married Solomon, King of Israel. It was nothing like a

“bride price.”

The term “bride-price” is only found in Exodus 22:16,17, already mentioned above. It is also interesting to note that many of these

stories were also related to circumcision in some way.


An apparent example of bride price is found in Hosea 3:1, 2. The Lord was using the prophet’s marriage to a prostitute as an

illustration of God’s faithful love to unfaithful Israel. Hosea says, “So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one

and one-half homers of barley.” This was a very dramatic and extraordinary situation, and does not in any way either condone or

condemn bride price. It was certainly not a very high price, and it certainly would not make it a requirement for others besides


An Unequal Yoke with Unbelievers:

Please read the following passage of Scripture very carefully.

Cattle that are trained to work are called oxen. Ox is singular,

oxen is plural. A yoke was a wooden bar that went across the top

of the necks of two oxen, when working side by side. A bow or

loop of wood usually went down around the neck of each animal to

help secure the yoke in place. Leather straps, chains, or ropes

could be attached to the center of the yoke, and the animals were

used to plow fields, or pull heavy loads. Originally, an acre was

considered to be the amount of land a “yoke of oxen” could plow

in one day. These two animals had to learn to work together. This

scripture shows that Christians and unbelievers can’t really plow

together in the same yoke, because they are serving two different

masters. You can’t really “pull together” if the two of you are


getting your directions from two different drivers, trying to go in

opposite directions!

2 Corinthians 6:11 – 7: 1

O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide

open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by

your own affections. 13 Now in return for the same (I speak as to

children), you also be open.

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For

what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what

communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has

Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you

are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in

them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall

be My people.”

17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate,

says the Lord.

Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”

18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and

daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”

1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse

ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting

holiness in the fear of God.

As described earlier, many young men go to their unbelieving

wantoks to obtain money, pigs, and other material things for their

bride price. This is considered normal, and even necessary, even

among “Christian” people. These non-Christian wantoks do not

have a mind to give. They consider their “contribution” as an

investment, and they are often expecting much in return. They

expect that, when this young man has children, eventually his

daughter will marry, and they (the unbelieving wantoks) are

entitled to have a great deal of authority over who she marries, and


how much bride price will be demanded, and how much they get


So these young people are enslaved to the wishes and selfish

demands of the unbelievers from the moment they are born! This

is a perfect example of an unequal yoke with unbelievers. Other

than marrying an unbeliever, this is the most deplorable alliance

between professing believers and unbelievers I have ever heard. It

is hard to imagine that anybody who is truly “born from above,”

and has had a “renewing of the mind” would not see the extreme

evil in this!

In 2004, the newspapers reported that, in the Eastern Highlands

Province, a newborn girl had been sold for bride price! Is that

greed? I don’t know how common this is, but it will be very

difficult for this girl to seek and find God’s will for her life, being

chained to this unholy alliance with heathen darkness.

Let’s give some extra consideration to the Scripture quoted

above. Paul implies the bondage of sin when he says, “you are

restricted by your own affections” (verse 12). Then in verses 14 –

16, he is asking such questions as, “What fellowship has light with

darkness?” and “What part has a believer with an unbeliever?”

The implication of all these question is that there really is no

mixture of light and darkness. You are either in the light of Christ

or still in the darkness of sin!

Skipping down to verse 18, God proclaims that our children

are His sons and daughters! The idea that a girl is a possession

of a tribe, something that can be owned, bought, sold, or traded is

totally unscriptural. As we have seen earlier in this chapter, God

makes no distinction in the value of boys and girls. He says they

both belong to Him.

What are Christians supposed to do about this? Verse 17 says,

Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord.

Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” We are to

so live “that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you

out of darkness into His marvelous light…” (1 Peter 2:9).


Coming “out from among them” is not easy in a tribal culture.

Children are born into tribes and clans which essentially believe

they are possessions, and must be controlled by ancient pre-gospel

traditions. In such a case, you are not considered to be free to

really accept the Bible as your standard of living, because of

mandatory cultural ties with your tribe, wantoks, and traditions. It

is extremely difficult to “opt out,” and choose not to participate in

traditional customs which may not be biblical. This is especially

true in a culture where vengeance, retaliation, and “pay back,” are

also considered to be accepted forms of behavior. But the Lord

says, “Come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord.

Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”

Christians generally accept the idea that “Jesus Christ must be

first in our lives.” Or “Jesus is number one long laip bilong mi.”

As long as such statements are very general, we can accept it,

because we are not forced to make individual applications, which

might require us to “go against the flow” and stand up against an

unholy custom.

As Christian parents, seeing our daughters established in solid,

stable Christ-honoring marriages, should be our top priority

regarding them. If anything else is number one in our lives, then

Jesus is not number one! If obtaining a large bride price is our top

priority, then pleasing Jesus is not our top priority. If pleasing our

wantoks is our major concern, then Jesus Christ is not really Lord

of all in our lives! If we allow unbelievers to have control

concerning our daughter’s marriages, we are not really putting the

will of God in top place. We have become idolaters.

Of course, we can continue to profess any state of grace we

choose, because, “This is our tradition, and everyone else is doing


It is very difficult for people to admit that their ancestors, or their

long-standing traditions, are not right, and should be abandoned for

“better things.” In my own case, I know that the life-styles of

some of my ancestors were very sinful and destructive. My

mother’s family was one of those that seemed to be getting worse

every generation. My great, great grandfather was a drunkard who

hung himself in an underground coal mine. My grandfather, and

his brothers, were criminals, involved in killing, stealing, and one


was imprisoned for counterfeiting money. One of mom’s uncles

stabbed his own brother! (I don’t think he died.)

But then the grace of God entered the picture. My grandfather,

and his little eight year old daughter, went to the altar and gave

their hearts and lives to the Lord in a tent meeting in about 1934.

This transformed Grandpa, and his family! The little girl grew up

to become my mother, and my parents passed to me a better

heritage than what had been given to them! An heritage in Jesus

Christ is the greatest heritage we can give our children!

Do I wish they had stayed in their destructive life-styles, and

ungodly priorities? Do I wish they had found a way to mix their

Christian “faith” with their heather traditions? No way! I am

always thankful for the transforming grace of God that entered

their lives, and became a part of my heritage and training.

A final observation about the influence of the Gospel:

Wherever the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been believed, received,

and put into practice, it has had a tremendous positive effect on the

culture, productivity, prosperity, internal tranquillity, and political

stability. I am not speaking of mere “lip service.” Jesus, quoting

from Isaiah, said, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth,

And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And

in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the

commandments of men.’ ” (Matthew 15:8,9 and Mark 7:6,7).

This is not true Christianity. Throughout history, “Christians”

have been blamed for many perils and conflicts, which do not

involve the true followers of Jesus at all! Where the transforming

Grace of God has been received, it transforms lives, and thereby

greatly influences the priorities and prosperity of the entire culture.

Considering that, it is noteworthy that in all the countries of the

world who have long had the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the tradition

of bride price is not a strong one – if it exists at all. While it could

be argued that it is very important to retrieve what has been

invested in our daughters, in reality, none of the cultures which

place emphasis on this custom are very prosperous compared to

those who don’t.

“Bride price binds the couple together.”

I have heard this argument many times, and it is one of the old

beliefs about bride price. The theory is that the bride price helps


the couple realize they have a commitment to each other. There

may have been some validity to this, especially a long time ago.

A pastor’s wife once made this claim to me, that it helps

stabilize the marriage, etc. I said, “If that is true, why do so many

men still get a second wife?” She said, “Yes, I guess that’s right.”

In reality, the traditional view of bride price does capture the

woman in the marriage, or even in a very abusive relationship. She

can not go running “back to mama” or her family, because they

have already received (and spent) the bride price, and she now

“belongs” to her husband’s house line.

On the other hand, there really is not any stability in a marriage

where a man believes he is free to get a second wife! So bride

price compels the wife to be faithful, but does not bind the man to

her! It’s often thought of as a one-sided requirement for the wife

to be faithful.

Also, this concept is wrong because it reduces marriage to an

economic union, based on money which has been paid, instead of a

spiritual relationship based on the teachings of God’s Word. In

real life, the only thing that will keep us faithful in our minds, and

our actions is to have the right concept of marriage, as God’s Word

describes it. When Jesus Christ is truly the third partner in a

marriage, there is so much more security and tranquillity.

“Girls, the price has been paid.”

The Bible builds upon the concept that the redeemed believers

are the church, the Bride of Christ. We’ve already looked at

Ephesians 5: 25–33 which strongly teaches this truth. The book of

Revelation continues this thought, “Let us be glad and rejoice and

give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His

wife has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7).

A girl belongs to Jesus because of Creation. She has also been

purchased by His own Blood, so she belongs to Him by

Redemption. Whether male or female, “you are not your own, For

you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and

in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6: 19, 20).

The church is the bride of Christ, and He has paid the ultimate

price for His bride. Therefore, every Christian should be totally

free from the pressure and traditions which would hinder them

from doing the will of God in their lives. The young lady does not


belong to people, she belongs to Christ. He has invested more than

anyone else, and He wants only what is best for her. He wants her

life to Glorify God.

As Children of God, “his sons and daughters” are led of the Lord

to the right place at the right time to meet the person who will

become their faithful and loving spouse, thus glorifying the

heavenly Father together.

We must help develop this biblical concept in the minds of God’s

people. We are His children. As the church, we are His bride.

We are His sheep, free to follow him. We are also His Servants.

No biblical principle portrays God’s people willfully choosing to

be under a yoke of bondage to unbelievers.

What can we do?

First of all, we can dare to teach the truth.

Second, if you are a father with daughters yet to be married, you

might consider negotiating with your wantoks ahead of time, to

secure the liberation of your daughter, making you, your wife, and

daughter free to pursue her marriage based solely on biblical

principles, and God’s will for her.

Third, if you are a young man, “in love” with a young woman who

is bound by unbelieving wantoks, do NOT go to you own

unbelieving wantoks for bride price! I would recommend going to

several Christian men, explain the situation, and raise the needed

money from sources which will in no way enslave your own

daughters (the next generation) to unbelievers. If Christian men

would start doing this they could rescue the next generation from

this bondage.

Or, just get married in a Christian setting, and proclaim to the

world that you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not allow this

ungodly tradition to prevent you from marrying the one God has

chosen for you! “You can not serve God and mammon (money)”

(Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13).

Ask yourself: “Does God really want me to place my trust in my

unsaved wantoks, or even professing Chirstians? Does God really

want me to enslave my future daughters to the whims and wishes

of ungodly and greedy men? Is God big enough to help me

through this problem without me violating His Word?

All over Papua New Guinea there are fine Christian young

people who would like to pursue marriage, but they are trapped by


this pre-gospel tradition. Thousands would like to be free from

this “burden grievous to be borne.”

We know a young lady, nearly 30 years of age, and very good

looking. She was recently interested in a fine Christian young

fellow, who would like to marry her. But she is afraid that his

potential bride price payment would be like mere “pocket money”

to one of her leading wantoks. Instead of going against the system,

she is locked into this fear, and is more concerned about satisfying

the demands of a greedy man. As in thousands of other cases,

young people are expected to forego the blessing of a happy

Christian marriage for the preservation of a materialistic tradition.

Even many churches and preachers are afraid to attack this

hideous injustice, and greed, so young people are not given the

spiritual strength they need to overcome. Churches carry on a

charade of God’s blessing while they seek to preserve a tradition

which is fully contrary to God’s Word, and perpetuates bondage

with unbelievers!

This attitude is preventing Christian young people from fulfilling

God’s plan and purpose for their lives. We need to see young

people rise up against it, and seek first the kingdom of God. We

need to see Papas and uncles who love the Lord enough to stand

for the right of their children to establish solid Christ-centered

marriages, unhindered by the fear of violating their family’s greedy


A major woman’s magazine published an article, entitled “Bride

Price in Modern PNG.” I have also seen letters to the editors of

newspapers pointing out the social evils related to bride price and

polygamy. Some of the people writing these things have identified

some real problems, but they are not always coming to the right

conclusions, because they are not getting their answers from the

Manual for Man, the Holy Bible.

All over the world, there is a Satanic attack upon the institution

on marriage. Civilized societies have long taught that God’s

concept of marriage is the foundation of civilization. Strong

churches are formed from strong Christ-centered families, which in

turn comes back to the foundation of the home – Marriage. As

Christians, our chief desire concerning this should be to use all our

efforts and resources to teach the principles of God’s Word, and

help our children build strong Christian homes!


Young person, if you really want to build a marriage on biblical

values, and be free from this materialistic bondage, God will show

you the way. You must study your Bible, and pray for God’s

guidance every step of the way. “Jesus is the way, the truth, and

the life.”

Papa, is God speaking to you right now about put God, and the

spiritual well-being of your children ahead of the cultural pressure

of your wantoks? Does your daughter mean more to you than

money? Would you rather have a fine Christian son-in-law, or

some money and pigs for a short-lived celebration? What does

your child’s well-being mean to you? Do you want your

grandchildren held in bondage to the wishes of unbelievers?

God says, Come out…Be separate…Touch not (2 Corinthians

6:17). God is calling you out!

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed

(John 8:36).