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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

“Be Fruitful and Multiply” Part 1

The controversial topic of “Be Fruitful and Multiply,” is one that has heavily weighed upon my mind of late. After going to a friend’s house and hearing a lively discussion about it, I felt much better about my stance on the issue. I want to point out that I have not studied the topic extensively, nor am I pointing fingers at anyone. I just wanted to share some thoughts that I had come home with about the subject in order to discuss and be enlightened about your thoughts on this topic as well. This topic is not about whether birth control is wrong or right, but rather about the focal point of the term- being fruitful and multiplying. I will write a series of posts on this general topic, as I have a lot more areas I’d like to cover. Right now, I just want to go over the basics of this commonly used phrase.

I don’t believe anyone knows my views on this particular subject in all actuality. I enjoy big families immensely! I desire to have a huge family when I get older, simply because that’s what I’ve wanted for most of my life. With that being said, I don’t see anything wrong with a small family. Perhaps it is because I myself come from a TINY family. I see the benefits of a small family. Both small and big families have their pros and cons.
With that being said, I’ll discuss the familiar interpretations that are given about this verse,

And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.
(Gen 9:1 ESV)

That verse is quoted quite often, yet the command was specifically given to Noah and Adam & Eve. The command is never seen in the New Testament, and it is quite interesting that the only times it was recorded in the Old Testament were when the population of the earth was down to a handful. There was a reason why these specific people were told to multiply. A lot of people would argue that the word used in the passage, “multiply,” means to have many children. A closer look at the definition of “multiply,” just means to replicate, implying at least one offspring, as that is what replication is. Multiply is not a specific number, therefore that verse should never even be limited to a number of how many equals the word, “multiply.”

Therefore, I do not see this verse as a Biblical explanation for having large families. I don’t think anyone can say that we are commanded to have many children based upon this verse. There is nothing wrong with having a large family or a small family for that matter, I just believe we need to keep things in their original context.


  1. Well said. I think you're right on much as a lot of well-meaning Bible teachers and people would have us believe, we must never take Scripture out of context, even when it seems to be for a good reason, or to better fit a good idea. Twisting Scripture is no sign of wisdom, even if we don't like it. ;)

  2. I'm with you on this issue Ash; actually both of them! Keeping Scripture in context AND not bashing persons or families that chose to remain small in size, or never have children.

    Whenever I hear or read someone taking a verse, and applying it liberally over a huge, diverse range of Christians as law... I tend to look twice before even considering accepted what they're saying right off the bat. It's tricky sometimes.