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Marriage And Divorce In The Bible

Divorce Allowed But Not Remarriage

What does the Bible say about divorce and remarriage?

It now becomes clearer that what is meant by not bound is that the believer is not required to go out of his/her way to make reconciliation. Neither do they have to worry about winning over their unsaved spouses . They are now free, at peace. Remarriage is not discussed here. Why? Because marital unfaithfulness was not the issue among the Corinthians. The issue was desertion and separation. In neither the case of Christian marriage nor mixed marriage, did Paul permit remarriage in the event of desertion.

Some would like to believe that Paul allowed for remarriage when the unbelieving spouse departs. Even is this were true, it does not really help their cause. Most of the cases of people divorced in the church today are cases where both were Christians. For such cases Paul indisputably commanded that they not remarry .

It must be noted though that verses 10 and 11 do not speak specifically of Christian marriages. They speak of marriage in general. Why do I say this? There is nothing specific in these verses which limit their application to Christian marriages. Also in these verses, Paul claims to be citing the Lords teaching on divorce and remarriage. Jesus spoke of marriage in general, not Christian marriage. So verses 10,11 and verses 12-15 are not a contrast between Christian marriage vs. mixed marriage, but rather one of general vs. specific. The general rule cannot be violated in the specific case of mixed marriage.

Does God Want Me To Stay In An Unhappy Marriage

Many Christians have tried to justify a non-biblical divorce by saying, I deserve to be happy. But you cant truly be happy unless you walk in obedience and fellowship with Christ. Maybe the question should be, Does God want my marriage to remain unhappy? The answer, of course, would be, No! Marriage reflects Christ and the church, which is the happiest union of all.

What God wants you to do if your marriage is unhappy is work on making it happy! Take a close look at your own actions: are you loving, affirming, forgiving, patient, kind, and unselfish? Have you sat down with your spouse and discussed what is making you unhappy? Have you sought counseling with your pastor?

45. 1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

46. 1 Peter 3:1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives.

47. Colossians 3:14 In addition to all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

48. Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

49. Mark 9:23 If you can? said Jesus. Everything is possible for one who believes.

Other Reasons For Divorce

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

If an unbeliever abandons the marriage, the other partner is freed from the marriage bond ” rel=”nofollow”> 1 Corinthians 7:15).

The Bible does not have a specific teaching about other intolerable situations. But if one partner seriously violates the marriage contract, as by physical/emotional/sexual abuse, illegal activity, financial irresponsibility, etc., the marriage contract has been unilaterally broken. The other partner must take whatever actions are necessary to escape from the situation and to protect self and children. Reconciliation is preferable, but if that is not possible, different church denominations have different procedures for formally ending the marriage.

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Does A Person Have To Divorce

Just because biblical grounds may be present, that does not mean the divorce must occur. Christ makes it clear that divorce happens because of the hardness of our hearts . On numerous occasions over the years, offended parties have chosen to forgive, reconcile, and remain in the marriage. If that occurs, the offended spouse cannot subsequently wait to use that same issue as grounds for divorce unless new information comes to light. The offended party should seek to make a decision if they wish to pursue a divorce or not. Cases where sexual sin happened many years in the past, and the offended party was aware and chose not to divorce, will be considered reconciled. Scripture is also clear, a person who has been sinned against must choose to forgive someone who has sinned against them, even in cases where there may be grounds for divorce .

In cases where forgiveness has occurred and the couple has been restored, there may be a desire for a marriage renewal ceremony. The decision for this ceremony will be made on a case-by-case basis.

What Does The Bible Say About Divorce Marriage Creates A Unity Between A Man And A Woman That Provides The Blessings Of A Deep Partnership

Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible  Westminster Bookstore

Second, Gods Word tells us that sexual relations outside marriage are forbidden because sexual enjoyment between humans is reserved for a man and woman in marriage alone . The entire book called The Song of Songs in the Bible is focused on the sexual enjoyment of a husband and wife.

The book of Proverbs was originally written for young men. It warns them against the inevitable pain and destruction that come from adultery and promiscuity and praises the delight that comes from faithful marriage, including the sexual satisfaction a couple enjoys .

Thirdly, Scripture teaches that God wants marriage to create godly offspring. In a sense, this is the ultimate fulfillment of his original mandate when he created humans. He told us to, Be fruitful and increase in number fill the earth .

When we have children, we are fulfilling the ultimate purpose of the original mandate because God ultimately created humans so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us . The prophet Malachi describes it succinctly:

And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.

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Gods Purposes For Marriage

it tears at the very heart of Gods redemptive plan for the world

And He answered and said, Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.

Dating And Choosing A Spouse

The Israelites were prohibited from intermarrying with the pagan peoples who surrounded them ” rel=”nofollow”> Deuteronomy 7:1-4), and the apostle Paul advised Christians to marry only other believers ” rel=”nofollow”> 1 Corinthians 7:39, ). However, an already married Christian should not divorce a nonbelieving spouse ” rel=”nofollow”> 1 Corinthians 7:12-16).

There is no indication in the Bible that we are predestined to marry a certain person or that there is one special person or “soul mate” that we should find and marry. Except for the preference to marry another Christian, we are free to marry whomever we wish ” rel=”nofollow”> 1 Corinthians 7:39).

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Corinthians : 3235 Marriage And Commitment

But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord.

~ 1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Paul has made it obvious that staying unmarried isnt a sin, but this is not a demand from God, and that individuals who marry do not commit sin .

In addition, he has made two exceptions to his personal preferences. Those who burn with sexual passion should marry instead of fighting immorality all the time.

Those who have been betrothed or engaged should keep their commitments. Everyone else, on the other hand, should consider staying single.

Jesus Counsels The Rich Young Ruler

The Truth About… Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage

16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?

17 So He said to him, Why do you call Me good?No one isgood but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life,keep the commandments.

18 He said to Him, Which ones?

Jesus said, You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness,19 Honor your father and your mother, and,You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

20 The young man said to Him, All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?

21 Jesus said to him, If you want to be perfect,go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven and come, follow Me.

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

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Key Passages And Exceptions Where Is Divorce Is Allowed


There are two clear biblical reasons where divorce is allowed. The first one being adultery/sexual immorality.

It has been said, Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce. But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 5:31-32

Malachi 2:16 states that the man who hates and divorces his wife, says the Lord, the God of Israel, does violence to the one he should protect, says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful. Moses teaching on divorce was this:

If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord. Do not bring sin upon the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. Deuteronomy 24:1-4


The first paragraph of this passage clearly indicates that Gods desire is that married couples stay together even through disagreements and difficulties in the marriage.

When Does The Bible Allow Divorce

Another friend, Monica, calls you often with complaints about her husband. It seems he can never do anything right, and youre concerned that Monica has started to obsess about what a man of God your churchs new, single pastor is. You suspect Monica might be getting a bit infatuated. Youre concerned about her. Could she be considering divorce?

Meanwhile, a third friend, Mary Ann, is consumed with guilt about the past. After studying the Bible, she has come to the conclusion that she divorced for selfish reasons, not biblical ones. Because her ex-husband is remarried, Mary Ann cant remedy this wrong. She is having a terrible time hearing anything you tell her about Gods forgiveness.

When we face challenging marital circumstances , we may struggle with deep, hard questions: What are the biblical grounds for divorce? Are my marriage struggles just the product of two sinners marrying? Or are these struggles legitimate grounds for divorce? How can Gods Word help me discern what is right?

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Marriage Is Good Because God Made It

Gods Divorce

Remember that in Matthew 19, Jesus refers back to the creational math of marriagenamely, that 1+1=1, that one man and one woman equals one fleshand teaches that this covenantal oneness, this covenantal union, is something that God did.

God made marriage. We have to start there, in Genesisnot in Deuteronomy 24if we want to understand marriage. Deuteronomy 24 exists because sin exists, because of hardness of heart. You cant even rightly understand Deuteronomy 24 until you understand the creational nature of marriage from Genesis.

So just as Jesus taught us last week and the week before how to properly obey the sixth and seventh commandments, this week he teaches us how to properly understand and obey Gods design and his commands for marriage. And his main point in Matthew 19his main point about what we learn in Genesis about the creational design for marriage as God made itis that marriage is not just something God made, but something God does.

Every time a marriage happens, Jesus teaches us that the husband and wife becoming one flesh is something God doeshe says, Let not what God has joined together men separate. God made marriagethe actual institution. And God makes all marriageshe is the one uniting husband and wife.

God made the institution of marriage.God is the one who makes two into one in marriage.Therefore, marriage is radically good.

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What Did Jesus Really Say About Marriage And Divorceby Mary Loftus

Watch video

While many look to the Bible for guidance on matters of morality, including marriage and divorce, Professor Luke Timothy Johnson says mining the good book for what is permissible may be shortsighted.

Dont read the text to support present proclivities, says Johnson, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins in the Candler School of Theology and a Senior Fellow of Emorys Center for the Study of Law and Religion . The question ought not to be What is allowed, but rather, and always, What is asked of us?

Johnson recently delivered the Alonzo L. McDonald Lecture in Christianity and Law at Emory Law as part of CSLRs When Law and Religion Meet lecture series. Johnson, a world-renowned scholar on Christianity and its origins, spent a decade as a Benedictine monk before marrying he now has thirteen grandchildren.

Just what is asked of us can be found in two passages of Matthews gospel pertaining to Jesuss dictates on marriage and divorce passages that have received obsessive attention, says Johnson.

In the first, Matthew quotes Jesus as saying: It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife, except on the grounds of porneia , makes her an adulteress and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. .

While statements in the Bible concerning divorce do not entirely agree in every detail, it is plain enough that Jesus does not approve of divorce, Johnson adds.

Matthew’s Explanation

Giving Up Self and Family

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Luke 1: 18 Adultery As A Reason

Divorce and Remarriage According to the Bible

Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

~ Luke 16:18

After a divorce, Jesus appears to declare an absolute prohibition against remarriage.

You shouldnt do that since youll be engaging in adultery. This is something we see in Mark as well.

God created marriage to be a permanent institution between one man and one woman for the rest of their lives, Jesus reminds them.

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Jesus Specifically Allowed Divorce For Infidelity

Matthew 19:9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.

Note that Jesus does not say this is the only reason for divorce. We find other reasons for divorce in Scripture. For a quick 7-minute video explanation by Rev. Dr. David Instone-Brewer of Cambridge, see this.

Giving Up Sugar Tasting God’s Goodness

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