What does the Bible say about divorce and remarriage?
- Throughout the Bible, there are encouraging words and instructions given to disciples, to individuals who wish to follow Jesus and who have an ear for what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches – words that bring blessing to those who comply, both now and in the world to come.
- What does God’s Word have to say about marriage, divorce, and remarriage, specifically?
- In the New Testament, the following lines contain the words of Jesus Himself, speaking to His disciples, as well as the words of Paul, who is known as the apostle of reconciliation:
Jesus on divorce and remarriage:
It has also been suggested that ‘whoever divorces his wife should provide her a document of divorce.’″ Nevertheless, I declare to you that anybody who divorces his wife for any reason other than sexual immorality leads her to commit adultery, and anyone who marries a woman who has been divorced commits adultery.″
- They also came to Him, testing Him, and asking Him, ‘Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife for any reason whatsoever?’ ‘Have you not read that He who created them in the beginning ″made them male and female,″ and that He who said, ″For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh″?’ As a result, they are no longer two, but rather one body of flesh.
- For this reason, whatever God has joined together, man should not separate.’ After all, why would Moses mandate to issue her a divorce certificate and to imprison her?’ they questioned Him further.
- ‘Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, authorized you to divorce your wives, but this was not the case from the beginning,’ he explained.
In the same way, I say to you, anyone divorces his wife, save in cases of sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her after she has been divorced, commits adultery.When His disciples told Him this, He replied, ″If this is the case with the man and his wife, it is better not to marry.″ ″However, He told them, ‘This teaching cannot be accepted by everybody, but only by those to whom it has been given…’″
According to the Bible, ″Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her after she has been divorced from her husband commits adultery.″
Paul on divorce and remarriage:
- Do you not realize, brethren (because I am speaking to those who are familiar with the law), that a man’s life is under the control of the law for as long as he lives?
- For a woman who has a husband is legally obligated to her spouse for as long as he is alive under the law.
- However, if her spouse passes away, she is no longer subject to the law of her husband.
So, if she marries another guy while her husband is still alive, she will be considered an adulteress; however, if her husband dies, she will be exempt from this legislation, and she will not be considered an adulteress, despite the fact that she has married another man.″
1 Corinthians 7:10-11
- ″Now I command the married, but it is not I who command it, but it is the Lord: A wife is not to separate from her husband.
- But even if she does leave, she should be allowed to remain single or to reconcile with her spouse.
- A husband is not permitted to divorce his wife.
″ God’s Word makes it very apparent that He has established marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and that the marriage contract is legally valid as long as both spouses are alive.Even if the Bible allows for divorce in some circumstances, it is very clear that this does not relieve either spouse of their need to be faithful to the other, and they are not permitted to remarry as long as the other partner is still alive in the marriage.Among Christians, there is a great deal of disagreement about what Jesus and Paul ″really″ meant by their words on the subject of marriage, divorce, and remarriage after divorce: what their cultural and religious context was at the time, if it applied to the innocent party, if there were exceptions in cases of unfaithfulness, and so forth.In contrast, we believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word, and that it is the only foundation for our religion.It was to His followers that Jesus delivered these words – to those who wish to follow Him, to take up their cross, and to lay down their lives.We find no hint in the Scriptures that God’s law can be adapted to changing ideas or times, but we do discover evidence that following God’s laws brings blessing, peace, and harmony!
Understanding first that no prophecy of Scripture is subject to private interpretation, for prophecy has never come by the will of man, but has always come as holy men of God were moved by the Holy Spirit, we can proceed.2 Peter 1:20-21 is a passage of scripture.In the presence of God, who breathes life into all things, and in the presence of Christ Jesus, who saw the good confession before Pontius Pilate, I implore you to observe and uphold this commandment without spot or fault until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearance…″ 1 Timothy 6:13-14 is a biblical passage.
What does the Bible say about divorce and remarriage?
Answer to the question First and foremost, regardless of one’s position on the topic of divorce, it is vital to remember Malachi 2:16: ″It is important to remember Malachi 2:16.″ ″I despise divorce,″ declares the LORD, the God of Israel.Marriage, according to the Bible, is a commitment that lasts a lifetime.Consequently, they are no longer two people, but one.For this reason, whatsoever God has brought together, man should not separate″ (Matthew 19:6).God, on the other hand, is well aware that, because marriages include two sinful human beings, divorces will always occur.Deuteronomy 24:1–4 contains regulations that God established to defend the rights of divorcées, particularly women, who were living in slavery at the time.
- These regulations, Jesus pointed out, had been enacted because people’s hearts were hardened, not because God desired them to be in place (Matthew 19:8).
- The debate over whether divorce and remarriage are permitted by the Bible is centered mostly on Jesus’ statements in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9, respectively.
- The line ″except in cases of marital infidelity″ is the only item in the Bible that might conceivably grant God’s consent for divorce and remarriage, according to some scholars.
- Many interpreters believe that this ″exception clause″ is referring to ″marital unfaithfulness″ that occurs during the ″betrothal″ portion of the marriage.
- Even when they were engaged or ″betrothed,″ according to Jewish tradition, a man and a woman were regarded as legally married.
According to this point of view, immorality during this ″betrothal″ period would be the sole legal cause for a divorce at that point.The Greek phrase for ″marriage unfaithfulness,″ on the other hand, is a general term that can refer to any sort of sexual immorality, including adultery.It can refer to any number of things such as fornication, prostitution, adultery, and so on.If Jesus is implying that divorce is acceptable in the case of sexual immorality, this is a possibility.In a marriage, sexual encounters are an essential component of the union: ″the two will become one flesh″ (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Ephesians 5:31).
- As a result, any breach of that relationship caused by sexual interactions outside of marriage may be considered a valid basis for divorce.
- If that’s the case, Jesus may also be thinking about remarriage in this chapter.
- Regardless of how the exception clause is understood, the wording ″and marries another″ (Matthew 19:9) shows that divorce and remarriage are permitted in instances when the exception clause applies.
- Important to remember is that only the innocent person is permitted to remarry.
- Despite the fact that it is not stated in the text, it appears that God’s pity for the one who has been wronged, rather than for the one who has committed sexual immorality, is the reason for the provision for remarriage after divorce.
There may be circumstances in which the ″guilty party″ is permitted to remarry, although these are not mentioned in this passage.According to some, 1 Corinthians 7:15 constitutes another another ″exception,″ permitting remarriage in the case of an unbelieving spouse divorcing a believer.The context, on the other hand, does not discuss remarriage, but rather states that a believer is not obligated to remain a marriage if an unbelieving spouse wishes to divorce.
Many people believe that abuse (spousal or child) is an acceptable grounds for divorce, despite the fact that it is not specifically mentioned in the Bible.However, while this may very well be the truth, it is never a good idea to put too much stock on God’s Word.The fact that, whatever the definition of ″marital unfaithfulness″ is, it is an accommodation for divorce rather than a mandate for divorce is sometimes overlooked in the discussion over the exception clause.Even when adultery is committed, a couple may learn to forgive one another and begin the process of mending their marriage with the help of God’s mercy.God has forgiven us for a great deal more than that.Indeed, following His example and even forgiving the sin of adultery is something we can do (Ephesians 4:32).
However, in many cases, a spouse remains unrepentant and continues to engage in sexual immorality with their partner.It is in this situation that Matthew 19:9 may be applicable.Many people also want to remarry as soon as possible following a divorce, even if God has told them to stay single.
According to 1 Corinthians 7:32–35, God sometimes invites people to be single in order for their focus to not be split.In certain cases, remarriage after a divorce may be a possibility, but this does not always imply that it is the only choice available.Malachi 2:16 makes it plainly clear that God despises divorce and that reconciliation and forgiveness should characterize the life of a believer (Luke 11:4; Ephesians 4:32).
God, on the other hand, acknowledges that divorce will occur, even among His own offspring.Even if the divorce and/or remarriage does not fall under the potential exception clause of Matthew 19:9, a believer who has been divorced and/or remarried should not feel that God has less affection for him or her.Return to: Marriage-Related Questions and Answers When it comes to divorce and remarriage, what does the Bible have to say about it?
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What Did Jesus Teach about Divorce and Remarriage?
There are a total of ten articles in the What Did Jesus Teach? series.
What Jesus Said
However, despite the fact that the Mosaic law had laws for divorce, the Old Testament makes it plain that divorce falls short of God’s ideal (Mal.2:16).When asked about divorce and remarriage, Jesus took his audience all the way back to the beginning, reminding them that God created humanity as male and female (Gen.1:27) and stipulated that the man was to leave his father and mother and be united to his wife (Gen.2:24) in a one-flesh union before God that people were not to break: ″So they are no longer two but one flesh.″ (Matt.19:6) Accordingly, ″what God has joined together, let no man separate″ (Matt.
- 19:4–6; Mark 10:8–9).
- In their answer, Jesus’ audience makes it apparent that they believed that the Mosaic restrictions had effectively supplanted God’s original objectives at the time of creation.
- Why else would divorce have been controlled under Mosaic law (Deut.
- 24:1–4), given the religious atmosphere of the day, in their thinking?
- Rather than attempting to replace the Creator’s original plan, Jesus asserted that the Mosaic rules were instituted solely to acknowledge the fact of human hardness of heart (Matt.
19:7–8, Mark 10:5; see also Matt.5:31–32).Marriage, on the other hand, was designed to be a lifelong, loyal connection between a man and a woman.
The Disciples’ Reaction
The first disciples of Jesus, although acknowledging the lofty standard set by Jesus, believe his viewpoint to be unnecessarily restricted, and say, ″If that is the case…it is better not to marry″ (Matt.19:10).When they disagree, Jesus dismisses them and responds that, while a few people may truly be blessed with the gift of celibacy (Matt.19:11–12), God’s original ideal for marriage continues to hold.The disciples’ response, according to some, demonstrates that Jesus’ standard must have been even stricter than Shammai’s ″divorce on the grounds of adultery″ view; the disciples’ response, according to others, demonstrates that Jesus advocated a ″no divorce once the marriage has been consummated″ position; and 1 However, the reasons presented above are somewhat inconclusive, especially given the fact that the disciples’ reactions were undoubtedly impacted by their surroundings and presuppositions.
- In common with many of their Jewish contemporaries, Jesus’s followers may have assumed that the standard was a little more lenient—perhaps they even assumed that Jesus’s standard was a little more lenient based on his compassionate treatment of the adulterous woman mentioned in John 7:53–8:11—and as a result, they may have reacted negatively to Jesus’s severe-sounding pronouncement.
- Another point to note is that, although current Judaism compelled divorce in cases of sexual immorality, the passage appears to indicate that Jesus just tolerated it (thus implying the need to forgive).
- As a result, the fact that Jesus’ criteria for divorce was higher even than that of the conservative school of Shammai may be a sufficient explanation for the disciples’ shocked reaction to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 19.2.
The “Exception Clause”
Much debate has concentrated on the one ostensible exemption offered by Jesus, according to which divorce may be acceptable in certain circumstances.Divorce is illegitimate ″save in cases of marital infidelity″ (NIV1984) or ″sexual immorality″ (NIV1989), according to this exemption, which is referenced in both Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9.(ESV; ISV; NKJV; HCSB; TNIV; NIV).Due to the fact that the similar passages in Mark 10:11–12 and Luke 16:18 do not mention the exception, some have speculated that Jesus never truly stated the exception and that Matthew (or someone else) inserted it at a later point in the narrative.The ″exception clause″ would, however, remain a part of inerrant, inspired Scripture and hence authoritative for Christians even if this were to occur (which is highly doubtful).Some of those who believe that Jesus did indeed utter the exception clause attempt to bring the Matthean exception clause into conformity with the absolute statements in Mark, Luke, and Paul by arguing that those passages, rather than Matthew, should be the ultimate point of reference in the interpretation of the gospel of Matthew.
- Another school of thought is hesitant to subsume the Matthean exception clause too quickly under the absolute statement found in the Gospels of Mark, Luke, and Paul, and argues that both sets of passages should be studied in their own right in order to appreciate Jesus’ teaching on the subject at hand.
- The episode reported in Matthew 19:3–12 gets its starting point from the Pharisees’ query, ″Is it permissible to divorce one’s wife for any reason?″ The incident is recorded in Matthew 19:3–12.
- For any and every cause (NIV: ″for any and every reason,″ Matt.
- 19:3; see also Matthew 5:31).
- 3 As they have done on other occasions, Jesus’ opponents attempt to draw him into a state of contradiction or else present him with the appearance of being forced to choose between competing positions.
According to Matthew 19:3 (and Mark 10:2), the religious leaders were attempting to force Jesus into a choice between competing theological schools while also placing Jesus in danger with Herod Antipas, much as John the Baptist had suffered for his denunciation of Herod’s illicit union with Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife (see Matt.4:12; Matt.11:2–3; Matthew 14:3–4; Mark 6:14–29).4 Marriage was designed to be a lifelong, committed relationship between a man and a woman.As a result, the Pharisees’ inquiry calls into play the differing viewpoints held by the various rabbinic schools in Jesus’ day, as previously established.
- Based on the premise that Jesus himself pronounced the ″exception clause,″ how does Jesus position himself in relation to or distinguish himself from the rabbinic schools of his day?
- Without a doubt, Jesus’ position was far more stringent than that promoted by the Hillel school of thought, which maintained that divorce was acceptable ″for any reason″ (see Matt.
- On the surface, Jesus’ stance appears to be much more similar to that of the school of Shammai, which held that genuine divorce (with the potential of remarriage) could only be granted in cases of marital infidelity.
- However, as previously mentioned in relation with the disciples’ reaction to Jesus’ teaching, it appears that, in contrast to Shammai, Jesus only authorized divorce in the instance of porneia, but first-century Judaism mandated divorce.
5 Furthermore, in a very significant way, Jesus’ response transcends the legalistic squabbles between those two rabbinic schools and gets right to the core of the problem in which they were engaged.The crux of the matter is that Jesus, in good rabbinic style, shifts the Old Testament warrant from one specific passage (Deut.24:1–4) to an earlier set of passages (Gen.
1:27; Gen.2:24), and thus relativizes the (chronologically later) reference as merely a concession that in no way mitigates the abiding principle established by the foundational texts.The actual meaning of marriage is taught to Jesus’ followers by emphasizing on the original design of marriage in God’s plan, as revealed in the book of Genesis.Apart from emphasizing marriage’s permanence as a divine rather than just human institution, he also argues that divorce is fundamentally at conflict with God’s purpose for creating the world in the first place.Marriage and divorce are revolutionary for both men and women (see, for example, Mark 10:11–12), and they should be celebrated.Despite regulations in the Mosaic law that stipulated equal treatment of men and women in regard to divorce (Lev.
20:10–12), a double standard prevailed in Old Testament times, according to which women were required to be faithful to their husbands (or else punishment would result), while the standards for men were significantly more lenient.However, under Jesus’ teachings, the rights of husband and wife were placed on an equal basis.As a result, Jesus taught that the desire for other women that exists in a man’s heart constitutes adultery (Matt.
5:28), which means that extramarital encounters are equally immoral for both men and women.6
In light of the foregoing debate, it becomes clear that the definition of the term porneia is critical in comprehending Jesus’ teaching on divorce and remarriage, since this is the phrase that is used to introduce the ″exception clause″ that Jesus spoke.Although there is no general agreement among Bible-believing Christians on the precise definition of porneia, the options made by scholars may readily be categorized into one of three contending viewpoints on the subject.According to the first perspective, porneia refers to adultery or sexual immorality, and the biblical legality of divorce and remarriage for the innocent party of a spouse’s adultery or sexual immorality (″divorce and remarriage″) is upheld.This is the more conservative interpretation.Porneia is understood by the second interpretation to be a reference to some form of sexual offense, such as adultery, but it is held that while Jesus permitted divorce on the grounds of sexual sin, he did not accept remarriage (″divorce, but no remarry″).In a third interpretation of the exception clause, neither divorce nor remarriage are permitted in the present context (″neither divorce nor remarriage″).
- Porneia, according to these scholars, is a reference to a form of sexual transgression that would have rendered marriage illegal under Jewish civil law if it had occurred.
- Note that there are several subtleties and variations within each of the three positions discussed above, and that this is true for all three viewpoints discussed above.
As an alternative to advocating for a specific point of view in response to the ideas expressed above, we would like to provide certain guidelines for forming one’s own perspective on Jesus’ teachings on divorce and remarriage.First and foremost, it is critical to recognize that the term porneia refers to a generic phrase for sexual vice.In spite of the fact that context is always important in determining what the word means, porneia is usually understood to refer to sexual sin in its most particular definition.In order to emphasize the argument that a concept of nonsexual ″no fault″ divorce cannot be derived from Jesus’ usage of the word porneia, we bring attention to this fact.Second, given the divine design of the institution of marriage, the teaching of the Old Testament on divorce and remarriage, and the unambiguous portions of Jesus’ teaching on the subject, whatever one’s view of the ″exception clause″ on the subject may be, it must encourage the sacredness of the marriage bond, regardless of one’s point of view on the issue.That is to say, even if one accepts the possibility of divorce and remarriage as a consequence of sexual immorality (such as adultery), as is the predominant position of the modern church, divorce must be regarded as a result of sin and, as a result, as a regretful failure of God’s original design.
- Because divorce and remarriage are so prevalent in contemporary culture, believers should exercise special caution in ensuring that their respective views are shaped by the biblical text, striving to avoid common errors such as conflating stringency with holiness or permissiveness with grace, among others.
- Furthermore, in light of the divisions that exist among orthodox Christians on this issue, we encourage everyone to maintain their views on divorce and remarriage with charity and conviction, while being open to honest discourse with those who hold opposing views.
- 35. See Daniel I. Block’s chapter on marriage and family in biblical times, published as part of the edited volume Marriage and Family in the Biblical World (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), which includes the following quotations: ″Marriage and family in ancient Israel.″ The following debate owes a debt of gratitude to this piece of work.
- Ibid., 41
- Ibid., 47
- Ibid., 53–55
- Ibid., 66–68
- See ibid., 77–78
- Ibid., 77–78
- Ibid., 77–78
Marriage and Family: Biblical Essentials is written by Andreas Köstenberger and David W.Jones, who are also co-authors of the book.David W.Jones is a professor of Christian ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as the director of the ThM program and the assistant dean for graduate program management at the seminary.Also a prolific writer, Jones is the author of more than a dozen articles that have been published in a variety of academic journals, and she is a frequent guest speaker at Christian events such as churches, ministries, and conferences.He presently resides in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area with his wife and five children, whom he adopted as youngsters.
- Andreas J.
- Köstenberger (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is the director of the Center for Biblical Studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as a research professor of New Testament and biblical theology.
- The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society is edited by him, and he is a prolific author as well as a famous evangelical scholar.
- He is the creator of Biblical Foundations, a ministry committed to rebuilding the biblical foundations of the home and the church.
- He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Köstenberger is married to his wife, and they have four children.
Popular Articles in This Series
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What did Jesus say about divorce and remarriage?
It is currently often stated that 50 percent of all marriages will result in divorce at some point.While current studies (such as the ones cited by Christianity Today) indicates that the statistics in Christian marriages are not as severe as they formerly were, it is still beneficial to consider what the Lord has taught on the subject and to seek grace in order to be able to carry out his teaching.A group of Pharisees once approached Jesus and said, ″Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?″ Jesus responded affirmatively.We have to confess that the attitude toward marriage today isn’t all that unlike from the one exhibited by the Pharisees during this interaction with Jesus.In today’s society, far too many individuals are so dismissive of marriage that they get divorced for the most flimsy of reasons; men and women split for virtually any cause under the umbrella term of ″irreconcilable differences.″ Instead, Jesus highlighted the main cause of divorce as being a person’s refusal to reconcile with their spouse.In his own words, ″Do you not study the Scriptures?″ he inquired of the woman.
- ″It is stated in them that God created man and woman in the beginning, and that a man should leave his father and mother and be permanently joined to his wife.
- The two will merge into one—they will no longer be two, but one!
- And no man has the authority to separate what God has brought together.″ ″If that’s the case, why did Moses suggest a man may divorce his wife by writing her a letter of dismissal?″ they inquired.
- ″Moses did that in awareness of your hard and wicked hearts, but it was not what God had originally meant,″ Jesus said.
- [Italics mine] (Matthew 19:4-8, emphasis mine) As a result, irreconcilable disagreements aren’t the root reason of divorce in most cases.
There is no such thing; there is only an unwillingness to come to terms with one another.
What if there is infidelity?
Infidelity, on the other hand, is forgiving.In Hosea’s life, God provides us with an example of forgiving infidelity by instructing him to marry a whore and continually forgive her for her serial adultery.After all, ″didn’t Jesus indicate that if one’s spouse is unfaithful, one is justified in seeking a divorce?″ you might wonder.That was not anything Jesus stated, in my opinion.Here’s what he had to say.As a result, anybody who divorces his wife, save for immorality, and marries another is guilty of adultery, according to me.
- (See Matthew 19:9 for further information.) The usage of the terms fornication and adultery in the text, according to some, is purposeful because the Lord was expressing two separate messages.
- I entirely agree with this interpretation.
- According to Jewish tradition at the time, a woman was supposed to be chaste when she married.
- If she was discovered to not be a virgin on her wedding night, her husband was required to present proof (an undamaged bedsheet) of this to the elders and the bride’s family for their consideration.
- He was later granted permission to divorce her, and she was sentenced to death as a result.
(Yes, I understand that those laws were heinous, which is why God’s intention was always to have them repealed.) Fornication was specifically mentioned by Jesus in the Gospels as being committed by a woman who had lost her virginity before marrying a married man.This was the situation that Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus, found themselves in.It should be noted that, in the customs of the period, involvement had a far higher social standing than it does today.As the NKJV reading demonstrates, it was thought to be substantially the same as marriage.In other words, when Jesus mentioned immorality as a reason for divorce, he was speaking in the context of Jewish tradition, which considered what Joseph was seeking to do to be right and proper.
So what about remarriage?
‘A man should leave his father and mother in order to be permanently joined to his wife,’ Jesus stated.″The two will merge into one—they will no longer be two, but one.″ If a person is married to more than one person, it is only because their first spouse has died that they can marry another.When this occurs, according to Jesus, the person is said to be in an adulterous relationship.Regardless of whether or not Matthew 19 leaves any uncertainty in anyone’s mind concerning this, Luke 16:18 clears it out.In other words, everyone who divorces his wife and marries someone else is guilty of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman is guilty of adultery.This is something that Paul the Apostle wrote about in Romans 7 and 1 Corinthians 7.
- In the former, he uses it more as an instance, but in the later, he uses it to educate in an intricate and sometimes misconstrued manner.
- Similarly, God utilizes the marriage connection to symbolize our relationship with him throughout the Bible, and he does so again in Romans 7:2-3.
- Let me give you an example: when a woman marries, she is legally bound to her husband for as long as he is alive.
- She is no longer bonded to him if he dies, and the rules of marriage do not apply to her once he has passed away.
- She will then be able to marry someone else if she so desires.
That would be inappropriate if he were still living, but it is totally OK once he has passed away.
Clearing up the Confusion
Following a thorough reading of Paul’s greater teaching on the question of remarriage in 1 Corinthians 7, there is some uncertainty as to what is truly being taught regarding persons who are married to unbelievers and who choose to leave the marriage.The passage is frequently cited as a justification for remarriage, but I do not believe it does so.Here it is, in its proper context.As a result, I have a command, not just a recommendation, for those who are already married.And that is not a mandate from me, because the Lord himself has stated that a wife should not abandon her husband.However, if she has been separated from him, she should either remain single or return to him.
- Furthermore, the husband is not permitted to divorce his wife.
- I’d like to make a few ideas of my own in this section.
- Although they are not direct mandates from the Lord, they appear to be correct to me: He shall not leave or divorce his wife if she is not a Christian, but she want to remain with him regardless of her religious beliefs.
- A Christian woman who is married to a guy who is not a Christian and who wishes for her to remain with him is not allowed to divorce him or leave him.
- For example, it is possible that a husband who is not a Christian will become one with the assistance of his Christian wife.
The wife who is not a Christian, on the other hand, may be converted to Christianity by the assistance of her Christian husband.The children may never come to know Christ if their parents divorce, yet an unified family may result in their salvation according to God’s design if their parents remain together after divorce.The husband or wife who is not a Christian, on the other hand, is free to depart if they so want.In such instances, the Christian husband or wife should refrain from insisting that the other remain, because God desires that his children live in peace and harmony with one another.(1 Corinthians 7:10-15, New Living Translation) My emphasis is mine.
- As we can see here, Paul properly quotes what the Lord has said in the first half, namely, that you should remain in your marital relationship.
- Afterwards, he makes a recommendation for cases in which the one attempting to leave the marriage is an unbeliever.
- He advises Christians to avoid getting into a fight with their spouses about whether or not to keep them in the marriage by force, because we are called to peace and harmony.
- The fact that the individual can remarry while the other spouse is still living cannot be interpreted as implying that the person cannot remarry later.
- To assert otherwise would indicate that Paul the apostle is contradicting both what he himself has taught previously and, more importantly, what he explicitly claims the Lord has taught in the verse immediately preceding it, which would be incorrect.
He then concludes the teaching on marriage by saying: ″The woman is a part of her husband as long as he lives; if her husband dies, she may marry again, but only if she marries a Christian.″ He may have done this for emphasis and clarity, but he may also have done it for emphasis and clarity.(1 Corinthians 7:39 New Living Translation)
What about separation?
Yes, unfortunately, there are many people who are trapped in utterly terrible relationships, where they are subjected to physical and life-threatening abuse.In such circumstances, I believe Paul the apostle was allowing for a separation in order to maintain peace.The following is my interpretation of his words: ″But if the husband or wife who is not a Christian is eager to go, it is OK.″ The Christian husband or wife should not push that the other stay under such circumstances since God desires that his children live in peace and harmony.″ I Corinthians 7:15.
Hate is a strong word!
Hate is a harsh word, and God does not use it lightly when he speaks it.″I despise divorce,″ he did say, though.Because God considers a married pair to be one flesh, the act of divorcing them is equivalent to brutally slicing them in half.The command is ″But if she is separated from him, let her stay single or else return to him,″ in the event that such an occurrence occurs for any cause.(1 Corinthians 7:10)
What Did Jesus Say about Divorce?
Recently, the Western world has focused its attention on the subject of same-sex marriage, with the issue of divorce receiving less attention.Despite this, Christians and non-Christians alike continue to battle with the decision to divorce as well as the process of considering divorce.This is an area where we require clear direction.Despite the fact that the Bible’s teaching on divorce is extensive, we’ll limit our attention in this brief post to one crucial component of Jesus’ teaching from Mark 10:1–12—the prerequisites for divorcing a spouse.When the Pharisees put Jesus to the test on the contentious matter of divorce, His response centered on the ″one fleshness″ that exists between a married couple (Mark 10:2–9; Matthew 19:5–6).Later, in private, the disciples requested Jesus to elaborate on His response (10:10).
- When Jesus was alone with the disciples, he would emphasize the most important element of His teaching, as was his usual at the time.
- He emphasized unequivocally that marriage is to be a long-term commitment between a man and a single woman.
- To end a relationship and marry someone else is adultery (10:11–12).
- The permanency of the marriage relationship was declared (and continues to be upheld) by Jesus.
- However, He also admitted that, because to the depravity of the human heart, the marital connection may be severed in certain situations, and that this was a possibility.
What are the conditions in question?Because of this, we must resort to Matthew 19:9, which has a ″exception clause″: Except in the case of immorality, I believe that anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman is guilty of adultery.″Immorality″ is the Greek word that Jesus used to describe it, and it is from this word that we derive the current term ″pornography.″ The term ″immorality″ in this poem is derived from the Greek word porneia.Porne is the source of the word ″prostitute.″ In Matthew 19, Jesus might have used the word molxeia, which is a word that is especially associated with adultery, but He used a more general one.In the context of unmarried couples engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse, the term ″porneia″ is sometimes translated as ″fornication.″ The term porneia is frequently used to refer to unlawful sexual conduct among married people, and it is typically translated as ″adultery.″ Pornography is deemed immorality in any situation.
- For the most part, the Greek term porneia refers to sexual conduct that is immoral, clandestine, and occasionally unnatural in nature.
- As a result, some researchers use the term in a broad sense and apply it to things like homosexuality, bestiality, incest, and other similar behaviors.
- Please remember that no matter how wicked these actions are, Jesus only sanctioned divorce in the case of such transgressions…
- He did not provide the order.
- In the event that you have a spouse who engages in the kind of behavior indicated above, you are not required to separate from that individual.
In such marriages, the ultimate objective is always and everywhere reconciliation.Galatians 6:1 says, ″If anybody is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.″ Paul was writing to the Galatians.I’m aware of one example when this is the case.
A married guy was away on a work trip when he decided to watch an X-rated channel from the comfort of his hotel room.He just stayed to watch for a minute or two before turning the television off, feeling terrible and humiliated.When he arrived home from his excursion, he found himself unable to fall asleep.Finally, he came clean to his wife about what he had been up to.His marriage came to an end at that point.His wife was adamant in her refusal to forgive him for that solitary misstep.
She was resolved to get him out of her life as soon as possible.And, for a small period of time, she was able to do this.Please you not misinterpret what I am saying.
What the man did in his hotel room was wrong, and I don’t condone it.But I don’t agree with what his wife did, and neither do you.Divorce is a human decision, not something dictated by God.
And porneia isn’t a blanket norm that we can put across all immorality in relationships and say, ″Well, that’s what you get when you marry a porn star.″ ″Aha!That’s right!You’ve completed your task!It’s all over now!The next destination on our itinerary is divorce court.″ Again, divorce is permissible in circumstances of porneia; nevertheless, it is not required.A mood of ″How can we work through this terrible rupture in our relationship?″ pervades the process of seeking reconciliation.
not ″How am I going to get out of it?″ Allow me to point out that pornography is not an unforgivable sin.To be sure, it is a severe, sad, and emotionally devastating act of disobedience and betrayal on the part of the victim.However, it is not necessary to regard it as though it were unforgivable.In the middle of terrible betrayal, and you fear your marriage is on the verge of dissolution, please consider the difficult work of reconciliation before responding with the kneejerk reaction: ″I’ve got grounds for a divorce, and I’m not stopping until I have it!″ Most of the time, filing those documents will simply result in one heartbreak being replaced by another that is considerably more painful.Based on Charles R.
Swindoll’s book Divorce and Remarriage: According to Jesus, this article was adapted (Plano, Tex: IFL Publishing House, 2013).Charles R.Swindoll, Inc.retains ownership of the copyright.All intellectual property rights are reserved throughout the world.
About the author
Pastor Chuck Swindoll
Recent years have seen a significant increase in interest in same-sex marriage, with the problem of divorce receiving little attention.But Christians and non-Christians alike continue to battle with the decision to divorce and the process of going through with the process of going through with the divorce.This is an area where we require clear advice.Despite the fact that the Bible’s teaching on divorce is extensive, we’ll focus on one crucial part of Jesus’ teaching from Mark 10:1–12 in this brief piece: the prerequisites for divorce.Jesus’ response to the Pharisees’ question on divorce, which centered on the ″one fleshness″ of a married couple (Mark 10:2–9), was a powerful statement about the importance of ″one fleshness.″ When the disciples later sought an explanation for His response, Jesus said in a private conversation with them: (10:10).When Jesus was alone with the disciples, he would emphasize the most important element of His teaching, as was his usual at that point.
- A lasting tie between one man and one woman, according to him, is what marriage should be.
- Adultery (10:11–12) is defined as the act of ending a relationship and marrying another person.
- The permanency of the marriage relationship was confirmed (and continues to be confirmed) by Jesus.
- However, He also admitted that, because to the depravity of the human heart, the marriage connection may be destroyed in certain situations, and that this was something that should be avoided.
- What are the conditions in question.
The ″exception clause″ found in Matthew 19:9 is required in this situation.Except in the case of immorality, I believe that anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman is guilty of adultery in my estimation.The Greek term that Jesus used to describe ″immorality″ is the same word that we use today to refer to pornography, which is derived from the same root.This verse’s definition of ″immorality″ is based on the Greek term porneia (sexual immorality).A prostitute is referred to as a pornographer by the Latin word porne.
- The word molxeia, which is used especially for adultery, might have been used in Matthew 19, but Jesus selected a more general phrase instead.
- Often translated as ″fornication,″ porneia is a term that refers to unlawful sexual conduct between unmarried couples.
- Porneia is commonly referred to as ″adultery″ when it refers to unlawful sexual conduct among married individuals.
- Pornography is deemed immorality in any scenario.
- On a general level, the Greek word porneia refers to sexual conduct that is immoral, clandestine, and occasionally unnatural in nature.
Consequently, some academics use the phrase in a broad sense, referring to homosexuality, bestiality, incest, and other forms of depravity.Please remember that no matter how unethical these behaviors are, Jesus only sanctioned divorce in cases of such crimes…Neither he nor anybody else ordered it.
Even if you have a spouse who engages in the kind of behavior listed above, you are not required to divorce that individual.Reconciliation is the ultimate objective in such marriages, at all times.Galatians 6:1 says, ″If anybody is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.″ Paul was writing to Christians.I’m aware of one example when this is the case, however.Unmarried man on business trip in his hotel room was exposed to a pornographic program on an X-rated television channel.He barely stayed for a minute or two before turning the television off, embarrassed and guilty.
His sleeplessness persisted when he came home after his trip.At long last, he came clean to his wife about what he had been up to.His marriage was officially over at that point.
Because of that one mistake, his wife refused to forgive him.″I’m going to do whatever I possibly can to get him out of my life.″ And, for a small period of time, she was able to accomplish her goal.Please do not misinterpret what I am trying to say.
What that man did in his hotel room was very unacceptable to me.What his wife did, on the other hand, is something I do not support.Divorce is a personal decision, not something dictated by God or the government.And porneia isn’t a blanket norm that we can spread across all immorality in relationships and say, ″Well, that’s what you get when you marry a pornographer.″ ″Then it dawned on me…You’ve completed the task!Congratulations!
It has come to an end.Following that, we’ll head to the divorce courthouse for some finality.″ When it comes to pornography, divorce is permissible but not mandatory.A mood of ″How can we work through this terrible rupture in our relationship?″ pervades the process of reconciliation.not ″What can I do to get out of this situation.″ Permit me to point out that pornography is not a sin that cannot be forgiven.As a severe, terrible, and emotionally devastating act of disobedience and betrayal, there is no doubt about it.
However, it does not necessitate treating it as though it were irredeemable.In the middle of terrible betrayal, and you fear your marriage is on the verge of dissolution, please consider the difficult work of reconciliation before responding with the kneejerk reaction: ″I’ve got grounds for a divorce, and I’m not stopping until I obtain them!″ When it comes down to it, filing such papers will almost always result in a greater heartbreak than what you started with!Based on the book Divorce and Remarriage: According to Jesus by Charles R.Swindoll (Plano, Tex: IFL Publishing House, 2013).Charles R.
Swindoll, Inc.retains ownership of the intellectual property rights in 2013.It is understood that all rights are reserved in perpetuity across the world.
What the Bible Teaches about Divorce and Remarriage
Divorce and remarriage are two topics that demand a high level of pastoral sensitivity, and there are few that require it more.It is possible to make a mistake that has far-reaching implications, especially for women who are locked in violent and hazardous situations.It is possible to inflict disgrace and infamy upon the name of Christ if something goes wrong the opposite way.The Bible teaches that pastors and elders have a responsibility to know what the Bible says and to educate and counsel their congregations as well as to lead, correct, and discipline them according to that knowledge.
The Key Passages In Scripture:
Pastors and elders will want to begin by struggling with the teaching on divorce and remarriage that is documented in Matthew 19.This will allow them to build Biblical opinions and policies on these topics in their congregation.And a group of Pharisees approached him and put him to the test by asking, ″Is it legal to divorce one’s wife for any reason?″ ″Have you not read that the one who created them from the beginning formed them male and female, and that he stated, ‘Therefore, a man must leave his father and his mother and hold tight to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?″ he said rhetorically.As a result, they are no longer two people but one flesh.Because of this, whatsoever God has brought together, let no one separate.″ They questioned him, ″Why, then, did Moses tell one of his followers to issue a certificate of divorce and to deport her?″ ″Moses enabled you to divorce your wives because of your hardness of heart, but this was not the case from the beginning,″ he explained to them.That’s right: anyone who divorces his wife, save in cases of sexual immorality, and marries another is guilty of adultery.″ (Matthew 19:3–9, English Standard Version) The Greek term pornea, which is translated as ″sexual immorality″ in the English Standard Version (ESV), is the important word in the verse above for our purposes.
- Even though the term might have a variety of interpretations, the majority of scholars believe that it is a reference to the complete Holiness Code as stated in Leviticus.
- The Holiness Code lists all of the banned kinds of sexuality in detail, including: And you must not engage in sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife in order to render yourself filthy in her presence….
- It is forbidden to lay with a guy in the same way as you would with a female.
- As for sleeping with an animal and becoming unclean as a result, you shall not do so, nor shall any woman offer herself to an animal in order to lay with it; this is considered perversion.
- (Leviticus 18:20–24, English Standard Version) Those who commit adultery with the wife of a neighbor’s neighbor will very certainly be put to death, as well as the adulterer and adulteress who committed the adultery.
If a guy commits adultery with his father’s wife, he has exposed his father’s innards; both of them will very certainly be executed because their blood is on their hands.If a man commits perversion with his daughter-in-law, both of them will very certainly be executed; they have committed perversion and their blood is on their hands.If a man sleeps with another man as he would with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination, and they will both be put to death since their blood is on their hands….If a man is found lying with an animal, he will very certainly be put to death, and you will slaughter the animal…The next verses state that ″If a man takes his sister, a daughter of his father or a daughter of his mother, and witnesses her nakedness, and witnesses his nakedness, it is a shame, and they must be cut off from among the children of their country….
- (Exodus 20:10–21 ESV) (Leviticus 20:10–21 ESV) Because of pornea, we may fairly deduce that Jesus viewed adultery, gay intercourse, incestuous relations, and bestiality to be sufficient reasons to get a divorce.
- In 1 Corinthians 7, the Apostle Paul offers another exception: ″To the others, I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.″ She should refrain from divorcing her spouse if he is an unbeliever and agrees to continue living with her.
- Because of his wife, the unbelieving husband is rendered holy, and the unbelieving wife is rendered holy because of her husband.
- Otherwise, your children would be dirty, but as things stand, they are pure and blameless.
- However, if the disbelieving partner chooses to split, then so be it.
This does not result in the brother or sister being forced to work.God has called you to be at peace with yourself.For how do you know, woman, if you would be able to save your spouse in the end?
Or, alternatively, how do you know whether you will be able to save your wife?(1 Corinthians 7:12–16, New International Version) So the Bible includes the problem of abandonment due to spiritual incompatibility as a potential basis for divorce in addition to the issue of physical abandonment.
The Biblical Grounds For Divorce:
Under light of the texts above, we may confidently state that a believer may file for divorce in the following situations: 1.Her husband has committed adultery with another man’s wife, according to the evidence.2.Her spouse has engaged in gay sexual relations with a man.3.Her spouse has had sexual relations with a non-human animal.
- Her spouse has had sexual relations with a member of her family.
- Because of her Christian beliefs, her spouse no longer desires to be married to her.
- In any of the five scenarios listed above, the believer has the right to seek a divorce.
What About Physical Abuse?
However, while the Bible does not specifically address the problem of physical abuse as a viable reason for divorce, it does state a number of things that will be useful to any pastor or elder who is offering advice to an injured person.The first thing that has to be addressed is that physical abuse is a sin in every sense.In accordance with the Bible, a Christian is commanded to: Pursue righteousness and godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and kindness (1 Timothy 6:11 ESV).As a result, men are instructed to live with their wives in a respectful manner, giving deference to the woman as the weaker vessel, because they are co-heirs with you of the favor of life, in order that your prayers will not be impeded (1 Peter 3:7 ESV).When it comes to interacting with one another, the Bible requires all Christians to be compassionate, and it specifically commands all men to be understanding toward their wives and to treat them with great respect.So any type of physical, mental, verbal or sexual abuse would be prohibited under these circumstances.
- Pastors, elders, and counselors should recognize that physical abuse is a sin and should call it out as such.
- It’s also worth remembering that abusive males are barred from holding positions of authority in the church, according to the Bible.
- Timothy 3: If somebody want to be an overseer, he chooses a noble work, according to the words of the apostle Paul.
- As a result, an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of a single lady, sober-minded…
- not a drinker, not aggressive but mild, not quarrelsome, not a money-lover…
(etc.) ESV translation of 1 Timothy 3:1–4 ″Not a plektes,″ as in ″not a striker,″ is the direct translation of the Greek phrase.A guy who had struck his wife was barred from serving as an elder in the church, according to the rules.The majority of observers believe that the qualities for an elder are simply the characteristics of a genuine Christian.As a result, Paul is insistent that elder candidates be really born again – that they have provided credible proof that they are developing in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ – before they can be considered.To express the obvious, men who are rescued and sanctified do not assault their spouses or children.
- As a result, physical abuse is considered a sin and disqualifies a person from serving in a leadership position in the Church of Christ.
- In addition, it is against the law.
- In the event that a lady has been beaten by her husband, she should do two things right away.
- First and foremost, she should contact the authorities.
- According to the Bible, the king does not use the sword in vain because he is God’s servant and an avenger who carries out God’s vengeance on the wrongdoer by the use of the sword (Romans 13:4 ESV).
According to the Bible, God has given the government the ability to prohibit wickedness and punish evildoers; thus, if a wife is struck by her husband, she should contact the police immediately.God provides police officers with firearms, Tasers, and handcuffs in order to protect the most defenseless.A wife should take use of this provision in the proper manner.
Government authorities are entrusted by God with the responsibility of restraining evil and punishing evildoers.The church must never get in the way of the fulfillment of that commission.The second thing a Christian woman who has been mistreated should do is contact her pastor or the elders of her church for help.If the husband is a member of the church, he should be subjected to urgent disciplinary action.If he refuses to repent, he should be expelled from the church.When someone is excommunicated, it means that the church no longer recognizes his statement of faith.
However, it does not ″condemn him to unbelief,″ but it does announce that the church does not think that he is actually saved as some claim.According to the church, the lady is now legally married to an unbeliever, with all of the consequences that entails – see the grounds for divorce5 discussed above.
Can A Rightly Divorced Person Remarry?
It is for this reason that the Bible supports divorce: it allows the injured or abandoned partner to remarry.A certificate of divorce is exactly what it sounds like.To summarize: if a divorce is biblically allowed, it is by definition also permissible for the aggrieved or abandoned party to remarry once the divorce has been finalized.As Jesus explains in Matthew 5:31-32, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him offer her a certificate of divorce’ is another phrase that Jesus uses.To the contrary, I claim that anybody who divorces his wife, other than on the grounds of sexual immorality, compels her to commit adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery with her.(Matthew 5:31–32, English Standard Version) In this instance, Jesus is merely stating that if a divorce is deemed invalid, then remarriage is also deemed invalid..
- If the divorce is legal (he uses the word pornea once again), then the remarriage is also legal, according to him.
- In a similar vein, the Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 7 that if the unbelieving spouse does not choose to remain in the marriage and does not wish to live with a Christian who is active and obvious, then the believer should release them from the marriage.
- Such situations do not bind the believer, which means they are free to remarry if they so want.
- That issue is made emphatically in the Pillar Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7: The phrase ″not tied″ alludes to the ability to remarry.
- According to Instone-Brewer, ″the only freedom that makes any sense in this setting is the right to remarry…
All Jewish divorce records, as well as the vast majority of Greco-Roman divorce certificates, featured the lines ‘you are free to marry any man you desire,’ or something quite close to that phrase.It is permissible to remarry if the individual believer had Biblical reasons for divorce, but only if the marriage is in the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:39).
Is Divorced Required In Each Of The Above Listed Cases?
No.The Pharisees believed that divorce was essential and even mandated by God in the Scriptures, but Jesus corrects their thinking.When Jesus was questioned in Matthew 19:7, the Pharisees responded with the following question: ″Why, then, did Moses instruct one to provide a certificate of divorce and to send her away?″ (Matthew 19:7, New International Version).In response, Jesus reprimanded them, stating, ″Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives, but this was not the case from the beginning″ (Matthew 19:8 ESV).Divorce is not forbidden by the Bible; rather, it is permitted, regulated, and restricted.Because of the hardness of human hearts, the Bible permits divorce under specific circumstances.
- People with hard hearts are more likely to remain in their sin, and hard hearts make it difficult to forgive others.
- Becoming a Christian, however, is about receiving a new heart — a soft heart filled with the Spirit of God.
- Such a heart is capable of changing in the direction of Jesus Christ and is capable of forgiving a brother or sister of even the most terrible of sins, as demonstrated by the apostles.
- As a result, there is absolutely no reason for a properly born again Christian couple to ever separate or divorce.
- By the grace of God, people have the ability to change and to forgive.
A spouse may continue to engage in sexual immorality, or a spouse may refuse to marry a real believer, but the believer is not bound in such instances because of the hardness of hearts — since some proclaimed Christians are not truly born again.In such cases, the believer is not bound.He or she is free to remarry – praise be to God for this freedom!Pastor Paul Carter is a charismatic leader who has a heart for people.For the purpose of convenience, I’ve used consistent gender pronouns throughout this article; nonetheless, the same rules hold in the situation of a husband seeking a divorce from his wife.
- Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 2010.
- Roy E.
- Ciampa and Brian S.
- Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians: A New Testament Commentary, Pillar New Testament Commentary: Accordance electronic edition, Grand Rapids, 2010.
You may listen to Pastor Paul’s Into The Word devotional podcast on the TGC Canada website by clicking here; you can also listen on SoundCloud by clicking here.You can also get it from the iTunes store.
Bible Verses about Divorce And Remarriage
3 He was approached by a group of Pharisees who wanted to put him to the test.They inquired as to whether it was legal for a guy to divorce his wife for any and all reasons.(4) ″