When Does The Bible Allow Divorce
Your best friend, Annie, finally works up the courage to make a coffee date with you and get real. I just cant do it anymore, she says, eyes downcast as she traces the outline of her cup. I constantly catch him watching pornography he puts me down all the time he is forceful in the bedroom. A couple times lately, he really lost his temper and scared the kids badly. I dont know what to do. God wants us to honor marriage no matter what, right? What do you say?
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?
But God Hates Divorce
When I say the remedy to an illegal remarriage is divorce, people object with God hates divorce. True, God does hate divorce, but not all divorces. In Ezra chapter 10, he commanded whole families to be broken up for obedience:
2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this. 3 Now therefore, let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and those who have been born to them, according to the advice of my master and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God and let it be done according to the law .
Some will say its wrong to tell people to divorce a second time. No. Its wrong not to warn people and tell them that if they continue in their state of adultery, they wont be accepted by God and they wont inherit eternal life.
Jesus said a persons eternal soul is more important than family , and God cares more about your obedience to him than your comfort.
But what about the children and me? Whoever gets custody, God will take care of you and your children and bless you for your obedience. This doesnt dissolve your responsibility to provide for your children, but God will bless you for your repentance.
Paul On Divorce And Remarriage:
Or do you not know, brethren , that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11
Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.
It is very clear from Gods Word that He has instituted marriage to be between one man and one woman, and that the marriage contract is binding as long as both partners are alive. Even though the Bible does open for divorce in some cases, it also makes it very clear that this does not lift the commitment to faithfulness for either partner, and they may not remarry as long as the other partner is still alive.
knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:20-21.
What Does Put Away Their Wives Mean
The Hebrew word shalach and the Greek word apoluo should be translated put away. Both of those words are used for the husband orally dismissing and sending away his wife without giving her a certificate of divorce. Both those words mean that the husband wrote and handed a certificate of divorce to the wife.
I Remarried After Divorce Should I Divorce Or Separate From My New Spouse Should I Go Back To My First Spouse
To the married I give this commandnot I but the Lordthat the wife should not separate from her husband , and that the husband should not divorce his wife.
However, Paul was writing about the case where a couple has separated but have not divorced and remarried. The additional sin of another divorce and the emotional pain caused to the current spouse and others involved would violate other Bible principles. In most cases, the first marriage could not be restored. When these factors are considered, intentionally breaking up a second marriage seems like an unworkable and unwise choice.
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Divorce Is Forbidden According To The Bible
Basically, the Bible forbids divorcing marriage. Marriage is a holy covenant before God and should not be entered into without care. Nor should such a covenant simply be dissolved again. Jesus says that what God has brought together, man should not divide.
And great multitudes followed him and he healed them there. The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Jesus explained to the Pharisees that Moses only allowed the letter of divorce because of the hardness of peoples hearts. However, it was not intended.
They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
The Bible even says that God hates divorce:
Christ Settles The Argument On What Moses Meant By Uncleanliness
And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. Matthew 19:9
After centuries of debate amongst Jewish scholars Christ comes on the scene and finally settles the debate about what Moses meant by uncleanliness that a man found in his wife that would allow him to divorce her.
Christ says the uncleanliness Moses referred to was fornication. Fornication is a translation of the Greek work porneia which means sexual immorality. It refers to any violation of Gods law regarding sex. Premarital sex, adultery, homosexuality, incest, group sex, prostitution, Beastiality, rape and sexual defraudment are all types of fornication.
So what Christ was telling men if your wife commits adultery or sexually defrauds you then you as a man can rightly divorce your wife. Also during the betrothal period if a woman was found to have sex with another man other than her betrothed husband he could divorce her as Joseph sought to quietly put away Mary when he thought she had sex with another man before they were married.
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He Is Physically Abusive
There are situations in which you should take action to protect yourself. Physical abuse is one of them. A man cannot begin to understand the emotional harm, not to mention the physical damage, which he inflicts when he abuses his wife. The same is equally true with a physically abusive woman.
It is often wise to separate when physical abuse occurs. The purpose of separating usually should not be to lay the foundation for a divorce, but rather to prevent further violence and provide adequate time for the couple to receive biblical counseling to build a solid marriage.
Other appropriate responses to abuse include talking to your pastor, calling the police, or getting a restraining order. It is okay for a Christian to appeal to the civil authorities. Read in Acts 25:11 about the time Saul claimed his rights as a Roman citizen when he was mistreated.
A Does The Person Who Is Put Away Because Hecommitted Fornication Have The Right To Remarry
Matthew 19:9 clearly says that no divorced person has theright to remarry unless God expressly says so.
Divine law opposes divorce and remarriage. One can do it onlyif he is an exception to Gods law.
The innocent party is a stated exception and may thereforedivorce and remarry. What passage allows the one who is put awayfor fornication to remarry? What right do we have makingexceptions when God did not make them?
The reason God forbids divorce and remarriage is that He holdspeople responsible to fulfill their marriage covenant . Can you name any Bible case in which aperson has a Divine obligation to fulfill certainresponsibilities, but he is released from this obligation becauseof his own sin?
If the fornicator may remarry, then he suffers less severeconsequences than an innocent person.
The passage clearly teaches that if a person is put away whenhe is not guilty, he may not remarry. If thefornicator may remarry, he is better off being a fornicator thanbeing innocent!
Justice is one of the weightier matters of the law .What kind of justice makes one who is guilty better off than onewho is innocent? Is this not rewarding sin?
Why wouldnt this be true for members of the church too?
If the guilty party is free to remarry, would this just betrue for non-members who then get baptized? Why not also memberswho commit fornication, are divorced, then repent?
Some argue that, if the fornicator may not remarry, thenthe innocent party is bound to two separate people.
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Westbrook: Two Reasons For Divorce
Raymond Westbrook, the late scholar of ancient Near Eastern law, suggests that the two cases in Deuteronomy 24 present two different scenarios: the first divorce in Deuteronomy 24 has objective groundsthough not necessarily sexual improprietywhile the second divorce has no objective or legal grounds. He connects the first case to the Laws of Hammurabi 141:
If the wife of a man accumulates a private hoard, scatters her household, slanders her husband he may divorce her without giving her anything, not her journey-money, not her divorce-money.
But even if Westbrook is correct in understanding ervat davar as referring to this type of substantive misbehavior, the fact remains that the text also describes as its second case a divorce without grounds. This indicates that in Israelite society, a man could divorce his wife simply because he disliked her.
What Are Biblical Reasons For Divorce
- Candice LuceyContributing Writer
- 202121 Jul
Christians and members of other religions have lower divorce rates, about 42% than do the religiously unaffiliated, about 50%. Moreover, according to a study by sociologist Bradley R.E. Wright, For evangelicals, regular attendance at religious services makes a big impact on the divorce rate.
At the same time, certain individuals will use Scripture to justify unrighteous behavior towards a spouse who could, on biblical grounds, seek divorce.
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Does The Bible Address The Issue Of Divorce
God performed the first ceremony between Adam and Eve, therefore we can say with assurance that God loves marriage and that it is a divine institution . God also hates divorce and says so many times in the scriptures . Jesus said the only reason that divorce was permitted was because of the hardness of humans hearts but this was not done in the beginning . If a husbands or wifes mate leave them, then they can not be held responsible for the marriage and some believe that Paul says that they are not bound by the law because he uses the same Greek word for bound when referring to a spouse being bound to their mate.
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Biblical Sources For Reasoning
Pastors and Christian counselors derive grounds to justify divorce under some circumstances directly from Scripture itself. Matthew 19:9 mentions sexual sin as grounds for divorce. Also, if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved .
Being unequally yoked is not grounds for the Christian to seek divorce, but if tension grows because of this disparity, a Christian does not need to be ashamed if the unbeliever walks out. And while Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek against our enemies, he did not suggest that we seek out harm gratuitously.
Dr. Craigh Keener asserts we should not be too keen to talk about divorce. Yet, some people are too ready to grasp for that point others wait much longer than they should. Jesus told those persecuted for his name to flee from one city to another to escape persecution , and sometimes the apostles did so . It is heartless to make someone remain in an abusive situation .
When a persons mental state is battered by abandonment or emotional abuse to the point of mental or physical health complications, the same principle applies. It is heartless to make someone remain in an abusive situation whether the issue is physical battering or emotional battering starving a spouse of food and medication or starving that person of affection.
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Summary Of Jesus Teaching
- Remarriage after divorce is only permitted if the divorce was the result of fornication .
- If divorce took place for any other reason, then a subsequent remarriage would be an adulterous relationship. This applied to:
- the innocent man who married her
- the woman who divorced her husband, if she remarried
Voices: Abuse Is Biblical Grounds For Divorce
Recent shelter-in-place orders implemented to slow the spread of coronavirus have carried many consequences. One of the lesser-known consequences has been a rise in both the severity and frequency of domestic abuse.
Tragically, domestic abuse is present even in ostensibly Christian homes. This tragedy is compounded by the fact that many Christians who are victims of spousal abuseusually but not always womenhave been taught divorce is not a biblically permitted response. As a result, many stay trapped in abusive marriages.
While Christians should uphold the integrity of marriage as much as possible, there are circumstances in which divorce, though tragic, is justified. Abuse is one of those circumstances.
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Why Do Husbands Lie
He May Want To Break Up He is probably lying to you because he doesnt see a future with you as his partner and he hasnt got the energy to tell you the truth that may upset you or cause you pain. His hiding the truth can also be a sign that he has lost respect for you and that is why he is thinking about breaking up.
What About Physical Abuse
The Bible doesnt address the issue of physical abuse as a potential justification for divorce, but it does say a variety of things that will be helpful to any pastor, elder, counselor or friend giving counsel to an abused person. The first thing that should be said is that physical abuse is a sin. The Bible commands a Christian to: Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness .
Husbands are told: Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered .
The Bible commands all Christians to be gentle in their dealings with one another, and it tells husbands to be understanding towards their wives and to treat them with special honour. Therefore all forms of physical, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse would be forbidden.
Physical abuse is a sin and should be named as such by pastors, elders and counselors.
Its also worth noting that the Bible disqualifies abusive men from serving in leadership positions within the church. In 1 Timothy 3 Paul says:
If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
It is also against the law.
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