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What Reasons Does The Bible Give For Divorce

At The Heart Of Every Passage On Divorce Is The Desire Of God For Us To Keep Our Lives Pure

Three Biblical reasons for divorce.

God doesnt want us to break the commandment that says you shall not commit adultery because he knows how much damage that does. Dismissively discarding someone leads to adultery. When the disciples asked Jesus why divorce isnt OK except for in instances of adultery, he said that its because anyone who divorces and marries another commits adultery. Its always about adultery and being careful not to break that commandment. The certificate of divorce eliminates the sin of adultery, making the separation legal .

Is Divorced Required In Each Of The Above Listed Cases

The Pharisees thought that divorce was required and commanded in the Scriptures, but Jesus sets them straight. In Matthew 19:7 the Pharisees challenged Jesus saying: Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away? .

Jesus corrected them saying: Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so .

The Bible does not command divorce it permits, regulates and limits divorce. The Bible allows divorce in certain situations because of the hardness of human hearts. Hard hearts cause people to persist in sin and hard hearts make it hard to forgive others but becoming a Christian is about getting a new heart a soft heart filled with the Holy Spirit. Such a heart is capable of change in the direction of Jesus Christ and is capable of forgiving a brother or a sister of even the most grievous of sins.

Therefore, there really is no reason for two legitimately born again Christians to ever get divorced. By the grace of God they can change and they can forgive.

But because of the hardness of hearts because some professed believers are not truly born again a spouse may persist in sexual sin or a spouse may not wish to be married to a true believer in such cases, the believer is not bound. He or she is free to remarry thanks be to God!

Pastor Paul Carter


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Are There Biblical Reasons For Divorce

It is a common misconception that the Bible does not allow for divorce. In fact, the Bible does give people a few reasons to end their marriages. However, we must remember that the Bible never speaks of divorce as divine will and instead teaches us to exercise patience and humility in our relationships.

When Jesus was asked about divorce, he responded by stating that any man who divorces his wife, except for immorality, makes her commit adultery and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery . Divorce is certainly never Gods will he hates it .

But he also gives us permission to dissolve marriages when they are abusive or unhealthy and when they encourage sinful acts. Here are four biblical reasons for divorce:

Sexual Immorality

Irreconcilable Differences

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What If You Have Already Divorced

If you divorced for unbiblical reasons, particularly if you were a Christian when you did so, dont pretend that divorcing your spouse wasnt sinful or that it somehow was okay with God.

I am concerned for Christians who divorce for unscriptural reasons and are not willing to face their sin. When we choose to sin, we harden our hearts toward God and his commandments. Rather than genuinely confessing, we justify our actions. Some say, for example, I know it was a sin, but it was the only thing I could do. Or, We live under grace, not law. Or, I knew it was wrong, but Jesus told me he would forgive me if I did it.

It was not Jesus who told them it was okay to divorce. He commanded us not to divorce and added that if we divorce for unscriptural reasons and remarry, we commit adultery .

The Bible uses stinging words to describe those who justify sin by saying We live under grace. Remember Judes words:

They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Lets look at another couple: Margaret told her husband Richard she intended to divorce him and then marry a man who was divorcing his wife. She said they planned to approach their church and ask for forgiveness after marrying. She clearly was playing games with God and choosing to rebel against his word. Her planned repentance was a sham.

Dont justify sin. God is not impressed by our excuses.

What Are Biblical Grounds For Divorce

Freedom Through Divorce

The first Biblical allowance for divorce is sexual immorality, as Jesus taught in Matthew 19:9 . This includes adultery, homosexuality, and incest all of which violate the intimate union of the marriage covenant.

Divorce isnt mandated, even in adultery. The book of Hosea is about the prophets unfaithful wife Gomer, who he took back after her sin this was an illustration of the unfaithfulness of Israel to God through idolatry. Sometimes, the innocent spouse chooses to remain in the marriage and exercise forgiveness especially if it is a one-time failing and the unfaithful spouse seems genuinely repentant. Pastoral counseling is undoubtedly recommended for healing and restoration and accountability for the erring spouse.

The second Biblical allowance for divorce is if a non-believer desires a divorce from a Christian spouse. If the non-Christian spouse is willing to stay in the marriage, the Christian spouse should not seek a divorce, because the believer can have a positive spiritual influence on the other.

But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if any woman has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not divorce her husband.

37. Matthew 5:32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

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What The Bible Teaches About Divorce And Remarriage

There are few issues that require more pastoral sensitivity than the issue of divorce and remarriage. Getting it wrong one way can have massive consequences, particularly for women who feel trapped in abusive and unsafe relationships. Getting it wrong the other way can bring shame and infamy upon the name of Christ. Pastors and elders therefore have a responsibility to know what the Bible says and to teach, counsel, lead, correct and discipline their people accordingly.

Help For Marriages In Crisis

I mentioned before that divorce should be considered a last resort option. Before making a decision that will change the course of your life and impact your children, pray and ask God to help you reconcile your issues whether it be through counseling, reading a book, or learning to communicate better. If you are in a situation where any type of abuse is occurring, I urge you to seek help immediately from a trusted friend.

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He Chastises The People In The Church For Not Being Concerned About The Couples Behavior

He explicitly tells them the specific sinful behaviors that they must oppose, but then he adds an important qualifier. He tells them not to focus this accountability on those outside the church who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. He teaches that if these Christians did that, they would have to leave this world .

Paul makes it clear that they should hold each other accountable when it comes to sexual sin for those who call themselves Christians within the local church . Yet Paul also makes it clear that it isnt our responsibility to judge outsiders .

This teaching is important because too often Christians are judgmental of the beliefs and practices of non-Christians when it comes to marriage. We hope and pray that they will come to know Jesus and his ways , but we accept that they are not part of the local church and they have not made a commitment to the lifestyle of a disciple.

The Apostle Paul Allowed Divorce For Abandonment

What Are the Biblical Reasons for Divorce?

1 Corinthians 7:14-15

For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband for otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. Yet if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances God has called us to live in peace.

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Is It A Sin To Marry After Divorce

It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is put away committeth adultery.

They said 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.

These verses can be somewhat confusing in many English translations, especially when compared to the verse cited about Moses, which seems to provide tremendous leeway for divorce. The confusion comes from the Greek word for “put away,” which is sometimes indiscriminately translated as “divorce.” But it literally just means “send away” or “separated.” It has no bearing on whether or not someone is legally and Scripturally divorced through the “writing of divorcement,” which were essentially just ancient divorce papers.

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.

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God Made Marriage For Companionship Sexual Enjoyment And Godly Offspring

The goodness of marriage is focused on three key elements.

First, God teaches that marriage is for companionship. Sexual enjoyment is great , but even more fundamentally, marriage is to create a unity or partnership between a man and a woman. Genesis 2:18 focused originally on the man that God created and it says, It is not good for the man to be alone. The text goes on to describe the complementary harmony between the sexes when God makes the woman as the mans helper. God then says, This is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh . Marriage creates a unity between a man and a woman that provides the blessings of a deep partnership.

Those Who Embrace Sexually Immoral Lifestyles Are Warned In The Bible That If They Persist In It They Will Not Inherit The Kingdom Of God

What does the Bible say about Divorce and Remarriage

Those who embrace sexually immoral lifestyles are warned in the Bible that, if they persist in it, they will not inherit the kingdom of God .

Those who struggle with these lifestyle practices need to repent, and many need to seek immediate help to stop before it gets harder and harder to repent and turn from it.

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What Should I Say To Two Believers Who Divorced Remarried And Are Now Aware Of What The Bible Says About Divorce

Divorce is rampant in the United States, and it is rampant among Christians and non-Christians alike. There are some instances where people have married not once or twice, but three, four, five, or six times. They have had a succession of mates, a succession of children, and a succession of problems.

God is on the side of people. He loves people, and He understands what has happened in such situations. But it is impossible for me to say that this conduct is all right. A minister of God must teach what is in the Bible yet the teaching must be tempered with the biblical understanding of God’s love. It is very difficult to make hard and fast rules.

Does one, for example, tell a three-times-divorced man to go back to his previous mate? What if the previous mate is now remarried? Is it right to ask the remarried couple to make a second divorce and break up a second home? The basic rule is that divorce and remarriage are not permitted, except for adultery or desertion, and that is the rule the church should stick to. Young people should be made aware that marriage is for life – for keeps – and not something to be entered into and then gotten out of whenever one feels like it.

Finally, in these complex personal matters I recommend prayer, study of the Bible, and that you counsel with a wise and godly pastor in you own community.

What Does The Old Testament Tell Us About Divorce

In the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, we find statements from the law regarding divorce. Those words there are: Strongs #1644, the Hebrew word garash, which means To drive out from a possession. To cast out a woman. Put away from her husband, and #3748, the Hebrew word kriythuwth, which means To cut, destroy or consume. To sever something from something else by cutting with a blade. In the case of a cut off personnot killed but driven out of the family and removed from the blessing of the covenant.

In that time, a bill of divorcement was written. In the Old Testament, a man could do this if the wife failed to please him or if he found uncleanness in her. Then she was sent away. However, there were warnings and severe consequences if any of the parties lied. It is to be noted that God established the husband/wife and consequential family unit before He established the nation of Israel or the Church. He is a God of order, righteousness, and holiness.

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What Does The Bible Say About Divorce Anyone Who Divorces His Wife And Marries Another Woman Commits Adultery And The Man Who Marries A Divorced Woman Commits Adultery

The default position in Scripture is that marriage is permanent and, because of that permanence, divorce causes subsequent marriages to be adulterous. Stated differently, if human authorities authorize divorce on human grounds, God does not honor it in his eyes, the marriage bond is still intact. And because it is still intact, the subsequent marriage is adulterous.

This is a hard teaching.

Why would God be so strict, we might wonder?

Its a good moment to remind ourselves that, by experience and observation over time , and according to the teaching of Scripture, Gods laws and teachings are meant to bless us and provide the best for Gods people .

We are limited in our ability to measure all the impact that divorce has on everyone involved . But we know for sure divorce does a lot of damage, especially to children. Here is the summary of a three-decade synthesis of the scientific research on the effects of divorce on children published by The Linacre Quartely in 2014:

In Many Cases These People Will Elect To Stay In Their Current Marriage Situation To Trust In Gods Forgiveness And To Pledge Themselves To Gods Teaching From This Point Forward And Start Fresh

What Does The Bible Say About Divorce & Remarriage?

If our churches are going to be places which both welcome people and disciple them, we must build relationships with people in order to help them know and follow the teachings of Jesus. We cannot insist that people change before first truly coming to know Jesus and engaging in the life of the church. It is wisest, best, and most loving if we follow the example of Jesus who entered into relationships with people and discipled them. Like Jesus we want to disciple people who do not know and follow his teachings, but it all begins with relationships grounded in grace and love.

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Thoughts If Youre Considering Divorce

1. Trust the Lord, dont trust yourself. Relationships can cause hurt, and hurt people find it hard to think straight. God knows all, sees all, and works everything together for your good. Trust in the Lord and what He says in his Word.

2. Realize that the answer to suffering is not always to move away from it. God sometimes calls us to follow Him by walking into or remaining under suffering.

3. Contemplate that God is accomplishing a purpose in your sufferings.

4. Wait on the Lord. Dont act hastily. Keep doors open. Only close the doors that you are certain God says you should close.

5. Dont just trust that God can change someone elses heart. Trust that He can change and renew your heart.

6. Meditate on Scripture related to the issue of marriage, separation, and divorce.

7. Whatever actions you consider taking, ask whether you can take that action for the glory of God.

-7 Thoughts If Youre Considering Divorce excerpted from 11 Important Thoughts for Those Considering Divorce by Randy Alcorn on


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