MEMORY VERSE: “For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.” – Malachi 2:16
BIBLE PASSAGE: Matthew 19:3-12 KJV
Mat 19:3 Some Pharisees came to him and tried to trap him by asking, “Does our Law allow a man to divorce his wife for whatever reason he wishes?”
Mat 19:4 Jesus answered, “Haven’t you read the scripture that says that in the beginning, the Creator made people male and female?
Mat 19:5 And God said, ‘For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one.’
Mat 19:6 So they are no longer two, but one. No human being must separate, then, what God has joined together.”
Mat 19:7 The Pharisees asked him, “Why, then, did Moses give the law for a man to hand his wife a divorce notice and send her away?”
Mat 19:8 Jesus answered, “Moses gave you permission to divorce your wives because you are so hard to teach. But it was not like that at the time of creation.
Mat 19:9 I tell you, then, that any man who divorces his wife for any cause other than her unfaithfulness, commits adultery if he marries some other woman.”
Mat 19:10 His disciples said to him, “If this is how it is between a man and his wife, it is better not to marry.”
Mat 19:11 Jesus answered, “This teaching does not apply to everyone, but only to those to whom God has given it.
Mat 19:12 For there are different reasons why men cannot marry: some, because they were born that way; others, because men made them that way; and others do not marry for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. Let him who can accept this teaching do so.”
According to the Bible, marriage is a lifetime commitment (Matthew 19:6). God realises though, that, since marriage involves two sinful human beings, divorces are going to occur. He laid down some laws, in the Old Testament, in order to protect the rights of divorcees, especially women (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). However, Jesus pointed out that these laws were given because of the hardness of people’s hearts, not because such laws were God’s desire (Matthew 19:8). Therefore, it is important to remember Malachi 2:16. The pain, confusion, and frustration most people experience after a divorce are surely part of the reason that God hates divorce. Even more difficult, biblically, than the question of divorce, is the question of remarriage.
- Grounds For Divorce
- Grounds For Remarriage After A Divorce
#1 GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
The Bible gives two clear grounds for divorce: sexual immorality (Matthew 5:32;19:9) and abandonment by an unbelieving partner (1 Corinthians 7:15). Even in these two instances, though, divorce is not required or even encouraged. The most that can be said is that sexual immorality and abandonment are grounds (an allowance) for divorce. Confession, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration are always the first steps. Divorce should only be viewed as a last resort.
The most frequent additional grounds for divorce that people inquire about are spousal abuse (emotional or physical), child abuse, addiction to pornography, drug/alcohol use, crime/imprisonment, and mismanagement of finances (such as through a gambling addiction).
None of these can be claimed to be explicit biblical grounds for a divorce. However, we cannot, for example, imagine that it would be God’s desire for a wife to remain with a husband who physically abuses her and/or their children, if there is any risk to the life of the spouse or children, separation is a good and appropriate step. Even in such a situation, a time of separation with the goal of repentance and restoration should be the ideal, not necessarily immediately beginning divorce proceedings.
The pain, confusion, and frustration most people experience after a divorce are surely part of the reason that God hates divorce. Even more difficult, biblically, than the question of divorce, is the question of remarriage.
#2 GROUNDS FOR REMARRIAGE AFTER A DIVORCE
The controversy over whether divorce and remarriage are allowed according to the Bible revolves primarily around Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9. The phrase “except for marital unfaithfulness” is the only thing in Scripture that possibly gives God’s permission for divorce and remarriage. Sexual relations are an integral part of the marital bond: “the two will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Ephesians 5:31). Therefore, any breaking of that bond by sexual relations outside of marriage might be a permissible reason for divorce. However, God hates divorce and couples should learn to forgive and begin rebuilding their marriage.
Some understand 1 Corinthians 7:15 as another “exception”, allowing remarriage if an unbelieving spouse divorces a believer. However, the context does not mention re-marriage but only says a believer is not bound to continue a marriage if an unbelieving spouse wants to leave. Any believer in this situation should consult with the Church leadership for appropriate counsel. It should also be noted that God sometimes calls some people to be single so that their attention is not divided (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).
Regardless of the ground for divorce, a couple can, through God’s grace, learn to forgive and begin rebuilding their marriage.
- What are the biblical grounds for divorce?
- Are there grounds for remarriage after a divorce?
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I know you might agree with some of the points that I have raised in this article. You might not agree with some of the issues raised. Let me know your views about the topic discussed. We will appreciate it if you can drop your comment. Thanks in anticipation.
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