What Does The Bible Say
Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 2:00am
does the Bible say about divorce? You
would be surprised at how often this question comes up in churches, in
Christian counseling sessions and on Christian radio programs across the
There are millions of Christians in the U.S. alone who have either been
through a divorce or who are in failing marriages where divorce is being
looked at as an option. Sadly, the divorce rate in most Christian
denominations is about the same as it is in the rest of society.
In today's world, divorce is often viewed as an easy way to get out of a
bad situation. But is it appropriate for Christians to divorce? If so,
under what circumstances?
The truth is that the Scriptures are very clear about how God feels
about divorce. In fact, in
Malachi 2:16 God tells us that He hates divorce....
"For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel..."
But God also knows that man is sinful and that this is an imperfect
world. He knows that husbands and wives are going to cheat.
In the The Sermon on the Mount
5:32), Jesus explains:
"but I say to you that
everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity,
makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman
Jesus explained to the Pharisees why some divorces were allowed under
the Law of Moses and under what circumstances divorces are permissible
Pharisees came to Jesus,
testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife
for any reason at all?” And He answered and said, “Have you
not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE
AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER
AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE
FLESH’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God
has joined together, let no man separate.” They said to Him,
“Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND
SEND her AWAY?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart
Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it
has not been this way. And I
say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and
marries another woman commits adultery."
In the above passages,
Jesus is addressing the Jews during the Age of Law
(pre-Cross). But the
unmistakable characteristic of the Church Age/Age of Grace, which
followed the law and Jesus' death, is forgiveness and reconciliation.
the Church Age,
we are to love others as Christ loved us (Ephesians
I John 4:19).
And Christ loved us with TOTAL forgiveness for
ALL things, even when we sin over and over.
Also, in the Church Age we
have the Holy Spirit indwelling us that offers us the ability to forgive
and move on, not remembering a "wrong suffered" (I
That leaves no room for divorce under any circumstance.
"Husbands, love your wives,
just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,"
The way that many couples divorce and remarry so casually today is an
abomination to God.
While the rules for divorce that the Bible sets forth may seem harsh to
some, the truth is that God considers a married couple to be "one
flesh". He never intends for them to split up and intended that
marriage be forever ... for better or worse, and unfortunately some of
you got the "worse.".
Divorce should be avoided by
Christians at all costs - even if the spouse is an unbeliever.
... a woman who has an
unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not
send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified
through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her
believing husband; ..."
I Corinthians 7:13-14
It makes no difference if your
husband is a Christian or not. God says you are to stay married. He does
not distinguish between a Christian husband and a non-Christian husband.
1 Corinthians 7:39
"A wife is bound as
long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free
to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord."
But, it is important to note that at times
it may be appropriate for
to separate (though not divorce) if the circumstances call for it so
that problems can be worked out at a safe distance. In extreme
circumstances a separation may need to extend over a long period of
I know a Christian
woman in another state who had to get out of a situation where she was
experiencing mental and verbal abuse due her husband's heavy drinking.
The problem is that once a legal divorce is sought, you are, in effect
saying that you could no longer trust God to deal with or change the
circumstances of your marriage. You were also telling your husband that
he was beyond your forgiveness.
It may not be wise to contact
your husband in person or to be in his company at this time, but you can
communicate that you love him
and that you desire to follow God's plan. It makes no
difference if he is in sin, or not in sin, because that is God's area of
responsibility, not yours. You may be looking for an "out," and
truly not wanting to wait for God's plan to fully unfold. What if God
has him on a 15 year plan? Or 30 year plan. Do you want what GOD wants,
or do you want what YOU want?
If you sincerely want what is
best, trust God to be in control of this situation and allow Him to use
you mightily. Pray for your
husband, for reconciliation, and for a strong marriage. You
may want to pray about finding new spiritual leaders that will give you
advice based on the
unwavering and unchangeable Word of God.
"and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another
man, she is committing adultery.”
The Bible is also clear that
you should prayerfully seek
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 "But to the married I give
instructions, not I, but the
Lord, that the wife
should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain
unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the
husband should not divorce his wife."
Further more, if God doesn't
allow reconciliation, you have the promise of an incredible life ahead
of you. Being single allows
time to develop a much deeper relationship with God.
1 Corinthians 7:32-35 "But I want you to be free from
concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the
Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is
concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,
and his interests are divided.
The woman who is unmarried,
and the virgin, is concerned
about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and
spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the
world, how she may please her husband. This I say for your own
benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is
appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord."
God promises to honor your
obedience and trust in Him in ways that will count for eternity.
While this may come as extremely disappointing news to those stuck in
incredibly unhappy marriages, the truth is that
God's ways are
higher than our ways. He knows what is best. He wants us to work our
The United States is filled with millions of men, women and children who
have had their lives devastated by "easy" divorces. The institution of
the family is being destroyed in modern society and it seems like
families are generally less happy than they used to be.
If people would just obey God's laws and follow His design for marriage
and the family, things would work out so much better for them. God knows
what is best, and when we follow His plan we will truly have the best
chance to be blessed.
A note to Christians who have divorced and remarried: God paid for ALL sin
on the Cross, so move on with your new spouse.
It's not the unpardonable
". . . forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to
what lies ahead."
beyond proof is faith. Belief in spite of proof is folly.
or email me if you have questions.