Bible Study Opportunities
Jesus Discusses Divorce
By Jon W. Quinn
MATTHEW 5:32 "But I say unto you that whoever divorces his wife except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."
MATTHEW 19:9 "And I say unto you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."
MARK 10:11,12 "and He said to them, 'Whoever divorces His wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery."
LUKE 16:18 "Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery."
"Whoever (all references)
divorces (all references)
(spouse) wife (all) husband (Mark)
except for the cause of (Matt)
unchastity, immorality (Matt)
Makes her commit adultery (Matt 5)
and marries another woman (Matt 19, Mark,
Luke) man (Mark)
commits adultery (Matt 19, Mark, Luke)
and whoever marries (Matt 19) and he who marries ( Luke)
a divorced woman (Matt 19) one who is divorced from husband (Luke)
commits adultery (Matt 19; Luke)
QUESTIONS Yes or no & cite reference(s)
1. Is everyone free to divorce their spouse?
2. Is anyone free to divorce their spouse?
3. Is sexual unfaithfulness an acceptable reason for divorcing your spouse?
4. Are there any other reasons given?
5. If I am divorced for immorality, can someone marry me without committing adultery?
6. If I am divorced for some other reason, can someone marry me without committing adultery?
7. Can anyone marry a person who has been divorced by their spouse without committing
8. Is every divorced person free to remarry?
9. Is any divorced person free to remarry?
10. May a person divorce their spouse for the cause of immorality and acceptably remarry?
11. Can a person divorce their spouse for any other cause and acceptably remarry?
12. Does Jesus say that in order to remarry after divorce, that one must be the one to divorce their spouse and that the reason must be for immorality?
"But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil." (I THESSALONIANS 5:21,22). PLEASE NOTICE that I have yet to really say anything about what Jesus said concerning divorce. I merely have recorded what He has said. I've yet to make any comments about it at all. All I have done is ask questions about His statements.
So, if you are already in disagreement with what has been said, then your argument is with Jesus. If you just don't like the questions, join lots of others who do not like difficult questions either. If you're thinking "almost nobody thinks divorce is that serious anymore" you'll get no argument from me. But this article isn't about what most people think. Its about what Jesus said. That's the reason the title is JESUS DISCUSSES DIVORCE and not WHAT MOST PEOPLE THINK ABOUT DIVORCE.
I'd like to quote from an article written by Bill Crews many years ago. It has to do with attitude toward God's truth:
"If you are my friend, if you are concerned for my soul, give me the truth. Do not flatter me. Do not praise my virtues while remaining silent about my vices. Do not fear that the truth will offend me. Do not treasure our friendship, our friendly relations, above my salvation Do not think that by ignoring my sins you can help me. Do not think that being blind to my sins will prove you charitable. However I may react to it, whatever may be my attitude toward you after you have done it, GIVE ME THE TRUTH!
For the truth, and only the truth, can make me free from the shackles of sin, strengthen me in the pathway of righteousness and lead me to the joys of heaven. If I am wavering, weak, lukewarm, indifferent, neglectful; if I have been overtaken in a trespass; if I have been drawn into the pleasures of the world; if I have left my first love; if I have been led astray in error, or, if I have done none of these things, but simply need to grow in knowledge and then be edified, GIVE ME THE TRUTH!
(Bill Crews, as quoted by Bill Hall in IS IT LAWFUL? Edited by Dennis Allan, page 5.)
A DISCOURSE BETWEEN JESUS AND THOSE WITH A MORE LIBERAL VIEW OF DIVORCE
"And some Pharisees came to Him, testing Him, and saying, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause 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 cause a man shall leave His father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh'? Consequently 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 unto you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery." (MATTHEW 19:3-9).
Our society is falling apart, and the largest factor is the disintegration of the home. Marriage is no longer held as sacred and the gravity of extra-marital affairs is scoffed at. Concepts of family love and lifelong devotion are ridiculed. The pain of countless victims of this ungodly and wretched attitude toward the marriage relationship is great, from the children of broken homes (just because the parents still live together does not necessarily mean the homes not broken!) to those who became married ignorant of the fact that God considers their vows much more seriously than perhaps they did at the time. In our nation one can divorce his or her spouse for about any cause at all. In the words of Jesus, there is only one reason; immorality; that is, sexual unfaithfulness. Consequently, there are many now divorced that have every legal right to remarry as far as the law of the land is concerned, but not according to Jesus!
Some of these people have become Christians. More of them will contemplate doing so in the future. And now they hear the words of Jesus and realize that for them to remarry would, in His words, constitute adultery.
Some quick observations about Jesus' teaching concerning this subject in Matthew 19:
When asked about divorce, the first thing Jesus did was talk about the permanence of marriage in God's plan from the beginning at man's creation and applicable to everyone.
Divorce was permitted under certain circumstances because of the hardness of the peoples' hearts. Notice how the Pharisees in wanting to emphasize their right to divorce used the words "Moses commanded (divorce)" while Jesus responds by saying "Moses permitted (divorce)".
Jesus gives one scriptural reason for divorce. There are not two or three. There's just one. In the passages printed at the beginning of this article, we find that Jesus says that whoever is involved in remarrying after divorcing his/her spouse for any other reason than the spouse's immorality, or after being divorced by his/her spouse, that the second marriage constitutes adultery.
Some reading this might say that this sounds pretty harsh. That's about the same reaction that Jesus got in the first century (see MATTHEW 19:10-12). But He didn't back down! Why? Because, most certainly, He knew that a loosing of marriage and divorce laws ultimately brings pain and a weakening of the family and society itself. But treating marriage and the family with the respect this sacred institution deserves brings stronger families and happier people.
Reprinted From the Bradley Banner Bradley Church of Christ Bradley, Illinois February 28, 1993