What Does the Bible Really Say About Divorce?


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It wasn’t so extended ago that divorce was a taboo topic inside the Church. Now the controversy has been replaced with normalcy and even help for these going via it. But there nonetheless is a lot of misconceptions about it and what the Bible says about divorce.

The Bible essentially says fairly a lot about divorce (you can study all the verses right here: Verses About Divorce). The dilemma is when we study these verses we impose our understanding of divorce onto the text. This has left several persons with incorrect suggestions and led several to incorrect, and often hazardous, practices. 

Due to the fact there are so several verses I had to do some selecting and picking. We will appear at two crucial passages from Jesus. Due to the fact he incorporates several of the Old Testament teachings into his, this will nonetheless give a great understanding of what the Bible says about divorce. 

Ahead of we appear at the scripture we want to appear at what divorce was in the 1st Century and who it impacted so that we can have an understanding of what the Bible is essentially saying about divorce.

The globe was really various in 1st Century Israel. Perhaps the most hard factor for us to grasp currently is their intense patriarchal society. This wasn’t one of a kind to their culture it was the norm for the time. Males had been in manage and females had been second class.

This mindset played heavily into marriage and divorce. Only guys had been permitted to divorce their wives females had no say in the matter. Primarily based out of Deuteronomy 24:1-four the belief of Jesus’ day was that a man could divorce his wife if anything “improper” occurred. What precisely is improper? That was the debate.

By Jesus’ day there had been two frequent camps of believed. Some followed the teachings of Shammai, who stated divorce was only acceptable if the lady committed sexual offense, such as adultery. But the far more typically held view was that of Hillel. He taught that a man could divorce his wife if she displeased him in anyway. Even anything as trivial as burning dinner.

Divorce for a man was effortless to move previous, specifically with an acceptable (albeit misplaced) explanation. Having said that for females the repercussions had been extreme. A divorced lady was observed as broken and probably lived the rest of her life single. To complicate the predicament females normally weren’t permitted to function. Commonly they had two choices, move back in with their household (frequently they weren’t accepted) OR beg for funds.

This made a method that place females, and frequently youngsters, at a extreme disadvantage and frequently in hazardous scenarios. Divorce in Jesus’ day was “good” for the man, but detrimental for the lady. And Jesus was not okay with that.

Though brief, Matthew five:31-32 is an frequently quoted text as to what the Bible says about divorce. Once more, the dilemma is that we impose our understanding of divorce onto this text. So the initial factor we want to remind ourselves of is the context of the culture to which Jesus is speaking.

The initial factor we must take note of is who this is addressed too… the husbands, the guys. They are the ones that are creating the selection to divorce, so Jesus directs this towards them. That could possibly look odd to us, but realizing the context that tends to make sense. Not only does Jesus direct this towards the guys, but he shows them that they are not finding off so totally free and clean as they believed.

“anyone who marries a divorced lady commits adultery.”

What a strange believed, appropriate? At least at initial glance. Most persons study this actually. But Jesus is utilizing a metaphor, comparing divorce to adultery figuratively. Jesus is not saying that divorce = adultery. Rather he is saying divorce is like adultery in that the consequences are the very same.

When a man divorces his wife the foundation of commitment is broken, as a result the marriage is dissolved. When a single commits adultery, the foundation of faithfulness is destroyed, as a result the marriage is broken. Each divorce and adultery finish the very same way. So in that way they are the very same. What Jesus is saying is the sensible outcome of divorce is the very same as that of adultery.

The point of this teaching is… Divorce destroys a marriage just as adultery does. They outcome in the very same factor, but they are not the very same factor.

Once more, this is directed at the guys in the audience. Jesus is pointing the finger at them. He’s telling them that they are as guilty as a lady who commits adultery. These who divorce their wives for their personal selfish factors, they are guilty.

Jesus is flipping the script and supplying protection for the females of the day.

At this point in Jesus’ ministry the Pharisees are generally attempting to trap him. But Jesus does not back down he’s not afraid of a great fight. In this case Jesus is tested about his understanding of divorce.

“Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any trigger?”

We know this is a trap, Matthew points that out to us. But what we could possibly miss is how precisely this traps Jesus. This query is primarily based about no matter whether Jesus follows the teaching of Shammai or Hillel. No matter how he answers, which side he chooses, he is probably to alienate half the crowd listening.

Understanding what’s going on, Jesus begins off with a jab at the Pharisees… “Have you not read” would have been an offensive query to the religious elite who not only have study, but had memorized significantly of the scriptures. Now he dives into his teaching on divorce.

The query posed to Jesus aligns closely with Hillel’s teaching, that a man could divorce his wife for any offense. We clearly know that is not exactly where Jesus lands. Having said that he does not completely align with Shammai’s view either in two crucial strategies.

  1. As we talked about currently Shammai bases his theology of divorce from Deuteronomy 24:1-four. Jesus goes additional back and bases his theology on Genesis 1-two.
  2. Shammai requires a patriarchal strategy, only providing permission to the guys. Jesus bargains with the obligations of guys AND females.

The bottom line right here is the very same as in Matthew five:31-32, nonetheless this time Jesus expounds far more on his reasoning. In this case Jesus goes all the way back to the starting, creation. Jesus’ argument is that marriage unites. A married couple is a single. God’s original style was on of lasting unity that was brought collectively by God himself. This was God’s original style and intent.

God’s style was for marriage to final forever. All through the Bible that is created clear and clearly exactly where Jesus lands. But it is not so reduce and dry. The dilemma is sin. We frequently assume sin separates us from God, and it does. But it also separates us from every other. Just as sin separated us from God, it can also separate us from every other.

In marriage that can imply the sin of a single particular person (adultery, abuse, etc…) can trigger irreversible harm. Or it could be a mixture of each parties. We want to know that divorce was by no means component of God’s program. It is not God’s want for divorce to take place. It is his want for reconciliation to take spot. But for that to take place, all parties have to be prepared. And that is not generally the case.

Often sin wrecks a marriage beyond repair. Though God’s style was a single of lasting unity, sin disrupts that.

Here’s how I assume divorce is most effective understood Biblically… Divorce is Often poor. Having said that, often all you have in life is two poor choices. So you have to pick the lesser of the poor choices.

I’ve by no means recognized an individual that went via a divorce and just loved it. Or believed it was the most effective factor ever. Having said that, I do know several persons that divorce was the most effective solution they had. Take an abusive partnership for instance. Divorce is nonetheless messy, hard, and will trigger harm. In other words, it would be tough to contact that a “good” solution. Having said that in that case, divorce is a significantly improved solution than staying in an abusive partnership. Due to the fact of sin, either of a single celebration or each, divorce is often the improved of two poor choices.

Of course we know that sin is forgivable and our predicament is redeemable via Jesus. In other words, if you are in a broken marriage there’s hope! But each parties have to be prepared to let God restore them.

So exactly where does this leave us?

1. Jesus Protects The Vulnerable

The initial factor we must recognize in Jesus’ teaching on divorce is his protection of the most vulnerable, the females. They had been getting taken benefit of by a method that was set up against them. Jesus evens the playing field in marriage displaying an equal duty for each guys and females. He puts an finish to the guidelines that place females at a disadvantage and restores his intention for marriage.

Jesus does a lot far more for females, you can study that right here: Jesus Valued Ladies (and why that matters)

two. Jesus Stands Firmly on Truth

God intended for marriage to final for our lives. From the starting in Genesis he tends to make that clear. It appears currently we take marriage much less and much less seriously, but God does not. The Bible shows us the level of commitment we ought to enter marriage with. For some that must come as a kick in the pants. If you are in a marriage that is falling apart you must pursue your spouse to the extent that Jesus pursued the church.

three. Jesus Provides Restoration

It was by no means God’s intention for marriages to be broken. But sin has destroyed several marriages. But it does not finish there. The message of the Gospel is a single of hope, of reconciliation, and God’s not going to leave us in our brokenness. Regardless of whether you have been divorced or are in a struggling marriage, God’s want for you is not for you to remain broken, but be restored.

What are your thoughts? How have you understood the Bible’s teaching on divorce? 


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