Many people are getting divorced. According to statistics, more than every third marriage breaks apart. Unfortunately, Christians are no exception. Many of them also divorce their partners after a few years for one reason or another. But what does the Bible say about divorce? Is it biblically permitted to get a divorce, or are certain criteria required for divorce to be permissible according to the Bible?
Divorce is forbidden according to the Bible
Basically, the Bible forbids divorcing marriage. Marriage is a holy covenant before God and should not be entered into without care. Nor should such a covenant simply be dissolved again. Jesus says that what God has brought together, man should not divide.
And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there. The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:2-6)
Jesus explained to the Pharisees that Moses only allowed the letter of divorce because of the hardness of people’s hearts. However, it was not intended.
They say 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.(Matthew 19:7-9)
The Bible even says that God hates divorce:
For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away. (Malachi 2:16)
The only biblically legitimate reason for Divorce is Adultery
The only legitimate reason given in the Bible for divorce is if one of them is indecent, in other words committing adultery or being unfaithful.
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 divorced committeth adultery. (Matthew 5:31-32)
Remarriage is not God’s Will
But the Bible also provides clear rules for people who have already been divorced. Someone who is divorced should either be reconciled with their ex-spouse or remain alone. But he shouldn’t look for a new partner. Remarriage is actually not a thing according to the Bible. In fact it is forbidden.
And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:10-11)
Paul said that a woman is bound to her husband only as long as he lives. If he dies, she will be allowed to marry another man. But only if it is in accordance with God’s will.
The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 7:39-40)
But Paul also said that it is better if a widow remains alone after the death of her husband and does not marry again. For who shows greater love and loyalty to his partner? The one who remains alone after the partner dies or the one who marries another person after the partner dies? And facing eternal life, wouldn’t remarriage be wrong anyway?
God’s Children live forever
But what is most interesting is what Jesus said about divorce.
Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise. And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also. In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.
And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err. (Mark 12:18-27)
Many people do not understand what Jesus was expressing with this answer. It’s pretty simple. The point here is that Jesus promises eternal life to his followers. Whoever accepts Jesus and lives according to God’s will, gains eternal life. Therefore, it makes no sense to marry someone else after the former partner has passed away. Because you would be Married to several partners at the same after the resurrection. There are no dead people in heaven. Thus remarriage makes no sense for God’s children.
According to the Bible, being treated badly or being dissatisfied are no reasons for Divorce
Now there are also some people who claim that you can get a divorce if you are treated badly by your spouse. No scripture in the Bible can be found to support such a claim. In fact, this assumption is in direct contradiction to the Bible. For it is written that we should love our enemies ourselves and do good to those who hate us. How much more should that apply in our own marriage?
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:44-48)
It is even written that women can persuade their “godless” husbands to repent through their exemplary and sincere behavior. So it should be possible for them to win their husbands for God and to convert them, if that is not already the case.
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. (1 Peter 3:1-2)
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Titus 2:3-5)
The Bible says that Love overcomes everything
The Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 13 that love lasts forever and endures everything . Those who truly love their spouse will not want to leave them under any circumstances. Because love is not focused on its own well being, but always on the good of the significant other!
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
If you follow Jesus’ example and always walk in love instead of minding your own good, any marriage should be better.
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:1-6)
Not everyone is made for Marriage
Jesus also taught us that not everyone is made for marriage and that it is better if only those who are able to, marry.
His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. (Matthew 19:10-12)
What does the Bible say about Divorce and Remarriage? Conclusion
Jesus was ready to be crucified for his love for God. In the same way, his disciples were ready to follow him into death. How much more must we be willing to sacrifice ourselves for our spouses? Especially facing the fact that we chose them ourselves. Love is not a feeling and therefore does not simply change over time. It is the willingness to completely sacrifice ourself for others. Especially for the person with whom we were made one by God. Divorce is not an option; it is committed through adultery. Remarriage after divorce is, according to the Bible, not permitted as well. The Bible says that the only option is to reconcile.
Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 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 2:14-16)
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Ephesians 5:33)
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