Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible: A Fresh Look at What Scripture Teaches by Jay E. AdamsIf the church is going to use the Bible to decide whether divorce is legitimate in certain cases and whether divorced couples have the right to remarry with the approval and blessing of God’s people, then the Bible must be studied without prejudice toward a particular answer. The author examines the relevant passages in both the Old and New Testaments so that his readers can consider the many issues and interpretations that arise in trying to establish a consistently biblical position. As a result, readers can see more clearly and accept more firmly the truth of Scripture. The book succeeds at being exactly what the author wanted it to be: a comprehensive, lucid, accurate study presented in a readable and practical style. . . . It is a valuable resource for the pastor, counselor, church leader, and others who are struggling to understand and apply scriptural principles to the problems of divorce and remarriage.
5 Teach the truth on divorce and remarriage
Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible
Marriage is a natural union and a divine institution—a lifelong, spiritual covenant before God. These laws and instructions also govern the dissolution of marriage, which sadly occurs far too frequently. Divorce and remarriage for Christians must, therefore, be viewed in the light of biblical directives. Marriage was designed by God. And why one?
What does the Bible say about marriage? Today marriage is often defined by the emerging trends, understandings, feelings, and opinions of the culture rather than the transcendent, immutable, and eternal truth found described by the God who created it. This change in understanding and practice has led to an overwhelming amount of marriages ending in divorce and resulting in remarriage. Although many sociological, psychological, economic, emotional, and man-centered rationales may be created to explain and justify the practice of divorce and remarriage, the Christian perspective and practice must be rooted in a balanced and holistic application of biblical theology. This is problematic in a society that frequently allows no-fault divorce, thus eliminating most standards or requirements for divorce. In the few churches that do choose to discriminate in the practice of remarriage, it is often confusing and complex to determine accurately the circumstances surrounding the divorce as well as the guilt or innocence of each party involved. In evaluating the Scriptural texts in regard to marriage, divorce, and remarriage the Bible points to the marriage bond as ending only in death, not merely being severed by legal divorce, thereby prohibiting remarriage following divorce no matter the circumstance Matthew , Romans , 1 Corinthians ,
We have seen that the use of the passive or middle voice in the Greek of Matthew , and Mark , 12 even if we accept the translation in the passive or middle, which we do not does not justify remarriage after divorce at most it increases the guilt of the man who divorces his wife, but it does not permit the divorced woman to remarry. Luke records the teaching of Jesus on divorce in a different context, and in the active voice.
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God hates divorce. He hates it because it always involves unfaithfulness to the solemn covenant of marriage that two partners have entered into before Him, and because it brings harmful consequences to those partners and their children Mal. Legal divorce was a concession for the faithful partner due to the sexual sin or abandonment by the sinning partner, so that the faithful partner was no longer bound to the marriage Matt. Therefore, the believer should never consider divorce except in specific circumstances see next section , and even in those circumstances it should only be pursued reluctantly because there is no other recourse. The only New Testament grounds for divorce are sexual sin or desertion by an unbeliever. This is a general term that encompasses sexual sin such as adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, and incest. When one partner violates the unity and intimacy of a marriage by sexual sin—and forsakes his or her covenant obligation—the faithful partner is placed in an extremely difficult situation.
Marriage is a sacred union established by God to be a covenant relationship between one man and one woman for life. However, we live in a sin cursed world, being ourselves sinners, and who apart from Christ can do nothing including persevere in marriage for life. We further believe that even the guilty party of a divorce, if and when he or she has sincerely repented and has genuinely demonstrated that repentance should be allowed to remarry. How we interpret these words will determine our position on marriage — divorce — remarriage. Now with those words and definitions in mind we should translate these verses:. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.
After much study and prayerful consideration, we believe the position below honors our Lord, is in alignment with His Word, and serves His people. We humbly ask that grace and understanding be extended toward our position, even as we offer grace to our brothers and sisters who find either a broader or lesser freedom before the Lord. We pray that the love, care, sensitivity, and humility we have sought in writing this document would be evident to all who read it and are affected by our leadership. It seems appropriate to begin this statement by expressing our gratitude that the cross of Christ is sufficient to cover all of our sin, and we pray with you that His Spirit continually guides us into all truth. God is profoundly serious about the sacredness of marriage, and as His followers and servants, it is our privilege to share this high view. In recent years, there has been a steady assault on the biblical definition of marriage and an increased ease in the process of filing for divorce. The Bible clearly teaches that the Lord, in His creation of Adam and Eve as husband and wife, designed marriage to be lifelong, covenantal, monogamous, and between male and female.