I am sure many of you have questions on what the bible says about divorce and remarriage. So many people have heard bits and pieces of verses, taken verses out of context, or just try to make God’s word fit to justify a decision.
Below I would like to share some resources I have reviewed recently. I will share a little at the end of my opinion on the material and the sources.
The two episodes I reviewed were:
#316: Divorce and Remarriage in the Old Testament
#318: Divorce and Remarriage in the New Testament
Both of these podcast episodes have just recently been released near the end of March 2020.
These episodes do dig deep into the Greek & Hebrew texts and they are on the academic side. For some they may seem rather scholarly, but follow along with the verses shared in your bible to help bring God’s word to life through this study.
Two books that the guest (Rev Dr David Instone-Brewer) referred to:
Marriage and Divorce in the Bible by Jay E Adams
Marriage and Divorce in the Church by Jay E Adams.
Dr Instone-Brewer has also created a website called Divorce-Remarriage.com that provides a lot more to consider on this topic. I have not researched the whole website, but the quick summary of the two books mentioned above is posted below and can be of great value:
- The Bible’s message for those suffering within marriage is both realistic and loving
- Marriage should be lifelong, but broken marriage vows can be grounds for divorce
- Biblical grounds for divorce include adultery, abuse and abandonment
- Jesus urged forgiveness but allowed divorce for repeated unrepentant breaking of marriage vows
- Only the victim, not the perpetrator of such sins, should decide when or whether to divorce
- Anyone who divorces on biblical grounds or who is divorced against their will can remarry.
This book interprets the words of Jesus and Paul through the eyes of first century readers who knew about the ‘Any Cause’ divorce which Jesus was asked about (“Is it lawful to divorce for ‘Any Cause’” – Mt.19.3). Christians in following generations forgot about the ‘Any Cause’ divorce and misunderstood Jesus.
The ‘Any Cause’ divorce was invented by some Pharisees who divided up the phrase “a cause of indecency” (Dt.24.1) into two grounds for divorce: “indecency” (porneia which they interpreted as ‘Adultery’) and “a cause” (ie ‘Any Cause’). Jesus said the phrase could not be split up and that it meant “nothing except porneia“. Although almost everyone was using this new type of divorce, Jesus told them that it was invalid, so remarriage was adulterous because they were still married.
|The Old Testament allowed divorce for the breaking of marriage vows, including neglect and abuse, based on Exod.21.10f. Jesus was not asked about these biblical grounds for divorce, though Paul alluded to them in 1Cor.7 as the basis of marriage obligations. This book argues that God never repealed these biblical grounds for divorce based on broken marriage vows. They were exemplified by Christ (according to Eph.5.28f) and they became the basis of Christian marriage vows (love, honour, and keep).|
Of course, I highly suggest that you counsel with your pastor or care ministry that can give you additional help and direction in this difficult time. Don’t take this as any final answer. God will give you His wisdom as you seek it with those around you that will lead you to God and His word on the subject.
When all is said and done, you and you alone will be held accountable for your decisions and actions surrounding divorce and remarriage. This is just a good starting point to help you as you seek God and His face on your next step.