So What Does The Bible Actually Say About Divorce?

Honestly, I think God wants me to blog about this. The other day, I picked up my Teen Bible – which I love and have missed using since I stopped being a teenager (two years ago, of course), and I opened it to a random page – The book of Mark, Chapter 10. It was talking about divorce. I read Verses 1 to 12, which were the verses that discussed divorce. After reading it, I started studying my bookshelf in admiration. It was the last part of the house that I needed to organize, so since doing that, I have had a strange affection toward it.

Shelf by shelf, I did a mental calculation of the books I have read and the ones I haven’t. Then I got to the book, “60 Things God Said About Sex,” (by Lester Sumrall), and I picked it up and flipped it open. And what would you know, it opened on page 68: “God’s word on divorce.” So I said, okay, God, I’ll read it. I know it’s a funny story, and I know that skeptics, cynics, doubters, disbelievers – whatever they call themselves these days – will say that it is mere coincidence. But I don’t believe in coincidence.

According to the book of Mark, when the Pharisees asked Jesus if it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife, Jesus told them that it was because their hearts were hard that Moses gave them the law to divorce their wives if they found any “uncleanness” in her. In reality – according to my boo, Jesus (in verses six to nine) – “…At the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

Jesus also went on to say that “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and married another man, she commits adultery.” When Moses said people could divorce their wives if they find uncleanness in her, he was referring to infidelity, not today’s “irreconcilable differences” approach.

On remarriage after divorce, the book of Deuteronomy Chapter 24, verse 2 to 4 says, “And if after she leaves his house (first husband’s house), she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband who divorced her is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled.”

See, I’m just a learner in this issue, and I myself do not completely understand what the bible is talking about. I have some questions:

1. We have all heard that what God has joined together, let no man put asunder. But when I read this passage, I could not help but wonder about the “man” Jesus was referring to. Was he talking about the man who causes wahala in the marriage – like friends, family, neighbors? Or was he referring to the person who officiates the divorce – like the judge, clerk, etc? Or both maybe?

2.  The bible talks about infidelity as being a valid reason for divorce – although not necessarily one that God likes – but what about other issues? Like would physical abuse be reason enough to God for divorce?

3.  I don’t understand what Jesus is saying about divorced people remarrying and committing adultery. Does that mean that every divorced person who has gone on to get married again to someone else is committing adultery?

4.  About remarrying, does that mean that once you have divorced and remarried, you cannot reconcile with your first spouse?

Tell me, what do you think? What are your thoughts on divorce?

Supporting Scripture for this post: Mark 10:1-12; Deut 24: 2-4.

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  1. Jubekwe says

    Me thinks , it’s like saying anyone who takes what does not belong to them is a thief. Is that a sin ? Yes. Is divorce a sin?yes ,just like any other.but that doesn’t mean it’s unforgivable sin,if you know the sin you have commuted confess and God is able to forgive,after all Christ died for our sins abi? I’m not saying get into marriage with an exit plan,but if you have to I’m pretty sure God understands. Thats just how i see it.My own 2 cents. Hope it makes sense.

    • says

      Jubekwe, thanks a lot for your comment. Reading your comment, I am reminded of a verse in the bible: Romans 6:1 “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?”

      One thing I know for sure is that there is so much I do not yet know or understand.

  2. Arambe says

    1. “Man” in general refers to anybody, especially the husband and wife. They must do all can do to maintain their marriage and not allow in anybody including themselves to breakup their marriage which was ordained by God.

    2.The only grounds for divorce in a marriage is fornication. But if their is abuse, or a man not providing for his family, etc then there can be a separation. 1 Corinthian 7:11

  3. Arambe says

    3. Anyone that divorces that is not on the ground of fornication commits adultery. Matthew 3:9. Matthew 5:32. This is from God standpoint, yes a person can be legally divorced, but the couple is not divorced scripturally. Therefore anyone that remarries them commits adultery because God doesn’t see them as divorced. If they legal, but not scripturally, divorce then they must remain unmarried (or make up again) to avoid committing adultery.
    4.Why would someone want to reconcile with an ex after you have remarried? Even if the two reconciles it just look odd, as if the two exes planned or came with a scheme in order that they can both can remarry by removing the other’s current spouse out of the pic.

    So divorce should not be exit plan if things don’t work out. Marriage is some serious business, please nobody should rush, get to know the person well, because that will be ur life partner. Hmmm…interesting. Vera, thanks for bringing this up you made me consider some things..

  4. says

    After writing plenty things Internet destroyed my prose, hidiot.

    I agree with Jubekwe, God hates divorce as much as He hates other sins but He will also forgive. That tho is no ground for deliberately sinning…..
    The issue I’ve always had is the reconciliation concept. I still don’t get it. I ask God to help me cos it’s such a huge issue for me.

  5. says

    Bible is a very delicate issue. I try my best to read to my understanding and not to over dig for more because I guess the more your dig the more you see more questions.

  6. says

    The bible is clear on divorce, however, the remarrying part is unclear to me as well. So I’m just trying my best (and praying for grace) to do it right the first time around :)

  7. chizzie says

    In this post Vera, you really sound like a skpetic.
    The bilble is clear.
    God hates divorce. But if you divorce, d key is DO NOT REMARRY.
    Their are very very few exxceptional cases like abuse. So if its me, I will just seperate bt not divorce

  8. Nnamno Ejike says

    Hello Vera, can’t exactly remember the convoluted internet waka that led me to your blog, but have been enjoying some of your hilarious posts and amebo gist. I’m commenting on this one because I’m a Christian man and Gospel minister/many-other-things, married for almost 20 yrs now, and marriage and relationships ARE a major area of interest for me, being so fundamental to our earthly fulfillment and success.

    And like you, I was Godincidentally talking about divorce and remarriage, which are very contentious topics, on another thread just yesterday. I don’t believe there can be a short answer to such a serious and contentious question, so this is long. The important question is what is a person’s worldview and religion, and if Christian, what is their attitude to God’s Word when they are contemplating these issues or speaking on them? For me, His Word is final Arbiter on every matter, and usually contains no contradiction or vagary in my experience, when we rightly divide His Word.

    Having prefaced my comment with that, I will say that a simple summary is that God hates divorce (for obvious reasons), and that the only Biblical grounds for this are formication, or spousal abandonment (by a non-Christian) – Matthew 19:9, 1st Corinthians 7:15. Remarriage likewise is expressly forbidden except for these two reasons.

    There are those who would argue even against these two caveats/clauses, and refer to the meanings of the “original Greek” in the text, etc, but I believe that the clauses seem straightforward enough, and that sort of interpretation of Scripture would require us all to become Greek and Hebrew scholars to understand anything God is saying, and I am disinclined to agree with that approach.

    As to other “obvious cases” where divorce would seem reasonable to our human minds, physical,abuse being the most obvious, I elect to defer to God’s Mind on the issue, though it doesn’t quite make sense to me, because I submit naively to the Wisdom that He knows much kore than us. So for these cases, SEPARATION would be the option, while the marriage covenant remains unbroken, and room is made for forgiveness and prayerful reconciliation, which are His desire in every case of divorce also.

    His Word expressly (and frustratingly for most) states that remarriage or marrigae to a divorcee is adultery, so you can’t really “get forgiven” for that if you are daily continuing to live in that state. Tough, I know, but the fear of The LORD is the beginning of Wisdom. There is a way that seems right to a man (or woman), but the end of it is death and destruction. I find that once we allow ourselves the liberty of loose interpretations of God’s Word, or the injection/addition of our own logic into His commands, we create room for error, because you just cannot determine where to draw the line. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Peace, and keep writing up a storm!

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