Education & Family

What Does the Bible Say About Divorce?

Editor’s Note: The following is tailored from a two-part FamilyLife Today® collection with writer and theologian Wayne Grudem. You can take heed to the podcast right here: “What Does the Bible Say about Divorce?”

You’ve heard the story; perhaps you’ve lived it: You’re sad in your marriage and dropping hope for restoration.

In society right this moment, we’re confronted with a broad spectrum of viewpoints, from Divorce is everytime you wish to break up” to the historic educating of the church that divorce isn’t acceptable. 

So how do we all know what to imagine? Christians must look carefully at what the Bible says about divorce.

What does the Bible say about divorce?

Maybe you’re acquainted with biblical teachings on divorce. Or perhaps you’re looking at these teachings for the first time. Let’s start with what Jesus informed His disciples in Matthew 19:6: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Paul reaffirms these teachings in 1 Corinthians 7:10-14

Marriage is meant to be a everlasting, lifelong union of 1 man and one girl. Since that’s God’s authentic plan, we must always at all times search to keep up that. Forgiveness and reconciliation should be our finish purpose. While it’s not each story, it’s encouraging to recollect these folks in our lives whose marriage was broken considerably, but they have been capable of come to a spot of forgiveness and restore the marriage.

When is divorce allowed?

Returning to Matthew, Jesus goes on to say: “whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery” (Matthew 19:9). With this exception, Jesus is making provision for conditions the place a husband or spouse has irretrievably broken the marriage (at the very least, probably). He teaches that in case you divorce your partner and marry one other due to sexual immorality, you aren’t committing adultery.

In his teachings in 1 Corinthians, Paul additionally addresses different circumstances which will warrant a divorce in verse 15: “If the unbelieving associate separates, let or not it’s so. In such circumstances the brother or sister just isn’t enslaved” (emphasis added).

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What does “in such cases” imply?

I started taking a look at the phrase, “in such cases,” and was capable of chase down about 50 examples of it. It doesn’t happen elsewhere in the Greek New Testament or the Greek Old Testament. But it does happen in different Greek literature outdoors the Bible.

It can have a broad which means that we’d translate to one thing like, “in cases similar to this.” The query is: In circumstances much like what?

There are quite a few examples the place the circumstances don’t must be the identical—they only must be related not directly. Philo, a Jewish author from round the time of the New Testament, informed the story of when the 10th plague came across the Egyptians. They awakened in the morning and all their firstborn sons and cattle have been lifeless. Philo says, “But, as is usual in such circumstances, men thinking that the present evils were the beginning of greater ones, and being filled with fear lest those who were still living should also be destroyed…”

Could it imply, “As so often happens when a nation wakes up and finds all its firstborn sons are dead”? Well, that doesn’t make sense, as a result of that had by no means occurred earlier than in historical past. “In such cases” should imply in circumstances the place sudden tragedy strikes. Not simply when your firstborn sons have died. But the place a hurricane has destroyed your crops, or a raiding occasion has come and destroyed your village. It’s a case that’s related, however not precisely the identical. 

Another instance is from the Greek orator Lysius, who lived from 459-380 BC, roughly. He tells a couple of man named Phrynichus who needed to pay a effective to the treasury. He writes, “And when Phrynichus had to pay a fine to the Treasury, my father did not bring him his contribution of money: Yet it is in such cases that we see the best proof of a man’s friends.” It could be too slender to say it’s solely when a buddy has to pay a sudden effective to the treasury. It’s in circumstances like this the place you’ve gotten a sudden want of cash that you simply discover out who your pals actually are.

So what did Paul imply when he wrote, “In cases like this”? I imagine he meant in circumstances the place the marriage is so broken it’s now not functioning as a wedding.

How ought to we apply this right this moment?

Since the Reformation, the common place of Protestant church buildings has been that there are solely two causes for divorce: the bodily act of adultery and desertion by an unbeliever from 1 Corinthians 7:15.

For many church buildings, the educating has been: “In cases of abuse, the church should do everything it can to stop the abuse, but it’s not a ground for divorce.” But after we take a second have a look at  1 Corinthians 7:15,  it could appear that bodily abuse that has continued over time and is threatening to proceed into the future is grounds for divorce. The injury it does places it in the same class to desertion. 

While this isn’t the historic place of the church, elevated entry to Greek translations brings us peace on this interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7.  We imagine we’re being trustworthy to Scripture in saying there are different conditions which might be equally damaging to marriage and supply legit grounds for divorce.

If you’re contemplating divorce

If you’re asking, “What does the Bible say about divorce?” then you might also be asking, “Should I get a divorce?” That is undoubtedly a really painful and complicated place to be. We hope these Scriptural truths can information you and offer you hope to maintain preventing, or, if wanted, depart a deeply damaging scenario. You don’t must face this alone. Don’t hesitate to achieve out for assist out of your church, group, or a Christian counselor.

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