12.  Marriage and Divorce

Doctrinal Statement: Marriage was instituted by God as a life long covenantal relationship between one man and one woman.

 

Definitions

*   Marriage: The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife sanctioned by God

*   Covenant: A binding agreement; a contract

*   Divorce: The legal dissolution of a marriage.

 

Marriage in the Bible

*   (Gen 2:22-24 NIV)  Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. {23} The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman, ' for she was taken out of man." {24} For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The first marriage

*    (Gen 1:28 NIV)  God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Blessed by God

*    (Prov 18:22 NIV)  He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.

*    (Prov 31:10 NIV)  A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

*    (1 Th 4:3 NIV)  It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;

*    (Heb 13:4 NIV)  Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

*    (Song 8:7 NIV)  Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned. Valued above all but God Himself

*    (1 Cor 7:2 NIV)  But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. No polygamy or sharing

*    (Eccl 9:9 RSV)  Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life which he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.

*    (Eph 5:25 NIV)  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

*    (Col 3:18-19 NIV)  Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. {19} Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

*   (Eph 5:21 NIV)  Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

*    (2 Cor 6:14 NIV)  Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Divorce in the Bible

*   (Mal 2:13-16 NIV)  Another thing you do: You flood the Lord's altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. {14} You ask, "Why?" It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. {15} Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. {16} "I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel…

*    (Mat 5:31-32 NIV)  "It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.' {32} But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

*   (Mat 19:3-9 NIV)  Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" {4} "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' {5} and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? {6} So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." {7} "Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?" {8} Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. {9} I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

*   (Mark 10:1-12 NIV)  Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them. {2} Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" {3} "What did Moses command you?" he replied. {4} They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away." {5} "It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied. {6} "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' {7} 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, {8} and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. {9} Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." {10} When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. {11} He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. {12} And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery."

*    (Mat 1:19 NIV)  Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

 

Remarriage in the Bible

*   (Rom 7:1-3 NIV)  Do you not know, brothers--for I am speaking to men who know the law--that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? {2} For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. {3} So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.

*   (1 Cor 7:10-15 NIV)  To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. {11} But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. {12} To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. {13} And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. {14} For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. {15} But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.

*   (1 Cor 7:39 NIV)  A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.

*   (Deu 24:1-4 NIV)  If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, {2} and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, {3} and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, {4} then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.

 


Some Conclusions

*   God instituted marriage.

*   Marriage creates a union between a man and a woman that causes them to be “One.”

*   Marriage is the first step towards procreation.

*   Marriage should be honored by society.

*   Sexual relations outside of marriage are sinful.

*   Marriage is a monogamous relationship.

*   Marriage will have sometimes better than others but overall should be a blessing to the husband, wife, and children.

*   Marriage is a relationship between equals but with a hierarchy for keeping order.

*   Marriage demands respect for one another.

*   Believers should marry other believers!

*   God hates divorce!

*   However, divorce is permitted in cases of sexual infidelity.

*   Divorce is also permitted in cases where an unbelieving spouse does not want to be married.

*   Separation is allowed in some cases but in those cases marriage to another is not allowed.

*   A marriage is only valid if it has been entered into freely and honestly in all important respects.

*   Death of a spouse ends the commitment of the marriage vows and allows for marriage.

*   Remarriage should be to a believer.

*   A spouse once divorced and remarried can never be remarried to the first spouse.

 

Homework

*   Find other verses relating to marriage.

*   Find other verses relating to divorce.

*   Divorce was permitted for many reasons in the Old Testament, why is it not the same now?

*   Polygamy was permitted in the Old Testament, why is it not permitted now.

*   Where does God fit in the marriage contract?

 

A Few Closing Thoughts

Marriage was the first contract and it was a lasting contract. It is the ultimate case of, “(James 5:12 NIV)  Above all, my brothers, do not swear--not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned.

 

Many divorces are allowed under the unbeliever clause in the Bible. It cannot be honestly said a man is a believer if he consistently shows his unbelief by his actions. It cannot be honestly said a man wants to stay with his wife if he consistently abuse her and perhaps the children too. Separation is also an option in some cases but without a divorce remarriage is not proper.

 

A marriage contract like other contracts is not valid unless the parties meet the following conditions.

*   Both make the agreement freely.

*   Both have entered the agreement without deceit in any important point.

*   Both are competent to make the agreement.