The Bible and Divorce

A hundred years or so ago this topic was not open for debate. Those who have gone on before in the Lord did not see this as a controversy or found any scripture that would support the idea of divorce and remarrying.  Lets take a trip through scripture and look at some of the versus that are suppose to support the acceptance of divorce and remarrying.

One of the most quoted scriptures used to support the notion that the Bible gives as a reason to divorce is found in 1Corinthians. 1Corinthians 7:27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. (28) But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

Let's look at this scripture in more detail.

   

1Corinthians 7:27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

 Art thou bound unto a wife?: Here Paul is asking a simple question.  He is asking are you married? It could also be said if you are married.

seek not to be loosed: Continuing on, if someone is married they should not seek to be free of their wife. This would pertain to the woman as well as a man. One is not to break the union that was established by God and agreed upon by all parties who were married before God.  Until death do you part.

Art thou loosed from a wife?: Here is where the scripture gets twisted. Those who are looking to get divorced and remarried read this to mean that if you were married and are now "loosed", or not married.

Loosed does not mean that you were married and obtained a divorce, but that you were married and your spouse died. We were just instructed that you should not seek to be loosed "freed" from a wife so we are not looking at divorce.

It would seem a bit odd that Paul would tell us in the first part of a verse that you should not look to be free of your wife, then a couple of words later tell you that it's ok.

Paul explicitly tell us in 1Corinthians 7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

Again in Romans 7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. Here Paul uses the same word to describe how a person is loosed from the law.  but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

Seek not a wife: So, if you were never married, or if your wife or husband dies, then according to Paul it is best not to get married. Hence seek not a wife.

Paul go on to explain this later in 1Corinthians 7:32-43

One must also remember that Paul is speaking to a pagan society. If you were married to a pagan husband or wife, then turned to Christianity, your spouse would still practices their religion of divorce. 

Paul is telling them that they should not seek to be loosed, but if their pagan spouse divorces them they should not seek to get remarried as it is against the will of God.

 

1Corinthians 7:28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

However if one marries according to the plan that God has laid out, you have not committed a sin.

 So if a person was married before and his or her spouse dies or a virgin marries no sin has been committed because of this union.

However Paul stated that there will be at times circumstances that will arise that will need to be dealt with in a marriage. 

 

1Corinthians 7:32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:
Paul is not saying that you should not get married, but He recommends from His point of view that it is best not to.

One who is not married will have more time to serve the Lord and to care for the things of God.

1Corinthians  7:33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.
One who is married will tend to put some time and effort in making the marriage work. This will take time away from the Lord and requires those to focus on their spouse.
1Corinthians 7:34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. In 1Corinthians 7:28-33 primarily was speaking to the man.  Here Paul speaks to the woman as well.  His message is the same as stated to the man.
1Corinthians 7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

Here we find in order to be free or loosed from a husband or wife the spouse would have to have died.  There is no mention of being loosed in any other manner.

If a spouse dies it is ok to re-marry "only in the Lord" meaning that you should be yoked to a believer and not marry a non-believer as stated in:

2Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (15) And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

There are many other versus pertaining to this topic which are listed below:

Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? (4)  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, (5) And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? (6) Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (7) They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? (8) He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.  (9) And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

Matthew 14:3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. (4)  For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.

Luke 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

When you are married you make a vow before man and God that you will remain married for better or worse, in sickness and in health, to death do us part.  Not until trouble comes, or something better shows up.  God takes our vow seriously and we should too.

 Numbers 30:2 If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.

Numbers 30:9 But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.

Deuteronomy 23:21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.

Romans 7:3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. If anyone marries a woman whose husband is still alive is to be called an adulteress.

Luke 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery. Here we have Jesus telling us that whoever marries a woman who is already married commits adultery.

Mark 10:2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. (3) And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? (4) And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. (5) And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. (6) But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. (7) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; (8) And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. (9) What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (10) And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. (11) And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. (12) And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery. Here we find the same narrative. Divorce was never sanctioned from the beginning of God's creation.  However because of the hardness of man's heart God allowed it for a time. How can man ever attempt to separate what God has joined together?   

Matthew 5:31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: (32) But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. Once again we are told that to marry a divorced woman causes her to commit adultery as well as her "new" husband.


James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

** Note all references are taken from the King James Version.