Divorce a difficult choice: Divorce is a deeply personal and often contentious topic. This is especially true when examined through the lens of religious teachings.
For many of us, the Bible serves as the ultimate guide on matters of morality and conduct. This includes the delicate issue of divorce. Understanding what the Bible says about divorce requires a nuanced exploration of various passages and interpretations.
Divorce a difficult choice
At its core, the Bible presents a complex view of divorce. It reflects the cultural and historical context in which its teachings were written. While divorce is addressed in both the Old and New Testaments, the perspectives offered differ in emphasis and application.
In the Old Testament, divorce is mentioned in several passages, most notably in Deuteronomy 24:1-4.
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,
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. Deuteronomy 24:1-4
Israelites grappled with divorce
Moses outlines a scenario in which a man divorces his wife. It allows her to remarry if she marries another man and is subsequently divorced or widowed.
This provision suggests a recognition of divorce within ancient Israelite society. But also reflects the patriarchal structure of the time, where women had limited agency and protection.
Jesus gives us more insight
In the New Testament, Jesus provides further insight into the topic of divorce. He offers a more stringent perspective in certain instances. In Matthew 19:3-9, Jesus responds to a question from the Pharisees about the legality of divorce,
reaffirming the sacredness of marriage by quoting from Genesis:
“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
He goes on to explain that divorce, except in cases of marital unfaithfulness, constitutes adultery if either party remarries. This teaching underscores the permanence and sanctity of the marital bond, emphasizing fidelity and commitment.
Jesus reaffirms the permanence of marriage
Similarly, in Mark 10:2-12, Jesus addresses divorce, reiterating the principle of marital permanence established in Genesis. He emphasizes that divorce and remarriage constitute adultery, except in cases of marital unfaithfulness.
This passage reinforces the high value placed on marriage within Christian theology. Urging followers to prioritize reconciliation and forgiveness over dissolution of the marital union.
Divorce should be approached with empathy
Ultimately, the Bible’s teachings on divorce call for a balance of reverence for the sanctity of marriage. Calling for compassion for individuals facing relational challenges. Christians are encouraged to approach it with empathy and support for those affected. While also upholding the ideal of lifelong commitment within marriage.
In grappling with the question of what the Bible says about divorce, believers are called to prayerful discernment. They must seek wisdom and guidance from scripture, tradition, and community. Christians can navigate the complexities of divorce with grace and humility. Seeking to embody the transformative power of God’s love in the midst of brokenness and restoration.