Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mark's Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage

You and I might look surprised. “What will I do with this question,” we ask ourselves. “If not answered well, people will think we are hard-liners, or spineless, or playing both sides of the fence,” we think.

Jesus didn't hesitate. What question was the test question this time?

Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife? It was a Pharisee question. Again, they were testing him.

Jesus followed his common practice. He turned it back to them. “What did Moses say,” He asked them.

They gave the standard answer any Jew of the first century would give. It said, “To write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” (Mark 10:4).

Jesus' response was one of explanation. “Yeah, because you are so hardhearted he gave you this command. But you remember, it was not the way God planned it. God 'made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall be one flesh.'” (my version, Mark 10:6-8).
He added, “So, if God has put them together and made them one, man should not separate them.” (my version, Mark 10:9).

When the disciples were alone with Him, they ask more questions. He told them if he/she divorces a mate to marry someone else, someone commit adultery. (Mark10:10-12)

Is this the complete teaching on marriage, divorce, and remarriage? No.

But what is written should make everyone sit up and pay attention. Notice:
  • Jesus was not a hard-liner, spineless or playing both sides. He said what God wanted, not his opinion.
  • Jesus was not afraid of the question because He knew what God would say.
  • He did not change the teachings of God's covenant with the Jews. He actually reinforced it.
  • He pointed out a major problem: the hardheartedness of men. Man tends to do what he wants to do, regardless of God's wishes.
  • God made the two into one.
  • GOD PLANNED, from the beginning, FOR MARRIAGE TO BE PERMANENT. It was man who created divorce and remarriage, not God.
What should this cause us to do?
  • We should take lots of time selecting our life-long mate. There is no hurry. If it is good, then you will have the rest of your lives together. It one of you is not a 'good fit' for the other, better to find it out now, before rather than after marriage.
  • He does not authorize the 'trial arrangements'. He calls 'trial arrangements' by another name: fornication. Fornication will put both partners in hell (Gal 5:19-21).
  • We must plan, and teach all children, marriage is meant for life with no 'do-overs'.
Read more on the subject. Read Matt's Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage: Matt 5 & 19.

How about your comments and questions? Type them in the box below. Create a fictitious pseudonym, enter your actual name, or select anonymous. Click the button. I promise to be fair in my moderations, and post your thoughts quickly.


  1. As I tell my students, the most important decision you will make in your life is...what will I do about God? Why? Because that one has eternal consequences.

    The next important decision is who will be my mate.
    Why? Because that one has long lasting (though not eternal) consequences. It can affect the happiness of NOW, and it can affect the happiness of the future. Genetics of the children and grand children and great-grand children are effected, from here until the Lord returns. But so are people's lives...from being wholesome and happy, to the scars of ugliness and abuse that can also affect other generations.

  2. I fully agree the decision is the second most important one to be made.

    You speak of it being "long lasting (though not eternal) consequences". I think it DOES have eternal consequences.

    Being faithful to God for an life time is a struggle, at best. If you select a mate that does not agree with you, or is against God, you may have just selected the one thing that will lead you farther and farther away from God. Doesn't sound smart to me.

    The other side of the coin is that if you select a mate that IS IN AGREEMENT with your intention to serve God first, then the difficulties are lessened. There is always someone close to counsel you, encourage you, uplift you, etc. This sounds smart.

    Your mate selection process CAN have eternal consequences.

  3. We need lots of study and teaching on this subject. One of my main concerns as we approach this topic is that "committing adultery" has been taught as "living in adultery". There are situations where people find out they made the wrong choice for a mate and see no way out. I don't believe that God ever lets any situation be a no way out. I wish you would discuss the living in adultery teaching that is so common in the brotherhood.

  4. Jerry, Thanks for the comment.
    I will, shortly follow your suggestion of topics.
    For the moment, consider livestyles. To "commit adultry" is a one-time sexual encounter, where as "living in adultry" is continuous.
    Another perspective to examine is how God views either. With a change in attitude and life (repentance), there is little God will not forgive. But, God also views even a single occurance of unrepented sin as condemnable, regardless of the lifestyle.

  5. What if a unbelieving spouse leaves is the innocent party supposed to stay alone for life as being punished. I have a hard time believing that to be true. As I have been previously told.. the bible states in 1 cor. That if a unbeliever departs then. The believer is no longer under that bondadge.

  6. If an unbeliever leaves is the believer to be punished to stay alone forever as I have been told in the past. From my own studies in 1 cor. I don't totally agree with the total conservative view on this. 1 cor. States that if this happens that that person is no. Longer under that bondadge. What else could it possibly mean. I think we try to make things to hard to live by. God didn't send his word to confuse us. Man does that to fit his own agenda.

  7. Brian, I appreciate your effort to be thorough in your statements, bringing in 1 Cor.

    This post confined itself to this passage, to make sure we all understand it. If we miss it, then we have missed an very important piece in this puzzle.

    Good work!

  8. TIM what do u believe this passage to mean. Concerning a unbeliever leaving a believer. In 1 cor.


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