As reviewed earlier, Paul clearly allows for a believer to remain passive when an unbelieving spouse divorces and deserts their marriage according to 1 Corinthians 7:15. From the explanation above, though a spouse may actively divorce a spouse who has broken the marriage covenant in some way, the command in 1 Corinthians 7:15 is to be passive when being divorced. This contrast implies that the marriage covenant has an indirect bearing on the Pauline Privilege in 1 Corinthians 7:15 at best. Nonetheless, it is still helpful to see how the marriage covenant can better inform a believer to carry out the command of 1 Corinthians 7:15 in a number of situations.
A review of the Pauline privilege in hand, this article will now examine a biblical marriage covenant by means of surveying the primary Old Testament passages that show marriage to be a covenant relationship. Though the constraints of this article do not allow for a detailed theology of a marriage covenant, the basic nature and obligations of a marriage covenant may be seen by a survey of five Old Testament passages: Exodus 21:10–11; Deuteronomy 24:1–4; Malachi 2:14; Ezekiel 16:8, 59, 60, 62; and Proverbs 2:16–17.14 The final section of this paper will use this survey to conclude whether or not the marriage covenant has any bearing on the nature of desertion in 1 Corinthians 7:15.
If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights. And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.
By David J. Huffstutler1
Divorce is a difficult topic to address on both theological and practical levels. Even when this topic is carefully studied by the best of Christian scholars, conclusions on the topic and their practical applications can yield a spectrum of beliefs and practices. When discussing divorce, charity is essential.
Realizing the varied beliefs that many have on the topic of divorce, this article seeks to investigate a difficult issue that exists within the position that allows for divorce in certain circumstances, the majority position on divorce within evangelical theology today.2 Additionally, this article will carry out this investigation from the understanding that marriage is a covenant relationship, a position to be surveyed briefly below.3 Whether a reader approaches this article to better research his own position or that of his fellow Christian, all may be edified along the way.
by Steven Ingino, from The Cripplegate
You’ve heard it repeatedly on radio, podcasts, and TV. You’ve read it in various books and articles. You’ve even heard it in your pastor’s sermon. The problem: it’s a lie.
50% of all marriages end in divorce.
It’s simply not true and never has been. As has been said: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” In this case, the lie made it all the way around the world before the truth even got out of bed.
While getting my haircut the other day, the young lady who was cutting my hair said, “I don’t ever want to get married. My dad told me when I was 15 years old that half of all marriages end in divorce. So, I figured, why try?” I tried explaining to her that that statistic is incorrect, but she had heard it so many times from so many places, she couldn’t believe otherwise.
How many couples threw in the towel and defaced God’s beautiful design of marriage because they had heard that most couples “won’t make it”? It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. How many couples divorced, thinking that just about everyone else was doing it, when in fact, they weren’t? How many young people are afraid to commit to marriage because they believe it will most likely end in failure?
Divorce rates are down, but... “Many poor and less educated Americans are opting not to get married at all. They’re living together [and] often raising kids together [but] studies have shown these cohabiting relationships are less stable than they used to be.” - Center for Vision & Values
Divorce is a hot button issue among Christians today. It seems to have been a pressing issue in Christ’s day as well. Needless to say, divorce involves a wide range of opinions and engenders serious disagreements. Some state that the Bible teaches no divorce for any reason for any Christian ever. Others consider divorce an unfortunate, but unavoidable fact of life that should cause no undue concern for the people of God.
In truth, the Bible teaches neither of these positions. Let us examine one of the most extensive passages on this difficult subject, namely 1 Corinthians 7:10-16.
The passage opens with the words, “now to the married.” The Apostle Paul directs his attention to married members of the church in answer to their questions about divorce. This follows instructions already given to singles asking if it is OK to remain single (1 Cor. 7:1), married church members about the propriety of celibacy within marriage (1 Cor. 7:2-7), followed by questions from Widows and Widowers regarding remarriage after the death of a spouse (1 Cor. 7:8,9). Now Paul returns to married believers to field their questions about divorce.