What About Divorce?

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.

Divorce Among Believers

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.

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RC group issues declaration in response to "Amoris Laetitia"

The Carnage of Divorce

Should Divorcees Be Forbidden to Teach or Lead in Local Churches?

The constitutions and bylaws of independent Baptist churches commonly include language that forbids divorced persons from teaching Sunday School or holding church office. The restriction is so common that of the dozens of church constitutions I’ve read and filed, only one or two lack some version of it. Since many churches with these restrictions have some history of conflict over them, the topic also tends to be seen as a minefield—best to fence it off and leave it alone.

But these same church constitutions and confessions of faith also strongly emphasize the authority of Scripture, and one question should always be welcome: Is what we’re doing biblical? Is it compatible with Scripture and the revealed nature and purposes of the church?

Let’s consider some arguments pro and con.

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Jesus' Theology of Marriage

The institution of marriage is under assault. A universally understood concept thousands of years old has been destroyed by the United States Supreme Court. Many, including some Christians, seem to be confused and shaken by these events. While some applaud this new legal fiction, others do not seem to know what to think.

The Bible is the foundation of the Christian Faith, and Jesus Christ is its founder, so let’s look at what Christ taught about marriage in Matthew 19.

The Question of Divorce

The occasion which prompted Christ’s instruction was a question posed by the Pharisees regarding divorce. “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” (Matt. 19:3).

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