Divorce – Part Four
WHY SOME PEOPLE’S BELIEFS CONCERNING DIVORCE ARE NOT TRULY BIBLICAL
The principle of taking Scripture in its’ correct CONTEXT and COMPLETE teaching from the Word is essential to our understanding of God’s will concerning divorce and remarriage. There are many people who have taken portions of Jesus’ teaching on the issue, and have made dogmatic conclusions without searching the entire Bible to get ALL the teachings.
Jesus taught about divorce on several occasions. In each of these situations, He was dealing with a specific question presented to Him, and was not dealing with the entire over-all doctrine. That has to be determined from a compilation of the entire Bible’s explanation on the subject. In the cases noted in the Gospels, Jesus was answering people who were already somewhat knowledgeable about the Old Testament’s teachings on the subject. They expected Him to provide an answer to their particular question, not spend a week examining all that the Bible had to say on it.
Since we have already stated a basic principle for any truthful study of a Bible doctrine (CONTEXT and COMPLETE teaching), let us examine our reason for that. All Scriptures carry equal weight and authority. Both Old and New Testaments were inspired (“breathed”) by the very same Holy Spirit, written by the same God, and presented to people with the very same need of salvation.
In this case, marriage is an agreement which our great Judge, the LORD, has stipulated. It is then agreed to, witnessed by men, and must be carried out. But, how do we find out what our Judge says is required in marriage ?
2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
God’s Word, when taken completely and in context, will agree with itself, and will present the total truth regarding a specific doctrine.
WHY DID DIVORCE BEGIN ?
In the Beginning, God established marriage as a perfect and pure relationship between a man and a woman. It was not the result of cultural or sociological evolution, but instead the deliberate and perfect plan of Almighty God. As years went on, man became more and more sinful, and rebelled at any institution which God had established. This included the sanctity of marriage. It became commonplace for the provisions of marriage to be twisted, perverted, or done away with entirely, as evidenced in the behavior of the people of Sodom just before it was destroyed. These God-given provisions are:
(1). God brings a man and woman together. (Genesis 2:22).
(2). Both husband and wife were to work as a team to fulfil the purpose God had given to the man. The wife was called “a help-meet” by God. (Genesis 2:18).
(3). The two should leave mother and father to establish their own home. (Matthew 19:5).
(4). They should cleave one to the other, forsaking all others.
(Matthew 19:5, i.e., faithfulness).
Man’s failure to comply with any of these points would ultimately result in a marriage which would not be able to have the blessings of one which was complying. Before the Flood, marriage became an unimportant commitment. The Bible says that in the days of Noah, “they were marrying and giving in marriage” (Matthew 24:38). The Greek word for ‘marrying’ implies a continuous action. (In other words, “constantly marrying again and again and again, and giving away in marriage again and again and again.”) Other perversions followed, even as it is being repeated in the world today.
Finally, the pagan disrespect for God’s provisions crept into the camp of God’s faithful, and they, too, wanted to stomp under foot the doctrines of righteousness related to marital fidelity. But, God gave His people an option which was meant to limit the marital abuses that had come through the pagans that surrounded Israel.
Through Moses, God spoke and said that it would be permissible to “put away” one’s wife (divorce) if she was guilty of a particular sin.
When the Bible speaks of putting away,” in Hebrew, it literally means “bill of divorcement.” It was designed as:
(1). A punishment for the person who committed the sin of
(2). Provided for the freedom of the person who did not sin, but
was wronged by the spouse. *(This is carried through the New
Testament, where it is stated, “…a brother or sister is not in
bondage [held to their marriage commitment] in such cases.”
I Corinthians 7:15.