Marriage. Divorce and Remarriage – Part 1

Marriage. Divorce and Remarriage

We receive so many calls and questions about what are the rules for getting in and out of a marriage relationship.

Just today we had 2 calls on New Life Live Radio about the subject and here is a line from an e-mail received today.

“In 2001… I went to an Elder at our church to find out how to divorce ‘the right way.’”

What does the Bible say?

Did Jesus speak on the topic?

For the next few weeks we will be looking at what the New Testament says about this controversial topic.


Marriage, divorce and re-marriage are areas of great concern within the church of Jesus Christ.

Within churches and Christian organizations, much has been said and debated and various views held.

All of us are affected either directly or indirectly by the high divorce rate that plagues America.

Divorce causes us to hurt as well as cause pain in others that can last a lifetime.

The Bible says much about how a person can have success in all areas of his or her life and how interpersonal relationships can yield blessings instead of pain.

Yet, Biblical truth is being clouded & challenged in the area of marriage, divorce and re-marriage because we live in a relativistic world.

The purpose of this brief paper is limited to that of discussing the high standard with which the Bible views the institution of marriage and then to discuss God’s allowances for divorce and subsequent remarriage.


Marriage is one of the highest and holiest of all God designed institutions.

This is true for at least two reasons.

First, God gave special attention to the creation of male and female so that man would not have to live alone, which he said was “not good (Genesis 2:18).”

He then commanded “For this cause a man shall leave (rupture, sever, tear apart) his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).”  

The Hebrew word used in the text for “cleave” is the dabeq which means to stick, as things that are glued together.”

Thus, permanent monogamous heterosexual union has been the Biblical plan from the beginning of creation.

Jesus Christ further comments on this Genesis passage by stating, “consequently they are no more two, but one flesh.  What God has joined together, let no man separate (Matthew 19:6).”

The New Testament Greek word for “joined together” in the preceding verse means to “yoke together or unite.” 2

It carries the idea of two animals laboring in a field together in unity because of their being yoked to the same farming implement.

Grammatically, God is the subject of the sentence and it is God who does the yoking together.

In stark contrast, we are commanded that “no man” is to divide or separate the two that have been yoked together as one flesh by God Himself.

This command to “not separate” would obviously apply to the husband or wife who are yoked together and could perhaps be wishing to divorce each other.

God invented marriage and those who participate in God’s invention of marriage are thus “joined together” in the eyes of God.

His rules regarding the successful maintenance or the dissolution of the marriage therefore apply.

The second reason why marriage is so high and holy in God’s value system is that it is to be a living illustration of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His redeemed people, the Church.

“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the Church, He Himself being the savior of the body.  But as the Church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.  Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her; that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the Church in all her glory, having not spot of wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless (Ephesians 5: 22-27, N.A.S.B.)”

The picture of Christ and the Church portrays absolute love, fidelity, trust and devotion that is unbreakable.

What comfort and trust this affords the church.

This security and trust is to be the model for the Christian marriage with each of the partners following his or her role.

Because the Christian’s relationship to Christ is unshakable, the marriage relationship is to be unshakable also.

Paul like Jesus, refers back to the book of Genesis to draw attention to God’s plan of permanent, heterosexual, monogamous marriage, “For this cause a man shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh (Ephesians 5:31).”

We hope this begins to set the stage for such an important topic.

NEWS ALERT:  Kay and I will be in Santa Rosa, CA this weekend at the Redwood Covenant Church, for a How We Love Workshop.  It will be all day Saturday, February 23, 2008 from 8:00 – 4 PM.  If you are in the Bay area, join us!  See details below for registration information. Hope to see you!

Love and blessings,

Milan & Kay