Examining False Positions...

OK to divorce...

Just NOT re-marry???

by Mark J. Ward

The purpose of this series is to expose religious arguments and positions that are false and to show the readership the truth from God's Holy Word on various issues. Some false arguments are made by denominationalists; other false arguments are made by brethren. We love them all; alien and Christian. Yet, we love truth and must expose error without discrimination (See Proverbs 23:23; 2 Timothy 4:2; Ephesians 4:15). Please consider the following information in light of God's Word. Only accept the truth of God's Word and NEVER a conclusion that is incorrect. We hope you find this material beneficial. As always, we are ever willing to consider opposing views, presented with love and forthrightness.

There are several positions held today on the proper understanding of marriage, divorce and marrying again. There are situations that some people are presently in due to multiple marriage ceremonies and divorces that it would almost take the wisdom of Solomon to decipher! However, we contend that God's Word can be understood and we have all things that pertain to life and godliness in the Bible: which includes the WHOLE TRUTH on marriage, divorce and re-marriage revealed in God's perfect law of liberty.

Some teach (and practice) that it is scriptural to divorce for any cause today, but it is sin to re-marry. IS THIS THE CASE? If so, the Bible would so teach. If not, the Bible would teach otherwise.

I never want to misrepresent views of those who disagree with me on any Bible subject. Capable men hold various views on this controversial topic. We would love to entertain more study on this interesting Bible matter. Read and study all material written by uninspired men in light of God's Word. Truth has nothing to hide from honest investigation and study. I love these brethren, but disagree with their interpretations, false lines of argumentation, and teaching on this matter. Please read on.

The false argument that we want to look at in this article that usually underpins the "it's ok to divorce (no sin), just wrong to marry someone else" position, usually goes something like this:

1. Marriage is one man, one woman for life.

2. Those who put away their spouses "for fornication" can marry a scripturally eligible person (Matthew 5:32; 19:9).

3. Those who are divorced may not remarry without sin (sole exception noted in Number 2 above).

4. The Bible nowhere says its wrong to divorce in the New Testament.

5. Conclusion: its ok to divorce (without sinning) but you can't marry without meeting the criteria of Matthew 5:32 and 19:9.

Let us look at the argumentation above. There is some truth in what is advocated above. (For example, the instance cited in Number 2 IS a scriptural reason for divorce and remarriage). But the errors in the argumentation above, subtle as they may be, are deceiving many folks to actually believe that it is OK to divorce for any cause today. The Bible, however, teaches that divorce is sinful.

Divorce is Sin!

Divorce is an "action". Remember how Bible authority for any action is established: (1) direct statement or precept, (2) example and/or (3) unavoidable conclusion. All actions are either scriptural or unscriptural and would fall into one of three categories (on a case-by-case basis): mandatory, liberty, or forbidden. Please note the following passages of Scripture.

I Corinthains 7:10-13

"10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. 12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him."

Note the following truths taught in the passage above:

1. There is a prohibition (direct statement) in Scripture to "depart", and to "put away" a mate.

2. Defining these words "depart" and "put away" include (in their meaning, and as used in this text) the idea of DIVORCE

3. It is sin to divorce (with the exceptions of Matthew 5:32; 19:9 and in cases where one married one who they had no right to marry in the first place...See Ezra 10 and Mark 6:16-20 since repentance would demand divorcing one with whom you were living in adultery with in an unlawful marriage - Luke 13:3).

Some teachers erroneously try to explain away the fact that to divorce for any cause is sinful, by stating, something like, "Since the passage tells the parties what to do in the event of a divorce, then its ok to divorce" and quote the verses which say, "10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife."

Does the passage in verse 11 which states "But and if she depart" (which can include divorce in its meaning...for it says the woman is to "remain unmarried, or be reconciled") teach us that divorce for any cause is scriptural? Well, let's look to a really simple example of another occasion in God's Word where something that is sinful is FIRST MENTIONED and THEN instruction is given as to what to do IF the sin occurs...

1 JOHN 2:1

"1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:"

Note the comparison.

I Cor. 7

Let NOT the husband put away his wife (divorce/it is sinful)...but and if she depart....(instruction even in the event of sin)


I John 2

Sin not (there's the sin, no doubt about it) and if any man sin...(instruction even in the event of sin).

See the point? One cannot properly affirm that it is ok to divorce from I Cor. 7 for "any cause" on the mere fact that instruction follows in the event of divorce..."but and if she depart....".

Let us study with a keen awareness that ANY action today, must be authorized. Let the proof come forward for the contention that "divorce without remarriage, for any cause, is scriptural"!

Now, dear Reader, make the scriptural application to your life. I will do the same. How many times have you been married? Are your former spouses living? How many divorces have you had? If there was a divorce, who put who away and for what reason(s)? Have you re-married? Is the person with whom you are now married a person to whom it is lawful for you to be married to? Please continue to read and study and apply God's Word.

Thanks for reading. mjw

Email the Editor at markjward@yahoo.com